If you’re of my generation (millennial), you likely spent the Saturday morning’s of your childhood watching revived 3-minute episodes of Schoolhouse Rock in between your favorite cartoons. Filled with animation, music, and education, Schoolhouse Rock covered topics like grammar, science, economics, civics, and more. The program’s main adage—knowledge is power!
You may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with marketing?” Well, as a field marketer, I work to create strong relationships with members of our enterprise sales team. As a B2B company, we have field representatives—otherwise known as account executives—across the globe, with field marketers aligned to each and every one. So, how do we ensure that all of these reps have everything they need to partner with us for success? You got it—knowledge!
Let’s explore how you can help get your brand-new field reps set up for success:
1. Set the Tone: Meet with Your Rep ASAP
As soon as you find out a new rep has joined your organization, put time on their calendar for an introductory conversation. It’s important to create this connection early on and explain your role at your company, and how you can complement their role.
Take a lesson from Schoolhouse Rock and make the information you present digestible. You don’t need to present to them in sing-song (and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it), but remember that your rep has recently joined your company and is navigating new systems, rules of engagement, and people. You might want to have slides to reference and provide them to the rep after your conversation, but the important thing is make sure you keep the discussion conversational. Don’t simply do an information dump; ask them about their background, their interests, their current system knowledge, their past marketing relationships, etc. The more you know about them, the more you can tailor your discussion and your future communications to their needs. The best field marketers need to be adaptable in order to work with different types of personalities and people.
2. Help Them Get Set Up
Some of these suggestions will seem elementary, but everyone has to start somewhere! Just think about how you may have learned your simple powers of 10 from the Schoolhouse Rock song, “My Hero Zero.” It may seem easy now, but back then it was hard! Every little bit of help you can provide to your sales rep will make your collaboration more successful.
Here are some things you can assist them with early on:
- Work with your IT department to get them added to important distribution lists on your email server. Think about the sales aliases they should belong to, as well as perhaps any fun social ones.
- Request access to different prospecting tools for them. They might need an upgraded license to reap the full benefits of some software, but may not know that their current license is limited.
- Show them how to set up automatic email rules. These are helpful for sorting through out-of-office replies while prospecting.
- Offer yourself as their main marketing contact. Your marketing organization will be hard to navigate for new reps; let the rep know they can come to you for any marketing question and then you can either answer them, find the answer, or connect them with someone who has the answer. This will save them lots of time searching in their HR data for organizational charts.
3. Train Them on the Basics
Your company likely has service-level agreements (SLAs) in place, along with company-specific terminology and detailed processes for your different tools. Explain what you would consider the “basics”—remember those building blocks of knowledge! Recall “Conjunction Junction,” the song on Schoolhouse Rock that may have taught you about this part of speech? Typing that out, all I could hear in my head was, “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?”
Help out your rep by making this knowledge stick! What is a lead? How can sales help marketing opt-in more contacts? What happens when someone asks to be unsubscribed? Can they send emails to prospects through a sales intelligence tool? What does that look like? Screenshots with circles, arrows, and notes can assist you in your training efforts.
4. Direct Them to Helpful Resources
Highlight important places where they can get further training. You can supply the foundational building blocks, but work with your sales enablement team to ensure that reps know where to go to fulfill the rest of their knowledge. It took all of the “Grammar Rock” series to learn about nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech to better understand the whole picture of language.
Direct them to your employee portal for more information. For example, some of the tools we use include:
- Internal wiki for company information
- Jive Software for collaboration
- Microsoft SharePoint for collaboration
- Marketo Sales Insight for lead information and sales and marketing alignment
- Advocate vault for customer reference data
And be sure to give them direct links to things you think are most important for working together. For example, training on how to use your sales intelligence tool (here, we use Marketo Sales Insight). This will ultimately provide transparency across teams and help you partner on programs and initiatives. Remember, this is a two-way street as you become true allies.
5. Brainstorm Ideas
Get those creative juices flowing! Start talking about things that have worked for new reps, as well as what they’ve done in their past roles. The end goal is to inspire possibilities. A word of caution: be sure that your rep understands that not every idea will become a marketing program (just like we learned that not every US bill can become a law, in “I’m Just a Bill”). But that doesn’t mean your rep can’t try—encourage them to keep the ideas coming.
Take the opportunity to engage your brand-new sales representative at your company to help them navigate their new role and set them up for success—because when they succeed, you succeed! Armed with the right knowledge from the start, we can all be superheroes in our companies.
What are some other key things you make sure to share with your sales team in the early relationship stages? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!