Let’s be candid. Sales enablement is a buzzword. But, it’s not one of the overused or exaggerated terms that give buzzwords a bad rap. Still, if you prefer to avoid the buzzword altogether, you could instead refer to the practice as sales support or marketing and sales unification. At its core, sales enablement comes down to marketing supporting sales. But marketers aren’t the only ones responsible for a successful sales enablement program, sales has a role to play as well. The sales team should make an effort to understand their customers and pass along those insights to their marketing team. Here’s how to get your marketing and sales teams on a path to better sales enablement, and, ultimately, better sales.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” While this is true, we would add that the value needs to be enough to lead customers, clients, etc., to purchase. The goal of your marketing strategy should be first, engage your audience, and second, generate sales as a result. Don’t market just to market. Market to sell. To guide this effort, create clear marketing goals that drive toward sales. Work with your sales team to define those goals and you’re already on your way to better sales enablement.
Creating goals for marketing and sales to work toward together is a necessary first step, but it’s a useless step if there is no way to measure the success of your goals. Sit down with your sales team and determine what the realistic end goals are, and then figure out which metrics will serve as indicators of success. Marketing analytics tools can help you measure and analyze your data once these metrics are defined. After you have some results, work to optimize your marketing strategies and materials to achieve better results the next time. As you improve your marketing and sales, adjust your goals to match. Eventually, you’ll achieve a healthy cycle of marketing, sales, data, and improvement.
One of the most prominent roles of the marketing team is to create materials for every stage of the buyer journey. They need to attract and engage each type of audience member, from a person who’s never heard of your brand to a prospect to someone ready to buy. Once you attract sales prospects through your marketing, the most efficient way to guide them through the buyer journey is to strategically connect them through calls to action. Use insights from the sales team to learn how your customers typically respond to CTAs at each stage of the journey. Lead your audience members through the journey, from one touchpoint to the next, while building trust along the way. Touchpoints include sending marketing emails, connecting through social media, or even conversing with an interested audience member. At the right time, hand off leads to your sales team so they can take the reins and close the deal.
To seamlessly guide your audience members from one stage in the buyer journey to the next, your marketing materials need to be consistent. Your audience should feel like they’re interacting with the same brand, whether they’re reading an email, perusing a social media feed, checking out a website, or speaking with a salesperson on the phone. The simplest way to build consistency is to establish and document a detailed visual brand identity, unique personality, and voice. Then, ensure both marketing and sales capture that brand identity through every audience touchpoint. When customers experience a familiar experience at each stage of their journey, they’ll feel more comfortable with your brand and will be more likely continue on their journey, all the way to customer.
For a seamless brand journey, marketing and sales must work together. Marketing should actively consider ways they can better help the sales team and sales should make it a point to understand and actively use the materials created by the marketing team. Both teams should develop a mutual appreciation for what the other team does. When marketing and sales work with each other and learn from each other, they can increase sales, together.
Before you get started, ask yourself if a sales enablement strategy is right for your team. Keep in mind, sales enablement is still evolving, so define what it means for your organization. You may be more focused on data or you may need to start by developing a relationship between marketing and sales. Or, it may be as simple as adopting sales and marketing technology to streamline your efforts. A great way to get started is to start using a sales and marketing platform, such as HubSpot. A single platform gives both teams visibility into all marketing and sales efforts and tracks the success of your shared goals. But, above all, always ensure both teams communicate openly and often to ensure a seamless journey for your customers to-be.