Are you frustrated by the disconnect between sales and marketing? Is your sales team struggling to get noticed even though they have access to quality content? How can you align your internal teams and get the most out of your marketing efforts? Customers are getting savvier all the time, and if you’re not using sales enablement, you should join us.
Hey everyone, I’m Ian Campbell, CEO of Mission Suite. Before we jump into today’s video, do me a favor and hit the subscribe button and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos.
As a successful marketer and consultant, I work hard to stay on top of innovations in existing B 2 B sales and marketing methods and new techniques that can help my business and my clients’ businesses grow. That being said, I want to talk about Sales Enablement today.
Sales enablement isn’t necessarily a new technique. Still, as we rely on our software and systems more, it becomes even more beneficial to organize and share information between your marketing team and your sales team.
In the late 90s, two guys – a brand manager and a telecom consultant – both saw a need across many industries for a better way to strategize a better way to align messages, especially in B 2 B sales. And soon after, they started their own agency, specializing in sales enablement. The idea was to make salespeople more effective and highlight a value proposition with directed content. Guess what – it really caught on.
So, let’s chat a little more about what sales enablement is, what it isn’t and how you can make it work for you.
What is Sales Enablement?
In simplest terms, sales enablement is precisely what it sounds like. It’s the process by which a company or organization uses data and their marketing team to arm their sales team with information to create compelling messages and make every interaction with a customer memorable and meaningful.
In its most effective iteration, sales enablement can turn a salesperson into a trusted advisor. As you learn more about your clients, their pain points and where they struggle, you can create content that will not just sell but will answer questions and drive their business to you.
It’s not a secret that data drives marketing and sales. Sales enablement is designed to be a coordinated effort by sales and marketing to create more engaging content, build customer relationships, refine your sales process, and make the entire journey better for your team and, more importantly, your customers.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can just collect any and all kinds of data and throw it all at your sales team and hope for the best. It’s just the opposite. By using a C R M like Mission Suite, an organization can intentionally collect data about their market, their customers, and potential customers to give the sales team access to highly cultivated and valuable information so they can best engage with and close the sale most efficiently. Not only is this a benefit to your company, but this can also streamline the process for your client, giving you an edge over your competitors.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? Well, it’s not. If you are mindful and intentional in approaching your sales, this can be. Before you can really set this into motion, you should get all of your companies’ stakeholders in the same room and talk about the ‘what’ and the ‘how.’ Your sales team can be invaluable.
You’ll need buy-in from everyone, so a meeting to discuss this process should be the kick-off to any campaign. Sales enablement is such a highly collaborative effort. Have your teams think about what kind of data they need to collect and then build that into your C R M. And, once you have some data, you might need other assets like a media kit, blogs, or articles to use in the process. When your team can create this kind of content, you can also anticipate the next steps for your client.
What Sales Enablement is NOT
As we talk about sales enablement, I want to make sure it’s clear what it’s not, also. Sales enablement is not just piling up a bunch of data and statistics and giving it to your sales team. This is a tool designed to help your sales team, and it should be relevant and easy to use. If it’s not easy, they are much less likely to use it.
Sales enablement is also not just one team’s job. It’s a coordinated effort that will need to be tweaked, reworked, and revamped as you learn more about your customers and their journeys. We’ll talk about that more in just a bit, too.
And sales enablement is not the sales team telling marketers what to do and what content to produce. As the sales team works, the data becomes clear to marketing, but then it is up to marketing to work with the sales team to create materials and the most relevant messages.
Speaking of collaboration and responsibility…
Who is Responsible?
While you have everyone in the same room, you need to make sure there is a clear understanding of the who, what, why and how of sales enablement. When you think about it, good marketing drives sales. And marketing needs good data and insight to create compelling messages. Neither of these two teams can really function effectively if they don’t work together. One feeds the other and vice versa. This functional relationship is the bedrock to making sales enablement work. Both teams will have to own the sales enablement process.
Marketing is tasked with creating the materials the sales team will need. These materials could be sales presentations, product guides and one-sheeters, campaigns, content, social media posts, telephone scripts and much more. They must have access to sales data and own their piece here.
Additionally, the marketing team will own the process’s C R M and software piece. If you are going to start sales enablement in your company, have everyone in the same room as you all discuss the logistics and the tools.
In turn, the sales team needs to own their piece. They need to be open to the process, using the materials at hand. And they need to feel safe providing the marketing team with data and insight. No one else in the company is likely to know what the sales team knows. If they can feed this data back to the marketing team, they can update materials, create better materials and more.
It’s a sort of co-dependent relationship, and the two cannot and will not function correctly without each other. The sales team needs marketing’s help, and marketing requires the data the sales team generates. Many organizations would count sales as the most important department. Since they are the most customer-facing and revenue-driving, they need the marketing team to interpret the data and feed them helpful information and content.
The Role of Sales Enablement Software
The most critical piece of this process is likely the software you use. There is no chance you can manage a process like this and give everyone access to it with something like an Excel spreadsheet. No offense to Excel; of course, it’s just not made to manage this.
You’ll need a C R M that can help you collect, sort, and use data to run your sales enablement process. I can tell you that Mission Suite has helped dozens of organizations realize the power of all the data they have. It also helps with automation, segmenting, and personalization, which is the cornerstone of running a campaign that will speak to and engage your audience.
Your C R M will need some time to work. And honestly, this is the only drawback to using a C R M. You have to set up your data points, let it know who you are targeting, organize your segments and then give it a chance to stretch its legs and work for you. Once that piece is done, you’ll find that a C R M is a critical piece of your sales enablement program.
Steps to develop sales enablement
While sales enablement is a great process, it is not quite plug and play. There is a lot of work involved on the front end. Don’t worry; we’ll walk through it here, and I’d be happy to tell you more if you still have questions.
The first order of business to make sales enablement a reality in your organization is making sure your company culture can support this. This process has lots of moving parts and buy-in from everyone. If your company doesn’t currently embrace collaboration or highly regard the fruits of cooperation, this is a time to start. As I mentioned, both sales and marketing will own this process, and they will need support. Alignment, buy-in, endorsement, whatever you call it, you need everyone on the same page.
Next, you’ll need a leader who can manage and motivate your teams. As this process could be a shift in paradigm for your teams, having an advocate will help you build trust. And everyone will need support, so a strong leader who can bring together groups and drive this process to success will also be necessary. Yes, eventually, the sales and marketing teams will own the process, but a solid leader here will be able to spark alignment in the beginning and along the way. Additionally, this person needs to ‘steer the ship,’ so to speak.
You’ll want to schedule a few meetings – as this likely won’t happen all in one day. But bring your new sales enablement team – also known as sales team and marketing team – together as you have some things to agree on. Start by fully defining the process – including the company’s “why” and assigning duties and responsibilities. We’ve talked a lot about the process today, but you’ll need to define it in terms your team will understand. And be prepared to answer questions.
Additionally, now is the time to decide how the teams will communicate, how they will be rewarded, and very specifically clarify the entire process, so there is no ambiguity or confusion. When this series of meetings is over, everyone should be 100% clear on the how, why, and what.
One last thing you’ll need to get clear on is your K P I s for this project. How are you measuring your success? And maybe even more important, how will you measure when something needs to be changed. It’s not as simple as signing a new client and ‘job done.’ There are nuances in your content and interactions, and you’ll all have to pay attention.
Once you have these critical factors in hand, it’s time to get your C R M working for you. You’ll likely have to spend some time setting so you can eventually ‘just press play.’ For example, with Mission Suite, we can design the entire customer journey with your information and input. Also, this journey can – and will change – as you collect more data.
Also, it’s a great idea to leave time for tests, tweaks, and reboots. It’s not going to be perfect right out of the gate or even after you have better or different data. Sales enablement is more of a living thing than a ‘set it and forget it’ operation.
That’s sales enablement.
It’s not too terribly complicated, but there are some steps you should be prepared for. One of the critical things about sales enablement is that it can be used for big teams and tiny teams or teams of just one, so don’t blow this off thinking, “I can’t afford it” or “this is too complicated.” In fact, a well-managed sales enablement process can save you money and can make some of your sales and marketing less complicated.
I hope you got something out of this video. And if you did, go ahead and give it a thumbs up and maybe a share so that others can see it too. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our channel and ring the bell so that you’re notified whenever we post new videos and while you’re at it, check out these videos too!
We’ll see you next time around!
Want to learn more about sales? Check out Potential Sales Pitfalls (and How to Avoid Them).