Sales enablement seems like a no-brainer for any company that has a Marketing and Sales team but there are still a lot of businesses that don’t practice it. If you’re one of those, you’re certainly not alone and it’s never too late to get your Sales and Marketing teams on the same page and working together to increase your leads and your grow your business.
What is Sales Enablement?
We’ve written a bit about sales enablement before (we call is Smarketing) but let’s do a quick and easy definition of what it is and what it does:
Sales enablement is when Sales and Marketing work together by sharing information, content, and tools to help increase sales. Some companies don’t have official Sales and Marketing teams, so an even broader sales enablement definition would be the process by which people or teams within your business provide information, content, and tools to help create and increase sales.
Seems pretty simple, right? The short answer is “Yes!” But the long answer is “Yes, but you have to spend a little time building a thoughtful architecture around how this process works so that everyone involved both contributes and benefits.”
Top 5 Sales Enablement Strategies
Align Your Marketing and Sales Teams
For two teams that are so heavily invested in each other’s success, it’s surprising how often Sales and Marketing end up siloed from one another. While it’s true they have different philosophies (marketing often views their projects in the long-term while sales pursue short-term goals) and approaches (marketing views customers holistically and from a distance while sales are directly interacting with customers individually), these things shouldn’t put the departments at odds but should bring them closer together. Even if MQLs and SQLs are part of their KPIs, it’s important to understand that a rising tide lifts all boats and that success for both teams means success for everyone.
If you’re not able to get the entire company on the same page, your sales enablement strategies are likely to be ineffective. In order to align your teams, we recommend these best practices:
- Regular “smarketing” meetings where leaders from the sales and marketing teams discuss tactics with each other.
- Work together to divide leads into Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and have the respective departments nurture and work them accordingly.
- Collaborate to develop sales content with marketing’s metrics and sales’ feedback
Starting with activities that are regularly scheduled helps create a collaborative environment, so be sure to put these meetings on the calendar to reoccur!
Create Customer Personas
Customer, user, or buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of ideal customers based on market research and data collected from existing customers. This sales enablement strategy is actually a great opportunity for Sales and Marketing to work together on a project since nobody knows their customers better than a salesperson while marketing has the metrics to break down client demographics better than anyone.
Personas are important for qualifying leads and understanding buying cycles of different segments of your target audience. When creating your personas, it’s important to include:
- Buying Triggers
- Possible Objections
- Pain points
- Goals (Theirs)
- Your product/services advantages (how do you solve their pain points?)
You can get this information from your social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram,etc.), your website analytics, and marketing surveys. Making sure you have personas for each of our audiences is critical! The best campaigns are more focused and less generic.
Use The Proper Tools For The Jobs
Imagine building a doghouse without a hammer, or barbecuing a brisket without a grill. The right tools are essential for carpenter enablement and chef enablement, and the same is definitely true for sales enablement. One of the simplest, but most overlooked, methods of empowering your sales department is giving them all the right tools for the job. Automating some of your sales and marketing tasks and allows your teams to spend more time with clients, winning more deals.
Customer Resource Management (CRMs) tools like Salesforce are great for salespeople to keep track of their clients and for marketing to pull data from to create sales content. Communication tools like Slack, Skype, and Spark, allow for efficient collaboration between teams.
Learn From Your Data
You may spend a lot of time end effort collecting data, but what do you do with it once it’s all been analyzed? You know you need KPIs but can they be used for sales enablement? The metrics that you track allow you to assess what you’re doing right and what you’re doing… not so right.
Data provides feedback that helps identify the things that are working, like a certain talk track or email campaign. This data enables sales by allowing your teams to replicate and optimize the successes and learn from the failures.
Prepare for Every Stage of the Sales Process
No matter how you define them or break them down, every stage in the sales cycle has different priorities and goals, and in order to move a prospect into either closed win (yay!) or closed lost (not so yay!) we need a strategy for every step along the way. This includes utilizing different pieces of sales content from marketing to setting different types of meetings like product demos or calls with higher-ups with buying power.
When sales and marketing are able to work together on defining and strategizing these stages in the cycle, deals run smoother and more efficiently. It also helps when you can walk a prospect through what a traditional sales cycle looks like and what to expect so they can prepare as well.
The Too Long; Didn’t Read on Sales Enablement
These 5 sales enablement strategies will help your company provide your salespeople with all the resources they need to close more deals and achieve their sales goals. Aligning your sales and marketing departments allows for your company to create separate sales enablement goals that both teams are invested in, while utilizing your tools and data will help you spend more time with clients and make better decisions. With marketing creating accurate personas and content for each stage of the sales cycle, they’re also directly involved with the success of the sales team. Sales enablement strategies work best when the entire company is on the same page and supporting each other.