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How CRMs Empower Sales Organizations with Ali Schwanke

How CRMs Empower Sales Organizations with Ali Schwanke
Brent Tripp
How CRMs Empower Sales Organizations with Ali Schwanke

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It’s well known that marketers and salespeople often have a hard time understanding each other’s world. In this episode, we discuss the ways in which CRMs have the ability to bring both teams together so that everyone is operating on the same page.  

Joining host Dani Buckley is Ali Schwanke 

Ali is the founder and CEO of Simple Strat, a Diamond HubSpot Solutions Partner that helps companies accelerate their growth through technology and content marketing. She's also the host of the popular YouTube series HubSpot Hacks, a channel focused on helping companies get the most out of HubSpot, growing to over 14,000 subscribers and one million video views in two short years.

How HubSpot Equips Sales Organizations with What They Need 

First, Ali points out that HubSpot’s inbound marketing focus leant itself to having several advantages in the sales world.  

“I think because HubSpot started as an inbound company, they recognized that people were looking for things that they wanted to know before they were part of the sales conversation,” she says. “The whole entire platform has been built around that idea.” 

“So what's, what's happening now, I think is, there becomes more visibility for us to see how those conversations are happening before the salesperson is engaged.”  

What is HubSpot and What Does It Do?

However, Ali makes sure to mention that, like all technology, the tools that HubSpot provides only work as well as the information you give them.  

And, accordingly, your salespeople need to know the right questions to ask at the right times, not the questions they were used to asking in a typical sales meeting. 

Ali says, “Now, I will say the reason why most folks don't see the benefit out of HubSpot when they first begin, if they're newer to the platform or they don't have a strong sales enablement strategy, is they only know the questions that are being asked in the sales meeting.” 

“If 70 to 80% of the conversation in a sales interview has actually happened already, we need to find out more about what questions they're asking and what, let's say, little pieces of distrust are being solidified out in the marketplace before they get engaged.” 

“So, things like HubSpot sequences are wonderful. HubSpot sequences completely suck if you have no valuable content to put in front of your prospects.” 

The Types of Content and Resources that Really Work 

“It comes to kind of the classic question of demand generation versus lead [generation],” Ali says. 

“...you have to figure out if there is demand for [your] product already or are [you] trying to educate the public, or [your] target audience, that [they] have a problem and [they’re] better off at solving it this way.” 

Here are some types of effective content that Ali has been seeing: 

  • Problem Solving Content: “It's always very helpful...even helping people get upsells and more out of the products like, ‘you didn't know you could do it with this.’” 

  • Thought Leadership Content: “CEOs and executives everywhere, especially if you're selling to that executive B2B audience, they want insights that help them think differently. They want insights that help them move faster, avoid challenges and roadblocks.” 

  • Case Study/User Generated Content: “They want to hear from people that are not you, that are having a good product or service experience.” 

  • Product Level Content: “The last piece is going to be helping them avoid challenges in this sale...this might be like, you know, specific objections, videos, that type of thing.” 

“Those kinds of buckets are what we see working pretty well.” 

Bridging the Content Strategy Gap Between Marketing and Sales 

“One of the most important things that I think marketers can do is sit in on sales meetings because most sales folks are really good at listening to the prospect,” Ali says. 

“...[salespeople] are not watching the prospect for their non-verbals. They're not listening for cues. Every time I'm in a sales meeting, my brain's like content idea, content idea, content idea. And I think if, if we get on board with those two items working together, you'll have a much better content strategy.” 

And when it comes to who exactly should be creating content for sales?  

Ali offers the following, “If it happens to be a marketing department, there needs to be a content-educated sales executive that's signing off on that content.”  

What About Sales Orgs that Have the Resources but NOT the Technology? 

“I use a lot of analogies to help people understand this,” she says.  

“...imagine that you had a hundred people outside of your house, and they were all ready to come in, but they were waiting for the right key. And they're just like walking around your house looking for the right key, but you had all your blind shut, so you had no idea that there were a hundred people outside of your house looking for a key to get into your front door to come to this party.” 

“And [those are] the blind spots that exist when you're not leveraging technology.” 

“You may actually have a specific number of folks that are in your funnel that are just kind of waiting to take the next step, and you're not able to even see that.” 

“So...when we sell, because I'm an agency owner as well as a provider, I just open up my HubSpot portal and show them this is all the information that I have been able to gather from your experience with us. Imagine if you had this in your sales team's hands, how much of a difference that would make.” 

“And...seeing me show them what their record looks like, they just go, ‘Oh my God. Yeah, that's amazing.’” 

Final Thoughts 

It’s clear that sales organizations need to develop a lot of content and resources when utilizing a CRM to its full capabilities.  

The idea of starting such a content strategy might very well seem daunting. For those who have such apprehensions, this is what Ali had to say: 

“The biggest hurdle that folks usually have is, what do I say? How do I get started?” 

“So, if that does happen to be an issue in your organization...those that are already finding success in their personal brand as part of their sales leadership should be helping equip their team. So, if you need LinkedIn training, do it. If you need training on how to do email sequences, do it.” 

“Like, don't assume that your team knows how to do those things. Make sure that you understand the skill levels of your folks and equip them with whatever they need to make that possible.” 

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Brent Tripp
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