Smart sales departments focus on communication, collaboration and swiftness if they want to achieve success in the age of late-arriving leads and shrinking booking windows, according to speakers on the “Making sales and marketing a success” panel at the recent Southern Lodging Summit. Educating, training and empowering salespeople to make fast, intelligent decisions and provide solutions is a more important part of the sales process than ever, according to Renee Wilhite, corporate director of sales and marketing for Hostmark Hospitality Group. “It’s important that they’re familiar with all the different platforms, that the data that they’re providing on the platforms are accurate and updated and relevant because … it’s all about timing, and you have to be one of the first three to respond (to a lead) to even be considered,” Wilhite said. “We have to collaborate.” Get the full story at HNN