Whenever we are to research anything about improving sales or marketing processes, it is virtually impossible to escape the unavoidable “creating better alignment between marketing and sales”.
Sales enablement is a process that allows for sales to gain access to the necessary information, content and tools that will increase effective selling. We want to increase engagement and ensure that sales are appropriately communicating with the buyer throughout the buyer journey.
Fundamentally, sales enablement is concerned with ensuring that sales teams are continuously working towards optimizing the time that they spend selling.
B2B marketers are becoming increasingly unhindered by the hurdles that they had encountered in the past. In 2018 marketing and sales teams will seek to provide flawless customer journeys through improving the sales process, targeted content attribution and technology developments.
This article will dive into what sales enablement could mean for your organisation and what key elements make up a strong marketing and sales procedure. Are you interested in shaking up your sales enablement? This article will give you the foundations to work towards becoming a proactive 21st century sales organisation.
The enablement aspect is the ‘chase’. It’s the drive of marketing and sales teams to not simply rely on classic sales practices to close leads but to actively and continuously strive to improve processes. Marketing plays a quintessential role within the sales process and it is important that both parties are involved with developing sales enablement procedures.
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Why the role of sales has changed
The necessity of innovation within sales organisations could not be more apparent in our current day and age. People are more informed now about what your organisation is offering than ever before. Most people will be hovering well along the ‘funnel’ by the time they are in touch with sales. This means that sales need to not only be able to provide the old sales jargon to close a deal when communicating with prospects. They also need to be very knowledgeable regarding the product or service itself. They need to show that they are not only sales but also have intricate knowledge of the needs of the customer at each step of the buying process. Marketing can help sales by providing these customer journey insights.
In an effort to find common ground between all the different opinions surrounding this topic, we have chosen to value a definition by CSO insights.
“Sales force enablement is a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training and coaching services for salespeople and frontline sales managers along the entire customer’s journey, powered by technology.” – CSO insights 2017.
3 major pillars to sales enablement
1. The sales process
Focussing efforts around the buyers journey is a sure fire way of targeting the buyer. Yet, this is not enough, a fundamental aspect of developing a dynamic sales process is to create a culture that is engrained with the idea of continuous improvement. Sales training and regular realignment of the way sales works is a step towards standardizing the sales process.
Quick tip: Put in place a plan for continuous innovation of the sales process, get marketing involved and see if there is a way of spearheading the movement towards a truly sales enabled organisation.
2. The content
Content has become a fundamental element to the marketing and sales process. Yet, according to the recent Savo research on SE, 54% (of sales members) can’t use the right content at the right time with the right prospects.
We need to focus on providing the buyer with the right content when it matters most. Too often is the case that, when a buyer is finally in contact with sales, the only content that is offered, does not provide any new information. This is guaranteed to leave a bad taste in the buyers mouth who might feel that the organisation isn’t capable of understanding their needs. Potential buyers are far savvier than ever before and it’s likely that they have already been subjected to a lot of information at an earlier stage of the buyers journey.
Quick tip: Have sales involved in the content creation and curation process. Give sales access to categorized content based on the different stages of the buyer’s journey. Use keywords to make content more easily chosen by sales members.
3. The Technology
When we begin to dive in to the use of technology by sales organisations. Sales people systematically join organisations that utilize pre-existing SFA or CRM systems, and they are expected to position themselves at the reigns of these systems and drive sales. Recently we have seen an upsurge in new sales focussed technology. It’s still early, but AI is making significant progress in the inside sales space. There are apps that function as personal assistants, scheduling meetings with prospects. Other apps chat with prospects, some even adjusting based on the prospect’s personality and tone.
Companies such as Enspark.io are breaking through the noise and establishing themselves as influential sales tools. Many sales organisations are trying something new which is even more the case when it comes to fundamental changes to the way that they work.
Quick tip: Don’t settle for the technology stack that has been used within your organisation since the beginning of time. Take risks and take advantage of the recent technological developments that have allowed sales organisations around the world to become sales enabled organisations.
Sales enablement is more than a simple process put in place to increase sales productivity.
It is the backbone of a dynamic and modern marketing and sales organization that focuses on creating a culture concerned with sales process improvement, a firmer grasp on catered content and of course technology stack diversification.