One of the companies we worked with last year has a large sales team - over 150 people in the US and 25 in Canada. The sales team is responsible for farming for opportunities in existing customers and securing business from new accounts, and the marketing team is responsible for generating and nurturing leads and passing them to sales once they're qualified.
One of the important marketing programs for this company has been a lead nurturing system. Through the lead nurturing system, we attract prospects and then provide them with information on a time- or activity-release basis. For example, if someone downloads one of our whitepapers, we then send them a relevant case study within a few days. If they open the case study, we then invite them to watch a video demonstration of the product. And if they don't open the case study, we send them a different whitepaper in 6 days to see if that sparks their interest. Through this process we identify who is a prospect that is ready for a call from the sales team.
Like most large sales teams, there are some members that are strong and others that are less strong. Some reps keep up to speed on all new products the company is offering of their own initiative; others are not so motivated.
In working with both the VPs of Sales and Marketing in this company, we identified that the lead nurturing process we've built for prospects is equally useful for training the sales team. The different communications and content pieces that we've developed - from case studies to video demos to articles - go out to the sales team in roughly the same time-release / activity-release way. For them, learning about new products in small doses has been much more effective than taking a single day course, which is difficult to absorb and retain. Using the lead-nurturing process has been a great way to leverage a marketing investment into a sales training investment.
With the significant investment that lead nurturing systems (like Eloqua and Marketo) require, it only makes sense to leverage them in sales training. Does your organization leverage its marketing content among the sales (internal or distributors) team?