Product Marketing

How Product Marketers Keep Sales Teams Engaged in CI Programs

5 min

Whether it’s at Sales Kick-Off or another meeting throughout the year, you get a very short time to present your product marketing initiatives to Sales.  How do you keep sales teams engaged? I have presented at many, many different kickoffs for Sales and have experienced even more. So I’ve picked up a few tips along the way from other Product Marketers to help get your salespeople excited about using your competitive intelligence (CI) materials. 

Top Interactive Elements to Include in a Presentation

Objective #1 – Make it Engaging

A Prezi survey reveals that 50% of people admit to doing something else other than watching a co-worker’s presentation.  So you want to make sure your presentation is engaging. The best way to do that is to bring in an interactive element. 

Most people ask a question and do a show of hands. It’s a good start, but why not take it up a notch? These three challenges work well to get your audience pumped and engaged. 

Tip: Treasure Hunt Challenge

You give everyone in the room access to a PowerPoint deck, or a new technology tool.  Then you ask them to find a piece of information. The first person who does will get a $5 gift card. You would be surprised what people would do for free coffee! 

We’ve seen this challenge used by our customers when the goal was to get their sales team to use Klue on their mobile devices. One product marketer did this when they were introducing the Klue app. They wanted to get their sales team using it right away. He gave them a challenge that the first five people who downloaded the app won. Engagement with the app after SKO soared with not just those five winners but all the others who also participated. 

Tip: Discovery Question Challenge

This challenge is more geared toward CI materials. However, it’s actually good for any initiative as long as you have a piece of content and you want to generate information from the audience.

Which questions do your salespeople use that help them identify the pains of the ideal customer? Everybody has their list of discovery questions and their list of go-to’s. For Klue customers, if the purpose is to show your sales team how to add intel into battlecards, you can ask the audience to go into the Klue battlecards to make their comments.

It’s a great way for you to not only get participation but also gather intel and take the pulse from your whole sales team. 

Hot tip: Storytelling Face-offs

This is a favorite but you need to plant some people in the audience just to make sure it works. I ask the audience if they have a good Klue story. You get salespeople who have won a deal using your compete materials. Or at least have used your materials to convince a client over an objection. Then two people with stories come up on stage to tell their stories face-off style.

This is great because the audience sees how your materials get used in action and the benefit for them. That’s a major win! 

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Why You Need to Put on a Sales Lens to get Salespeople Excited

According to this Microsoft survey, the average attention span of people today is eight seconds. You’ve got a finite time to keep people’s attention during a presentation. Make the most of it. You have to get them to care. 

Objective #2 – Getting Salespeople to Care

When you think about product people and salespeople there’s often a divide. However, if you take a step back, both have the same goal — to drive revenue for the company. It’s often just about mending that relationship and getting on the same page. How? Talk to them and find out what their pains are and treat them like a customer. The result is they will in return likely treat you like a customer too or at least someone who is a stakeholder involved in helping them win more deals. 

Tip: Out-of-the-Box Use Cases

Bring stories in that mater to the audience. Here’s an example from a Klue customer: A field agent was sitting face-to-face with a prospect, floundering trying to counter an objection. During the meeting, the prospect had to leave for a couple of minutes. The salesperson then pulled out their phone, quickly went into the Klue app and found the objection in the battlecard. When the prospect returned the salesperson was able to refute the claim and ultimately win the deal. 

Tip: Use Impactful Numbers

People learn in different ways. Not everyone is going to get drawn into the use cases; some people are only impacted with data. For example, some of our customers flash a number on the screen showing the difference in win rates of those salespeople who use Klue versus those who don’t. That percentage is hugely impactful for salespeople. They will want to start using these materials because they see in numbers how it will help them win more deals. This drives ongoing engagement. 

Tip: Use Sales Leadership

Get sales leadership on board as a champion for your program. The salespeople may not listen to you, but if their VP of Sales or CRO says to do something, they will.

How to Show Your Vision for the Year

This last tip is super important for product marketers. And it’s also the one that is most often forgotten.

Objective #3 – Set up for success for the year

Bring your people along with you on the journey with the adoption of CI materials. If they haven’t been bought in they will fade off very quickly.

Hot tip: Tie-in to key SKO message

If you are doing a major product rebrand, how does this apply to them? And how does this tie into the larger SKO message? Ensure they know what you are going to be doing throughout the year to help them achieve success with your initiative. 

Hot tip: Roadmap for execution 

We see this all the time. A presenter goes up on the stage to tell people about their programs, they get them engaged but then do nothing after. Have a follow-up plan! Let the audience know when can they will see follow up materials and what the expectations of them are.

Remember, you don’t have to show the audience everything at SKO. An example using sales battlecards is to just show them the three most important ones at the presentation and then release the rest slowly like a drip campaign afterward. That way they don’t get overwhelmed which helps with information adoption and retention. It also gives them a chance to provide feedback so that you can tweak as you go to better serve their selling needs.

Hot tip: New/Reinforce existing Tools 

Show your team one thing that they need to do. Recognize that they will remember very little from the presentation and just tell them the most important thing to do after the presentation. Keep it simple and end with a bang.  

Make Your Parting Words Impactful

Using these tips when you are planning your presentation — for Sales Kick-Off or any other presentation — will help you keep your sales team engaged. And make your programs a success for the rest of the year (and beyond).

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