In the ideal company, every department works together as one congruent whole to boost revenue and customer satisfaction. Of course, that ideal can be hard to reach as departments strive to accomplish their own goals and deadlines, and fail to understand the needs of other departments. Marketing and sales departments frequently fit this scenario. While the marketing department's overall goal is to boost sales, it concentrates its efforts on creating messages and generating interest in a product. It then hands the lead over to sales. While plenty of businesses have succeeded with this model, there is so much more to gain by sharing more of the many insights the marketing department finds while conducting its research.
This is what sales enablement is all about: creating greater collaboration between sales and marketing with the end goal of better preparing the sales team for customer engagement. Modern technology has dramatically increased how well businesses can track and understand their customers' motives and actions. Thus, it makes sense to share these buyer insights with the sales department, so it can better assess what an individual cares about, the marketing content that first led to the lead, and the preferred channel of communication. For B2B sales, insights can identify who is and who isn't interested in the sale within each business, so the first contact is more effective.
Of course, implementing an effective enablement program won't be possible if it is a half-hearted effort. Failing to think of all of the elements could leave charts or data unread or perhaps delivered in a way that is not optimal for the use of the sales team. In order to create a successful program, remember these four elements:
- Training: Departments won't start thinking or seeing content differently unless they are trained to do so. In order for the marketing department to include useful insights in their leads, they will need to have a good understanding of sales tactics and how they are applied. They will also need to be able to identify when and where insights will be most useful. On the part of the sales team, they will have to break some old habits and be willing to dive into the data itself rather than expecting someone else to do it for them.
- A Collaborative System: Developing a set system for both departments to follow will eliminate confusion and help speed adoption of the idea. Think about how the entire process should run from beginning to end and strive to streamline it, so less time is spent on a dashboard and more time is used working on the bottom line.
- Technology: The right technology can provide a useful tool for quickly sharing information. A single dashboard that both departments share and is designed to sort content based off of how it would be used, such as by region and stage of the sales process, would be one option to consider.
- Sort the Content: It's not easy to trust data that is old, expired and duplicated. Be sure that data is sorted regularly, so the sales team is only using the most recent information when getting on those sales calls.
Sales enablement is the best marriage of marketing and sales, as it ensures that every marketing effort and insight gained is directly contributing to a sale. It also helps take the bite out of employee turnover as sales enablement has been found to significantly reduce the learning curve for new employees.
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