Sales & Marketing Refresher


In many hi-tech and specialist engineering companies, the Sales Teams tend to be drawn from those who are technically highly qualified but maybe have had limited exposure to marketing training.

This course is designed as a refresher for those who maybe studied some marketing in college or as a foundation for those who are so far unfamiliar with the discipline.

Due to the analytical nature of the material and the need to address specific marketing challenges, this course is recommended for participants from a single company only.

Each programme is designed to allow for customization according to the make-up of the group, the type of Marketing and Sales that they involved with, and their target markets. However, the theoretical base is constant with other specialist materials and activities introduced as necessary.

Duration: 2 Days
Participants: 6-18
(for more than 12 participants, 2 trainers are recommended)

Whilst it is expected that the trainer would have received a prior briefing on the company, this initial session is designed to build confidence and to create an atmosphere conducive to constructive feedback and allows the trainer to gauge the language level and communication abilities of the participants.

During this segment participants voice their personal issues and concerns about their individual sales functions within the overall context of the company’s marketing strategy. These ideas then form a ‘Wish List’ which is collected on a flip chart and referred back to at the end of the course.

Many definitions of Marketing exist but the most helpful ones allow for the creation of a ‘check list’ to determine whether or not the process is being followed successfully, maximizing both customer satisfaction and profit. Here, the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing definition is used and the company sales functions are analysed according to this, based on input from the participants.

This is a fundamental segment since it separates out those sales and advertising functions which are not sustainable and which do not meet the long-term aims of the company.

Since it is sometimes hard to verbalise company culture, this interactive exercise allows participants create a ‘personality’ for the organization. This is a vital tool in coming to an understanding of how sales personnel can support internal and external perceptions and how the Brand can support them. Sales persons should then come to a realization that they are not ‘alone’ in from of the customer, but rather that they take the company with them wherever they go.

Building on the concepts from the previous segment, the Key Learning Point from this section is that ‘Brands exist in the minds of the customer’, not in the product itself. Due to the intangible nature of this perception, the marketer has to mobilize a variety of tools to influence this image. The principle adopted here is to leverage the 7P’s of the Marketing Mix, which, although familiar to those who have studied the subject even peripherally, have a whole new purpose and application here. At this point it becomes clear that successful sales and marketing needs to be supported by all other areas of the organization, requiring significant efforts in internal communication.

A small group activity (3-4 persons) leading to a short presentation where participants ‘destroy’ well-known brands through inappropriate application of the 7P’s model. Participants also come to a realization that ‘marketing-speak’ can be used to justify the wildest ideas, especially if no proper research has been done.

A major temptation for sales people is to market to all-comers. By explaining the advantages of Segmentation and the need to Target the most valuable business (and leave the rest alone) the Positioning statement of the company is aided and reinforced. This also has a major impact on the Brand which is turn underpins the sales effort. Thus STP Process is presented as a circular process not a linear one.

This is a segment that is important to include where the sales effort is largely directed towards major clients and corporations. The characteristics and decision-making processes of B2B are very different and require specific approaches and a strategic planning approach. With particular focus on the company needs, the key issues are identified and discussed.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of the sales message it is important to reframe a product offering in the context of what the customer is actually buying. According to the number of participants and their specific product responsibilities, either an individual or group assessment will be produced. This will also involve re-framing the 7Ps of the offering into the 7Cs that customers actually receive.

In both Business-to-Business and Retail contexts the concept of Value for Money needs to be addressed by sales persons. A conceptual balancing framework is introduced at this point to show how decisions are dependent on the relationship between Benefits and Sacrifices. The many dimensions of each aspect are discussed and related to the participants personal and business experience and the case for maximizing the perceptions of the former and reducing the impact of the latter is made.

As a preparation for the individual sales presentations to be delivered on the second day, appropriate technical questions are dealt with, as well as the various presentation structures that might be appropriate to meet the understanding needs of the target audience. Whilst this content is not designed to replicate the separate Presentation Skills course, there are certain key issues regarding media, layout etc which need to be discussed.

Whilst it is optimum to be making a sales pitch to the key decision-maker, in many cases this will not be possible. Practical solutions are suggested for reaching the ‘real’ decision-makers and the creation of ‘advocates’ within client organizations. In the case that this approach is not possible, differing forms of presentation are explored.

Extending the previous idea, it is important to note that there are often multiple agendas and needs that have to be met in the context of a single contract. Just as there often multiple decision-makers even in a retail situation, the B2B environment requires differing benefit statements to be made according to the interest.

In order to build effective client relationships it is helpful to have an understanding of their buying styles and to be sensitive to the clues that they present. As a start, 4 key styles are examined and most participants can find someone that they recognize from these. Even the premises where meetings take place can provide useful intelligence and a client’s office is often a goldmine of information.

Participants undertake a typical pre-prepared Sales Presentation which receives feedback from both peers and the trainer. Since this material may be specific, the audience is required to assume the client role, which in itself is a useful learning experience. The presentation is evaluated based on a number of pre-agreed criteria, in particular the structure, the content and the delivery.

For a group that either has not, or will not, attend a Negotiation Skills course, some specific negotiation frameworks are presented. In particular the Harvard concept of Principled Negotiation is covered, along with some techniques that the salesperson might find themselves subjected to and therefore may need to counter.

Returning to the original ‘Wish List’, a check is made to ensure that all points of interest indicated by the participants have received suitable attention. There will be time for clarification and participants are invited to create a shortlist of those aspects of their role that they feel need specific attention. By way of a short questionnaire, participants are then invited to provide feedback on the course and the trainer(s). A summary of these can then be provided to the organization.