Jeremy Hong | February 19, 2019

The influx of inbound marketing has given rise to a new challenge for marketers – rather than simply providing as many leads to sales as possible, marketers have now been put into the position of providing qualified leads to their sales teams. Enter sales enablement – “the processes, content, and technology that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity." Seems simple enough, right? While this definition gives a great high-level overview of sales enablement, the devil lies in the details.

So, what really is Sales Enablement?

To truly understand the nature of sales enablement, it may be helpful to think of the concept as a philosophy rather than any single, specific strategy. It needs to be a company-wide effort – all of your client-facing departments should be working together to help sales efficiently close leads and produce the profits that allow your company to function.

You might be wondering, "Why should everybody fall in line with sales?"

To put it simply, sales represent the backbone of a company – sales produce the revenue a company needs in order to operate. Without sales – without profits – your company can’t grow, and without growth, your company becomes stagnant. Stagnation in a company is the precursor to its demise.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”

- James Cash Penney

For the sake of organization, companies have historically been broken into segments or departments to make overall management easier. Somewhere along the way, sales essentially became its own entity, and was forced to operate under its own devices. Marketing, customer service, and all client-facing departments did their jobs with a common goal, but minimal interaction.

Those days have come to an end. Consumers today have choices; more importantly they have the ability to research those choices via reviews, testimonials, videos — the list goes on and on. The need for providing an excellent experience for the consumer is now of paramount importance in order to create brand loyalty and encourage future purchases (and repurchases), and that can only be done when there is alignment between all of a company's departments (especially those that are client-facing; e.g., sales, marketing, customer service).

This alignment can be created by adopting the appropriate processes, creating the necessary content, and utilizing the right technology.

Processes

A lot of our clients come to us with basic ideas and broad solutions to address their pain points, but have no idea their underlying problems could be solved by adopting sales enablement. They know their sales teams are wasting valuable time and effort on data entry, digging through old and unused data, qualifying leads, drafting copy to send appropriately-timed emails – you get the picture. Putting the appropriate processes in place to streamline your procedures and automate the boring stuff is a major part of sales enablement.

Documenting your company's sales processes is important in order to ensure your sales team will be able to scale with your company's growth. You’ll also want to make sure all of your internal and external content, are organized and aggregated to make it easily accessible and simple to navigate for your sales reps.

Reports and metrics are crucial for enabling your sales team. Marketing and sales teams should have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) so that both sides know exactly what is expected of them in order to produce appropriate content and to define a clear point at which leads are handed over from one department to the next.

Alignment between your client-facing departments is necessary for effective sales enablement. Bridging the gap between departments can be difficult depending on the current state of your company, so holding regular, inter-departmental syncs to ensure everyone is on the same page and encourage back and forth communication between departments.

Content

Traditionally, marketing was tasked with creating content to draw prospects into the top of the sales funnel. As consumers grow in the digital age, they've armed themselves with a wealth of information at the tips of their fingers. In response, inbound marketing strategies turned from a “nice-to-have” into a “need-to-have”.

Consumer facing content should be unique to each stage of the buyer's journey. Doing so allows you to guide prospects into becoming leads, and enables you to nurture those leads into eventual customers.

To turn leads into the customers, your content is one of the most important tools for your sales reps.It allows them to connect with prospects and leads. It gives your reps the ability to show they understand the problem the buyer is trying to solve. Content brings color into the picture. It adds context to a problem that isn’t always easily understood by the customer. Therefore, your content needs to be engaging, relevant to specific buyer stages, valuable, and product/solution driven. Product/service overview sheets, comparisons of competitors, testimonials, and case studies are all examples of sales enablement content.

Remember, content is a broad term in regards to format, so choose formats that will be appreciated by your audience. Video represents the latest and greatest frontier in content, and can be used in emails, on your company's website, and on social media.

Technology

In order for sales teams to operate effectively, appropriate technologies must be put into place. Technology can help with team and project management by creating efficiencies, reducing redundant tasks, and building better relationships with leads.

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool allows you to track and analyze your company’s interactions with current and potential customers. Using a CRM is crucial for improving your relationships with prospects, leads, and customers to drive growth in sales. Depending on the CRM you end up using, you’ll also be able to automate a lot of redundant data entry your sales teams have been wasting time on.

Using automations in your CRM and marketing platform can save your sales team time, allowing them to focus on what they do best — selling. Depending on the capability of the platform you’re using, you can automate nearly anything. Update lifecycle stages, deal stages, lead statuses — all with a single click of a button.

Many marketing platforms also enable your teams to send sequences, or templated emails (which can still be personalized before sending), that automatically send a chain of emails at the cadence of your choosing. You can also set up task reminders to call, follow up, or send an additional email throughout the duration of the sequence. When a person replies to an email in your sequence, the sequence ends.

Video emails are a growing format for prospecting and connecting with potential customers. Platforms such as Wistia and Vidyard allow you to embed an image and a link into your emails that brings recipients to your video. You can share your screen or just show your face to send personalized videos or templated outreach videos that add a human aspect to the sales process. The options are truly endless, and you can be as creative as you want!

Ready to grow using sales enablement tactics? Let Tobe Agency help! Contact us today.

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