B2B Marketers know that we need to work more closely with our sales teams if we’re going to have a chance at keeping up the kaleidoscopic demands of our buyers. Our prospects and clients make up our target audience, and we get so (rightly) focused on marketing to them that we don’t always realize that they’re just one part of who we need to market to. The other part of our target audience should be our own internal sales team. That’s where sales enablement comes in. When we’re trying to align our marketing and sales teams, our first stop should be sales enablement – also known as “how to get sales to use more of marketing’s approved content, tools and technologies.”
Sales enablement teaches your sales reps how to use what marketing creates to close more deals. It gives our content a chance to be retroactively useful, and ensures that sales knows what tools are at their disposal and what to use them for. It also ensures that your sales team is connecting with your clients and prospects and adding value in every call and every email.
Want to kickstart your sales enablement plan? Join us on January 19 for our webinar presentation Real World Strategies for Sales Enablement Success.
Create a Strategy for Enabling Your Sales Team
“Start with a strategy” is pretty much my motto. The same way that we strategize our marketing efforts for targeting prospects is the same way we should strategize our internal marketing efforts. One of the biggest barricades to sales teams’ adoption of marketing assets and tools is time. They simply don’t have enough time to go through things or spend time searching. In order for your sales enablement tactics to succeed, you need to be efficient, and efficiency needs planning.
Work out how you’re going to approach communicating with your sales team. Will you send out emails? Videos? Links to downloadable content? Look for ways to share both content and informational materials in the most efficient way possible to help encourage adoption. Every sales team is different, work to identify your sales team’s pain points the same way you would for your prospects. Once you know where they’re facing the most issues, your marketing team can work to correct them. Sometimes, the issues are non-tangible things, like awkward processes or missing tools that would make things easier, and those might not always be fixable from a marketing standpoint, but things like not being able to provide the right usage cases, or not knowing that there are email templates they can use is something that marketing can fix. Look at how you can prioritize fixable issues like these around other marketing efforts, and see where time intensive methods like training sessions or courses can be planned into sales’ calendar.
Consider Restructuring Your Team
Sales enablement is one of those unique functions that really might need it’s own dedicated section of your marketing team. Whether or not that’s the case depends on a wide range of factors including the size of your team, what goals you have in mind for your sales team, and what kind of business and operations you have. While it might not be the right move in every situation, there are some good reasons to consider hiring a dedicated sales enablement team:
- You won’t have to divert marketing resources – or funds – to ensuring that you’re also marketing to your sales team.
- You can better customize your internal marketing efforts to the needs of your sales team.
- You can track adoption and effectiveness of your sales enablement efforts more easily.
- They can bridge the gap between your sales and marketing teams by having one foot on each side.
Having a dedicated sales enablement team doesn’t meant that no one else can be involved in the process – in fact, it’s just the opposite. Both the larger marketing team and other cross-functional departments should still be involved in enabling your reps. However, having a dedicated team can make the process of devoting a larger amount of time and resource more efficient.
Sales enablement should focus on the unique challenges of your sales team, so it can look pretty different from one organization to another. No matter what form it takes for your teams, you should always aim to equip your sales reps with the tools and information they need to continue the process of guiding your buyer to a purchase decision. Listen in on calls, attend planning meetings and keep those lines of communication open to get a sense of what needs to be done for your team, then nail down a strategy and get to work.
What techniques do you find most helpful for sales enablement? Share it with us in the comments!