OK, that title was not fair to the sales team, but it makes a good point about how to do training. Often AR teams try to teach sales so much about analysts that they overwhelm them and miss the real point.
The sales team needs basic information about who the analysts really are, which ones you believe influence your revenues, and how to deal with both positive and negative commentary. They should also understand how to feed information back to the AR team. They don’t need extensive information, but material that is brief, understandable, and relevant. Establishing a communications channel with sales is more important than the details.
AR teams should establish a formal training program for sales and find ways to weave it into various sales events. For example, you might work a short session into the annual sales meeting or plan to rotate through district manager staff meetings. In all cases maintain focus and keep it simple.
A sample agenda for the introductory training session (no more than one hour) might include:
Who are the IT industry analysts and how they work
How analysts impact the sales cycle
- Synopsis of the analysts’ view of the company
- How to respond to objections caused by the analysts
- How to exploit positive analyst opinions
- Sources for material and assistance (perhaps you have a portal or blog)
- How to report information about analysts back to the AR team
After providing basic training for the sales team, then AR can then institute a series of very short 10-20 minute mini-sessions that can be done during regular sales training or sales weekly staff calls. An example topic that works in a mini-session is how to use a relevant Gartner Magic Quadrant as a sales tool. Beyond these mini-sessions, AR should also be aware when Sales conducts “new hire” training and work to get added to those agendas.
- Develop a sales training program with materials
- Establish a feedback process from sales to the AR Team
- Create a repository for analyst information that is tuned for sales
- Schedule short training sessions as part of sales events
- Keep it simple and relevant to the needs of sales
Bottom Line: Analysts impact your revenues and a well trained sales staff can take advantage of their influence. Knowing how to leverage positive commentary and mitigate negative reports is a key element in their sales toolbox. Creating a feedback channel can provide metrics for AT Teams
Question: AR Teams: Do you have a formal sales training? When and how do you conduct it?
Don’t have a sales training program? SageCircle can help you build one – Our strategists can:
- Conduct a AR-Sales Partnership Program Mini-Workshop to help you build a program
- Discuss best practices for creating sales-related materials
- Provide a complete and customized sales training program complete with introductory “boot camp” session and follow on mini-sessions
Visit http://www.sagecircle.com/ and click on Mini-Workshops to learn more about SageCircle’s services. Or, call 650-274-8309 to speak with a representative about how SageCircle can help you take your AR program to the next level.