Marketing’s primary goal is to help the sales organisation sell more.
Yet, we’ve seen the fragile alignment between sales and marketing. Sales teams often don’t use the output from marketing, and it’s common for marketing to rarely talk to their sales counterparts.
Fortunately, the rise of ‘sales enablement’ promises alignment across sales, marketing, and operations. These three functions are, metaphorically, the heart, lungs and kidneys of any organisation looking to attract and engage customers. We won’t argue about which function is the heart or the lungs, but we can all agree that working together and in sync keeps the organisation alive.
This blog will highlight how marketing works with sales enablement to drive sales performance.
Marketing – The case for sales enablement
Marketing is often the beginning of your buyer’s journey and should connect the right prospect to the relevant offering in your organisation. Part of marketing’s role is to develop content assets for the sales team in the many touchpoints with the prospect.
At the same time, sales enablement ensures that the sales team knows the purpose of the content assets, which buyer persona it is for and when to use what in the buyer’s journey. Therefore, marketing produces relevant assets, and sales enablement drives efficiency and timeliness, leading to more wins for sales.
If you imagine marketing as the beating heart, sales enablement activities guide the oxygen-rich blood through arteries so that blood reaches the entire body. Sales and marketing misalignment has caused fatal issues in the past – not enough blood, bad blood, and/or unclear instructions that mean some parts of the body don’t get enough blood.
The level of collaboration and alignment that sales enablement provides improves the ability of the sales function to grow revenue. But to ensure lasting impact, a sales enablement strategy must clearly state the organisation’s vision and marketing’s role in delivering on that vision.
Without this clarity, marketing cannot contribute to sales in a way that you can measure. Quantifying marketing impact is an age-old issue many organisations still need to overcome. Misaligned strategies and conflicting priorities lead to nil results and a lack of trust across sales, marketing, and operations.
So, sales enablement is a godsend for organisations that want proper alignment.
Small business owners like me know how tricky it is to gain alignment between sales and marketing. For larger organisations, the challenge grows at least 10-fold. A recent Gartner report reveals that today’s seller spends 16.4% of the sales cycle managing internal complexities. That is time that could be spent engaging and selling to prospects.
How marketing and sales enablement collaborate
Sales enablement cuts out the time spent on activities like:
- Analysing why you have a low conversion rate
- Creating content for a prospect/customer meeting
- Identifying the content assets needed to close a deal
So, how does marketing work effectively with sales enablement? I talked to Johanna Van Doorn, Head of Marketing at Membrain, a B2B sales enablement CRM, about three ways marketing and sales enablement collaborate for a positive impact.
1. Hook up with your sales team
When marketing teams spend more time listening to the sales teams, magical things happen. Marketing gets a deeper understanding of the day-to-day challenges that salespeople face. Such challenges could include the specific objections from prospects, the stages in the cycle that conversations seem to stall or a lack of content to engage certain buyer personas. Johanna explains, “I spend time with the sales team every week. I take the information and apply my marketing knowledge to add value and improve.” Sales enablement can ensure focused support for selling challenges. Align expectations and decide who will follow up and how. This is essential from teamwork instead of a “you do yours and I do mine
2. Close gaps in your content
Conducting a full content audit allows you to identify gaps. If the sales team constantly say that they lack content assets for a stage in the sales cycle, develop an understanding of what’s needed to close the gap. For instance, if several sales leads are at the consideration stage of the buyers’ journey, you might consider creating more case studies. Also, centralise your content in one location to make it easy for your salespeople to find them. Sales enablement takes care of how and when to use such content assets.
3. Analyse your sales process
I’ve assumed that you have a sales process that works for the most part. If you don’t, get in touch with me here. Even organisations that have a sales process identify weak points. For example, say, many people attend a webinar each month, but very few move to the next stage of the process. Marketing and sales enablement can support sales teams by analysing the process to discover the reasons behind the challenge. Sales enablement might uncover content gaps, and marketing can fill those gaps with relevant content.
All hail sales enablement
Driving collaboration between marketing and sales enablement isn’t a one-off project. Like any relationship, there needs to be constant communication and taking stock of how things are going. Any misalignment will negatively impact sales, revenue growth, and customer experience. That’s why sales enablement came to save us.