The Three Fundamental Limitations of CMS, DAM, PIM for Sales Teams

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

Many Marketing teams have taken the giant leap and implemented a Content Management System (CMS), Digital Asset Management (DAM), or Product Information Management (PIM) to solve the issue of organizing content.

With these powerful software platforms, all your videos, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, spec sheets, CAD drawings, etc… are all arranged, organized, tagged, and findable.

Ah, you can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, despite the proliferation of CMS, DAM, and PIM most Marketers still get 6-10 emails per day asking for sales  collateral from reps in the field. Read More

Marketers need to spend more time on presentations to close bigger deals

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

Marketers need to spend more time on presentations to close bigger deals


Do you ever wish you had more time to put deep work in on a custom presentation for the huge deal your reps are working?

If so, you’re not alone.

In fact the majority of Marketers we consult with regularly, tell us they need to be spending more time helping reps close the mega-deals that really drive revenue. The types of deals where the whole company celebrates and asks for a copy of the presentation materials.

Yet, time and time again we Marketers “can’t” set aside the time to really put the deep thought and effort into making these presentations super special and customized to the client.

As result, your company may win the deal, but credit will never be given to Marketing for their part in making it happen.

If this is you, then here’s what you’ll get from this article.

  • What exactly Marketing people are so busy doing they can’t help on the big deal
  • What savvy Marketers that value their time are doing to make sure they have a hand in the big deals
  • What you can start doing tomorrow with the tools you already have to get more time back into your day

If you are comfortable in your job playing gopher for sales people and submitting a monthly leads report, then this article is not worth your effort.

However, if you want the respect of Sales and more Marketing budget next year, then getting more time to help out sales on the big deals is critical to your success.  

What the heck are we Marketers so busy with?

As you are probably aware, a core marketing responsibility is supporting sales.

For many Marketers this means, answering 20-30 emails per week requesting sales collateral over and over again. Sometimes the same reps’ emails for the same collateral over and over again.

I call it playing Marketing whack a mole.

Recently, we were in a booth a major trade show with a client where the Marketing person was getting so many emails and texts on her phone from reps, she couldn’t get up from her stool and meet with prospects in the booth.  I thought she was gonna pull her hair out she was so frazzled.

How much time wasted?

So let’s imagine you get 20 emails per week asking for collateral.

These emails, by and large are asking for something that has already been provided to your sales team on your website, in a sales portal, or by, gulp…USB drive.

It doesn’t take that long to respond, right?  

Say 5 -6 minutes per email or phone call.

That’s just 100 minutes. So let’s call it 2 hrs per week (~120 minutes).

50 work weeks x 2 hrs means we Marketers are answering redundant emails from savvy sales reps accounting for about 100 hrs per year.

That poor woman in the trade show booth?  I bet she spends 100 hrs a month responding.

So why were you unable to spend an extra 10 hours on a life altering big deal presentation again?  

What savvy Marketers are doing to make sure they have a hand in the big deals?

Quick question.

What do you like doing better?  

Using your creative skills and messaging mastery to create a custom presentation or answering emails from reps.

Simple right.

The real question is what should you be doing to make sure you are getting to work on the big deals and add your unique knowledge to them?

First, make sales aware you have a unique, valuable perspective.

Marcus Sheridan brilliantly says 

If you want to get something approved in business, you call it “sales.”

If you want to get something rejected, you call it “marketing.”

We Marketers need to own this fact!

However, as Marketers, we typically have easier access to and a greater knowledge of what needs to be included in a big sales presentation and more important, how the pieces fit together to form a coherent message for the prospect.

Additionally, we are well-versed in Account-based marketing and know instinctively how to add proper messaging on an account by account level.

Second, be close to the landscape of deals in the funnel.

If you aren’t lucky enough to sit in on sales meetings, then you’re gonna have to dig in to CRM and stay up-to-date on the progress of big deals.  

What’s the account value?  When is the big presentation day? Who is the decision maker?  

All these things take TIME.  Time you might currently be spending playing whack-a-mole with your inbox.

Lastly, contribute before you are asked with account specific ideas.

Now you get to use your Marketing skills to get a seat at the table and be apart of the presentation team.  

Notice, I recommended contribute before you are asked.  

Send along your insights to the reps involved. Accidentally, bump into the VP Sales at the coffee machine.  Ask about the deal your team passed over the wall.

Of course every situation is unique.  

Maybe your company as built a huge wall between Sales and Marketing.

Maybe Marketing doesn’t get a license.  

I get it.

But if you want a seat at the table, you will find a way to get on board and contribute.

Finally, now that you are on the team and involved, you have to make the custom presentation the best it can be. And you can’t do that if you wasting time answering emails from reps on your iPhone every 15 minutes.

What you can start doing tomorrow with the tools you already have to get more time back into your day?

It’s pretty obvious you can’t give time you don’t have.  So if you’re a Marketer that is already spending huge amounts of time responding to reps emails and want to stop, here’s some suggestions to get on the right path.

First, understand why reps email you instead of logging into your web portal, website, or last awesome new product email to find materials.

When sales reps are “on the road”, juggling a number of different prospects, they know their time is not well spent looking for collateral. Every second they can steal back into their day potentially means more money in their pockets, for their families, etc.

Sure you can say “lazy reps”, but that doesn’t change your reality that reps are directly responsible for sales.  No sales = no jobs for anyone.

Second, understand the deeper reasons why you have become a pro-active helper for reps on the road.

A Marketer who consistently answers the call and provides the same collateral their sales reps will receive the praise from their sales team.  You become known for your keenness to respond and the cycle repeats.

But is this where you should be spending your valuable time?

Furthermore, Marketers who complain, balk, and or challenge sales reps who persist in asking for the same material over and over again, create animosity between the sales and marketing teams and that leads to trouble in many organizations.

Third, become a guardian of your time.

Your company probably already has a sales portal or library that houses the most up to date sales materials reps would need.  

Make sure it gets updated often!

If it isn’t, you can bet the first thing reps will do is stop using it and never log in again.

Once you solved your “updating problem”, then you need to get firm about telling reps where to look in the sales portal EVERY TIME they ask you.

Be patient at first.

“Yes, Bill here’s a link to the brochure in sales portal.  If you have trouble logging in, give me a quick call.”

“Sure Mary, here’s the pricing for that product in the new brochure on our website.  Here’s how I got to it. Can you pass this along to your peers so they can find it easily as well?”

Save those emails to a folder, so you can forward them to the next person that asks immediately. Soon enough, you’ll be saving yourself hours per week and getting more time to work on the important stuff like custom presentations for mega-deals.


While a marketer naturally wants to help their colleagues in sales, helping them in the right way is far more beneficial to both their company and their career than simply enabling a rep to lazily ask (or, smartly use you!) and receive the same information they already have access to while they are in between meetings on the road.


Merging Two Sales Teams – 3 Things to Watch Closely

By | Mobile Productivity Tools
One of the fastest (and most complicated) methods to increase shareholder value is through a merger or acquisition. The dream of merging two sales teams and two product portfolios is just too big to pass up sometimes.

Surprisingly, a recent KPMG report indicated 83% of the time an M&A event has proved unsuccessful in producing any business benefit specifically with regard to shareholder value. Further, as many as 53% of companies that go through a merger or acquisition event actually destroyed shareholder value.

In other words, the fastest and most common way to expand a company’s footprint, results in no discernible growth for the investors 4 out of 5 times. Read More

Three Ways Sales Reps Can Be More Productive and Increase Efficiency

By | B2B Sales, Sales Productivity
It’s very true – many of the best companies are struggling with the amount of time their sales reps spend in front of prospects.

Great field sales reps are horrible admins. Don’t believe me?

Ask any marketing director in charge of providing marketing support to a sales team. Ask a VP of sales that’s charged with herding the cattle. At any tier, the response is the same.

I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of field sales reps over the years and the absolute best sales reps are coin operated.  If a task gets in the way of selling, they don’t do it.  Why should they?!

Read More

Your Prospects Don’t Care About Your End of Whatever

By | Selling Tips
I cannot state this loudly or emphatically enough; your sales prospects don’t care about your end of the month, end of the quarter, end of the year.

You might be able to load up incentives and bake in the fat like a country grandmother sending her grandkids back to the city, but if your prospect isn’t in the buying phase of their cycle, it just won’t (colorful metaphor) matter. Read More

Effective Conference & Leads

By | B2B Sales

I’ve gone to a lot of conferences in my day. Most of the time I’m appalled by the booth management and the flurry to scan my badge without ever having any real intention of engaging with me. I’ve become surly in my old age telling the bright-eyed marketer that comes gleefully to scan my badge that, “I’m a terrible lead” or worse, “I’m going to blacklist you if you send me an email.”

Nothing dissuades them, nothing.

Then I saw the entire process turned on its head and ran ruthlessly effectively. This lead capture system was the most organized, successful, and effective conference campaign, which despite the cost, they more than covered expenses even before the packed up and left.

I was in awe. Such awe that I’m pitching my boss to do this lead capture system next year and ordering a chartered jet home to haul all the cash we will make.

It was that woefully efficient.

Here’s the story, as best I can remember it.

I’m wandering the conference floor, and I get accosted by a rep, “Hey have you sat in on our demo?”

That is so wrong on so many levels, yet it was perfect.

The rep didn’t care who I was, what I wanted out the conference, nothing about me (and I’m narcissistic, I’m all about me). All he cared for was if I sat through his demo.

“No”, I responded and made note of the company, Curata, and went on my way.

A while later I bumped into the rep, possibly on a coffee break, and again he asked, “Hey have you sat in on our demo?”.

Ok, I’ve seen this play before, this is the Green Eggs and Ham play. You know, you wear the person down until they comply, then the prospect might, just might have a change of heart and see things your way. Ug, am I going to have to deal with this guy all week?

After a few more interactions, I got dribs and drabs of more information about the product, always followed with the monotonic request to sit in their demo. No, I could not have a private demo, no I could not get a trial, I had to sit in on their demo. If I wanted more than the 60,000 ft view of the product, I’d need to sit in the demo.

To sweeten the deal, for attending the demo I’d get a Bluetooth speaker. Not the best conference swag, however, I could do far worse.

Like the character in Green Eggs and Ham, I finally relented.

The Conference Czar of Curata had a small room on the conference floor. Inside the meeting room, there were 20 chairs packed close together with just enough room for a monitor and presenter. Ward Perry stuffed 20 of us in that room then, in walked Randy Bernard, Director of Sales. He quickly introduced himself, asked a couple of questions and pitched for 15mins straight.

Captive audience.
That was amazing.

At the end, each of us got our Bluetooth speaker and sent on our way.

Not all of us, there were a few that had other questions and showed genuine interest.

What the Curata team did was cast a ridiculously wide net that guaranteed themselves at least a few qualified leads every time that net went out.

I’m pretty good at making connections at conferences. When I have a booth, I pull in a bunch of qualified leads. Nothing compared to the Curata method.

By my estimations, they ran two demos per hour, 20 people per demo, at least 5 hours a day, for three days. They managed to ram their message down the throats of at least 600 people. One person. Granted it took a team to stuff the room for every session, but they had their best pitchman pitch to 600 people over a three day period.


What’s more at the end of the conference I spoke with Ward, and he already had in his hand four inked contracts from leads that were nowhere in his funnel. He wouldn’t tell me how many pre-qualified leads closed, but they pulled four brand new leads out of thin air.

Ok, those numbers aren’t great, 4 out of 600, by any rubric, those are TERRIBLE NUMBERS. However put them in context, put them in the funnel. 4 of 600 entered the top of the funnel and closed with three days.

Three days to close.

How many deals have you had that closed within three days? Now imagine what the rest of the funnel looks like? I’d guess it is bursting at the seams.

Sure some folks will fall out of the funnel.
Sure some folks will get educated and move to a competitor.

Now just think about how much you spend for a conference and how many leads, qualified leads you leave with, that know your message.

Dollars to donuts when a Curata sales rep follows up with those leads, they will remember the Curata experience, and if they engage with the sales rep, the rep should get ready to bang that gong.

Call a Timeout

By | Sales Productivity

Guest Post by Mark Shalinsky – Business Development Manager at The New Office.  Mark is a veteran sales guy that loves the hunt and metrics.  He taught me some great techniques over the years including “whale hunting” at conferences, one of my go to strategies. In this article, Mark shares how to to become a communication catalyst, pulling in a collaborator to make everyone a winner.

I ran into a rough situation the other day.

My boss and I are in the boardroom. Across from us are sitting the client champion (I’ll call her “Darcy”), one of her colleagues, and two outside consultants. We had several short conversations with Darcy prior to finagling a sit. Usually, I go on these alone, or with a pre-sales engineer, not typically with my boss, the CEO of the company. I like to hold him in reserve so we can play good cop / bad cop during negotiations. For whatever reason, my boss decided he wanted to be in the thick of the action.

I’ve worked for a bunch of tech companies and up until now all the founders were tech people. Mostly extroverted, so they’d stare at my shoes not their own. My current boss is the consummate, old school sales guy. He loves filleting the pain, negotiating, and closing. He’s the encyclopedia of sales plays and effective meeting strategies, so I know I’ll always learn something when he comes along.

So we get started. I boot up our demo and immediately our champion, Darcy pulls out her Gatling gun and starts peppering me with questions. Right out of the gate she’s on fire. We’d barely finished the pleasantries, and she started to unload. And unload hard she did. You know those deep cutting questions that go to the core of your product and your value proposition.

While I was able to easily and deftly field these questions, it put me on the defensive track. Defensive is terrible. Defense deflects the ball. Defense does not control the conversation. The worst part, I could not get on the offense. Remember what I said about my boss being the quintessential sales guy? Well, he was able to grab the ball and called a timeout.

Wait. Can you call a timeout on a sit? Why did nobody ever tell me? How come I never knew? Regardless, my boss slammed his hand on the big red button and said, “Darcy, we’ve had a couple of conversations, why are you the only one talking?” Then he laid on the big William Shatner pregnant pause. Darcy mentioned something squirrely tried to go on offense again, but my boss wouldn’t let her. “Darcy, we’ve got two of your colleagues, I have an idea what they do from our intro, and are you are paying a handsome sum to these two implementation consultants to sit here and listen to Mark’s answers?”

Then he dropped the mic, put the ball right back in the middle of the table and went back to the edge. It was at that moment that something amazing happened. With little prompting, those two statements got five people starting to talk. Those two groups had not outlined the problems that they wanted to solve individually, as a group, nor had they had the opportunity to hash out their issues.

It became abundantly clear that the entire reason we were called in was to act as a conversation catalyst. Darcy needed to have the conversation with her colleagues and the consultants that my boss had created, however she did not know how to get that conversation started. Then when she found herself in a room with three different groups that, in her mind, all had set objectives, she believed she needed to dominate the conversation to get her way. Wrong.

Had the sit gone the way Darcy initiated the result would have been an impasse at best, a failed implementation that would have made my product look bad, the consultants overcharging their client, and Darcy pulling defeat from the jaws of victory that may cost her her job.

The better way, start from zero. If we are all not on the same page from the outset, start again. Yes, we did go around the table make introductions with roles and responsibilities. However, I failed because I let Darcy grab the ball and run with it. She ran to her end-zone. The problem, her end-zone was not my end-zone, her colleague’s end-zone or the consultants end-zone.

Step 1 is to identify the players.

Step 2 have each player define what success looks like.

Step 3 paint the complete picture where everyone comes out a winner.

If you can’t provide the complete solution, be honest and offer what you can. Gain credibility with effective meeting strategies like offering to pull in a collaborator that can help you make everyone at the table a winner.



Following an academic career, Mark moved into business development and has been the critical early sales hire at start-ups that have grown to become global brands in scientific publishing and IT security. Currently, Mark leverages academic skills and sales experiences in the tech sector identifying market sweet spots and cultivating sales reps into power-players, closing bigger deals faster.

Read more of Mark’s articles here and follow him on Twitter.

Quotas are for losers. Presumptive Closing and Squishy Pricing. [Mark Shalinsky]

By | Mobile Productivity Tools

Note from Rusty – Introducing Mark Shalinsky – Rant from a proven closer. I asked Mark one question about how he consistently crushed quota and got this super useful answer.  It was kinda like drinking from the fire hose. Sometimes you just gotta shut up and listen, dawg. Edited for clarity.

Enter Mark Shalinsky…

Last week at Marketo Summit in Vegas, I bumped into an old colleague who runs his own sales team now. Nice!

Over drinks I got to talking to one of my buddy’s more junior sales reps, and she asked me point blank,” What is the single most important lesson you can teach me about sales.”

I said, “Listen.” 

Then an awkward silence rained down. Reps hate that, but they know it’s true.

She comes back, “Look, I know listening is great and, I do that, but what is next? Whenever I ask veterans like you what the second most important lesson in sales I get all sorts of answers”.

In my scientific mind there are two starting characteristics of people who make a career in sales; the qualitative salesperson and the quantitative salesperson.

The qualitative salesperson is the one who walks into the room and instantly begin connecting with clients. They commands the room, break the ice, are affable beyond belief, and people just love them.

People LOVE them, really really LOVE them.

By stark contrast, there is the quantitative salesperson.

By the books, by the numbers, by sales quotas, an unsympathetic process is driven. All the boxes are checked at one stage before they move to the next.

All sales are based on relationships, so the quantitative salesperson builds relationships on credibility and accountability. It takes time, but once that train is moving, nobody is getting off.

One of my Judo Sensei’s told me I have no natural affinity with people. Between that and being a trained scientist (PhD in neurophysiology), you can guess what persona I started out in sales with.

Yep, quantitative.

We all start with the persona in our nature and, if you make it early in sales, it helps you succeed.

Later, you learn how to become the other persona. So my hypothesis is, the truly successful sales person is an even balance between quantitative and qualitative.

Mark’s Sales System

So here’s my “closing a sale process” that’s been refined over the past 11 or so years.

Listen  > Question > Listen  > Repeat > Price > Paint  > Confirm > Close

The listening is the easy part, and you’ve heard it a million times. Listen to the pain, the problems, and the goals.

Only through attentive listening can you understand how you will define a solution.

Questioning is the only way you get you can get the prospect to tell you all the pains and problems they have. Even when the prospect seems adamant in their desires, you need to ask them a question.

When a prospect asks, “Does this shirt come in pink?” You need to understand why they are asking the question.

Never assume they question something out of motive, sometimes they don’t even know why they asked the question. Your role as a salesperson is to determine WHY they are asking specific questions.

The proper answer to the question, “Does this shirt come in pink?”, is, “would you like this shirt in pink?”

When they answer your question to their question, then you can go back to listening.

Listen  > Question > Listen  > Repeat > Price > Paint  > Confirm > Close

When working on closing a sale, repeating is critical. Prospects inherently don’t trust sales people because sales people are incentivized by sales quotas and commission. Commission only comes from converting prospects to customers. So, they have biases and preconceived ideas about what sales is trying “pull over” on them.

A prospect will never trust you if the prospect doesn’t believe you understand their problem.

The only way you can start building that trust is by connecting with clients and repeating the pain. It isn’t that hard. My go-to line is, “Ok, so you said that the problem is A, B, C and you were thinking about solving it X,Y, Z ways. Is that a correct statement?”

If the answer does not come back as an emphatic YES, go back to listening and questioning.

Again, process driven sales means never moving forward unless 100% of the boxes have been checked in the previous step.

So when the answer finally comes back as a resounding, “Hallelujah, he gets it!” we move to the next step.

Thoughts on Pricing

Pricing is usually the sticky point for sales reps.

Everyone believes that the main reason people don’t buy is due to price. That is not true. Price is only one reason you will lose a deal. The other two? Time and information. More on that topic at another time.

I bring up the price here for several reasons. First and foremost, if they are price conscious and have limited means and budget, I want them (colorful metaphor) off my pipeline. I don’t have time to deal with miserly buyers that will never see the value of my offering.

The second very important reason is that I plant the pricing seed at the point where I’ve started to build the most trust. I have gone through the exercise of fully understanding their pains and problems and got them to agree that I understand what they are going through. They are starting to see me as being part of the solution team, their team.

I don’t give them a hard figure, it is squishy, and I let them know as much, granted I’ll likely bake in some fat if I think they want to haggle.

I leave the price with the caveat, another go to statement, “I’ve demonstrated that I understand your issues, correct?” Pause for a positive response, continue, “my promise to you is that if you agree that my solution will help you, I will work with my team to ensure that we can get this deal to work so from here on out, this is not a waste of time for either of us.”


I’ve anchored my price.

I’ve solidified my stance that I’m on their side yet again.

I’ve rounded second and the ball still high in the air and moving fast towards the wall.

Now I’m ready to go into sales mode.

What the heck is painting?

Paint the picture. You know don’t paint seagulls in their picture.

You need to be able to define how your solutions will work, why it will work, and what it will take to work. Break it down into easy to understand pieces. Once you’ve had a chance to paint the picture, the prospect needs to acknowledge that your solution will indeed help them.

Confirming that your solution will work for them is the only way you can get the prospect’s acknowledgment.

Again this is another point where once I’ve completed painting the picture I have my go-to line,” Providing that I can do everything that I say I can do would you be happy with this solution?”

And again, if the answer does not come back as an emphatic YES, inquire where there are gaps in the image, repaint, and go for confirmation again.

Remember, there is no point in moving on until he answer comes back as a resounding, “that is exactly what I’m looking for.”

At this point, there is one thing left to do.

Closing is complicated, closing is hard. Closing requires paperwork.
The power of selling by a process is that by the time you get to closing the deal, you have built credibility, trust, and importantly, assuaged liability concerns.

Taken together, the presumptive close is very much a reality.

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