Sales Retention – Sports Marketing Managers Hold the Key to Reducing Turnover

At the end of an Oracle Eloqua implementation, I typically go to the client’s office for two days to train their marketing team just before go-live to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to be successful with Eloqua. On day 1 of one of my first Oracle Eloqua implementations for a professional sports team, I stepped off the elevator into their administrative offices and there were at least 50 people in their lobby. All of them appeared to be in their early 20’s filled with the excitement of starting a new job with the NFL. When I asked my client what was going on, they informed me that this was their new Inside Sales Rep (ISR) class and they were lined up to take their photo for their employee badge. He joked that sadly more than half of them would not be with the organization by the time the season started.

Over the years, as I’ve gone into more and more stadiums and arenas, I have found that there are two polarizing patterns in the sales organizations for professional sports teams. Some teams have very well-established sales organizations where most of the sales reps stay with the teams for at least three seasons and tend to move up in the organizations as opposed to out. While others, like this client, have a high turnover within the sales organization. They hire in volume knowing that most will fizzle before they ever shine. The latter can be very costly for a team. According to PeopleKeep.com “Studies on the cost of employee turnover are all over the board. However, some studies (such as SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average.”.

Sports marketing teams using Oracle Eloqua have a key resource for their sales team, that if used correctly can help to reduce turnover. This resource is Engage and is one of Eloqua’s Sales Tools. Engage allows marketing to create templates for the emails that are frequently used throughout the sales process.

Some of the benefits of Eloqua Engage include:

  • Ensuring your sales team are using marketing-approved messaging, branding and content. This is especially beneficial when you have new sales reps that may be unaware of your organization standard.
  • Controlling the marketing content your sales team sends out to their prospects. As sales reps engage with potential buyers, there are likely documents and links they are sharing. When sent as an attachment these assets are un-trackable and it’s impossible to ensure that all of sales is working from the most recent version. Buy using engage, the links are trackable and can be managed my marketing so that changes are always reflected in the latest template.
  • Recording emails sent through Engage within the CRM and Profiler on the contact record gives the entire sales organization visibility into the history of a prospect.

How Does Engage Directly Impact Employee Retention?

Being an Inside Sales Rep (ISR) for a professional sports team has been compared to shows like Survivor and American Idol where competition is tough, the compensation is often not enough, but the reward for “winning” can change your life. Eloqua Engage is the equivalent to providing a vocal coach, stylist, and choreographer to each contestant. Although, some still won’t succeed, you are leveling the playing field and giving them each an opportunity to be successful. Couple the right sales tools, with effective nurture campaigns to deliver warmer leads, and coaching and mentorship from seasoned sales reps and sales leaders and you have a lot more successful, happy ISRs who get promoted instead of terminated.

We have access to Eloqua Engage, Where Do We Start?

All Oracle Eloqua customers have access to Eloqua Engage. Your product trim determines how many licenses you have to start and from there you can purchase additional licenses (they are fairly inexpensive). There are three steps to leveraging Eloqua Engage:

  1. Define Requirements
  2. Create Templates
  3. Train Your Sales Team

Define Requirements

The first step is the most crucial step, which is to work with your sales team to create a list of all the email communications that they send throughout the sales process. A follow-up email with details after an initial phone call, a voicemail or a stadium tour are all examples of communications sent by sales. After you create the list, have at least five of your best (most seasoned) sales reps send you examples of each of their communications. Once you have all of the examples, conduct an initial review to determine what each is consistently saying, ways in which they personalize the communication, and any wording that stands out as being very effective. There will likely be multiple variations of the same email, so I encourage you to create a list and validate that list with your sales team before moving to step two.

Here is an example list:

After creating the list of desired templates, identify opportunities for personalization as well as key calls to action. For example, if you are sending a stadium tour follow up email to the 25-55 demographic and they brought their teenage son with them on the tour, a version of the template or suggested personalization for families will make the sales email more effective. Likewise, you always want to have a clear (and trackable) next step so you may include a link to the “view from our seat” online tour.

The list of templates should be long; if it doesn’t feel a bit overwhelming, keep brainstorming.

Create Templates

When you have a complete list of all the desired templates, the next step is to outline a plan for development. Prioritize templates based on how often they will be used. Take the best verbiage from the examples gathered to create the most effective communication for the scenario. When writing the final copy, be cautious not to sound like “a marketer”. The language should be casual and conversational, it should read as if the salesperson is having a 1:1 conversation with the fan.

These templates should be primarily text based and appear the same as if the salesperson was sending the email from their Outlook.

Train Your Sales Team

Marketing’s job doesn’t end with template development. It is important that you are involved in training the ISRs on how to effectively use these templates. Ideally, the training should be a part of their broader sales training but can be delivered standalone if required. The two key topics for the training are:

  • How to use Eloqua Engage: It’s simple but be sure to show them how to find the right template, how to use field merges, add attachments, and personalize the emails.
  • The Benefits for Both Marketing and Sales: The obvious benefit to the sales team is pre-written, converting sales communications. However, beyond having sales communications scripted sales reps using engage can also see whether their prospects have opened or clicked an email giving them more insight into when and how to follow up. The benefit to marketing is additional digital body language that can support nurture campaigns and feed lead scoring.

While Eloqua Engage won’t completely prevent turnover, it can create consistency within your sales organization and provide newer reps with a blueprint to be successful. This leads to reduced turnover and happier more successful sales reps which ultimately means more sold out games.

Whether you have a seasoned sales organization or a young and eager team, the benefits of Eloqua Engage can be significant. I’m happy to discuss how we can support you in developing your marketing and sales alignment strategy and how to implement Eloqua Engage.

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Brandi Starr

Chief Operating Officer | Managing Consultant at Tegrita Consulting Group
Brandi Starr is a true Modern Marketing Maven. She believes marketing magic happens at the intersection of strategy, creativity, and technology. Brandi's 15 year career has spanned a variety of industries and marketing disciplines. Brandi is an Eloqua power user turned consultant with almost 10 years of experience maximizing the power of Eloqua. Her expertise include demand generation and nurture strategy, business process transformation, controlling email frequency, custom security and she is the SME for the Higher Education vertical.