An estimated 82% of marketers have a sales enablement strategy in place, but if they’re failing to implement sales enablement best practices then they won’t be achieving optimal results.
Sales enablement is all about making sure your sales team has the right resources at the right times. Then they’ll be ‘enabled’ to hold optimal conversations with potential customers and drive deals through to completion.
There has to be a whole sea-change in mindsets and practices across the organisation if sales enablement is to work.
In this post we’ll outline some sales enablement best practices that will help you better align your sales and marketing teams, reduce mis-communication and reduce wasted selling opportunities. By adopting these protocols companies can achieve higher sales quotas and see increased ROIs.
1. Get the team onboard with your CRM
So you can continually evaluate what’s working, and what’s not, you need to have insights into
The activities your reps are running
Where they are in the pipeline
How your team is performing against goals
This means reps should be able to share and update their status regarding their deals in the CRM. Everyone should be able to access the same information to boost team working and communication. The CRM must become the hub of the organisation.
Every company is different. So it’s important to customise your CRM settings to reflect your sales processes. And your CRM must be able to integrate with other apps and dashboards so you can get in-depth reports that reflect your specific attribution and revenue models.
2. Make sure sales and marketing are closely aligned
As part of sales enablement best practices reps need to be able to access information that’s tailored to specific target accounts. To do this the sales team needs to be aligned with marketing. With sales’ help marketing can create relevant content based on reps’ conversations with target audiences.
Once the two teams are on the same page they can also identify what makes a lead ‘qualified’, assess how well the content is working, and make necessary adjustments.
3. Instill sales enablement best practices with regular training
According to recent research most business leaders say their sales managers
“Represent the most strategically important investment of our training resources, energy and attention right now.”
That’s because sales teams are in the unique position of being able to directly influence customer-facing revenue. Training shouldn’t apply when simply onboarding new recruits – but to offering regular training opportunities for reps throughout the year.
Sales need to be trained on new products and new methodologies – as well as on new sales techniques – including how to utilize content to its best effect.
4. Formalise the sales enablement process
Without a written set of guidelines you can’t be sure everyone is on the same page. For a sales enablement strategy to be successful everyone needs to understand their role in adopting and executing the new processes. A formal approach will ensure teams have the right mindsets and understand the importance of working together efficiently.
A formal approach is clearly a winning formula. CSO Insights suggest that companies with a formal sales enablement charter report the best results in terms of win rates.
5. Make sharing sales enablement best practices ‘best practice’
As every rep will tell you sales is a dynamic environment with products and messaging changing every day – as well as the needs of customers. Good reps should be in constant communication with each other, sharing what’s working well so that everyone can improve performance and meet or exceed quotas.
Companies need to create a closed-loop system of feedback around content, training and best practices. This applies not only to the sales team but cross departmentally. Marketing, in particular, needs to know how the sales teams are making best use of their content and assets.
It makes sense to find out how and why some reps are excelling in certain areas and replicate those across the company. If a member of the sales team has worked out a winning call cadence (that’s consistently landing them big accounts) it makes sense to make that a standard for all reps.
Organisations that implement structured, measurable sales enablement processes and invest in dedicated technology are getting impressive results. A commitment to developing a culture where sales enablement best practices are the norm is the ideal environment in which to build trust and motivate teams to sell more.
Companies that address the basics and have formal sales enablement processes in place look set to outperform those that don’t in this new era of selling.
B2B inbound marketing is all about highly targeted content which is aimed at attracting individuals within another business or organisation to your business.
It would be great to believe that prospective customers will naturally fall upon your website and come knocking down your door to buy your service or product, but the truth is that life in the connected world has never been noisier or more competitive, it’s now harder than ever to try and stand out, however inbound marketing allows you to get ahead of the game.
Traditional means of “push” marketing are simply not working, and businesses are beginning to see revenue stagnate or even drop as they fail to keep up. Shouting about offers in an impersonal and intrusive way via cold calls, direct mail and other forms of hard selling are wearing thin and customers are no longer responding.
Inbound marketing and sales are now the way forward – pulling your customers in through a campaign that offers valuable insight and solutions will not only cultivate results but help gain the trust, loyalty and respect of your audience that leads to the long-term relationship and advocacy your business craves.
Not only does B2B inbound marketing allow you to work better with your customers, but it also allows you and your business to work smarter with money. Traditional means of outbound marketing are costly, and don’t necessarily get you the results you so need, while inbound marketing is much more cost effective and works at directly addressing your audience and pulling your prospective customers in to you.
Remember, inbound is not about forcing your product or service on prospective leads and customers, but is about answering their questions, problems and pain points, educate and inform them by using your industry knowledge. There are thousands, if not millions, of potential customers out there who are searching for what you’re offering – by becoming a trusted source of information, you’re building a solid relationship and these people will want to come back, and eventually will buy into your product or service. If you’re using the old and outdated methods of outbound, this simply won’t happen, potential customers will become irritated and bored of your impersonal and pushy approach and will look elsewhere to answer their problems…and you don’t want that.
By putting your customers at the heart of what you do, you’re able to attract, engage and delight them at all stages of the buyers journey, and that way you’re building up a nice, healthy and positive relationship, rather than pushing away leads through annoying spam.
Why inbound instead of outbound?
Inbound marketing educates the audience, while outbound tries to hard sell to the audience.
Inbound marketing engages and interacts with the audience, while outbound rarely engages with the audience.
Inbound marketing uses effective content to pull audiences in, while the biggest budget will win with outbound.
With inbound, the audience gives permission to the marketer, while outbound interrupts the audience.
Buyer personas and buyers journey: Buyer personas are the most important step in creating an inbound marketing campaign as they allow for you to get a real insight into your customers. They’re semi-fictional representations of your perfect customer and are key to ensuring that your campaigns are effectively targeting and speaking to the right people. Buyers journey relates to the route that your leads will take to becoming a customer.
Remarkable content: Content is important, content allows you to have a voice for your brand and is at the heart of inbound marketing. Content includes, but not limited to, blog posts, social media posts, images, videos, webinars, infographics and so on. Read more on why content is important.
Inbound marketing website: An inbound marketing website is built and designed with user experience in mind, using lead generation/conversion, content creation and personalisation. To do this, you should build your website on a CMS, a CMS will make it easier for you to maintain, update and improve.
Web analytics: In order to improve on what you’re doing, it’s important that you track what you’ve done. Using HubSpot, Google Analytics, Hotjar, Wistia and other software, you can track and measure the performance of your marketing campaigns through metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, click-through rates, on-screen time etc.
If you’re reading this and still using an outbound marketing methodology, then it’s time to switch up and adapt your business to the modern world by adopting a B2B inbound marketing strategy – Make sure you download our guide below.
According to Forrester, 62% of marketers say they’ve been able to measure the positive impact of account-based marketing (ABM). Using account-based marketing metrics organisations have been able to build up concrete data about ABM’s positive performance.
This underlines the importance of tracking and measuring account-based marketing campaigns. According to Kirsty Dawe of Really B2B, it’s essential to gather ABM metrics at every stage of the sales cycle so that:
“You can measure engagement right throughout the funnel. Personalisation starts with data, If you don’t have all the insights you won’t be able to personalise effectively.”
Account-based marketing metrics have a narrow focus
Traditional marketing metrics focus widely around traffic, lead generation and conversion. ABM metrics on the other hand, concentrate on data related to a small number of target accounts. ABM marketers can be said to be after ‘quality’ rather than ‘quantity’. This approach is based on engaging with specific good-fit target accounts in order to maximise revenue from them. Read more about Account-based marketing here.
5 Key ABM Metrics To Measure
Measuring coverage is key to building a sustainable ABM program. By examining coverage you’re basically finding out if you have enough of the ‘right’ people in your database. To see if this is the case, ask yourself the following questions:
● How many target accounts have you researched in your target segment? ● Have you identified all the named stakeholders in those accounts? ● What percentage of those stakeholders have given you ‘opted-in’ information? ● How many accounts do you currently create custom content for?
With account-based marketing, your aim is to reach each target account and every stakeholder within that account.
By gathering this data you’ll find out how close you are to interacting with every key contact in an account. And you’ll know how far you’ve come to expanding your list of accounts within a target segment.
Building awareness with target accounts is a key stage in the ABM process. To see how well you’re doing, track how familiar your target accounts are with your brand and your offering. Your web traffic should give you a good idea of this, specifically the incoming traffic from target accounts.
Other metrics to track include how many contacts are opening your emails and reading them, answering your calls, or attending your events.
Understanding levels of awareness will help you identify the right content for different contacts. It will also enable you to pitch conversations at the correct level – and ensure prospects are noticing your introductory content at the start of the funnel.
Metrics to watch include the level of engagement of key accounts. Engagement levels will tell you whether your campaign is getting people to act.
Tracking engagement can involve a number of metrics depending on your business or industry. However they generally include:
● How many minutes are prospects spending with your brand? ● At what points are they responding to your content or program? ● Are target accounts interacting with your brand on social networks – and which content interests them most?
Check product page visits, click-through rates, content downloads and email open rates. And naturally, you’ll need to track the occasions prospects come into contact with your sales or marketing team.
Gauging engagement will give you critical insights into what’s happening at the top and bottom of your sales funnel
Track your success by channel. When you run a webinar you’ll count the number of people attending as a matter of course. But with ABM you need to track the percentage of target accounts that attend as well. Track metrics across all activities – what percentage of all program successes come from key accounts?
By tracking reach you can find the waste in your ABM strategies. It will tell you, for example, if you’re seeing more success with personalised eBooks as opposed to webinars.
How far are your ABM activities influencing results? Look for correlations between activities and key sales outcomes.
Dig for insights so you can say with confidence, for example, a stat that is consistent across ABM campaigns is the fact that.
“Accounts in the top 20% of engagements have a 15% faster sales cycle than those in the bottom 20%”
Track your results against traditional marketing campaign results. Metrics to watch include: How quickly deals are getting closed, your win rates, retention and average contract values.
Measure every touchpoint
Account-based marketing metrics will allow you to say with authority that ABM marketing is the way forward. For example, by measuring the time it takes to close accounts you will see whether accounts receiving customized content convert faster.
A recent report by CSO Insights revealed that sales cycles for high value products and services are increasing. So the case for ABM and more targeted messaging is getting stronger.
Modern day B2B customers want something different from B2B sellers. They want a more omnichannel, frictionless buying experience and less direct interaction with salespeople until later in the sales cycle.
That’s why so many organisations are turning to B2B sales enablement. It’s been shown that B2B businesses that use sales enablement techniques are more likely to achieve or exceed their sales quota – and in a shorter period of time. Make sure you check out our in-depth guide to sales enablement here Sales Enablement: The Secret To Predictable Sales Revenue Growth.
Why is B2B sales enablement so successful?
Just as consumers of today expect a tailored, on-demand experience when it comes to Netflix or Uber, B2B buyers want a seamless experience. They want the right information, at the right time, delivered via their preferred channels.
Potential customers have high expectations around the content and input they receive from a business. B2B buyers are often younger too, and, having grown up in the digital age they’re highly invested in all things online.
Since lockdown it appears they’re demanding an even slicker experience. Since the start of the crisis, according to McKinsey
“ When researching products, customers’ preference for digitally enabled sales interactions has jumped significantly.”
Failing to meet their expectations could spell disaster.
B2B Sellers see sales enablement as a way to improve falling quotas
B2B companies need to find solutions to improve win rates, accelerate deals and build stronger customer relationships. To do this, according to SoPro they should be involved in
“The continual process of removing barriers to achieving sales. It can be realised and maximised through strategies, tools and processes.”
The role of a sales rep has changed dramatically
B2B prospects often complete the majority of their purchasing journey before they even meet a rep.
Personality, while still important, is not enough to push prospects through a predetermined sales funnel. The sales process today is all about identifying and catering to the key moments in a buyer’s journey, using different channels and targeting content and sales messages.
However B2B sales enablement is not just about ‘moving to digital’. The death of the salesperson has been widely exaggerated. It’s not that there’s no need for that human touch – It’s about working out how and when to deploy sales reps to best effect.
Sales and marketing must align
While there are other barriers to achieving higher sales quotas (for example, product development, service delivery or customer satisfaction) the underlying issue is the misalignment of sales and marketing teams. When this happens nobody has their focus 100% on practices relevant to a buyer’s persona or journey.
So a key aspect to B2B sales enablement is to ensure that marketing and sales develop close collaboration. Then marketing can create personalised, highly relevant content for sales to use within the sales cycle. Marketing and sales need to work together to craft messaging at the right times, and across all touchpoints, to engage customers and keep them moving forward.
Both teams also need to be able to track and understand the returns on investment (ROIs) of later stage content. Then they can maximise the reps’ ability to have valuable, converting conversations.
Sales enablement strategies, tools and processes
The path to sales enablement will differ from firm to firm. But anything that improves sales performance can be counted as part of a sales enablement strategy. Here are a few general points to consider when you’re planning sales enablement implementation:
Firstly and foremost it’s essential to make sure content is being properly managed and delivered.
Large B2B companies often have tons of content which can be living in different locations. It’s estimated that sales reps can spend up to 30 hours a month searching for, and creating, content. And materials that are outdated or off-brand can surface at any time: Customers who receive irrelevant content are likely to disengage themselves from the conversation.
To fix this problem organisations need, at the very least, to create a content library and integrate this with a sales enablement solution. All content needs to be tagged so that marketing and sales can find what they need.
Sales need to be trained on how to use the sales enablement system(s) to access custom content. And understand how to input their feedback so that marketing can produce better content going forward.
Sales enablement is a proven strategy. According to research by Aberdeen 84% of reps at companies with best-in-class sales enablement strategies achieved their quotas compared with 55% of reps at companies with average strategies (and 15% at companies with none).
These are powerful statistics that go to show that failing to keep up with the B2B buyer’s changing mindset could have dire consequences for B2B companies.
Have you ever considered the concept of using video within your emails? If you haven’t, then you really should consider adopting video email marketing.
You may be looking at this thinking that email is dead within marketing, but that simply isn’t true. Email marketing remains the best way to attract and even retain customers.
Video marketing as a whole:
Video marketing is the use of videos to promote and market your product or service to increase your digital and social platforms. Videos can be used to educate your customers and reach your audience with a new medium.
According to research carried out by HubSpot, video content performs much better than any other type of content, with email and newsletters coming in at second best – so why not combine the two?
Video and the flywheel:
Video content has completely revolutionised the way that salespeople connect with prospects, leads and even converting them into customers. You can attract, engage and delight your audience with videos and video emails, they’re not just about increasing brand awareness. Read more about Inbound Marketing and why it is important to help and educate your prospects rather than try a hard-sell and push your message onto people – they won’t want to listen.
Educate, inform and help your prospects and customers through video. It can do so much more for you than just increase engagement, analytics can help you and your salespeople to qualify and prioritise cold or unresponsive leads.
Video & email:
Using video in your email improves both the open and click-through rates, and video marketing itself isn’t a new trend. It has been a pivotal content marketing tool across every platform and social media channel. Video is no longer just one small piece of your marketing puzzle, it’s now central to your customer outreach strategy’s.
If you’re reading this and feeling a little overwhelmed by the concept of video, don’t be. You don’t need any fancy cameras, sound equipment or even editing software. Smartphones are now well equipped for video – most even shooting in 4K. Be real, raw and honest in your videos, your audience will love that, and it can have a real impact.
In the past, video was mainly seen as entertainment, while it still is, video is also an important marketing tool. Video has the ability to increase conversion rates on landing pages by over 80%. The mention of the word ‘video’ in your email subject line increases open rates by 20%. Finally, 90% of customers say that videos often help them when making a buying decision.
8 Types of video to include in your emails and make them stand out:
Demo videos – showcase how your product works, a tour of your software, for example. You can add these into your email to show potential prospects how you can help them.
Brand videos – These are usually part of your larger marketing campaign and showcase the company’s vision/ideas and services. These videos are about building up your brand awareness and to attract potential customers to you and your services.
Event videos – perhaps you’ve hosted a workshop, a charity event, a seminar or any other event, a highlight reel can showcase this to the world. Perhaps you’re hosting another similar event in a few weeks/months’ time and want to create an email marketing campaign to reach out to others who may be interested, including a small clip of a previous event may pique their interest.
Influencer Interviews – interviewing an influencer in your field is a great way of building credibility and trust with your intended audience. These can also be added to emails alongside your social platforms. Imagine the open rate with your audience if you’ve got an interview with Richard Branson ?
Educational & How-To videos – using educational and How to videos are a great way of engaging your audience. Use this to help them understand your business/product. What better way than to walk and talk them through it via a video? A much more cohesive way to fully explain things than it would be in plain text.
Animated videos – these can be really strong visually and are a great way to explain a product or service. Perhaps you may feel more comfortable producing an animated video than having your own face on screen.
Case studies& Testimonials – Your prospects want to know that your product will be the solution to their problem. Case studies help give real-life examples of how you have helped other people in their situation. Video testimonials from happy customers are also a great way of talking about your business through other people.
Personalised messages – video can be a creative tool for personal outreach, particularly via email. A personal buying experience is no longer a “nice to have” it is expected. Why not follow up recent meeting with a prospect by sending a personal video recapping the meeting. You can then give recommendations on how you can help them, next steps and recommendations.
Video can be added to emails to convert prospects into leads, nurture your leads into customers or to delight customers.
Example of what a video can look like when embedded into an email.
Using Vidyard For Your Video Marketing
Vidyard is the perfect video hosting platform if you want to get involved in video emails. The platform allows you to publish, update to social media channels, as well as enabling you to embed these videos into emails.
From your Vidyard portal, you’re able to see viewer insights such as, how many views your video has received. This is extremely useful as you’ll be able to see what kind of videos your audience connects with.Valuable insights that can then be entered directly into your CRM.
Vidyard even makes it incredibly easy to personalise your videos. You can input features such as the viewers name and company directly into the video. What better way to connect with a prospect than to make it all about them and how important they are?
Elements to include in your video emails:
The word ‘video’ in the email subject line
Place the video below your email copy
Use closed caption and subtitles where possible – so people can watch the video in silence.
Include video captions – these will really help those who want to watch without sound.
Use an animated thumbnail
Film to fit the medium
Measure & track your videos – see what’s working and what’s not so you can achieve the best results possible.
Improve SEO: Video in email increases site traffic, which can have an impact on SEO, and clicks—video users get 41% more search traffic than non-users
Benefits of using video in emails:
Videos really give you a great opportunity to break through to your audience and really connect well with them, you can make complicated topics and issues a lot simpler while building up the trust and loyalty from your customers.
Videos are also great for B2B, most of the time buyers want to see interesting things but that doesn’t happen all too often. Video offers a range of creativity and captures the attention of the viewer, plus they’re much more visually pleasing than a paragraph of plain text that’s easy to ignore.
People receive hundreds of emails per day. Stand out from the crowd and get started with video email marketing today ?