It’s the end of the day and your most successful sales rep needs the latest competitive information to counter claims made by one of your rivals. After spending countless hours searching for the material, he contacts marketing − only to learn that the content he desperately requires doesn’t exist. Sound familiar?
Meant to work in unison to drive revenue, sales and marketing can be described as two sides of the same coin. One developing the content reps need to progress prospects through the buying journey, and the other using the material to help build the kind of relationships that seal the deal. If that’s the case, why the discrepancy between the assets needed and what marketing creates?
The short answer − lack of a sales enablement strategy that tightly aligns sales and marketing. Let’s take a look at some stats that drive home the need for a sales enablement strategy.
Did you know that, on average, only 33.8% of content is created by marketing? And that’s not all. A whopping 70% of marketing content is never used by sales, and up to 65% never reaches customers or prospects. Where does this misalignment leave B2B companies? Unfortunately, more often than not, the end result is missed revenue. Take the guesswork out of sales enablement In today’s digital world, where initial purchasing research takes place online, prospects expect timely, personal, and accurate responses. To ensure sales reps are able to quickly respond they need easy access to the right information, at the right time. While most companies have a plethora of content, if reps need to sift through more than one app or site before finding the right material − it’s too many! This type of content chaos results in numerous sales enablement barriers. For instance,
- the time reps waste searching for content… instead of selling.
- the chance that new and decaying content is intermingled, increasing the likelihood of sending customers dated material.
- the reliance on marketing to help locate content that results in inefficiencies for both sales and marketing.
To drive efficiencies and improve closure rates, sales enablement strategies are increasingly being prioritized by growing and established organizations. Sales enablement is more than a 21st-century buzzword. It’s the glue that aligns marketing and sales to deliver efficiencies for both teams. It drives more successful buyer engagements throughout the sales funnel by enabling the type of effective selling that provides measurable results. While the primary goal of any sales enablement strategy is to equip reps with what they need to maximize every opportunity, there are different routes to accomplish this initiative, as well as additional benefits that can be realized from a well thought out and implemented sales enablement strategy. A successful sales enablement strategy consists of five steps that can transform the company and deliver a competitive advantage.
Step 1: Partner with an industry leader
Sales enablement should not be considered a one-and-done project. Staying relevant in our fast-paced digital environment means companies must change to meet the growing and dynamic needs of its customers. Although better sales enablement is the goal, knowing who the buyer is and what they desire is at the heart of every sales enablement strategy. This means that your sales enablement strategy and its underlying technology must quickly evolve and grow to meet changing requirements. Getting it right the first time and achieving optimal results over the long term requires a partner that is focused on sales enablement, digital asset management, and knowledge management. Easy set-up and integration to existing marketing and sales platforms, ease-of-use, scalability, and flexibility should be the foundational building blocks of the product for fast onboarding, easy adoption, and quick modifications.
Step 2: Align sales and marketing
To build a collaborative environment, the strategies of your marketing and sales teams must be closely intertwined. This level of alignment needs to take into consideration virtually every aspect of the two groups, including objectives, goals, processes, strategies, and prioritization. When marketing has insights into sales initiatives, target buyer personas and the buyer journey they are better equipped to create the right assets for each stage of the cycle. And by arming sales reps with a single source of trusted content, they are able to build the type of expertise and credibility that results in more opportunities and ultimately more sales.
Step 3: Remove sales barriers
To be successful, sales reps need a wide range of content for both external use, including collateral, presentations, infographics, etc., and internal consumption such as playbooks, competitive analysis, research, etc. A single source of all trusted content ensures reps have quick access to the most relevant material when they need it, enabling them to stay focused on their primary objective − selling. When you add fast and easy search capabilities into the mix, reps are able to quickly locate the right content and have confidence that the material they downloaded is not only the most relevant but the most current.
Step 4: Ongoing training and communication
To ensure wide adoption and continued success, training, and communication needs to be an ongoing effort. Your sales enablement strategy should not only include initial education, but ongoing communication and training. Aside from annual sales training and periodic emails, it’s essential to have planned meetings with sales and marketing to gather input, find out what’s working and what isn’t, and discuss changes to the strategy or content hub.
Step 5: Measure results and adjust
Do you know what content is used the most? Has the most influence on buying decisions? Chances are you don’t. And, you are not alone. Only 35% of companies track the effectiveness of their content. A sales enablement strategy will give you the insights you need to make content adjustments and create the type of material buyers want. Sales enablement measurements aren’t just about content alone. An effective sales enablement strategy provides sales measurement metrics, such as average deal size, number of reps that achieved their goals, and average time to close the deal − among others. Rev-up Revenue with Sales Enablement By putting customers at the core of your sales enablement strategy, you’ll see increased buyer interest. And by bridging the gap between sales and marketing, you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors, delivering the content your prospects and customers want at each stage of the buying journey.