This is Part 2 of sales and marketing alignment blog series based on conversations with Insightly VP of Sales Mark Ripley and CMO Tony Kavanagh.
- Sales & marketing alignment: People, processes, systems (Part 1)
- Sales & marketing alignment: 3 best uses of data (Part 3)
- Sales & marketing alignment: Leadership (Part 4)
- Sales & marketing alignment: Cross-functional teams (Part 5)
Building on my recent conversation with Insightly’s CMO, Tony Kavanagh, in this piece we’ll discuss a real-world example of sales and marketing alignment: the sales blitz. We’ll also explore how to convert alignment into pipeline that moves the needle.
What is a sales blitz?
“Sales blitz” can have different meanings depending on the company, industry, and product or service. That being said, proactive outreach is usually at the core of most sales blitzes.
For the purposes of this article, we’ll define sales blitz as a marketing-led, designed, and supported outbound sales campaign. It targets predefined buyer segments in a single or multiple territories, within a specified timeframe, with a single, consistent message. The goal of most sales blitzes is to generate pipeline.
“Sales blitzes get everyone talking about a particular topic or feature,” says Tony Kavanagh, CMO at Insightly. “Properly implemented, sales blitzes create tremendous internal energy, resulting in high-impact outbound that yields substantial pipeline in a short period of time.”
If you’re a marketer, you might be wondering how a sales blitz relates to your role. After all, your job is to build pipeline by driving web traffic, converting visitors to form submissions, and nurturing web leads via drip campaigns. As Tony points out, however, truly effective blitzes require tight coordination between marketing and sales.
“To maximize the effectiveness of a sales blitz, marketing teams must get out in front of sales, inject content into the process, and augment outbound activity,” says Tony.
In other words, the best sales blitzes don’t just happen on their own. They’re the byproduct of sales and marketing working together to achieve a common goal.
Prepping for a successful blitz
So, how can you design and implement a blitz program that successfully aligns sales and marketing? Like most things in business, you need a rock-solid game plan.
Leadership from sales and marketing must connect early on and develop a mutually agreed-to blitz calendar. The blitz calendar provides a central source of truth from which both teams can mobilize resources and hold each other accountable.
“The blitz calendar fosters alignment between sales and marketing by establishing a shared set of goals and objectives,” says Tony.
At a minimum the calendar should specify the date, topic, and team-specific responsibilities for each blitz. Of course, creating a blitz calendar may unearth additional considerations that must be ironed out, such as:
- How many blitzes should be on the calendar at any given time?
- What is a reasonable blitz cadence (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly)?
- Where should ideas be organized for future discussion?
- Should blitzes align with upcoming product or service releases?
- Who is responsible for maintaining the calendar?
- How often should the leadership team meet to discuss changes to the calendar?
Finding answers to every question may not be feasible or necessary on day one. What’s more important is that both teams walk away with a clear understanding of the agreed-to expectations, timelines, and next steps.
With the blitz calendar in hand, it’s time for both teams to get busy doing prep work.
“Everyone goes to work understanding that there are T-minus X days until the big day,” says Tony. “Marketing, in particular, plays a critical role leading up to the blitz.”
Let’s take a look at some of the pre-blitz priorities:
Refine the targeted audience
Randomly selecting and dialing contacts in your CRM isn’t a winning blitz-day strategy. Customers and prospects don’t want to be contacted simply to be contacted. Rather, your B2B customers want real solutions that help them increase revenue, reduce costs, and gain a competitive advantage.
When refining the targeted audience and segmentation criteria, it’s vital to think like the potential customer. Do you feel confident that your offers, features, and benefits delight your target customers? If not, keep refining your list.
Develop the messaging & collateral
Once the audience has been established, marketing should craft messaging that’s backed by data. “Tightly segmented CRM data is a foundational element for understanding the customer and building compelling messaging,” says Tony.
Dynamic messaging is crystallized in the form of branded collateral, such as:
- Direct mail components (letters, flyers, brochures, slicks, etc.)
- Digital product information sheets
- Sales pitch decks
- Customer stories
- Pre-blitz nurture email campaigns
- Sales email templates
- Post-blitz drip email campaigns
- Digital ads (banners, text ads, retargeted ads, etc.)
- Battlecards and competitor matrices
- Pre-planned social media posts
Some assets can be used in advance to “warm up” the list and create pre-blitz buzz. Other assets — such as sales pitch decks and battlecards — are more useful for day-of activities. Either way, all assets should complement one another and avoid sending mixed signals.
“Clear messaging and clean collateral go hand in hand to form a positive brand image, which leads to better sales blitzes,” says Tony.
Get the sales team up to speed
With the blitz day rapidly approaching, it’s time for sales and marketing to reconnect. At a minimum, marketing should be prepared to:
- Deliver collateral, segmentation data, and messaging best practices
- Provide updates on pre-blitz promotional campaign results
- Share lessons learned from pre-blitz activities
- Answer any questions from the sales team
The sales team should use this forum to make any final requests from marketing, such as additional collateral or more data about the intended audience.
Running the blitz
All the preparation and planning culminate in the big day. The sales team has everything it needs to engage the target audience. Marketing team has become subject matter experts and is standing by to assist wherever needed.
And, as the first dial is made, the real fun begins.
“Sales starts banging the phones, doing outbound, and getting customers talking,” says Tony. “Marketing gets pulled into conversations as subject matter experts. Blitz day has a really cool central command experience that is unparalleled.”
Although the blitz itself may only last a few hours, the potential upside can be huge. “I’ve participated in blitzes that deliver millions of dollars in pre-pipe opportunities,” says Tony.
Having a well-structured CRM is pivotal to fully capitalize on the flurry of opportunities. After all, you want your sales reps focused on customer engagement — not doing manual data entry or scratching down handwritten notes. An inbox-integrated CRM, such as Insightly, can accelerate sales blitz engagement, squeezing even more pipeline out of an already productive day.
Recapping the blitz
Finally, it’s always wise to host a retrospective session and discuss what worked or didn’t work. Don’t just rely on anecdotal evidence to measure success of a sales blitz. If used properly, your CRM should be a treasure trove of information that delivers data-driven answers to these questions:
- How much pipeline did the sales blitz generate?
- How effective was the sales team at getting leads on the phone?
- What was our lead-to-opportunity conversion rate for this blitz?
- What percentage of sales emails were clicked?
- Was marketing effective at “warming up” the list?
- How do these metrics compare to other blitzes?
“Each blitz should be catalogued, compared to similar blitzes, and used as a powerful data source for subsequent blitz planning,” Tony.
Align for successful sales blitzes
By aligning the right mix of people, tactics, and technology, your team is well on its way to running successful sales blitzes that produce pipeline, foster internal collaboration, and elevate overall performance.
Looking for more best practices about alignment? Stay tuned for my next article that identifies common ground between sales and marketing and draws from my conversation with Insightly’s VP of Sales, Mark Ripley.
Interested in learning about Insightly CRM and how you can use it to align your teams?