April King, senior director global field enablement at OpenText, recently shared with us her thoughts on the importance of sales and marketing for a business. Read on for tips on conducting executive conversations and get a sneak preview of April’s presentation at the Marketing & Sales Alignment Conference, Conversations That Win!
Q. You’ve had a number of roles over the course of your career. How have those roles prepared you for the challenges facing your organization today?
In my various roles, I’m very grateful to say that I’ve had the opportunity to spend time coming to a true understanding of how sales teams function: what they need and don’t need, what is effective and what is not. I’ve come to realize that you only learn that by trial and error. No one and nothing is perfect out of the gate, so for me, it’s the tuning of a program that has become the fine art.
Q. What role does the OpenText sales and marketing organization play in addressing the key challenges you are facing?
The intersection of sales and marketing is where the rubber hits the road in almost any organization. A sage sales professional once said, “If you want the company to succeed, you either have to be selling or supporting someone who does.” Sales works tirelessly to bring in the revenue that makes acquisitions, R&D, etc., possible. And marketing works tirelessly to give context and value to the technology we sell. We’re all in this together.
Q. What has your experience taught you about the importance of meeting with senior-level buyers during sales cycles?
I have seen time and time again that establishing and nurturing trusting relationships with senior-level people – those responsible for making buying decisions – is critical before, during and after buying cycles. The customer experience isn’t something you plug into and out of – touching base with information/articles that relate to the customers’ business, learning about them from LinkedIn and other forms of social media and being in tune with their needs can have a major impact on their buying choices. I recently heard a CEO speak, and he noted clearly that it’s his expectation for sales to come into any meeting with him able to tell him something about his business that he didn’t already know.
Q. What are you doing to equip your sales and marketing professionals with the technology and skills they need to be maximally effective?
We’ve implemented a program that is hyper-focused on how sales must work with customers from the customers’ perspective, and we’re seeing a deeper, clearer understanding about the customers and their business, their market and competitive landscape, their challenges, and most importantly, their strategic short-term and long-term goals. This global sales methodology enables collaboration across business units and provides a common language and framework for how we engage with our customers.
Q. You will be speaking to the topic: “Know Me Before You Meet Me: Enabling the Executive Conversation.” How has your salesforce been able to broaden relationships by tailoring their conversations?
We have a truly unique and broad offering that can help customers across all lines of business achieve their goals. The sales team spends a tremendous amount of time getting in tune with the strategy driving the customer’s organization and only then mapping our capabilities to help move their business forward.
Q. What’s the #1 piece of advice you would give to your peers?
Make sure you deeply and truly understand the objectives of the business and its strategies, not just at the surface-level. Ask questions and challenge the “way we’ve always done it.” And then make sure you and your resources are aligned to meet those objectives.
For more April, join us at our upcoming Marketing & Sales Alignment Conference, where she’ll be delivering a presentation called “Know Me Before You Meet Me: Enabling the Executive Conversation.”