It is not unusual for companies to launch a well-researched, high-spend marketing campaign, which results in disappointing sales figures. Simply having detailed data on everything about your buyers isn’t enough. It’s the last-mile which makes all the difference. How effectively your sales force can bring out the most valuable information based on the buyer’s situation plays a major role in closing the deal. With easy-to-access content available at the click of a button, buyers have more choices than ever before. According to FocusVision, the average B2B buyer consumes 13 pieces of content before making a purchase decision. Making every interaction with the buyer should, therefore, bring something they find valuable. This is where a powerful sales enablement strategy can make you stand out amongst the crowd. 

What is sales enablement

A sales enablement strategy provides a seamless experience for the buyer with the right content, the right tools, at the right time in the buying process. It helps sales teams master the art of adaptive selling i.e. the ability to align their selling tactics to the buyer’s situation. In other words, to personalize the entire journey from the top of the funnel right to the bottom. Enter sales enablement.

Why do you need it

  • Any content is not good content: Buyers spend a large chunk of their time-consuming content before deciding to purchase. You can no longer assume that one type of content will work for all your customers across their entire sales cycle. Personalized, relevant content is what closes deals.
  • Amp up on productivity: Sales enablement tools help your sales team to work faster and more efficiently so that they don’t waste their time on activities that don’t result in sales.
  • The winning formula: When you bring together the power of effective marketing and effective selling, you’re creating a superpower, and sales enablement is something like that. With marketing’s ability to design effective messages and sales’ ability to deliver them to the right audience at the right time, you’ve got a winner.

All roads lead to sales

Companies are divided into various departments so that together they can reach for a common goal. But the ground reality often is very different for this utopian idea. Sit these different departments together in one room and ask them what their goals are and you are sure to hear a bunch of very different answers. Irrespective of what department you fall in – all roads lead to sales – which means every department is working towards a common goal – more sales. Alignment with your sales team, empowering them with the best of what you have to offer is, then, of utmost importance. If your product, sales, marketing, and support teams are not talking to each other, consider your organization misaligned. 

Having a robust and inclusive sales enablement strategy is a great way to fill this proverbial gap.

“Companies with aligned marketing and sales teams are 67% more efficient at closing deals.”

Here are 5 things to keep in mind when creating a well-designed sales enablement strategy to set your business apart:

Put the buyer at the center: 

Sales enablement is about making sure that the salesperson brings what the buyer wants to the table. Every effort in drawing out your sales enablement plan needs to start from the buyer. What would be invaluable to your buyer at different stages of the buying process? There are two aspects here – first, knowing what works at each stage and second, equipping your sales teams to deliver. Successfully putting the buyer first will lead to higher credibility, faster conversions, and a long-lasting relationship.  

Align and join forces: 

Who drives sales enablement? Is it the Marketing team or the Sales team? In reality, both teams need to work together like a relay – one complementing the other. Every marketing playbook starts by understanding the problems of your high-potential buyers and how the business solves those. Making sure the same information is available for the salesforce, will eventually engage the buyers and bring in the business. Marketing and sales teams that work in silos, often end up with low lead generation resulting in dismal conversions. 

Research shows that up to 70% of all created marketing content remains unused. Small interventions by marketing such as creating bulleted talking points of content which buyers are consuming, snapshots of what competitors are creating for buyers and your differentiators, research on purchase-pattern, etc. could lead to better conversations and higher conversions. 

Train, train and then train some more: 

Sales enablement training cannot be a one-time activity. Business needs are changing rapidly, which means your buyers’ problems are evolving. To build brand credibility, your salesforce must have the latest updates handy. A report by Sales Performance International shows that nearly 84% of sales training is forgotten after 90 days. A more effective way would be to set up shorter (weekly/fortnightly) but regular programs. An ongoing effort will automatically drive usage by the sales teams to deliver results. Apart from webinars, using tools like weekly newsletters, competitor updates, best practices, sharp focussed insights will create a meaningful conversation with buyers. 

Create meaningful, high-quality content: 

There is no denying that we are living in times of content overload. Which is why quality matters now more than ever before to stand out from the clutter. A powerful sales enablement strategy focuses on creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey. This organized content map should comprise everything from informative blog posts, case studies, industry white papers, customer testimonials, webinars, interactive content, and battle cards to name a few. A centralized and updated platform that provides relevant, latest content in one location, helps sales teams with faster turnaround times and higher win rates. Create a content library for your sales team.

Internal collateral that can help understand the product and buyer better include:

  • Training material
  • Market research
  • Buyer persona
  • Datasheets

External collateral which is customer-facing content, include:

  • Sales decks
  • Presentations
  • Case studies
  • Competitor battle cards

Measure the effectiveness of your sales enablement strategy:  

The true test of an effective plan lies in the outcome. Without clear measurement metrics, the success of your sales enablement strategy could be in jeopardy. While the number and type of KPIs would differ from industry to industry, sales enablement leaders must tie these to revenue and overall sales team productivity. A mix of both qualitative and quantitative measures could also give feedback on areas of improvement within the current strategy. For example, a growth in the achievement of monthly quotas by 50% of the sales team might be a highlight, but it is also important to gather feedback from reps on time spent in finding the relevant content to close these deals. Proactively changing what works and what does not continuously will build a robust sales enablement system.

It is time to go beyond buzzwords and invest in aligning sales and marketing gaps with an agile sales enablement strategy. Are you ready to build a culture focused on sales for everyone, from everyone? Say yes to the sales enablement way of working and empower your sales team with the right content and tools to close more deals, faster!

Ep #11: How Alignment Can Help Product Marketers Get Off the Hamster Wheel
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About Author

Ashish Jain
Ashish Jain

Sales & marketing enthusiast, entrepreneur, who is passionate about technology to business alignment. Ashish excels at creating simple yet compelling stories out of complex ideas; and is committed to driving organizational growth by aligning sales, product, and marketing around customer needs. He has over 15 years of experience in leading marketing and product strategies of software products in the networking and telecom industry, and training sales teams to outperform the competition. He is an expert in next-generation telecom and networking technologies (VoIP, Unified Communications, Cloud Communications APIs, 4G/ 5G small cells, VoLTE), IoT, and enterprise Wi-Fi), and leveraging inbound sales and marketing technologies tech stack to drive business impact. Ashish holds Masters in Computer Science from University of Texas. He is CEO & Co-Founder of KAIROS Strategic Consulting – a MarTech agency that provides product marketing and sales enablement solutions to startups and Fortune 500 B2B technology companies.

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