Do you provide sales software for sales directors, VPs of sales, and CROs? Learn how to sell sales software (SaaS) to sales directors and their teams.
Table of Contents
- Agenda from Webinar: How to Market and Sell to Sales Directors
- The State of Sales Directors, Chief Revenue Officers, and Sales Teams
- Preparing Your Team for Today's Modern, Digitally-Driven Buyers
- Engaging Buyer Persona: Sales Director Steven
- Recommended Resources
A little while back, SP Home Run hosted a webinar on How to Market and Sell to Sales Directors. (Preview Webinar for Buyer Persona: Sales Director Steven)
For Founders, Marketers, and Sales Professionals at Sales Software (SaaS) Startups, Scaleups, and Small Businesses -- including ISVs (independent software vendors) in CRM (customer relationship management) Software, Sales Automation, and Sales Technology
You’ll learn how to
- Integrate your sales process into the daily routines of sales directors
- Quantify the total addressable market for different roles within sales teams
- Size up how your sales software fits in with sales leaders’ biggest challenges, salary and hiring data, sales coaching, and how CROs (chief revenue officers) differ from sales directors and VPs of sales
- Adapt your sales process to support sales directors’ buying process
- Jumpstart your go-to-market to achieve more sustainable product-market fit and go-to-market fit
Please share this resource page with others on your go-to-market team -- especially within marketing, sales, customer success, and product.
Alignment and getting everyone on the same page is incredibly important.
And if this guide is one little piece of plugging that all together and getting everyone speaking in the same way and moving together in the same way, it'll be incredibly impactful.
Agenda from Webinar: How to Market and Sell to Sales Directors
We will start by discussing the state of sales directors, chief revenue officers (CROs), and sales teams.
Then we'll move on to some tips on preparing your team for today's modern, digitally-driven buyer's journey.
We'll discuss how you can engage with Buyer Persona: Sales Director Steven, what Sales Director Steven means to you, and your go-to-market strategy and plans.
You'll be introduced to some recommended resources.
And then we'll wind down with a few minutes for some question and answer.
The State of Sales Directors, Chief Revenue Officers, and Sales Teams
Inside the World of Sales Directors and Chief Revenue Officers
The webinar begins with an insightful journey into the realm of sales directors, CROs, and sales teams. This section explores their roles, challenges, and fascinating statistics about the sales profession.
Introducing the Chief Revenue Officer
Let's begin by understanding the crucial role of CROs. These high-ranking executives are responsible for generating revenue across the entire company.
Their main challenge:
Aligning the marketing, sales, customer success, and product teams.
Imagine a pilot on a disruptive flight or an orchestra conductor dealing with musicians playing different tunes.
Being a CRO is a demanding job that requires coordination and adaptability.
Introducing the Sales Director
Now, let's zoom in and focus on sales directors.
They invest a significant amount of time in planning. They set sales targets, establish quotas for different levels of sales representatives, and oversee different organizational tiers.
Sales directors also handle forecasting, lead generation, sales plan execution, and recruitment.
Finding the right talent is crucial. So sales directors dedicate much of their time to it.
Google Trends and LinkedIn Sales Navigator: Sales Director vs. Sales Leader vs. Chief Revenue Officer
It's interesting to note that the term "sales director" is searched for more frequently than "sales leader" or "Chief Revenue Officer," according to data from Google Trends.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator gives us insights into the number of sales directors, VPs of sales, and CROs worldwide.
Roughly three million people work at the director level in sales globally.
The numbers for VPs of sales and CROs are around 700,000 and 14,000, respectively, with varying percentages between the US and EMEA regions.
Salaries of Sales Directors vs. VPs of Sales vs. CROs
Compensation is a significant aspect of the sales profession.
Designing an effective compensation plan can either be a powerful motivator or a cause for concern.
Many people are curious about sales salaries, especially with the growing salary disclosure trends.
For instance, Indeed, a job board, reports that sales directors in the US have a base salary ranging from $96,000 to $178,000, based on responses from approximately 7,400 individuals.
Vice presidents of sales have a base salary of about $163,000, reaching up to $265,000.
Despite having more responsibilities, chief revenue officers surprisingly show a lower base salary than sales directors and a base somewhere between the two. It's important to consider that as responsibilities increase, so does the pressure and stress.
Forrester and Gartner: Sales Director Pressures and Goals
According to Forrester Research, sales leaders face numerous pressures, with a singular focus on delivering scalable and repeatable sales growth.
On the other hand, Gartner suggests that sales managers are often tasked with achieving seemingly impossible goals.
The terminology used to describe sales roles can vary between companies. In larger enterprises, there are finer gradations between team leads, sales leads, sales managers, and sales directors.
In smaller businesses or startups, there might be fewer levels of leadership, but the responsibilities often overlap.
Imagine being a sales manager or director with six to eight direct reports.
You'd spend a significant portion of your day in meetings and dedicate another third to reading and responding to emails.
Additionally, almost 10% of your time would be spent coaching and providing feedback to your team.
Learning and development (L&D) is another critical aspect.
Formal onboarding and learning programs exist in larger organizations, but these structures might be less developed or non-existent in startups or smaller companies.
Learning and development professionals emphasize that sales leaders should allocate a significant portion of their time to developing their team, ideally four times as much as coaching and feedback.
Salesforce: The Role of CROs
Salesforce believes that CROs have climbed the ladder as successful individual contributors, only to face a new challenge: overseeing every revenue-generating function of the business to drive predictable growth.
Being a CRO includes marketing, sales development, account executives, onboarding, customer success, and product-related functions.
The Bottom Line on the State of Sales Directors, Chief Revenue Officers, and Sales Teams
The world of sales directors and CROs is dynamic and challenging. Their roles involve aligning teams, setting targets, and driving revenue growth.
With varying compensation structures and an ever-evolving landscape, these sales directors, VPs of sales, and CROs play a crucial role in the success of their organizations.
And if you market and sell sales software, you will most certainly need to invest in educating and building trust.
Preparing Your Team for Today's Modern, Digitally-Driven Buyers
This next section is about preparing your team for the evolving buyer landscape.
You’ll learn the importance of readying your team to adapt to the changing behaviors of today's buyers.
The way customers research and make purchasing decisions has significantly transformed.
It's now common for around 80% to 90% of the decision-making process, including research, option comparisons, and price evaluations, to occur before potential buyers even engage with a vendor.
Gartner: The Modern Buyer's Journey
Gartner's research specifically pinpoints this number at approximately 83%.
It's like being in the final quarter of a football or basketball game before a salesperson can communicate with a potential customer. It's not an ideal scenario, to say the least!
These massive changes in buyer preferences necessitate significant adjustments for sales professionals who have built their careers in the last decade or two.
And these changes in buyer behavior are here to stay.
McKinsey: Digital Journey Consensus Among Decision Makers
McKinsey has found that 70% to 80% of decision-makers now prefer to make their choices digitally.
So, where does the battle for engagement take place amidst these shifts?
Thought leadership remains crucial in customer engagement, but breaking through the noise and standing out from the clutter is more challenging than ever, as LinkedIn and PR giant Edelman reported.
Your Action Items for Better Prospect and Customer Engagement
What can you do in light of these developments?
(1) Firstly, it's essential to recognize that most companies, especially early-stage ones, must prepare to face this generational shift in purchasing behavior.
Most of your best prospects -- including sales directors, VPs of sales, and CROs -- now prefer to conduct their research through various digital channels rather than engaging directly with your sales team, as they may have previously.
They ask questions to virtual assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, attend webinars for information, seek recommendations on social media, visit review websites, listen to podcasts, conduct searches on their smartphones, and consume various streaming media.
This significant behavioral change has proven challenging and frustrating for many traditional sales teams stuck in outdated practices, such as cold messaging on LinkedIn and desperately seeking 15 minutes to pitch their product or service.
There's a better way to approach these changes.
(2) Simultaneously, these shifts in buyer preferences also present a significant opportunity for sales teams that position themselves as experts, teachers, trusted advisors, and thought leaders.
However, change is not easy, especially when dealing with people. That's what we're focusing on today.
By implementing the right go-to-market (GTM) strategy, your team can ensure they are discovered by the right people (Sales Director Stevens), in the right places, at the right time, and, most importantly, in the proper context.
This way, the Sales Director Stevens will not merely see your team as sales software vendors but as trusted consultants.
This approach can form a valuable relationship akin to that of a doctor and patient.
You will give prospects true value and expert insights that will make them say, "Wow, I had no idea!"
You're already disadvantaged if you merely provide the same information during Zoom calls or in-person meetings that prospects or customers can find on your website.
The Bottom Line on Preparing Your Team for Modern, Digital-Centric Buyers
Finding unique insights and perspectives is vital.
And jumpstarting your go-to-market efforts is especially critical for early-stage companies still finding their footing, striving for sustainable product-market fit, and working towards go-to-market fit to grow revenue.
Engaging Buyer Persona: Sales Director Steven
Now that we've explored the landscape, let's discuss what actions you can take to engage Sales Director Steven better.
In this scenario, Sales Director Steven works for a company that organizes large events at sports arenas, stadiums, and similar entertainment venues.
Developing an effective go-to-market (GTM) strategy to target this specific buyer persona can be time-consuming and costly.
However, getting the GTM strategy right -- and unleashing the power of a GTM strategy -- is crucial for founders, startups, and go-to-market teams that market and sell sales software to sales directors.
In building Sales Director Steven, the goal is to provide you with a more affordable way for early-stage companies to access the same level of guidance that would traditionally require spending at least $60,000 per year on a marketing agency or $120,000 per year on a Vice President of Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer.
This way, you're equipped with the information to make informed decisions.
Drawing from over 20 years of experience in SMB tech, enterprise tech for infrastructure, FinTech, and SaaS-based early-stage companies, these tools ensure everyone is on the same page.
It's important to clarify what a buyer persona is. It is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal client or stakeholder your company sells to and wants to attract.
Be sure to conduct actual research when developing buyer personas.
While assumptions and anecdotal evidence may provide some insights, basing buyer personas on solid research is essential.
Your approach to conducting buyer research may vary depending on the stage of your company.
For example, a $20 billion company will employ more rigorous customer insight research techniques than a two-person startup.
The Bottom Line on Engaging Sales Director Steven
There are various approaches, but getting the research right is the key to achieving relevance, creating remarkable content, scaling growth, and establishing yourself as a trusted advisor.
Polling Question: The Current State of Your Buyer Personas for Marketing and Selling Sales Software
And now, before we move on to the Q&A session, we have one more polling question for you.
We're curious about the current state of your buyer personas.
- Have they been created within the last 12 months?
- Have they been updated during the previous 13 to 24 months?
- Have they been created but have yet to be updated recently?
- Or were they last updated more than two years ago?
Please take a moment to vote, and I'll share the results shortly. Alright, let me end the poll. The results are quite varied.
Some of you have never created or documented a buyer persona, while others have recently refreshed an up-to-date one, which is fantastic.
Buyer personas should be living and breathing documents, particularly for early-stage companies, as you continuously learn and iterate on who your ideal client profile and buyer personas should be.
Achieving product-market fit is an important goal for early-stage companies in their go-to-market strategy.
Understanding your buyers' purchasing behaviors, price points, and other essential details is crucial before scaling your growth.
However, some of you mentioned that your buyer personas have not been refreshed in more than two years, which is not ideal.
Let's close the poll and move on.
How to Identify the Decision Maker [Webinar Excerpt]
Learn how to figure out who on the team has purchase authority -- and how to identify the decision maker.
The Future of Sales as Consultants and Trusted Advisors [Webinar Excerpt]
Learn how to avoid falling into the trap of "happy ears" and being told only what you want to hear by sales directors.
To support sales software teams and others in their go-to-market efforts, Sales Director Steven offers three integrated building blocks:
- the blueprint itself
- the Getting Started Training
- an Ask Me Anything live workshop recording with an accompanying transcript
Sales Director Steven is a US-based sales leader working for a company with 327 employees. He faces seven different goals and challenges, has 11 alternative job titles, and is a member of 14 LinkedIn Groups.
Joining LinkedIn Groups has become more challenging, as group owners are now selective to avoid excessive self-promotion.
Sales Director Steven also possesses 29 knowledge identifiers and attends and reads 19 conferences and trade publications.
The Getting Started Training, consisting of approximately 30 minutes of lessons spread across nine modules, provides essential insights into buyer personas, decision-maker job titles, identifiers, goals, and challenges.
The training aims to help participants extract maximum value from the persona.
The objective is to help you and your team create an environment where Sales Director Steven views your company differently from competitors in the sales software market.
Differentiation is crucial for gaining a competitive edge.
And if you want even more in-depth training beyond Buyer Persona: Sales Director Steven, also enroll in the self-paced course: Go-to-Market Strategy Reboot Camp.
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Training Tools and Resources (Courses)