The separation between sales and marketing is always a hot topic of discussion. Everyone agrees that getting the two teams to work together will solve pretty much every revenue problem. Well, let me take a bold stance on this discussion, they should 100% be more aligned! I mean two is always better than one right?!?
There is also a big debate as to whom the inside sales teams should report to. Some people feel that inside sales must report to marketing, while others think they should report to sales. This shouldn’t even be a debate in my opinion. Inside sales should report to whomever cares the most about working with them and making them successful.
When it comes to inside sales, or really sales in general, the core responsibilities and how the individual is rewarded, matters a lot more than who they report to. Historically in enterprise B2B inside sales, the inside salesperson has a pretty basic setup regarding core responsibilities and compensation. The main responsibility is setting qualifies meetings for their outside salesperson, and if they set so many meetings per week/month, they usually get some type of bonus or incentive.
So, if you’re an inside salesperson, what should you be spending most of your time doing? The obvious answer here is setting cold meetings. How do you go about this? You find new prospects through email, call, video emails, mail letters, etc. with 100% of your focus on setting meetings.
But, there’s a problem with this approach…….who is focused on event promotion???
Focusing solely on setting meetings doesn’t account for the other extremely important activities and events that could help build the overall pipeline for the organization. Don’t get me wrong, cold meetings are great and beneficial, but they almost never convert as well as inbound meetings, or nurturing people who have shown interest in your company.
This is why marketing needs dedicated inside sales reps for event promotion!
In the normal inside sales infrastructure when there are only outbound and inbound inside sales reps, everything “marketing related” tends to be viewed as a secondary job for the inside sales team. If you’re an inside sales rep and you are hitting your meeting goals but not going above and beyond pushing marketing’s latest campaign, it will almost always go unnoticed.
For example, what happens when your company has a big user conference or major webinar? Who is driving traffic to that webinar or people to that user conference? Your inside reps will always prioritize their time based on what they are compensated or rewarded for. So, if you aren’t compensating your inside sales team for driving traffic to your events, then that will become a secondary focus for them.
Your company spends hours of time and money planning and running these conferences and webinars, all with the intent of gaining new business and awareness. Yet despite all of this work, the importance of actually driving traffic to these events seems to be often overlooked. People don’t go to conferences they don’t know about. Event promotion should be a huge priority!
This has been a common pain point for our clients at OutboundView. As a result, we have been regularly adding a third type of inside sales role, one that is purely focused on pushing marketing campaigns.
What exactly do these inside sales reps do?
These dedicated reps really focus in on a couple of key areas; events, webinars, and thought leadership, and own the outreach on events both pre-event and post-event. It’s their responsibility to set meetings, share great content, and drive traffic and attendance to your most important events. They push your latest research reports, white papers, and unique perspectives. When it comes to promoting thought leadership, they can do this across any key prospects or accounts. These reps are purely providing value, there typically is no ask other than check out this research I think would interest you.
This approach really works well with organizations implementing ABM as well. If you had an inside sales rep who’s only responsibility was pushing thought leadership to your most important accounts, do you think that would help drive revenue at the end of the day? Of course it would!
Keep in mind that dedicating an inside salesperson to marketing is a very long-term approach. You are making a bet that your organization is going to be putting out good enough content to over time make up for the $50k+ you’ll be paying this individual. It is imperative though that you have someone focused on promoting these efforts and events. Using inside salespeople to purely set meetings is of course necessary, but given existing compensation models, it rewards very short-term behavior, and often adds no value.
What should you do if your inside sales team is focused 100% on setting cold meetings?
In the short-term, come up with a compensation model to reward the behavior you’re looking for. Give a bonus or reward for pushing marketing specific campaigns. Long-term you should research and test if dedicating an inside salesperson solely to marketing would be beneficial. For most B2B enterprise growth companies, it almost always will. Make sure to develop a compensation model for that individual that rewards traffic, attendance, and increasing pipeline velocity. How you reward your inside sales team will inevitably dictate what they do.