Over the past couple of years, I have done a significant amount of Sales Training in Smaller Businesses. This process has been greatly rewarding but I want to write today about a function that is often missing from smaller companies. That function is Product Marketing.
Most smaller organizations are very thoughtful about Audience Development and Lead Generation. These are the parts of Marketing that get people in the front door. The chief Salesman/Saleswoman at that point is the Business Owner themselves. They close deals and the business grows. The problem comes in with scale. They need to hire people to close more Sales than they can do themselves. Business Growth puts more pressure on their time and they need to solve the problem by hiring others to make Sales.
Most businesses struggle with this first step. They look outside for someone with Sales experience. They particularly look for someone from their own industry. The person comes in and often struggles. There are lots of reasons for this revolving around the Sales process, but one of the biggest ones is the lack of Product Marketing.
So, let me define Product Marketing in this context. Each lead that comes to the business is part of a sub-market for that business. Very few businesses (and fewer small ones) have a homogeneous set of prospects and customers. That means that the Products and Services of the business fill a slightly different niche for all of those sub-groups. And it is here that Product Marketing comes in. It is the ability to translate the broader message of the company into more targeted messages based on these sub-categories. The whole point of Sales is to take this broad message and translate it to the specific customer. The idea here is to package these solutions for Sales.
And that right there is the point. Often times I see companies that expect their Sales team to find their own path instead of helping them along to be productive. That means that the person will be hit or miss instead of a win for the business owner. Think about this, you spent the time and money to search for this new Sales person. You want them to succeed to make your Business grow. And then to let them sink or swim on their own just means that you might have wasted your investment. By providing that skeleton of support, you can turn what a problem into a great hire. It will help you grow and hire even more Sales people.
Much of this is true for all employees, but depending upon a Sales person that is hit or miss is a great way to stifle your business growth. So, take some time think about Product Marketing and make this work!
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