It’s a well-worn sales trope, but one that isn’t done nearly as much as it’s repeated: sales development and marketing are truly intertwined business processes and should work closely together.
Marketing wants to create content that sales can use. And sales wants content. With the two functions working in lockstep, that content will prove effective and help secure meetings, pipeline and, eventually, revenue.
All too often, unfortunately, sales and marketing operate in silos – divorced from one another. But not at Catavolt. The company’s sales development and marketing teams work in unison, and are led by sales manager, and account based sales leader, Kim Brown.
“In the last few months, my team has had such an impact, that we’re now overseeing marketing / go to marketing strategy,” says Brown, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
“We’re overseeing content, blogs, whitepapers etc. That mesh of sales development and marketing is critical.” When practicing account based sales, as Catavolt shrewdly does, that sales and marketing alignment is even more critical – you have to know your verticals, know your prospects, and be able to supply them with resources that speak to them, after all.
In fact, when Catavolt designed it’s 2017 Company Target Alignment, they made unison between marketing and sales a core principle.
2017 Catavolt Company Target Alignment
- Specialize where we win (command a vertical or verticals)
- Align every part of sales and marketing (content to support top segments and use cases, SDRs align top segments and focused ICP, AEs and SEs demo top uses)
- Ideal customer = Average Customer
- Ideal Client = Who We Sell To
Things haven’t been always been so focused at Catavolt, tough. Around the time Brown started with the company, SDRs were prospecting to any manufacturing companies they thought could potentially benefit from Catavolt.
There was no real research, no data-driven decision involved. The company always knew manufacturing was a vertical that worked for them, but they just went prospect to prospect looking for a fit (even if the targets aren’t in manufacturing).
Not a predictable method for revenue generation. To fix the problem, Catavolt began developing an account based sales process: reps were directed to deal with only manufacturing companies, and a couple of carefully selected subsets within the manufacturing vertical.
Reps were also restricted from prospecting to companies with more than $500 million in revenue. But although those thresholds provided structure and focus, they, ultimately, weren’t enough – Catavolt soon refined the process even further. They added defined sub verticals in manufacturing and soon found a big spike in pipeline. Unfortunately, Catavolt explicitly sells to enterprise clients. As such, they are forced to navigate 12 – 24 month-long sales cycle.
The spike in pipeline, although generally positive, was not producing any quick wins. So, they started asking questions, and examined, in-depth, the last three years of pipeline data.
- What titles (of prospects) created pipeline?
- What sub verticals were closing?
- Where are our quickest wins coming from?
And what did they find? Only 5 subcategories of manufacturing (transportation, machinery, fabricated metals, electrical manufacturers and concrete / aggregate) led to 80% of pipeline creation.
The company was spending resources in many areas, but only a few providing ROI. Less than half of their effort was making up 80% of their success. So, says Brown, why not put 100% effort into what bring us success? Good question.
Needless to say, the company quickly reframed its entire account based model around the areas that brought them success. They were going to specialize where they win.
The Battle Cards
To ensure they were capitalizing on their strongest areas, Catavolt designed in-depth battle cards to help their reps share relevant use cases, customer stories and successes, pain points and key prospect titles of the specific vertical they’re working.
The battle cards also reference relevant marketing materials and which AE works the vertical. Catavolt’s battle cards are, to be sure, packed with content. In fact, they give an SDR every critical piece of information they need to share with a prospect in order to qualify them, get them over to an AE and down the sales cycle.
It’s extra helpful in Catavolt’s case because their reps are responsible for a lot of activity. “We try to be the most persistent cold callers and cold emailers,” says Brown. “We are going to make 25 call attempts in 40 days, per lead. In that period, there are 8 emails sent.”
What the battle cards don’t do, though, is actually communicate with a prospect. That’s still the responsibility of the SDR. “We’re not just appointment setters. We’re salespeople.
Our battle cards have made conversations easier, so we qualify more and sell more. We get more quality meetings,” says Brown. “Our SDRs get to sell, they get to win people over. Our company makes it easy for you to sell. But, if you are not good at selling, we’ll know right away.”
If a Catavolt SDR does win a prospect over, the final step is booking the meeting for an AE. But, just like prospecting, and the company’s stance on account based sales, there is very specific information that must be gathered and shared.
For example, to book a meeting with an AE, a Catavolt SDR must ensure that:
- The prospect has to be from an ideal customer account or inbound
- Title matches the ICP for a particular segment (their title is on the battle card)
- Catavolt customers have been referenced
- Pain points / “whys” have been communicated and and resonated with prospect (they have shown relevance to prospect)
- Potential use case identified (use case discussed and prospect wants to hear more)
All of this information is then shared with an AE in a tight, focused email containing:
- Prospect profile (title, years in role, location, previous title / company, degrees / certifications, interesting facts)
- Pain point discussed / discovered
- Use case discussed
- Any specific use case needs
- Company profile (segment of manufacturing, annual revenue, HQ location, number of employees / locations, products / markets specialized in)
- Conversation recap leading to intro
When Catavolt says they’re going to specialize where they win, they mean it.
For more on Kim Brown’s account-based sales methods / thoughts, check out her recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.