Have you ever thought about how different organizations within a company work together to help the salesperson improve performance? Do you know how the extended software sales teams work together within a sales pursuit?
We identify the six sales enablement organizations that help drive your B2B software sales process. We offer a framework for relating to them and leveraging them in your success.
Who They Are
The extended software sales team consists of the functions and structures that augment the capabilities of the salesperson. It's a broad discipline supported by several cross functional teams in the average software company.
In our framework, these groups fall into six categories each with a distinctive purpose in driving the software sales process:
Strategic messaging, product definition and positioning, product portfolio strategy, global advertising and communications, technology analyst relations
Industry-focused solutions and messaging, specific value propositions, industry trend analysis and market research, industry analyst relations, conferences and local advertising
Local marketing events, area marketing communications, support for webinars, education and targeting of customers in specific geographies, reference account development
Customer cold calls and follow-up calls to event attendees, assemble data from lead generation campaigns, first-pass account qualification across industry and geography groups
Solicited and unsolicited proposal generation for particular clients, writing assistance for client communications, manage historical proposal database and suggest specific reuse in current pursuits
Pre-Sales Technical / Business Consulting
Partner with salespeople for on-site calls, develop customer-specific value propositions, assist removing roadblocks to closing sales, fight off competitive advances, co-consult with system integrator and reseller partners.
For our purposes, we've excluded selling partners, such as system integrators and resellers, as they fall outside the boundaries of the company and might overlap some of the groups in the extended sales team.
Where They Fit
The diagram below illustrates one way these organizations fit across the sales enablement continuum moving left-to-right from broad, product-focus to specific, client-focus:
What They Do
Each of these organizations supports the sales process in a valuable, practical way. Need an example? Here’s how a salesperson might utilize these groups as a true extended sales team in a client pursuit:
John is pursuing geography clients in the milling & stamping industry across central Ohio. Starting at his company's website, he downloads brochures created by Corporate Marketing for products he thinks are applicable.
Visiting the Machinery and Small-Medium Business pages built by Industry Marketing, he familiarizes himself with trends, culls through some case studies, and selects a few articles he would like to share with prospective clients.
After developing an idea about what he can sell, John contacts his local Field Marketing director for help reaching customers in the area.
Together they host a seminar where they present their value propositions, Pre-Sales Technical Consultants demonstrate the technology, and reference clients talk about their success with the product.
After the seminar, Inside Sales follows-up with the participants and develops some promising sales leads that they pass on to John. John visits the first client with a Business Consultant who helps identify areas where the technology will deliver strong benefits.
John contacts the Proposal Center for help drafting a sales proposal that will encompass the relevant points he’s identified while also espousing his company as the best partner for the effort. A few short weeks later, John makes the sale.
In this short, not-so-fictional account of how a salesperson draws on the different disciplines of the extended sales team within the software sales process, you get a feel for the depth of knowledge and assistance available within your own company.
Use these groups to improve your sales success... or risk losing on your own.
Are you getting the right sales enablement help from your organization? What are they doing wrong (or not doing at all)? How should they operate to produce the best outcomes for sales?