There’s no doubt about it: The workplace looks very different now as compared with just a few of months ago for those that work in sales and marketing. Everyone that can is working remotely — and it looks as if this (or a hybrid-remote environment) will be our new normal. In fact, a Gartner CFO survey recently revealed that 74% of them intend to permanently shift some employees to remote work. Sadly, while that means less person-to-person interaction, there is a bright side to it: Aside from getting to wear slippers all day, working remotely has underscored the importance of marketing as a function to coordinate the GTM response across different field organizations.
This makes three GTM priorities even more critical: ensuring your category, company and solutions are more relevant than ever; prioritizing the dissemination of information on market changes and your company’s response among company executives, customers, front-line personnel and partners; and leveraging expertise across the business to rapidly roll out initiatives to reskill and re-message customer-facing teams.
New principles to guide remote and ready
In light of all this, regular field communication and updates have become even more important for engaging newly remote and virtual field teams. To this end, some of the best marketers in the business have quickly begun operating according to a number of new principles that map back to the basics in sales readiness and enablement. They include:
Pivoting to tools that help streamline communications and content/messaging updates and track sales training effectiveness. Slack, email and Asana are all tools marketers can use to streamline communications. In addition, Sales Readiness technology can integrate corporate collaboration hubs and channels, content repositories, email, and web-conferencing and work-management platforms to enable native content collaboration and authoring, as well as interactive elements like gamification, social learning, surveys and polls. Ideally, marketers’ tools should also lend direct insight into how the messaging updates and tools are translating into improved field capability.
Informing and prioritizing efforts, such as new messaging and demand-gen mechanisms, with continuous, one-to-one feedback loops and micro-updates. Implementing a ‘tiger team’ — led by product marketing and sales enablement — allows marketing to draft campaigns and roll out across pre-sales and sales initially, then to customer service and the entire company.
Setting expectations for scheduled, consistent field updates delivering usable information and tools, while de-emphasizing “video perfect” production values.
Agile re-planning and management focused on smaller, more easily consumable updates produced through cross-team collaboration, while concurrently pushing urgent and transparent communications to the field. Bite-sized updates to messaging are more easily consumable for team members in the field.
Demanding a flexible mentality and personal commitment from every member of the extended marketing team to focus on quickly developing usable content and deliverables. Empowering SDRs, AEs, CSMs and other colleagues to get meetings and drive value-added conversations with customers is the single filter that should be used to define and execute content.
Making constant outreach to customers, partners, analysts, board members and industry colleagues. Keeping in regular contact with colleagues in the industry helps with sharing and validating ideas on how to fine tune and deliver new messaging, virtual field campaigns, and tools.
Gaining support of an executive team. An executive or management team that is open and welcomes being measured on their participation and completion of certifiable materials in these updates helps foster trust among those in the field that their managers are being held to standards too.
Updating and aligning remote teams: Our real-world example
I have adopted and implemented many of these principles with my own team for field updates and communication, and have reaped consistently positive feedback and demonstrable value. For example, by pushing out messaging updates every Sunday evening, we’ve noticed a 50% completion rate within two hours of the first digital notification.
The following are some other ways we are putting these principles into action:
Close collaboration with sales enablement and management is a must. Therefore, we meet regularly with sales enablement and management teams to share and receive feedback on completion and engagement blockers and to understand how assets and tools are being perceived by customers as well as their teams. We are also working with sales enablement to create a curated sub-experience for sales and pre-sales teams, while using the same content for the rest of the company.
We provide consistent content, including links to an information-packed marketing calendar, mini-customer podcasts, videos or information snippets, and competitive updates. Because content and tools are only as good as the engagement they drive, we also use simple quizzes and polls to reinforce key talking points and drive interactivity.
Surveys pushed out to the field teams provide us with valuable insight. In fact, since we started using survey tools, we have seen field input go up to nearly 90%.
We engage our Content as a Service (CAAS) team for design, videos and graphics to create engaging market-facing content.
The remote-work environment presents myriad challenges that businesses are still figuring out how to address for the long term. But keeping remote employees updated and aligned shouldn’t be one of them. By adopting new principles grounded in Sales Readiness and using the right tools to enable them, any business can up-level their customer-facing teams to become remote-and-ready.