According to a recent report “ Introducing the State of Sales 2020”, 60% of salespeople say they expect to close fewer deals this year. During these exceptional market conditions companies are realising that their reps need extra help to achieve their quotas.
In a bid to boost their sales team’s efforts and keep revenue flowing many companies are turning to sales enablement. Make sure you read our in depth guide – Sales Enablement: The Secret To Predictable Sales Revenue Growth
In this post we’ll outline what we mean by the term sales enablement. And discuss what’s involved in moving towards a sales enablement strategy.
What do we mean by sales enablement?
While the term can mean different things to different organisations HubSpot has an oft-quoted but apt definition of sales enablement as being:
Sales enablement enables reps to get sales ready
Every second spent with a prospect is crucial in the sales process.
Sales enablement makes sure that reps have the right tools and resources at their disposal – so they’re ideally placed to convert leads and close more deals. It’s a strategy that relies on marketing working closely with sales, so that they can provide sales with the resources to help them sell more effectively.
By resources we generally mean content. This can be in the form of blogs, videos and guides – as well as webinars, case studies, demos and presentations. All of these go towards supporting a rep’s interactions with prospects.
When reps share relevant content with prospects the idea is that it will help trigger desired positive actions, and push prospects further along the path to purchase.
Sales enablement requires a customer-centric approach
Solid buyer personas underpin the sales enablement process. Rather than seeing all leads as equal the aim is to zero in on the ideal customer and build a 360 degree picture of them. This can be done using not only firmographic data – but data relating to an individual stakeholder’s likes, dislikes and search habits.
Rather than aggressively pursuing every lead as soon as they interact with your page the aim is to understand what motivated someone to visit your site. Only qualified leads i.e. those deemed the right fit for your product or service, should be followed up by sales.
At the start of the process sales and marketing need to collaborate and define what a qualified lead looks like. Then agree on which actions trigger sales-readiness.
Customer feedback can help build accurate personas
Sometimes users will buy a product or service and use it for a purpose you didn’t foresee. By understanding why people buy your products and services you can refine your target market more accurately and create better personas.
Ask for customer feedback. Use quick surveys to find out more. Questions to ask could include
- Why did you buy our product/service?
- Did you consider purchasing for any extended period of time?
- Have you ever thought about buying our product/service before but not acted? What made you change your mind?
- How did you use our product or service?
Content is at the core of sales enablement
Content is key to attracting prospects and addressing their concerns throughout the customer journey. By creating enough relevant content the sales team can put it to practical use.
There needs to be a process around generating and distributing content: Using sales enablement you can reframe your content to find the missing knowledge and strategy and make it central to both your sales and marketing activities.
Sales should play a crucial part in the content process. They should be regularly communicating to marketing which types of content and resources are missing. This makes sense, since salespeople spend their time ‘in the field’ with prospects so they’re best placed to readily identify prospective customers’ concerns.
Creating a service level agreement can keep teams aligned
To keep sales and marketing working together towards defined goals some companies find it helps to create a service level agreement (SLA).
The SLA can act as a kind of contract between the two teams in terms of what each should expect of the other. The agreement could look something like this:
“Every month marketing will deliver 750 qualified leads to Sales. Sales will contact those leads within 24 hours of receiving them.”
To help parties keep on track inter-departmental meetings are key to discussing progress towards the SLA (or a ‘smarketing’ meeting as it’s now sometimes termed) so that problems can be identified or quotas re-negotiated if required.
Sales enablement removes the obstacles holding back sales, and offers them important useful resources to enable them to close more deals in a shorter time. With the help of sales’ insights, marketing creates the content and trains the sales team on how to use it. Read more about the benefits of sales enablement and why you need this structured sales strategy.
The sales team enters the content into the sales enablement system and tests it in the marketplace – reporting KPIs back to marketing for analysis. That way sales enablement isn’t a static process but one that’s constantly realigning with the needs of prospective customers.