Sales Enablement And The Relationship To Marketing
Generating sales is one of the ultimate goals for any business, yet a surprising number of organizations simply do not put their sales teams into a position where they can succeed. This can happen due to a number of reasons, such as a poor sales strategy, a poorly implemented strategy, a lack of organization within the department, a lack of clear direction, or a lack of clear goals. The biggest obstacle of all tends to be a lack of alignment between the sales team and the marketing team.
Marketing has an enormous impact on sales; without one, you can’t have the other. If your marketing and sales strategies aren’t aligned, then your marketing team will have difficulty finding sales qualified leads, and the sales team will have difficulty nurturing the prospects that come their way in order to close them.
Because there are so many potential obstacles that can limit the ability of your sales team to do their job successfully, it’s critical that you implement a sales enablement strategy.
What Is Sales Enablement And Why Is It Important?
While sales enablement focuses on positioning your sales team to succeed, it’s even more about attending to the customer. The idea behind sales enablement is to improve engagement with the customer to increase success. This is done by providing your sales team with resources that the customer will find useful or informative. This kind of engagement helps improve the customer’s understanding of your organization’s services and helps to build trust in your sales team, which is what will eventually help to close the sale.
Sales enablement is the process of enabling your sales team to close sales more effectively and more efficiently by providing them with the resources they might require to do so. These resources are typically some form of content such as blog articles, targeted website pages, FAQ documents, pricing, email copy or long-form content on your products or services.
The goal is that your sales personnel can use these resources to nurture leads and convert them into customers. Sales enablement also helps ensure that your sales team has a better understanding of what it is they’re actually selling and how those products or services help meet the needs of the customers they’re engaging with.
By implementing a strong sales enablement strategy that not only provides your sales team with the resources it needs but also aligns your marketing and sales strategies, you’ll benefit in the following ways — all of which will end up helping your business to generate more sales over the long term.
Build Better Relationships With Customers
A common misconception about sales enablement is that it’s about putting more emphasis on your sales team. The more effective your sales enablement efforts are, the more you’ll be able to improve the customer experience, which will not only help to drive short-term sales but will also help to build long-term relationships with your customers.
Ensure Consistent Messaging
Sales enablement ensures that every sales representative throughout your organization is thoroughly familiar with your company’s unique selling proposition, what your goals and objectives are, who your target audience is, and what the needs and challenges of your target audience are. Consistent messaging is important, especially if you have sales teams in multiple locations. Consistent messaging will help your sales team improve their ability to identify high-quality prospects, have access to information that lets them track customer behaviors, and deliver content to prospects at the right time. All of which will help to drive sales.
Sales enablement will also enable your sales reps to build long-term relationships with your customers because they can address their needs and concerns in an effective and timely manner. Such long-term relationships help to foster loyalty, which will, in turn, strengthen your company’s reputation. Loyal customers are more likely to recommend your business to their own partners and clients. As your reputation grows, it will become easier to attract higher quality prospects who will already trust your company, resulting in a shorter sales cycle.
How Does Marketing Contribute To Sales Enablement?
Your sales team is heavily reliant on the effectiveness of your marketing strategy in order to succeed, making aligning your marketing and sales teams arguably the most direct way to improve sales enablement.
When properly aligned, your marketing strategy will become more effective at enabling your sales team to convert prospects into customers. Alignment helps encourage collaboration, which will not only improve your sales efforts but also your marketing efforts as well. Not only can your marketing team contribute to sales enablement, but sales enablement will also improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing efforts. With this in mind, these are a few specific ways in which your marketing team can contribute to sales enablement:
Implement Lead Qualification And Lead Management
There’s only so much a sales team can do if the prospects being sent their way by the marketing team are of poor quality. Because of this, lead qualification and lead management are very important when it comes to sales enablement. Lead qualification is the process in which the leads you capture are qualified based on the information they provide and the actions that they take. Once they reach a qualification threshold, they will be automatically identified as either an MQL (marketing qualified lead) or a SQL (sales qualified lead).
When a lead is identified as an SQL, your sales team will be able to take the appropriate next steps for engaging that lead. Without defined lead qualification, it will be much more of a challenge to identify prospects who are ready to be engaged. Your sales team will be wasting time and resources trying to nurture prospects that aren’t ready while missing out on prospects who are.
In order for lead qualification to be effective, your marketing team will need to work closely with your sales team to identify what information and actions are the most qualifying factors of a lead. They will also need to determine what the qualification thresholds should be to identify leads as MQL and SQL.
The two most commonly used lead qualification methodologies include the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing) methodology and the GPCT (Goals, Plans, Challenges, and Timeline) methodology.
Targeted Content, Resources, And Job Aids Can Help Close Sales
Your marketing team is responsible for developing all of your content. So if your marketing and sales teams aren’t aligned, your marketing team may be producing content that’s not actually helpful to the sales team. If properly aligned, your sales team should be able to provide input into the content that your marketing team creates. This ensures that the content that they have available to them, such as case studies, white papers, product information, product demos, and more, will be useful when it comes to addressing the specific needs of their prospects and guiding them to the end of the sales funnel.
Create A Website Resources Page
Always keep in mind that the sales enablement process should be focused on the customer and their needs. Consider creating a dedicated resources page on your website where you can add and organize all of the resources available to prospects, from eBooks to whitepapers and more. Not only will it be easier for prospects to educate themselves (thereby making it easier for the sales team to nurture them when they engage), but your sales team can also direct prospects and customers to these resources to improve their customer experience.
Provide Sales Team With Email Templates
Your marketing team will no doubt use a variety of different email templates to nurture leads. Using various metrics, such as click-through rates and conversion rates, your marketing team can pinpoint which email templates are the most effective. They can then supply your sales teams with these templates, which they can use to nurture prospects through the sales funnel with greater success.
Sales Enablement Best Practices
While making sure that your marketing and sales teams are aligned will certainly help when it comes to nurturing and converting prospects to customers, there’s a lot more you can do to improve sales enablement. Some of the most effective practices for sales enablement are below that will help your sales team to not only better understand your prospects and customers, but that will help them to engage with your prospects and customers more successfully in order to ultimately deliver the sale.
Train Your Sales Team Continuously
Many businesses assume that their sales personnel only need to be trained once. However, this is onboarding and not training. Regular training, as well as additional training opportunities, can go a long way towards sales enablement. For example, training can include discerning the best channel through which to engage a prospect based on their past interactions, how to identify what types of content can nurture your prospects, how to use the proper phone etiquette when speaking over the phone, how to help prospects who may have trouble verbally communicating concerns or needs, and more.
Implement A CRM Solution
One of the challenges sales teams commonly face is engaging with prospects and customers in a relevant manner. Your prospects and customers may have interacted with multiple marketing and customer support reps across several different channels over the course of their journey. This information can be very useful to a sales rep, but if they don’t have it, they can end up frustrating the person they’re speaking to since they won’t have an up-to-date view of their pain-points.
A CRM (customer relationship management) solution will collect all of your customer data from all data sources, including interactions through email and over the phone) and organize it into single-view profiles that your sales reps can pull up within seconds. Your sales team can then reference their profiles and engage them much more effectively.
Standardize Your Reporting And Monitor Performance
Monitoring your sales team and analyzing their efforts can help you identify issues that need to be addressed to improve sales enablement. This will allow you to measure the success of your sales enablement efforts as well. However, before you can begin monitoring performance, you will need to standardize reporting throughout your organization. Doing so ensures that everyone who is responsible for data entry is inputting the data required of them and that they are following the agreed-upon standards. This avoids conflicting, missing, or inaccurate data.
Monitoring the performance of your sales team will require you to review your sales processes, allowing you to identify potential disconnects within your processes that you can address. For example, if the number of demos being requested by prospects is increasing every month, but the number of sales you’re closing is decreasing, then you can assume there’s an issue with the demo process.
When reviewing your sales processes, look for areas where sales performance can be improved, but also identify where sales efforts have been effective. For example, if a certain sales rep is particularly successful at closing deals over the phone, identify what practices they’re employing in order to replicate their success.
Improve Your Sales By Focusing On Sales Enablement
Your company won’t grow if you can’t generate more sales and so it should be a company-wide priority to focus on sales enablement. This is most effectively accomplished by providing the sales team with the training and resources they need and by making sure that your marketing and sales strategies are properly aligned. By implementing effective sales enablement practices, you will help to put your sales team in a much better position to succeed.