How Sales Enablement Can Change Your Business

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 | By Sarah Voigt
Read time: 8-10 mins
Group working as a team

You might have heard the term ‘sales enablement’ thrown around lately. Is it just an on-trend buzzword? Or could it actually be a useful methodology for marketing and sales integration?

The battle between the sales and marketing teams has always been a hot topic in workplaces around the world. Sales teams aren’t happy with the leads they receive from marketing, and marketing teams aren’t happy with how the sales staff are managing the leads they are supplying. Finding a balance between the two can be difficult. That’s where a sales enablement system can help.

“But we don’t have a sales team…”

Before we get started, let’s clarify what we mean by ‘sales team’. Many businesses, like lawyers, accountants, and healthcare providers, don’t have what you might think of as a ‘sales team’. However, before a lead becomes a client, they likely have a phone call, consultation or some other interaction with a consultant or team member who brings them on-board.

This article also applies to these people, although we’ll still use the term ‘sales team’ to group everyone together.

 

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is about providing your sales team with the information, content and tools to help them sell more effectively. It makes sales less about the salesperson and their company, and more about the customer.

Closing a deal or gaining a conversion is the most important priority for 71% of companies today. This isn’t expected to die down anytime soon, either. Sales enablement could help your business grow, fast.

 

man writing notes sales enablement blog

 

A sales enablement program connects the marketing and sales teams together to achieve sales targets more efficiently. It’s the process of combining the marketing and sales strategy to make sure both teams are working side-by-side to achieve the same goals.

This means that your sales team will be able to learn and grow their sales processes based on real customer data. Instead of relying on a few over-achievers to reach their targets, empower the whole team to succeed through data-driven sales methods.

The concept of sales enablement is founded in the idea that salespeople need to really get to know and understand the challenges of their customers. To understand what your customer will need, you need to understand their problems. What do they need to solve? How do they do their purchasing research? What kind of information or approach will best suit them?

How do I start using sales enablement in my organisation?

 

men checking notes working sales enablement blog

 

Before you get started on your sales enablement journey, you’ll need to prepare a few things.

Set up a Service Level Agreement between your teams

Get the marketing and sales teams together and create a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the two groups. This will help to outline exactly what each group is hoping to achieve and what they need to deliver in order to meet agreed marketing and sales KPIs. How quickly will your sales team get back to enquiries? What is the user experience you’re going to deliver?

This will keep both teams accountable and ensure they’re working together to achieve a common goal. According to sales enablement software giant Hubspot, organisations with an SLA between their sales and marketing teams are three times more likely to be effective.

Work out your sales and marketing KPIs

To figure out your KPIs, start with the revenue figure you want to achieve, and work backwards. Use your revenue target to work out how many Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) you need to attract to reach your target at your current conversion rates. Use the graphic below to see an example calculation of KPIs.

 

 

So, say you have a $10,000 revenue target. Using the following method in the graphic above, you’ll need to attract at least 10,000 visitors to the website in order to meet your goals. Increasing traffic is one way to reach your goals, however, improving your conversion rates throughout the funnel would also have a huge impact.

In this case, the conversion rate between MQL and SQL is low (a lead to an opportunity). Is it because your website is sending leads that don’t fit your target market? Or is it because sales aren’t able to cope with the volume of leads in a timely manner? Once you understand the targets you need to hit, you’ll be able to see which areas need improvement.

Set naming definitions for your pipeline stages

This is a very important step to avoid confusion. Defining each stage of your pipeline helps minimise any confusion around who should be looking after which lead.

When does a subscriber become a marketing qualified lead? Is there a difference between a sales qualified lead and an opportunity? Who should be notified when a customer signs up for a free trial but doesn’t continue using the platform?

It doesn’t matter what you call each stage. Just make sure you and your team clearly define and understand what each one means.

Determine your ideal customer and build your personas

User personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer. You might have only one, or you might have three or four. What’s most important, is doing your homework to understand who your target audience is and the problems or challenges they’re facing. Your ideal customer might be an individual (B2C) or another business (B2B).

You’ll then need to build out a user’s journey for each persona. How does your ideal user interact with you over their sales cycle? For a B2B organisation, this includes identifying the different people you might come into contact with at different stages. For example, a Marketing Manager might do some preliminary research before approaching their Communications Executive for consultation, and finally the Chief Financial Officer for their purchase approval.

 

men in meeting sales enablement blog

 

Inbound lead generation on your website

Before you start reaching out to your ideal customers, you need to ensure your website is doing the heavy lifting it should be. Your website needs to identify the problem a visitor has and offer the appropriate solutions to generate inbound leads. By carefully tailoring the content on your website to your buyer personas and their respective buyer journeys, you will not only increase the volume of your leads, but the volume of qualified leads.

Set up lead scoring for automated sales research and prospecting

As your leads interact with your website, give them a quality score in your CRM. The higher the quality score, the more likely they are to be ready to buy. When a lead reaches a certain quality score, notify your sales team. That’s a hot lead! Reach out to them straight away to get an advantage over your competitors.

Before the sales team reach out to these MQLs, they will need to ascertain the most fitting way to provide a solution. This will include when and how to reach out to the customer, the type of contact initiated and the type of tone you should use. Most importantly, provide value to the prospect and aim to help them solve their problem.

Go one step further with personalisation and add a notification to let your team know when your leads are viewing your webpage again. Call them as they read more information for an extra special touch.

Hold regular marketing and sales meetings

At least once a month, you need to get your sales and marketing teams together in a room to talk about what’s working and what’s not. Trust us: we know how hard it can be to get two of the most lively teams in a business in the same room at the same time, but the insights they’ll be able to share are priceless.

These meetings are a great way to uncover new content opportunities, fine-tune lead scoring and other automated processes, uncover high performing content, and refocus your teams on their real goal – growing your business. Just remember to set up an agenda beforehand to keep everyone on track.

To give you a head start, here’s the agenda that we use:

Agenda:

  • Review outcomes from last meeting
  • Review last month’s report and sales funnel data
    • Have any marketing activities had an impact on the quality of new contacts?
  • Discuss the new leads/MQLs that were disqualified
    • Review lead scoring success and discuss updates
  • Discuss new content or functionality opportunities
    • What questions are people asking?
    • Are there any common challenges causing us to lose opportunities?
  • Do you need any marketing/content collateral to help you nurture leads?

 

Content review

The team will need to do an audit of all the content the organisation has created. This could include research papers, customer testimonials, infographics, news articles, blog posts, videos, product information and case studies. Find out what’s missing; is there a gap in the content that you can easily see? Get your marketing team to create this missing content for sales.

Keep a log of all the content created or on file, and class it as internal-only or customer-facing. This content needs to be easy to use and consume, as well as reusable. You might want to reuse or repurpose your best performing pieces of content, from a blog post into a video, or an infographic into a slide deck.

Keep tabs on the content created by the marketing team; which pieces of content are being used by the sales team and which pieces are the performing best? Your marketing team or agency should be regularly collating and analysing sales results, so they can continually work on improving the content and sales approach they use.

Remember: sales are driven by data.

 

man and woman reviewing data sales enablement blog

 

Sales enablement is all about reaching the right customer with the right content at the right time. The only way to get there is by testing and analysing as much data as you can.

Essentially, you’re equipping your sales team with the knowledge that data provides; what their customers are thinking, the content they’re reading on your website, the time it takes for them to convert and what is the best way to approach them. It might take a little time to set up in the beginning, but it will make a world of difference to your sales team and how they reach their goals.

Test, measure and analyse sales cycle length, average sale size, the content used at each point in the buyer’s journey, how that content is performing, as well as how your sales team is going with their quotas. Each piece of information will help you in improving the sales enablement system in your organisation. Make sure you record any learnings and communicate them to the sales team, so they can fine-tune their methods to have more success, more often.

Sales enablement could help your team work better together.

 

Group working together sales enablement blog

 

Create great content, help your sales team understand the content and communicate this to the customer. The result? An educated, informed customer who can make the best choice based on your assistance and guidance.

If you’re ready to get started with a sales enablement program powered by technology, get in touch with our team for a chat!

 

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