Field Marketing and Sales Teams: Global Cover Bands Performing Your Corporate Songs!

Tony Compton, Managing Partner

It takes guts to go on stage and sing a song. Or play a musical instrument. Or do both. But many perform, and do it well. Over the years, talented singer-songwriters have penned and delivered classics, and their work is so beloved that soloists and cover bands perform their songs in bars, nightclubs, concert halls, parking lots, and yes, annual corporate gatherings in swanky resort locations. Unfortunately, we’ve all seen and heard song performances that have fallen a bit short. Cover bands and performers who didn’t quite get somebody’s else’s song right. Maybe the singer didn’t have the voice for a particular tune, lacked rhythm and timing, or flubbed the lyrics. Maybe the band’s instruments weren’t tuned, or the group didn’t properly rehearse. It could’ve been anything, but the fact remained that something was off.

Think back to a time you were walking down the street, and the door to the corner pub was open while the band inside loudly botched one of your favorites. You probably tuned out, walked away, and shook your head in disappointment. It was a complete turnoff. Conversely, what’s been your reaction when a cover band nails one of your favorite songs? Moreover, what’s been the reaction of the audience? I’ve seen standing ovations when a singer nails a song. It’s a treat, and a real pleasure to watch a great performance.

Your Global Cover Bands Are Looking at You, Kid

You’ve analyzed. You’ve strategized. You’ve organized a smashing go-to-market plan which will dominate the planet and crush the competition. Wonderful. Next comes the task of getting sales and marketing content to your internal audience so that your people in the field can execute their part of the plan and be successful, no matter where they are, which industry they serve, or which language they speak. They’re looking at you, as the HQ point person to deliver awesome content. They have a healthy appetite, and they want that content. And one size does not fit all.

For those who support regional, national, and global sales and marketing teams with vertical and cross-industry messaging, territorial collateral, presentation slides, social media content, customer success stories, product videos, demos, and any type of sales enablement material used anywhere in the world, your sales and marketing teams are very similar to cover bands, performing your material. You’re the songwriter, and possibly the original singer.

The work of truly enabling your teams doesn’t end with simply updating the generic company slide deck and run-of-the-mill United States English-based pdfs. On the contrary. It’s up to you to work domestically and internationally, across all partners and industries, to create effective localized content. Furthermore, you must ensure that your “performers” are communicating the content in a method conducive to their specific markets, and that they are fluent in the “words and music” of the content.

For Those Supporting Virtual Teams, Launch Your Efforts By:

  • Reading a map, and knowing where your colleagues reside and travel throughout the world. You can access a map within seconds on your computer. This basic step goes a long way in supporting long-distance domestic and international business relationships. If you’re based in the USA, it’s a positive difference-maker to the EMEA team when you can discuss the location of Eastern and Western European countries, to the North American team if you can identify the location of Canadian customers in their provinces, not states, to the APAC team if you can pinpoint Australia and New Zealand, and to the LATAM team, confident that you know that Argentina and Brazil are in South America. No matter where on Earth you are, you get the Continental Drift. It’s ridiculously obvious that your regional sales and marketing teams must know where the customers are. In a support capacity from another country, not knowing the geography of your competitive landscape is a huge disadvantage, and hinders the success of disseminating quality marketing and sales enablement content. In order to properly map the B2B Buyer Journey, it helps to know where your buyers are on the planet.
  • Getting up early, staying late, and remaining open for the occasional Midnight conference call. If you’re in the Continental United States, from time to time you must wake up early to talk to your European team, stay after work to speak to your colleagues just starting the next day in Australia, and be open to that weekly conference call with the team halfway around the world in India. (If outside of the USA, apply the same time zone math and work ethic.)
  • Recognizing that global sales and marketing excellence requires more than the simple language translation of HQ-developed content. Stop the periodic uploading and blind dumping of content on your global teams with the expectation that they will go it alone to translate the material into territorial languages. Craft a proactive, comprehensive, and team-based framework to interact, and efficiently use supporting technologies.
  • Listening to your global teams when reviewing, translating, customizing, and presenting content. Step through the content together, and understand how it will be used for branding, awareness, demand generation and closing new business – in every part of the world.
  • Rehearsing presentations. Unless your name is Jackie Gleason, you’ll need to rehearse the communication of content, and do it more than once. Practice effective communication techniques to solidify outstanding performance behaviors.

Imagine This Poor Course of Action, and the Consequences

One day, everybody you support, all over the world, got on the phone and decided to call you. They wanted to work with you on developing and communicating content which will help them succeed in their territorial sales and marketing efforts. However, you decided to only go through the motions of the call just to placate the team because you created cookie-cutter-corporate-content which you believe should suffice. It’s been emailed over and over, all around the world, and has found a comfortable home in the online corporate repository. All can download, translate, present, and use the content as they see fit. The result? The phone may ring once or twice more. A follow-up email or two will appear requesting help. But with little or no action, all will eventually go quiet. Your colleagues won’t call again. They won’t ask for your help again. They’ll forget about you, move on, and start to do their own thing. Then you’ll hope that they don’t stand in front of customers with the presence of a poor karaoke singer, sheepishly mirroring lyrics from a dimly-lit computer screen while attempting to keep the beat of a computer-generated music track. Strange versions of your corporate content will begin to take shape, and reside in local laptops in distant lands. Recovery will seem impossible.

About Knowing that “Music”

No, most don’t actually play instruments or use music while giving a presentation. (But, on occasion, I have seen a few get very creative.) Adding the “music” is just another way of saying that a presenter should not solely focus on the content itself. One must consider appearance, physical skills, the tone, strength, and character of the voice used during a presentation, and the give and take interaction with an audience. It’s the effective combination of how a presenter looks and sounds, coupled with the content, that will win the day.

So do yourself, and everybody with whom you work a favor. Answer that phone call from your global colleagues, and get involved with your sales and marketing cover bands to make them the outstanding performers your internal and external audiences want, and deserve.

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