Sales and marketing are co-dependently integral to business success, yet too often they are siloed. It’s a flawed situation, as it makes alignment incredibly and unnecessarily difficult. The result is that the sales process operates at half capacity — if that.
The right sales enablement platform, though, can unify marketing and sales in a single digital ecosystem, providing team members with a robust solution for collaboration, coordination and communication. Traditional tools just don’t cut it.
Exchanging versions of a white paper over email, for instance, is a bottleneck to both the marketing staff and salespeople, who may then have to dig through a crowded inbox to search for updated collateral. This type of inefficiency, among many others, can be solved with sales enablement technology.
Let’s take a closer look at what sales enablement marketing is all about and what benefits enablement software can provide a sales organization.
What is sales enablement?
A sales enablement strategy optimizes the sales cycle by defining processes for content creation, lead-nurturing and customer lifecycle management. Sales enablement empowers sales agents and organizations to sell faster through reduced overhead, process automation and rich analytical insights into the buyer journey.
A seller with easy access to collateral can effortlessly pull and share relevant content for the customer, while the sales manager has more time to coach them on outreach personalization or other tactics. The sum result is improved sales productivity and a staff that’s empowered to strive, innovate and succeed.
So what role does marketing play?
What is sales enablement marketing?
Sales enablement marketing is the wholesale optimization of an organization to fully unify marketing and sales efforts. Sellers and marketers work cohesively on content, branded collateral and customer solutions from point of concept to closed sale — and then iterate further to nurture customer and prospect relationships at all touchpoints.
Sales enablement technology can help companies achieve that cohesion by eliminating common barriers to collaboration. For instance, a siloed marketing team might produce content that’s independent or contradictory to feedback the sales team is actually hearing from leads.
With a sales enablement platform, those analytics can be shared across the organization and marketing can produce optimized content at all times. Marketers can then push new collateral through enablement software that reps can instantly access and begin sharing.
End-to-end visibility and collaboration are key to successful sales enablement marketing.
When is sales enablement marketing valuable?
Here are some examples of where sales enablement marketing delivers the most value:
Providing new sales hires with a foundation of knowledge is important to setting them up for success. This requires robust sales onboarding that walks employees through company culture, policies, best practices and more. The internal content that new hires consume at this stage will decide how prepared they will be to perform at a high level.
Marketing not only needs to create informative and educational material for onboarding but also work with sales to identify the biggest content needs. Gaps in sales training can be costly in retraining or rehiring, but sales enablement software can be used to avoid those pitfalls.
Marketers understand the products their company sells, but perhaps not through the same lens as customers or salespeople.
If sales reps hear from a growing audience of buyers about a new pain point that isn’t reflected in current collateral, they should collaborate with marketing on updating materials to get on trend. That’s a lot easier said than done in many instances.
A sales enablement solution can provide a shared space for relaying feedback and fine-tuning marketing that enables a smooth sales cycle and attracts new customers.
Markets, behaviors and trends change over time, forcing companies and sales to adapt. No professional’s skill set can stay the same and still allow them to be effective. That’s why high-quality sales training is vital to the performance of the team — and marketing can help in this situation, too.
Content that’s used in coaching needs to not only be instructive but also interactive and engaging. These latter two qualities help improve learning retention and the sales rep’s ability to deploy skills in the real world. Marketing needs to work with sales managers on what topics to cover to ensure sales staff is enabled and supported to the highest degree.
Strategy and planning
At the outset of any year or campaign, sales and marketing should be working closely on goals and how to achieve them. Together, these departments need to settle on what tangible steps need to be taken to ensure progress toward goals. These discussions will inform what content needs to be created or refined and exactly how these assets figure into sales rep enablement.
Sales professionals are often preoccupied with clients, meaning they might not have the bandwidth to pick up on trends in how sales enablement content is accessed.
With a sales enablement platform, marketing can dive into the analytics and pass actionable insights to the sales staff that they can begin using right away. This example helps illustrate the main thrust of sales enablement and the role marketing plays in ensuring reps are constantly equipped and supported to succeed.
Data delivered across the full spectrum of the organization helps support the sales process in ways that might not even be immediately recognized. For instance, a marketer with real-time data can intuitively map new sales content to a specific buyer persona — without even needing to confer with a salesperson every time. This makes the content creation process purpose-fit for the sales team: With minimal effort, salespeople can grab the content they need and use it throughout the sales pipeline.
How is sales enablement success measured?
With the broad benefits and use cases of sales enablement defined, what types of ROI might you expect to see?
There are numerous vectors of sales enablement success throughout your business — ROI often depends on where you look and how you measure. We’ve outlined several of those metrics in this post. Below are some additional areas in which you might realize noticeable if necessary improvements:
After implementing sales enablement programs, are your sales teams running more smoothly? Are you able to allocate more leads without overwhelming reps? Is it easier to surface content for lead-nurture campaigns?
Explore both objective and subjective feedback on these fronts. Sales reps may be able to spot initial improvements even if it’s too soon to record longer-term benefits in the form of higher sales and higher-quality leads.
Time-to-productivity, reduced management overhead and faster sales uptime are core metrics to track. Sales enablement solutions should automate routine training tasks, increase trainee engagement and free up your top performers to sell more — not sink more time into mentorships or unstructured sales coaching sessions.
A net increase in pipe activity is always a welcome outcome to any sales enablement implementation. Ideally, this rise in pipe volume corresponds to higher lead quality as well, as hotter, qualified leads more efficiently find their way to top sellers.
While you likely have your marketing managers and specialists tracking day-to-day content performance metrics within Google Analytics, sales managers can import key numbers from these reports and apply them to their own programs too. For instance, if certain blog posts perform well, sales reps can repurpose these materials for use in their own outreach emails or follow ups.
Similarly, analytics from email marketing platforms and social media tools can provide parallel insight into which types of content, newsletters, headlines and social posts are resonating with readers. These metrics are critical to sellers as well, to ensure they’re maintaining brand voice and messaging when speaking to prospects.
How to find the best sales enablement software
While marketing has a big part to play in a sales enablement strategy, there are also expectations that company leaders will enable marketing to coordinate and align with sales. As mentioned, a reliance on traditional tools might do more harm than they do good when it comes to enablement.
Working through email, chat, spreadsheets or PDFs simply can’t facilitate the type of collaboration needed for success. That’s something that only a sales enablement platform can do. But how to find the right solution for your needs?
When looking for enablement software, consider factors like:
The point of a sales enablement solution is to eliminate the need for teams to go between multiple, disparate tools. To that end, the platform you consider buying has to have a robust feature set that can support all sorts of activities across content and coaching.
Software with one but not the other just entails adding another solution to your tech stack, which complicates alignment and implementation.
Marketing and sales teams need tools for collecting and analyzing data. The best sales enablement solutions can address this need with built-in analytics that can help employees share top-performing content or identify coaching modules that need workshopping.
The platform has to be intuitive and easily navigable, or else sales and marketing teams will struggle to fulfill full-scale enablement. Confusing interfaces or overcomplicated workflows will actively prevent alignment and collaboration instead of facilitating them.
Talk to Showpad today about sales enablement tools
Talk to Showpad today about our all-in-one sales enablement solution and the advantages it brings your business.