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A Sales Enablement Game Plan for Marketers

Posted in:  Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Enablement Strategy

Competitive marketers know how every step they take impacts sales.  They combine boldness with shrewd analysis to win deals and keep customers happy. As sales enablement becomes increasingly vital to their company’s success, these same marketers are again expanding their comfort zone to drive greater top-line impact.  Today we’ll share how and why.

A larger role awaits

Marketers face daily decisions on the style of offense they’ll play and how long they’ll play it.  Too often, the hyperactivity of a product launch, announcement, or campaign gives way to pursuit of the next new thing.  Ideas and supporting assets are defended rather than fine-tuned and sales teams are given less than optimal support.  By abandoning the offensive too early, many marketing teams shortchange the revenue growth they originally set out to achieve.

Our recommendation: stay in the game.  

The game we’re referring to is the buyer’s journey.  Given the enormity of competition and the cost of misused sales and marketing opportunities, anything less than end-to-end participation is asking for substandard results.  Fortunately, modern sales enablement is helping marketers and salespeople act in tighter and more sustained unison than ever before.

As illustrated in the 2017 State of Sales Enablement report, marketers widely acknowledge their own room for improvement in categories ranging from making sure the sales team can find needed content to training and onboarding, providing sales management with performance analytics, and more.  The report also highlights that over 75% of sales, marketing, and sales enablement respondents from companies using sales enablement tools reported revenue increases over the past 12 months.  Of these same respondents, nearly 40% reported sales increases greater than 25%.  How’s that for motivation?

If you’re a marketer, we highly recommend sales enablement as the perfect chance to roll up your sleeves and join the best-of-the-best. The success of your product or service increasingly depends upon it.

A sales enablement game plan for marketers

  • Start with internal research.  For example, reach out to your sales team and identify how your marketing technology and processes are helping or hindering progress.  You’ll likely uncover an abundance of suggestions, including that you should spend additional time on sales enablement.  You’ll also become a more trusted partner by showing a willingness to adapt, improve, and hold yourself accountable.     
  • Identify content gaps. Sales enablement provides an unprecedented ability to tailor marketing content strategies to support specific points in the buyer’s journey.  A thorough review of where you’re over and under-invested is essential and quickly attainable via modern sales enablement capabilities.  This is the gateway to higher content ROI.
  • Analyze content performance.  Using sales enablement platform analytics, you can clearly identify content categories and formats that are working vs. those that are not.  This will help tighten proximity between you (and by extension your marketing team) and your target audience.  Meaning you’ll also have an opportunity to infuse fresh ideas into the flow of the audience conversation.  In short, you’ll be better able to translate sales data into marketing insights, and marketing insights into higher-performing activities throughout the sales process.  Which is why you’re in the game in the first place.  
  • Embrace a lead role in sales training.  Another benefit of modern sales enablement is the option to maintain all of your company’s sales content on a single platform, training included.  This is an open invitation to marketers who value upfront connections with their sales counterparts. We have yet to meet a marketer who didn’t wish they had more time with sales or additional chances to drive consistent messages via sales training.  Here it is.   
  • Make yourself available.  There’s no shortage of strategic and tactical advice on how to become a better marketer.  Still, the most effective pros begin with clear visibility into what’s happening on the ground.  Embed yourself with your sales team.  Seek to drive the degree of alignment both sides have sought for so long.  Hop aboard the sales enablement platform that makes it all work and as you do, keep an open door policy.  Playing offense is taking the initiative (and keeping it).     

Assessing performance

Given the investment you’re making, you’ll want to evaluate whether or not you’re moving forward together.  Here are three leading indicators:

  1. You’re less surprised.  
    • The assets and guidance you produced are being used without massive revisions by sales.
    • The sales team has a strong grasp of your brand, messaging, positioning, value proposition, and the content available to them.  
    • Your perception of customer needs is up-to-date and your customers’ perception of your product is as-intended.      
  2. You’re on the same platform as your sales team.   
    • Marketing is publishing content to the platform sales relies upon to find and pitch it.
    • Marketing and sales are referencing identical content performance analytics.
    • Content modifications by sales are visible to marketing and fully measurable.
  3. You share the same goals.  Including goals that might be – at times – out of your direct control.  
    • Your performance reviews are both revenue-based.
    • Conversion rates are a shared KPI.
    • You’re equally invested in sales enablement ROI.   

The relentless pursuit of customer growth

The level of marketing sophistication behind high-growth companies would astonish business leaders of just five years ago.  From technology platforms to audience intelligence, media options, analytics, and more, marketing has evolved at a lightning pace and will not slow.  Yet for many companies, sales and marketing alignment remains an elusive prize.  

Modern sales enablement technology and processes make it easy for marketers to step deeper into the fray, unite on a more meaningful level with their sales counterparts, and influence events throughout the buyer’s journey.  For those inclined to compete on a larger stage and hold themselves accountable to the sales results their company needs (this should be every marketer), there have never been better options for making it happen.