By moving towards a sales enablement strategy you’ll not only help your sales reps sell more – but you’ll be solving a traditional headache for many companies: The misalignment between sales and marketing. This can be solved by embracing sales enablement meetings.
This is a problem you can’t afford to ignore. What used to work for the sales process no longer applies. Few people choose to meet a sales rep in person – most of the sales process now takes place online. Make sure you check out our in-depth guide to sales enablement here Sales Enablement: The Secret To Predictable Sales Revenue Growth.
In order to meet the requirements of the modern buyer, sales and marketing need to collaborate in order to
Initiate the right conversations with prospects at the right times
Failure to align the two teams will lead to wasted budgets and resources.
Successful sales enablement requires sales and marketing to work together
Recent research indicates that companies with aligned teams are 67% more efficient at closing deals. So it’s essential to get the two divisions talking. And a good way to do this is to host regular sales enablement meetings.
Run sales enablement meetings or ‘smarketing’ meetings
“A time when sales and marketing teams come together to discuss problems and collaborate on solutions.”
Some main benefits of running regular interdepartmental sales enablement meetings are:
Regular meet-ups will build stronger personal relationships between members of both teams. Despite initial differences, they may start to like each other!
Working together means campaigns will be more impactful
Both teams will be motivated towards the sale goals i.e. increased revenue
Team members can get clear feedback and work to refine strategies
Teams can keep each other informed of competitive tactics
Meetings are a good place to establish trust
During these meetings both teams can talk about important concepts around changing customer expectations, and establish accountability. Sales and marketing may also find it useful to set up a ‘service level agreement’ (SLA) to define the expectations each has of the other.
This is a kind of contract between the two teams which documents the agreed responsibilities of all parties. An SLA can make a good point of reference during a meeting.
How to make ‘smarketing’ meetings as productive as possible
Aim to do these three things:
1. Make the focus of the sales enablement meeting to solve specific problems
Rather than make participants sit through an endless procession of slides – to show historical or ‘aspirational’ data – make the meeting entirely about problem solving. This should be a place where teams can discuss what isn’t working and how to fix things.
Within the course of a meeting aim to identify problems with current goals, brainstorm solutions and create assignments that need to be completed before the next meeting.
2. Invite only necessary people
Don’t invite too many people to your ‘smarketing’ meeting. Groups are more effective when fewer numbers of people are present so don’t invite more than 10 participants. If you need to cut down the numbers, start with top managers. They can stifle proceedings, since fewer people are happy to contribute when the CEO is in the room.
You could also break the meetings into smaller groups – maybe for different regions, or product lines. Then representatives from both meetings could connect to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
In larger organisations it can help to invite participants on a rotational basis.
3. Give everyone a voice
Make sure everyone contributes. Ask attendees directly for their input if you haven’t heard from them. People may be disinclined to speak up for various reasons.
Maybe they don’t actually have anything to add (in which case they shouldn’t be at the meeting), or they feel others are domineering the meeting.
Certain attendees may be happier just watching proceedings. If that’s the case you can send them a link to the recording in future rather than invite them to the meeting.
Or they don’t like the opinions being presented but don’t want to appear negative (this is a mindset you need to change) by making it clear you welcome all negative feedback.
The harmonious existence of sales and marketing is fundamental to a growing business. Both must have a common aim – to capture, nurture, engage and convert leads (without necessitating any conflict between the two teams). There needs to be a continual flow of information between sales and marketing via technology including the CRM.
As well as this there should be a place for people to discuss issues and provide feedback in person. By creating a strong marketing/sales cohesion in the workplace both teams will feel they’re fighting the same battles and share a common goal; that of creating more revenue for the company.
Many of us spend a lot of time on social media and regularly use it to check reviews on products and services we’re thinking about using. However we tend to ignore the fact that other buyers are doing exactly the same for the products and services provided by the companies we work for.
Every business will have local competition, it goes without saying. Even if you are focused on a particular niche, there will likely be more established and longer running companies competing for your audience. However understanding your competitors can teach you a lot, and actually help leverage you above them in the marketplace.
Identify your top 5 competitors
As a key part of your digital research (and always the first step we take with a new client), we recommend you start by identifying your biggest competition; those 5 businesses both within your catchment or nationally who are offering a similar service. By seeing what each organisation is doing well, and where they are under-performing you are able to get an in-depth understanding of what works and where you can excel in order to stand out.
You may well already know who your competitors are, but if not a simple Google search will help you identify who is ranking in your marketplace – “UK Sales Training Companies” for example. Remember your goal and the litmus test to a successful digital strategy is for your business to be showing near the top of such a search!
What is their website like?
For now, don’t worry about how your online presence compares – that comes later. But do be honest when it comes to analysing what others are doing. Do they have a website? Is it easy to navigate? How is the design? If you were a customer would it pull you in or would you move on to the next search result?
A website is a big part of any organisation, offering a source of information, positioning your authority, and giving a strong sense of who you are and what you offer.
Do they have a blog?
Nowadays everyone is blogging, but not all blogs are created equal. We regard a good blog as central to a successful strategy as a way to relay information and offer free quality content to your potential audience. Look through older posts and see what type of subjects they are writing about, the length, tone of voice. Are there any comments showing the audience are engaged with the post? Are they posting weekly or once a year?
You may decide a blog isn’t the way forward for your company or you simply don’t have the time to dedicate to it just now, but at least you are aware what your competitors are offering their audience and know what you need to be doing now or in the future in order to match them.
What social media platforms do they use?
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube… all are commonplace in today’s market and are often the first places someone will look to get a sense of your business with posts giving an instant snapshot. Not every platform will work for every organisation, for example Facebook and Instagram will likely be the most popular choice for companies with a strong visual representation, whereas LinkedIn and Twitter are best for those looking to network and grow their audience.
That said, there are no rules when it comes to social media so see what others are using and how it’s working for them.
Look at what type of content they’re posting – is it mostly images or video? Are they promoting their website or any events they may offer? Do they make use of live streaming? Make a note of which feeds are posting on a daily basis or if they’ve been neglected over the months. Do a thorough search to really gain as much information as you can; you might find many platforms go up and down as staff come and go or other things get in the way of effective scheduling.
Although follower size should be acknowledged, it is the level of engagement from the audience which is key as this shows how interested those people actually are in the content going out. You can easily accrue a large following, but having the right audience is crucial for successful social media – there is no point broadcasting to thousands if they are never going to convert into customers. Look at the numbers of likes, shares / retweets and comments to see what kind of reaction posts are getting, and see if it is in fact the target audience making the most noise.
Why understanding your competitors is important
Digital Media Edge pride ourselves on our “strategy before tactics approach” and by identifying what the local competition are doing, you see where you can capitalise on platforms you know will generate interest and break into those that your competition have yet to master. And remember – if your competitors aren’t doing something, it doesn’t necessary mean that it doesn’t work. It just means no one else is trying it, and you could be the one to start leading the trend…
This research can then form the basis of your tactical implementation, helping you understand what you need to do going forward to exceed your competitors’ digital delivery and more importantly, why.
In my last article I spoke at length about the power of embracing a “buyer centric” model for business growth.
Indeed the very core of effective digital marketing is the segmentation of your buyers and a focus on understanding your ideal customer and their buying journey. In this article I will examine the key factors that you need to examine to determine your ideal buyer persona and why this is so important.
What is a buyer persona?
When writing a digital strategy for any client, our starting point is to understand their target buyer persona. The reason being that once we understand who we are talking to, we can also answer the following key questions:
What are their goals and values?
What are their challenges and pain points?
What are their “trusted” sources of information?
What are the possible objections that need answering for them?
What is their role in the buying process?
Who else could be in their sphere of influence?
How do the competition engage with the buyer?
What devices do they use?
What is there preferred social media platform?
What content does the buyer engage with?
Who else has the buyers attention i.e influencers?
What is their buying journey – Awareness stage, Consideration Stage and Selection Stage?
As you can see this is the heart of an effective digital strategy which has a narrow focus on connecting and engaging with a very specific buyer and helping them along their buyers journey with valuable insight and content, a very “buyer centric” marketing plan.
Audit your own digital presence first
The digital audit we carry out on our client’s existing digital presence is geared towards how effective they currently are with their website, content, social media and inbound marketing approach in attracting their target buyer persona.
“Is every touch point you have with your target persona remarkable? Both online and offline?”
I recommend you start by doing the same with every touch point your business has, both online and offline – ask yourself “Is it remarkable and adding value to your target persona?”
How to build a persona
The most common question we get is “Where do you start?” – The simple answer is, start with what you know and the data you have, then make educated guesses for anything else initially, but allow your personas to mature over time, constantly adding data and replacing guesses with accurate insight. The key sources of persona data I would recommend are:
Look at your Facebook Page “Insights” – This will give you a view on some demographic data such as age, gender and location.
Existing Customers – Analyse your last 100 customers for trends and patterns. Get as much information on existing customers as you can from your CRM. What age are they, how did they originally get in touch with you, what did they buy etc or pick up the phone and speak to them or run a survey.
Talk to your Sales Team – A fantastic source of information is the sales team, as they will hear the same questions daily from customers and prospective customers. Map these out into Challenges / Pain Points.
Sounds like a lot of work, is it worth it? Can’t I just market to everyone?
We spend a lot of time on creating accurate buyer persona’s in our workshops because this drives your website design, content strategy, social media strategy and what metrics you are measuring for success.
So yes, it is worth the effort and the more accurate these become the more you will get into the mindset of your potential buyers. Remember, that is our goal with Inbound Marketing, to attract, engage and delight more of your ideal customer to drive predictable business growth. If you need any help planning your digital strategy or simply want to plan a free 30 Minute Discovery Call with me about your specific business growth goals and how you can achieve them through digital and social marketing, then get in touch here – Let’s Talk About My Business