Sales people are crucial for Go-to-Market success. You can put hours upon hours into nailing your product’s positioning and messaging, but the reality is all that hard work can be undone in a matter of minutes if it’s not understood and acted on by your sales teams.

But not to worry, GTM Academy's top tips for how align your product marketing and sales teams are here to help!

Read on to find out how to:

And more!

1. Use real-life anecdotes

You telling salespeople your new product or feature is great and that your audience will love it is one thing, your target market telling them is another.

At the end of the day, at the most basic level, sales reps’ only aim is to sell. The more convinced they are that what you’re telling them will help them do that, the more likely they are to sit up and listen - and what illustrates that better than active testimonials?

So, if you have a beta version that’s been rolled out to X number of customers, pick their brains, compile their feedback, and let them do some of the pitchings for you.

If you don’t have any pilot results, the next best alternative is your data. Presumably, you ran some research before going ahead with the new product or feature you’re about to launch (if you didn’t, eek!), so use those numbers to back yourself up.

For example, going in with this:

“Our research showed 65% of lost customers didn’t convert because we didn’t have this feature, so the fact we now have it will improve your odds of closing deals.”

Is way stronger than:

“We’ve decided to add this feature to product X and it does this, this, and this…”

Go in with a role reversal approach. This time, you’re the sellers and they’re the market. Sell your product or feature to them.

2. Make it interactive

Instead of speaking to your sales team for 15, 20, or 30 minutes, mix it up by incorporating a bit of role-playing. As well as being more engaging, it’ll help them contextualize what you’re telling them and offer up some practical pitching tips, too.

Tip #1: Make sure the people involved with the role-play are up for it and enthusiastic. Two people begrudgingly and half-heartedly acting in front of a room of sales reps won’t harbor the results you’re after.

Tip #2: Consider using your reps as the stars of the show. We’ll touch on this in more detail a little later on but often, salespeople are more likely to listen to other salespeople, so capitalizing on this might make everyone more receptive to your efforts.

3. Use gamification

A lot of sales departments gamify their targets and day-to-day. The first person to reach X sales might get an early Friday finish. Every Thursday they might run a raffle. They might have an ongoing, quarterly leaderboard, and so on.

If it works, it works, so get on their wavelength and consider adding an element of gamification to your launch. For example:

  • The first rep to make $XXXX in sales gets a $100 voucher, the second $75, and the third $50, or
  • The rep at the top of the deals closed leaderboard at the end of month one gets half a day in lieu.

Use your imagination, factor in what works best for your set-up, and of course, remember to run your idea by the departmental heads first.

4. Split it up

From features to pricing to sales enablement collateral to messaging to demos get the gist, there are lots you need to communicate with sales teams before launch. So, instead of overwhelming them with info in one not-so-swift swoop, think about breaking it up into weekly sessions on specific subjects.

For example:

  • Week 1: product features, benefits, and pricing
  • Week 2: messaging, positioning, and marketing
  • Week 3: sales enablement collateral, etc.

There are studies out there that show our attention spans are as short as 14 minutes and after that window’s passed, people start to drift out of focus. With that in mind, maybe try to keep each of your meetings within or around a quarter of an hour.

5. Star your salespeople

Rightly or wrongly, salespeople can be more inclined to pay attention to their own and whether we agree with it or not, it makes sense to take whichever approach is going to be most effective.

In practice, you could look to do this in a couple of ways:

Option 1

Sticking with the role-play idea, instead of using people from your product marketing team, recruit people from sales - just make sure you clue them up on the product or feature in advance.

Option 2

Get your reps to deliver all or part of your meetings. If you do go with this tactic though, just make sure you properly train them beforehand and you or someone else from your team is present to make sure they stick to the script and have support if any questions arise they’re unable to answer.

One last thing worth bearing in mind for this one is which salespeople you choose. To be truly effective the person/people you pick should be top performers and well-respected among the team.

Learn more about cross-functional working and enabling your teams here:

The why, when and how of cross-functional strategy.
Cross-functional teams can revolutionize the way your company goes to market, but it’s one thing to have multiple teams working on a project and an entirely different thing to have strategized organizational alignment.

6. Lead by example

Okay, so this one might sound basic, but it’s important. If you want your sales teams to be excited you need to emit that kind of vibe - and that means presenting with gusto and showing you’re genuinely pumped.

Being a great presenter is a skill and we don’t think it’s right to say “if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, pass it onto someone else in the team who’s good at it.” It’s cliche, we know, but practice does make perfect, so use your launch meetings as an opportunity to grow and the more you do the better you’ll be.

Here are a few quick-fire tips to help you nail the essentials:

  • Do a practice run before you stand in front of sales
  • Come prepared with a few prompts as a safety blanket
  • Sit or stand upright, use gestures, and be mindful of your facial expressions
  • Speak confidently and loudly (without bellowing!)
  • Make eye contact with those in the room
  • Ask questions to get people involved

7. Ask for feedback

This’ll help salespeople feel invested in the process and like they have a say.

Tip: not everyone likes sharing their thoughts in front of a room full of people so make sure you provide a more anonymous forum for them too.

Remember though, just because you ask for feedback doesn’t mean you have to act on it but if you don’t, be sure to thank the person anyway and explain why their comments aren’t being taken any further right now.

The result?

Now you've got your salespeople onside, there's one less obstacle between you and Go-to-Market success.

Aligned product marketing and sales teams = better customer win rates, more upselling and, ultimately, more revenue. What's not to love?

Worried you're not getting the most out of your Go-to-Market teams? Upskill and align your people with Go-to-Market Academy courses.