Marketing Automation Implementation is a fantastic way to align sales and marketing.  As company that provides marketing automation consulting, we have multiple educational resources to help your team navigate and implement best practices.  Unfortunately, if you are growing fast and adapting to the new rules of sales engagement you don’t always get it right. The purpose of this blog is to provide a discrete example of why it’s critical to make sure that you don’t neglect training your sales team (especially your outbound sales team) on the tools being leveraged in support of their efforts, once they are in place.   Hopefully, this cautionary tale will help you learn some Best Practices and What to Avoid. 


We are using an example of how we blew a deal with lack of diligence.  The names have been deleted to protect the innocent.   After setting the backstory, we will talk about Best Practices,  What is arguably a Worst Practice,  the result (cost us a deal), the Lesson We Learned and what you can do to avoid learning the hard way. 

Best Practice

So lets paint the picture: a potential buyer comes onto your website.  In this case, your offer is an educational White Paper (in our case, Selling Smarter and Selling Faster, which is a solid producer for us because its purely educational).  

The content is offered up talking about the customer using word like “Your Team”  (see our supporting blog post, “Your Customer Is the Center of Your Universe”  for that best practice). 

Your buyer is looking for some education.  Your marketers’ job and your sales reps’ job is to help educate.  So as part of your marketing automation program you send a follow up with:

Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:03 AM
Subject: A Couple Other Recent Best Practices from Gabriel Sales


Hope you find some tips your team can leverage from the “Sell Smarter, Sell Faster” White Paper.

Here is a quick blog post on some Best Practices you can leverage to keep your Email Marketing aligned with your buyers’ goals and your sales team’s efforts Keep it Conversational – Best Practices for B2B E-Mail Marketing that the team put together after receiving  some questions from sales and marketing professionals that liked the White Paper.

Also in case you missed it, here is 4-minute video How to Accelerate Your B2B Demand Generation Engine that describes how your team can start to align your sales and content marketing to lift your results for both.

Look forward to connecting to see how else we can help.  If you have any questions about any of the educational resources we are sending across don’t hesitate to reach out.


Once again you are keeping your Customer at the Center of the Universe.  Keeping the contact helpful and educational as well as following the correct sales content framework.

The sales rep that has been incredibly productive for you as an outbound cold caller, is a valuable member of your team, with a track record as a closer, and does what they do best: “sell”.  They get on top of the leads and reach out.

Worst Practice

Here is what they send:

Date: Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Subject: Your Inquiry to Gabriel Sales


Thank you for your inquiry regarding outsourced sales.  Gabriel Sales has been helping companies bring their products to market via lead generation, lead nurturing, closing deals as well as managing the entire sales team for over 10 years.  We have worked with many offshore companies, U.S. start-ups as well as the Fortune 100.  We have deep domain experience selling Marketing Services and Technology.  Our most recent success has been bringing an Indian data analytics firm from $500K-$12M in revenue in 3 years. They then sold for $65M.

We are very process oriented.  We will develop the best way to sell your product, (messaging, packaging and pricing if necessary), begin selling, track all the ratios related to the sale, and create a repeatable forecast-able sales system and Marketing plan for you to then to run yourself or continue to outsource with us.   We will cold call, buy lists, or manage a marketing campaign to get leads; or work leads provided by you.

In regards to selling similar products, we have sold many marketing solutions to VPs of Marketing in the SMB and Fortune 1000 markets.

Our model is based on a retainer and consulting fees.  We believe in automating the sales process as much as possible to reduce the human resource requirements.  We do this through creating landing pages and content that can “sell” as much as possible as well as utilizing Marketing Automation software.

We look forward to your response.

All sales focused, nothing about the customer and totally narcissistic and self centered (once again, for best practices here, read Your Customer is the Center of Your Universe).

The Result

Here is what we get back:

Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 3:38 PM
To: Glen Springer
Subject: Fwd: Your Inquiry to Gabriel Sales

Yuck! You blew it!

We lost the deal.

Lesson Learned

We had already psych profiled this rep with our internal culture tool from RoundPegg so we know that this rep is wired to be really productive following up on inbound, as well as cold calling outbound, which is why we promoted them to a role where they can also follow up on inbound leads,.  We are confident they will produce.  See Tips for Migrating Outbound to Following Up on Inbound Leads.

We failed as Managers.  And it isn’t always about that when you boil it down.  We were extremely busy with our lead volume and the success of a couple of programs.  The rep was well trained to follow up with leads in 24 hours so we tossed them on this project without training him on the following…

…Best Practices

The Source of the Lead –  They thought it was coming from someone we had already engaged with.

The Drip Program that Was Already in Place – The rep had no idea that the lead was already getting two emails within 24 hours. 

How to Use The Pardot Lead Deck –  The Rep had no idea they could leverage the lead deck to research the prospect in more detail.

The Lead Scoring Rules –  The Rep had no clue that we had lead scoring rules to help him figure out where the Buyer was in their buying cycle.

Getting The Rep Some Online Training – Even a basic intro to Marketing Automation for Sales Peoplefrom Pardot or taking them to several of our back to basic blogs introducing the new rules of sales engagement.  So here are a couple here for you on this topic:

B2B Sales Marketing Company – 5 Mistakes to avoid following up on Inbound Leads

B to B Demand Generation’s New Rules of Engagement

Selling is About Serving and Sharing First in the New Engagement Model


Big Lesson Learned

We took one of our better sales reps ,selling in the old paradigm of hard hitting beat-the-doors-down cold calling, and threw them into the new paradigm.  We have a customer to thank for letting us know that this went sideways.   We cut corners and we had someone slip through the cracks.  So our lesson, which we are passing on to you, is never assume even your better reps will figure this out on their own.  Invest the time it takes to get them trained.  A couple hours and a couple of sessions can make all the difference in the world.

For more marketing automation consulting tips we invite you to download our white paper “Sell Smarter, Sell Faster”.  To learn if we can help your sales and/or marketing team improve their performance (and to learn more about our experience)  please feel free to reach out and contact us.