January 3, 2019
January 3, 2019
By Drew Cohen
I’m sure we’ve all received a customer survey—whether it be from a store after we’ve made a purchase or from a doctor’s office after a recent visit. These are common, and businesses find a ton of value in the resulting data. However, if we look at the success of this type of initiative and try to translate it into a sales and marketing function, there’s an interesting opportunity that organizations of all sizes are beginning to capitalize on: sales team surveys.
Maybe your sales team has hit a wall or maybe they’re entering a new market. A survey can uncover gaps in strategy and identify potential areas of need before problems arise. When we look at using sales surveys through an inbound marketing lens, there’s a massive opportunity to identify weaknesses in content, answer more customer questions before they’re even asked, and find cohesive strategies for sales and marketing teams to collaborate more effectively.
Sales enablement is defined by HubSpot as the technology, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. A sales survey can prove to be beneficial for all three of these facets, especially the content piece. Salespeople are interacting with customers on a regular basis and are an incredible source of knowledge when it comes to customer needs, desires, and pain points. It just so happens that these needs, desires, and pain points are the perfect foundation for building quality content that aligns with the appropriate stage of the Buyer’s Journey. Using an internal survey, you can uncover true gems in the responses that can alert marketing teams of specific content needs. As an example, if salespeople are saying that prospects are consistently asking how their company compares to another in the industry, a vendor comparison matrix or similar piece of decision stage content seems like the perfect solution. If a common sales survey response is that customers are asking for reviews or about other companies your organization has worked with, this screams a need for case studies. These types of gaps in content are perfect opportunities for sales and marketing to collaborate.
Now that you have an idea of how to interpret responses and translate them into actionable next steps for content, let’s take a look at some highly effective sales survey questions. If you use these in your next survey, I recommend that you tailor them to your specific organization, industry, and team:
What is the most common question that customers ask during negotiations?
Is there a particular product or service that is misunderstood or needs frequent explanation? If so, which one?
Who is the toughest competitor that you come up against in sales? What are they doing well?
On a scale of 1-10, how advanced in the subject matter would you say most prospects you speak to are?
What type of content would help you close another sale in the next month? Why would this help?
As a first step, it’s always a great idea to complete a content audit. In this spreadsheet, lay out what the content is, what stage of the Buyer’s Journey it serves, and how the content is beneficial. As new content is created, be sure to add it to this master list so you always have an up-to-date picture of what content is available to the organization. This document is also the starting point for an ongoing sales-focused relationship between sales and marketing departments. When gaps in content are identified, your organization should have a mechanism in place for sales teams to let this feedback be heard. I recommend repeating sales surveys on a quarterly or biannual basis because organizations inevitably change and evolve over time. Marketing will also utilize this content in a variety of campaigns, and along with the data they collect, sales should also communicate what type of content is helping close deals and what content is performing below expectations. With these two unique channels of measurement, it will become abundantly clear what type of content should be further developed.
Bonus tip: Leveraging a tool like HubSpot CRM can allow sales teams to track engagement with attachments and documents that are sent to prospects and customers.
About the author
Drew Cohen was formerly the Senior Director of Revenue Operations at SmartBug. Drew developed strategies for organizations in both B2C and B2B verticals. He has unique experience in private-equity owned organizations, early-stage technology startups, sports & entertainment and healthcare. When not marketing, you can find Drew yelling at his television during any Philadelphia team's sporting event. Read more articles by Drew Cohen.