Editor's note: Ali Powell is an inbound marketing specialist at HubSpot. She originally published this article on LinkedIn, and it is reprinted here with permission.
Sometimes people from other departments in my company will ask me to meet with them. It could be a product manager who's working on a specific feature to someone on the marketing team who's conducting research. Regardless of where the request comes from, I'm happy to help -- with a few caveats.Any time someone from another team asks to meet with me, I try to give the person feedback as to how to most effectively work with sales reps. I thought it might be helpful to write a post on the things I typically tell my colleagues in other departments to keep in mind. I hope this list will be useful to you at your own company.
1) Never book time with a sales rep on the last day (or week, for that matter) of the month.
Sales reps are usually at their busiest on the last day of the month. We are trying to get deals in and the last thing we have time to do is meet with someone who is not a potential client. Our brains are focused on one thing and one thing alone -- bringing in deals.
This rule also holds for the last week of the month. We are concentrating on making our number, and anything else is probably something we don't have time to do. We want to help you, but be sensitive to the date when you ask for a meeting.
2) Explain what you want so the rep can come prepared.
Be specific in your ask. Bullet out what you would like from the rep. This allows them to brainstorm how they can help beforehand so they aren't thinking through it for the first time in the meeting. This will make the meeting more productive for each of you.
The more specific you can be in your desired outcome of the meeting, the better. What is in it for the sales rep and what's in it for you? How will this meeting help both of you? Define these objectives in advance.
3) Ask the sales rep when they like to meet.
Ask the sales rep if they prefer to meet on certain days or at certain times of the week. It helps to work around their selling schedule. If he or she wants to meet at the end of the day, try to make yourself available.
4) Have an agenda.
Sales reps are talkers. The sales rep will likely want to talk your ear off about ideas they have, and that's okay. Just make sure to start the meeting with an agenda to prevent it from getting off track. Let the sales rep explain their ideas, but continuously guide the conversation back to the goal of the meeting.
Meetings with a sales rep can be useful in learning about market changes, and how prospects are taking to certain parts of your product. Above all, know what you are trying to learn from the sales rep and guide the conversation to get the insights you need.
5) Follow up.
If a few action items result from the meeting, follow up, and tell the rep what you need from them. They'll probably appreciate the reminder.
All departments can learn from each other. Start cross-functional conversations, and you will improve the communication between teams and strengthen the company as a whole.