Many (many) years ago, I walked into my first Marketing 101 class. I distinctly remember my professor saying that the entire goal of the course was to ensure we could always remember and recite the “4 P’s of Marketing.” I guess it worked because to this day, I still think about Product, Place, Price, and Promotion when I’m building out a marketing campaign.
In my current role as a Product Marketer at Salesforce, I often think about the” 4 P’s of Marketing” and how these elements impact my marketing strategy and end customer. But I also have another customer I’m constantly thinking about: my sales team.
As I started working with sales from a product enablement perspective, I realized there was a big gap between our marketing message and how our sales reps were actually conveying the value of our product to their prospects. This problem wasn’t unique to us — according to Forrester, 77% of executive buyers claim that sales reps they meet with don’t understand their needs. At the same time, 90% of B2B sales reps say they don’t use the enablement content provided to them because it’s either outdated, hard to find, or hard to customize.
I quickly realized there was another set of “P’s” that needed to be considered in order for my sales team be successful: Positioning, Pitch, Play and Program. Today we are going to be talking about the first two elements, Positioning and Pitch.
When it comes to positioning the product, there are a few questions a sales team wants answers to:
- What am I selling?
- Why does my customer need this product?
- How will this make me more money?
As marketers, we tend to think about how we are positioning our product externally — the language we use to describe our product to potential buyers. And while these beautifully-crafted sentences sound great on our website, are they conversational? No. A sales rep would sound like a marketing robot if they used our external messaging verbatim. It’s important that we also translate our product messaging into “sales-speak.”
At Salesforce, we like to turn our overall messaging into short, repeatable statements that sales reps can remember and use in customer conversations. We also want to connect the dots for sales and map out exactly how our product solves for customer challenges and creates added value. It’s never left open for interpretation — the goal is to help sales understand exactly how to position our product to solve for pain points and provide value to the customer.
And speaking of connecting the dots, we also want to get sales excited about selling the product! An easy way to do that is to show them how it will make them money. Do the math for them and demonstrate what a commission check could look like if they won a big deal.
Once your sales team is excited about the product, their next question is going to be “How do I sell it?!” That’s where the pitch comes in.
To create a successful sales pitch, start by defining the value of your product or service in a single sentence. This should be clear, concise, and will be the foundation of your pitch. Write out the entire pitch and include introductions, discovery questions, customer challenges, solution value, a mutual plan, and a closing. Loop in all of your stakeholders, including the VP of Sales, the CMO, and a few Account Executives, to improve and revise before finalizing.
Once you have your pitch completed, publish the script and record someone doing the pitch successfully (bonus points if that person is a sales leader — this goes a long way with sales rep buy-in). At Salesforce, we also like to create a certification program to ensure all relevant sellers deliver new product pitches to their manager to attain an official certification. We always include clear expectations around timeline, process, and roles, and use Salesforce dashboards to track towards completion. Sometimes we even throw in a prize for the best pitch!
That covers Positioning and Pitch, the first two pieces of a successful product enablement strategy. Stay tuned to learn how the next two elements, Play and Program, will help your sales reps generate pipeline and close more deals.