First and foremost, let me state on the record that SEMrush is not paying me to write this. As a contributor to their amazing and informative blog and active user of the product for over a year now, I’ve become an advocate.
Here’s my story about how I’ve helped create a smarter sales team at my company by empowering them with [digital] knowledge and understanding.
Step 1: Plant Seeds
Who doesn’t love this analogy? In order to grow a garden, you must first prepare the soil and plant seeds. It’s worth noting that the soil must be of good quality – if you catch my drift.
My method of planting seeds in our “garden of sales” was yelling stats and other data points from across the room. Or speaking loudly during a conversation when they were in an ear shot. I wanted them to have awareness to some of the points I was making. Namely, organic traffic regarding a competitor or whether or not a company is using paid search.
Finally, one day I had someone from the sales department walk over and ask me, “Hey Clay, how are you getting all of your information?”
SEMrush! My seeds were beginning to sprout…
Step 2: Monitor Growth and Water Seeds Regularly
I kind of like this analogy so I’m going to keep rolling with it. Upon handing over the keys (aka: providing login information), you must monitor to make sure your sales team is interpreting the data correctly. The chances of them knowing what backlinks are or the difference between organic and ad [rank] positions is pretty slim.
Use caution though and don’t over-water. By that I mean, don’t flood them with information that they might not care about or understand.
Your sales team will inevitably have questions but go one step at a time. I started with understanding organic search and explained to them what that means and how it relates to keywords and search rank.
Step 3: Add Sunshine – It's Very Important
You’re a marketing expert and know all the SEO intricacies. Trying to explain everything about the data within SEMrush in one fell swoop to your sales team whose #1 objective is cultivating new business may will cause confusion and/or frustration.
By being the sunshine to your “garden,” you will be the driving force of growth in creating a more intelligent sales team. That of course requires warmth and happiness. You had a favorite teacher in school, right? Be your sales team’s favorite teacher. Empathy goes a long way, folks!
One additional point I’d like to make comes from LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner:
Intelligence should not be confused with wisdom. The former doesn’t ensure the latter and can oftentimes stand in the way.
I realize that seems contradictory to my claim but knowledge + understanding = wisdom. Empowering your sales team with the knowledge of SEMrush gives them more understanding when entering sales conversations thus giving them more wisdom.
Some other tactics I used to expand their knowledge of SEMrush were:
- One-on-one meetings consisting of discovery, research, and definitions
- Group sessions
- How to use the data points went constructing emails
- How to thoughtfully bring up data points during conversation
Step 4: Grow – There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Growth
Typically when you think of a garden, if you let certain vegetables go too long with proper water and sunshine, they get to large to consume and are thrown out.
In this analogy, however, that is not the case. The more knowledge your sales team acquires, the more growth they will attain. This will be made evident by the number of call backs they receive, emails answered and ultimately deals closed.
Don’t put a ceiling over your sales team. Let them grow in their understanding of digital marketing jargon. The more they know, the better they will be able to sell.
Step 5: Don’t Forget About Your Garden!
If the water and sunshine subside, what do you think will happen? The garden will eventually rot. If you haven’t noticed, your sales team is busy making calls or having meetings. It can be pretty easy to forget about but it would be behoove you to send an occasional follow up email yourself to make sure they’re doing okay and ask if they need any additional help or guidance.
The goal is to make SEMrush a part of their routine. Baking it in with the research and discovery process will allow them to create smarter, more well-written emails and gives them the ability to talk about something important during a cold call.
If your sales team uses a lead generation software that automates email communication, be sure to include some of the data points found in SEMrush to entice them to call. Every person you’re reaching out to have pain points. At some point, you’re bound to touch one.
Here are a few suggestions I gave our sales team to talk about during first touch and follow up emails:
- Organic search numbers: how well they rank for certain keywords
- Conversely, how well their competitors rank for high traffic keywords
- 'Did you know' facts about their competitors: i.e. did you know X company pays $xxx/month for paid search?
- What are backlinks and how can they improve SEO? – Mention how many they have compared to a competitor and why it’s important
Bonus step: Add Fertilizer
What is the fertilizer, you ask? Automate reports for your sales team on a weekly basis so they never lose sight of SEMrush. These might need to be created on a per sales person basis (which could get cumbersome) but if you teach them how to create their own reports based on URLs or keywords, your job as the teacher becomes a lot easier.