Product Marketing Managers: 4 Tips for Presenting at Sales Meetings

As promised, following up on my last post on tips for product manager presentations at Sales meeting, let’s talk about Product Marketing presentations.

From my experience, when Product Marketing talks to sales, it’s usually about one of the following:  introducing new positioning / messaging, introducing a new sales tool, PowerPoint or content (white papers, etc.), or doing some specific domain expertise training (for example banking industry training).  Sometimes this all gets lumped into a term called “sales enablement” (by the way check out this great and funny eBook from Jeff Ernst on this).

Often I have done this on regular calls with the Sales teams, so when we meet face to face in a Sales Meeting, you have to use that time wisely.  Some of my tips have some DON’Ts as well a some DO’s.

  • “Please don’t BORE” me.   Sitting through 2-3 days of Sales meetings is usually worst than going to the dentist to get a root canal, as far as sales reps are concerned.  They’d rather be selling. Can we blame them?  If you are on the agenda to present, make sure the topic is worth everyone’s time instead of just being filler. Put yourself in the rep’s shoes when you are introducing some tool or content and make sure you answer the question “why should I care?”.  And polish up your presentation skills.  Which leads to….
  • Be interactive and engaging.  More and more, Sales knows nobody likes to be sold to.  They like to be engaged.  So in your presentation, you should engage the audience.  For example, remember to pause and ask them questions.  Ask their opinion.  It helps remove the stigma of Marketing coming down for the ivory tower like Moses and the ten commandments.
  • Have someone else do the talking.  Sometimes it’s better to let someone else do the talking for you.  If you’re introducing a new presentation as a tool, recruit one of the better sales engineers or reps to do it (make it worth their while).  If you’re doing training on a specific topic, consider bringing an external source in (industry expert etc.).  Yeah, it will cost you more, but c’mon, you can’t be an expert on everything, right?
  • Sales people like to compete.  If you are asked to set up some exercise like a role play, or if you want to test the sales reps on “20 questions you need to be able to answer”, you will get much better response if you make it a competition of some sort.  Get creative (Jeopardy, Family Feud, What’s My Line, etc.).  The prize should be non-trivial, but doesn’t have to break the bank (e.g. $100 Amazon gift cards).  It’s also a great way to wrap up Sales meetings on a good note….and that note was provide by YOU!

Do these and I guarantee you will continue to raise the bromance level between Sales and Marketing.  Enjoy.

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3 Responses to Product Marketing Managers: 4 Tips for Presenting at Sales Meetings

  1. More than anything else, give sales people something that can use, right now, to do what they want to do more than anything i.e. MAKE MONEY. They will see through pointless games and similar tactics, and will deem any meeting a waste of time if it does not directly impact their pay check. The best, the very best way for marketing teams to engage with sales teams is to show them how they can make more money.

  2. Gary Soltoff says:

    Graham’s four tips are spot on, and we can split them up infinitely… so I will begin.
    Customer case studies and Sales success stories are just two practical ideas to bring to the meeting that won’t bore the Sales staff, but will engage them and offer vital information that they can take away. Noting that Sales personnel are competitive, they do not always like to share their methods. But as Marketing Product Manager you have the advantage of identifying where the action is and the responsibility to promote those positive activities. So, follow up with the customer as part of your company’s total marketing program and dig in to learn what motivated them to buy. A simple situation/action/result (SAR) presentation or interesting narrative will give the Sales staff plenty of ideas to consider when next they are in the field. It will also help make you a customer guru, who doesn’t just sit in an ivory tower.

  3. Sudheer says:

    While they may not like to share their methods, sharing them is a must to raise the calibre of the team. Highlight specific on field instances observed during ur field trips citing the specific achievers and you not only motivate the performers but also egg others on to raise the bar.
    And the crowd will love you for it 🙂

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