5 minute read
Your secret sales enablement weapon: marketing
We’ve spent many years helping our clients bring their brands to life. As we’ve evolved, we’ve seen what creates momentum in both brand and tactical growth initiatives.
The most successful marketing strategies create space for sales enablement, and bring sales teams into the conversations early in the process. Why? Because salespeople know how to sell. Sales can give marketing key insights into what is driving their conversations. Marketing can use that intelligence to create integrated content that both supports those conversations and helps achieve corporate objectives.
Marketing and sales tend to overlap organically — with varying degrees of effectiveness and friction. It’s time to see what can happen when it’s done intentionally.
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement is essentially any process, content or function that may contribute to a salesperson or team reaching their targets.
Common sales enablement tactics include:
- Onboarding, training and coaching programs
- Sales tracking software and/or customer relationship management (CRM) platform
- Pitch decks, email templates, brochures and other collateral
- Product demos and sandbox environments
Some companies only implement sales enablement tactics when they identify a gap or problem. Backfilling solutions to problems is not a proactive strategy. What’s needed is a proactive, holistically integrated sales enablement strategy.
A sales enablement strategy is the purposeful and standardized application of enablement tools that, when applied, will have a measurable impact on success.
A good strategy should:
- Include a thorough understanding of the customer and their business environment
- Provide a well-ideated structure for segmenting and nurturing prospects
- Include tools that provide actionable intel to help optimize and prioritize sales efforts
- Offer a seamless progression of brand voice and experience from marketing to sales
- Leverage managerial oversight into how tools and processes are understood and used
- Evolve regularly to optimize against KPIs and identify opportunities for improvement
Sales enablement strategy isn’t just a “nice to have” — organizations leveraging sales enablement report an increase in sales between 6% to 20% as a result.
So, whose job is sales enablement?
How a company is organized will dictate which department owns core responsibility for sales enablement — but in the absence of clear structure for sales enablement process and support, it often falls to sales to help themselves.
Having salespeople own sales enablement can be problematic because:
- Inconsistency: Each salesperson may create something different based on their personal preferences
- Limiting potential: Sales operates in a silo, isolated from the assistance and expertise outside their team
- Myopia: Team members may be too close to the challenges to see them clearly
- Capacity: Developing the strategy diverts focus from actual relationship-building and selling
Salespeople already have the heavy burden of driving company revenue. And when 65% of sales managers say they don’t have the time and resources necessary to perform their job, how can we then ask them to address sales enablement too?
Marketing’s role in sales enablement
The old days of sales vs. marketing are over. And for a very good reason: when sales and marketing teams are aligned, sales teams achieve 41% greater growth in reaching their quotas. The cost of misalignment — estimated at over $1 trillion each year — includes lost revenue, lower productivity, fewer pipeline opportunities and higher employee turnover.
Aligning your sales and marketing teams isn't always easy. Download our guide, "The 5 Biggest Alignment Challenges Facing Sales and Marketing Teams" for tips!
If you look back at the list of sales enablement tactics above, you can probably already detect the potential for significant overlap with marketing functions. Whether it’s through marketing or sales, we’re creating touchpoints with people that need to feel personalized and relevant to their needs. In effect, we’re building relationships.
Content at its core
Content marketing is designed to provide prospects with the information they need as they progress through the buyer’s journey. While many marketing teams rely on content for lead generation, they fail to consider content needs in the later stages. Sales is forced to fill in those gaps themselves – which is not ideal when trying to create consistent brand messaging and a frictionless prospect experience.
When creating content for sales enablement, marketing and sales should work together to discover:
- What questions aren’t being answered by our existing materials?
- What are prospects consistently asking for that we can provide?
- What are the objections sales is regularly addressing?
- Where are prospects entering and exiting the pipeline?
- What existing materials are sales teams using that work, and how can we standardize them across the team? Or make them even better?
- What content is driving MQLs? Is a contact an MQL just because we have a name and email? Are they converting to SALs/SQLs? Why or why not?
- How can we best distribute our existing content to the right people at the right time?
For example, if prospects continuously raise an objection about a product’s pricing, marketing can work to produce case studies or a calculator tool that clearly demonstrate the ROI. If one salesperson has an email style that consistently gets higher open rates, marketing can create templates for the rest of the team to use, and even do some A/B testing to see if they can get those open rates even higher!
As an added bonus, all the content that marketing creates will actually be used, and much of the sales enablement content can be repurposed for other objectives in the main content marketing strategy.
Let tech do the heavy lifting
Sales and marketing teams already rely heavily on data to build strategies, track performance and close deals. But too often these teams use data to try and show their own worth, or worse, show that the other team isn’t pulling its weight. How often have we heard, “The leads marketing sends are no good” or “Sales isn’t following up.”
Using technology and data for sales enablement is a collaborative learning process to make both teams more successful. Marketing teams — especially ones using a CRM like HubSpot or Marketo — can use data to demonstrate best practices that help refine sales processes. Sales teams can, in turn, use data to demonstrate where they need more resources.
Beyond simply aggregating data, marketing technology can also help sales teams operate more efficiently and effectively. Marketing teams can collaborate with sales to automate and improve their processes, including:
- Tracking what content a prospect has engaged with and offering other relevant content automatically through an email nurture sequence
- Notifying a salesperson when a prospect has high purchase intent
- Filtering contacts into lists by their ideal customer profile (ICP)
- Automating follow-up for lists of any size, based on specific actions like attending a webinar or trade show
The sales team may not have the expertise with (or access to) the technology to set up these functions. Thank goodness they have a great relationship with the marketing team, and can collaborate to create something that works to meet everyone’s goals! Right?
What are you waiting for?
By empowering your marketing team to play a significant role in sales enablement, you can:
- Help the sales team meet and exceed their KPIs
- Build a more consistent pipeline
- Close more deals
- Decrease employee turnover and burnout
- Create effective content that sales teams will use
- Increase efficiency (and morale) in both departments
- Reduce friction and create genuine connection with your prospects and customers
If your marketing team doesn’t have the capacity or skill set to support sales enablement, you’re not alone. It’s difficult to add yet another function — especially a strategic one that will take time to develop — when 83% of marketing professionals are reporting some level of burnout. It may be time to leverage a marketing agency.
Here’s what HubSpot has to say about when it’s time to hire a marketing agency. Read more.
At Titan ONE, we find purpose in the work we do by collaborating with our clients on integrated strategy, and supporting on the tactics that drive it. We make sales enablement thinking a key element in helping our clients connect to their customers and prospects. Sound interesting?