What’s more important, sales or marketing?
Ask your sales team that question and you know what their answer will be. Pose the same thing to marketing and you know the deal.
The correct answer? Both – though you may not want to actually ask this question, lest your team ends up engaging in a WWE-style Battle Royale.
The truth is that while marketing is important, the sales team is needed to close deals. And both departments working together can put your salespeople in the best position possible to successfully convert prospects to customers.
Doing this is known as sales enablement. But how does an organization effectively foster a sales enablement process?
Let’s take a closer look at the strategies and tactics your team can use to facilitate success for your sales team with a sound sales enablement program.
What Is a Sales Enablement Strategy?
According to HubSpot, sales enablement “is the iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources they need to close more deals.” Or as Sherlock Holmes once put it, “I can’t make bricks without clay.”
It’s up to your sales team to move prospects through the sales funnel, but their ability to do that largely relies on the support of other team members as well. That support comes in the form of communications plans, scripts, research, outreach tools, and other materials enhancing sales operations and outreach.
How you implement these materials – and how you communicate about them to your sales team – is known as your sales enablement strategy.
How to Align your Sales Enablement Strategy with Your Sales Team
When it comes to a sales enablement strategy, one size does not fit all. So, you’ll want to customize it depending on your personnel. For example, you’ll want to transmit the information in a format that fits with the learning style and sales process of your sales team.
You’ll also want to develop materials they’ll actually use. Including detailed information on the development of marketing materials may be interesting, but it won’t help your salespeople much.
Instead, you can focus on customer-relevant information developed by the marketing department that will be valuable for them in closing deals.
So how can you be sure you develop a sales enablement plan that…
A) Works for your specific sales team and
B) Leads to results?
It’s simple: talk to them.
Interview the sales team about the kind of information they need. Ask them how they communicate best.
Coordinating regular stand-ups between the sales and marketing teams may be a great way to establish a connection. Setting up a dedicated communication channel can also be effective.
It all depends on your team members, the type of work you’re doing, and how everyone will communicate best. Figure out where your strongest touchpoints are and use them.
Who Makes Up Your Sales Enablement Team?
While it may sound as though sales enablement would fall to the sales team, in reality, it’s the responsibility of the sales and marketing teams combined.
It’s on the marketing team to give the sales reps the right resources. Once the marketing team provides the sales team with the proper information, the sales team then needs to execute it.
One can’t function without the other. Communication is the key to the sales enablement team’s success.
Marketing needs to give sales the right information on their product or offering, emphasizing why it benefits the customer and is better than other options on the market. In turn, the sales team needs to examine the sales enablement strategy and tools and let marketing know any gaps that may exist.
Sales Enablement Tools and Sales Enablement Content
To give your sales reps the best chance at optimizing their sales performance, there are some sales enablement tools you can implement for them, including:
- Messaging for each stage of the buyer’s journey
- A collection of customer pain points
- Playbooks for customer engagement
- Case studies
- Sales training
Let’s take a closer look at each tool and how they can help the salespeople perform at a higher level:
Messaging and Information for Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
What your sales team says to a prospect will vary depending on what stage of the buyer’s journey the customer is in.
If they’re still in the early stages of doing research, they’ll need more data to prompt them to buy from your company. If they’re closer to the decision stage, they’ll need messaging that helps solidify you as their choice.
Your sales reps will require a different approach for each stage of the customer journey, and sales enablement means accommodating them with talking points and information that helps move the prospective customer along the sales funnel. By developing relevant content and the right content, you’ll make your sales enablement efforts much stronger.
A Collection of Customer Pain Points
Ideally, your offering provides a solution for your customer’s problem (if not, they’re likely not your customer!). That’s why it’s important for everyone on the team to understand your customer’s unique pain points.
The first thing you’ll do is create buyer personas to represent the customer you serve best. This is a sketch of the type of person your sales team should be selling to, including the demographic and any other distinguishing characteristics.
An example would be an IT services company – their buyer persona may be a mid-level project manager juggling multiple responsibilities, including oversight of IT management.
Once you’ve identified the personas, you can then streamline their pain points. Pain points are the problems your customers face and the additional challenges they have in addressing those problems.
If you don’t give your sales team your customer’s pain points, you run the risk of becoming a pain point for the sales team.
Often your customers will need help in their decision-making. Sometimes that means providing evidence to help them come to the conclusion that your offering is the one they need.
For instances such as this, case studies or white papers can be a valuable tool in your sales reps’ toolbox. They give the perspective of an unbiased third party, which only lends credibility to your salespeople’s case.
Researching and providing your sales team with case studies can make their job of persuading prospects much easier.
Playbooks for Customer Engagement
Of course, not every customer is going to be the same, so you will have to customize your approach for each.
But there are some common questions and comments you’ll want to make during the customer engagement process. For this, you can design playbooks for your sales team.
These playbooks can have best practices on outreach and scripts with sales tactics, allowing them to guide the customer through all of their concerns and toward the sale.
Finally, sometimes members of your sales team will be seasoned veterans with plenty of sales experience. Other times, they’ll be newer, or they may be transferred from another department with little previous sales experience.
In cases such as this, having a robust sales training program can help your sales team learn the tips and tricks needed throughout the sales cycle to be successful with customers. You can also explain the various metrics and KPIs they’ll need to hit to be successful.
This type of information can even be valuable for experienced salespeople as a refresher course.
Provide the Sales Team with Templates
The content mentioned above is valuable for the sales team, but what’s also useful is having repeatable processes. Coming up with a series of templates intended for prospect communication can be a great way to save the sales team time in dealing with those prospects.
Templates keep your team from having to recreate the wheel. They save time and they’ll leave the sales team consistently singing your praises.
You can also use sales enablement software that automates many of the processes highlighted above. The right customer relationship management platform will enable your sales team to view segmented stakeholders at different points of the sales funnel, information about those prospects, and a detailed breakdown of the company’s last interaction with them.
Other services that may help the sales team include content management, automated prospecting tools to help reach out to potential customers faster, and social media assets your sales team can post to help attract and retain customers.
The bottom line is that sales enablement as a concept proves the importance of sales to your business as a whole and how it falls to more than just the sales team. By focusing on sales optimization to help improve the customer experience, you’ll help everyone win.
The marketing team will give the sales team more of what they need. The sales team will keep more customers coming through the door. And everyone’s bosses will be happy with the increased sales.
Successful sales enablement means having the right sales enablement technology in place, as well as getting buy-in from the sales team on how to implement it. Welcome can help you with all of this, guiding you through the process of what tools to use and how to best integrate them with your team.
For more on how Welcome can help you build a sales enablement strategy that works, contact us today.