Many marketing departments are not only overwhelmed, but they are not fully aware of how sales people sell, and so often they don’t provide the adequate materials and information needed to support a sales team. Training, collateral, competitive displacement presentations, technical FAQs, behavioral analysis and digital footprint reports are often missing upon a product launch.
Sales enablement is the key linchpin required to help a B2B company bridge the gap between their business strategies and how they execute in the field. In essence it is the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward. Too many common challenges (problems cross-selling, long sales cycles, declining win rates, margin pressure, getting average deal size up) can be traced back to the same source — the conversation between your client-facing people and the combination of stakeholders that represent your buyers.
The assumption is that sales readiness is the exclusive job of the sales team. It is not. Marketing’s job does not end with the handoff of a qualified lead to sales. (As though that, alone, was ever easy!)
Before & After The Handoff
- Giving them a prioritized list of contacts based on lead quality and purchase intent
- Arming them with relevant behavioral data that summarizes the prospect’s interests (sometimes called digital body language)
- Providing them with easy-to-use technologies to track their hottest prospects, including alerts based on key buying signals
- Developing a library of content to help the sales team build trust along different stages of the buyers’ journey
The headline in a recent Forrester Research report says it all: “Executives don’t believe salespeople are well prepared to engage with them.” The Forrester study reported that only 15% of executives say that their meetings with sales people met their expectations.
What if you could improve those interactions? Well, the best marketing organizations in the world are doing just that by making sales readiness a top priority. They are preparing their sales teams to engage with prospects more effectively and they are achieving exceptional results – shorter sales cycles, higher lead conversions, and higher quota achievement. Isn’t it time you took sales enablement seriously?
Businesses that invest in sales enablement best practices and sales tools to provide more insight about prospects see great results like:
- 71% year over year improvement in sales cycle time
- 51% year over year improvement in lead conversion rates
- 54& year over year improvement in the percent of sales reps achieving quota
*Source – Aberdeen Group, Sales Intelligence: The Secret to Sals Nirvana
Six Quick Hit Best Practices:
- Attach relevant information to the leads you pass to sales. Don’t pass on “naked” leads. Attach campaign activity, web visits, and other valuable information. The more a rep knows about the opportunity, the better they will perform.
- De-construct the sales techniques of your highest-performing reps … and replicate it! Look at how your best-performing reps find opportunities and close them. How do they communicate value? What do they send to prospects … at what stages in the cycle? Pass this valuable insight to other reps.
- Gives Sales the tools they need to be successful. You need to build out a set of basic emails on relevant topics that the sales team can use. Suggest additional content that salespeople can use given which content they’ve already viewed.
- Test the sales enablement tools first with a small group of reps. Before you roll your ideas and email templates to the whole sales team, test them first with a small group of reps. Build credibility by finding “champions” in the sales organization.
- Makes things simple for the reps. They have a lot going on, so be sensitive to overwhelming them. Try to do things within technologies that they use every day – like their CRM or Outlook.
- Don’t make them do it. Nobody likes a dictator. The most success sales enablement techniques will spread like crazy once reps start using them and find success.Who else from the company is also in your database, following you on Twitter or participating in discussions in LinkedIn groups that you belong to? What have they done, said or shared that might be useful? Did they attend a webinar and ask a question?
Sales enablement is a hot topic lately, with an increasing number of CRM and sales/marketing automation vendors providing sales enablement solutions because of social and mobile technologies. However, the full potential of sales enablement lies in revealing what happens in the middle of the sales process. CRM is actually just the accounting system of record for sales at the tail end of the process. Email and social tools are at the top. But in the middle of the process, assuming sales reps don’t do decent jobs entering sales contacts into the CRM system, and they invariably don’t; you don’t get visibility into what is happening in the field when the sales rep’s lips are flapping.
This is not uncommon because you have sales teams who are just now getting caught up to the idea that cold calling and other sales tactics no longer work and can be costly to their ROI. Marketing automation is important but doesn’t close the deal. CRM backs in from the closed deal further into the selling process. But nobody is collecting data such as what PowerPoint slide the sales rep used at what stage of the sales presentation. We don’t know what objections were handled or what team members were pulled in.
By automatically collecting data in real time while a sales rep is making a presentation or pitch, via mobile device, sales enablement tools can eliminate organizational silos and fill the gaps in B2B sales data quickly enough for sales strategies to be altered as soon as problems can be identified.
Personalization is critical for B2B complex sales. In fact, if the buyer has spent 6 months in a nurturing program, they’ve already had a dialogue with your company. They’ve already learned a lot of what they could only get from a salesperson in the past. Starting over is a momentum killer.
To avoid killing the pipeline momentum marketing has created, salespeople need to be empowered to step onto the court with the confidence that they can score that goal in the last seconds of the game. Trying to muscle their way through won’t produce the best results, but arming them with play reviews and strategic moves can.
The ultimate goal of sales enablement is to help sales close more deals faster. They can do that when they have access to their prospects’ digital body language and sentiment analysis.
If you’re interested in learning more about our sales enablement services, call 614-285-7565. Contact Sigma Creative today!