The Marketing Manager’s Intro Guide to Sales Enablement

Dana Youngren
Dana Youngren
3 mins

Could Sherlock Holmes solve mysteries without Watson? Could Forrest Gump realize his dream of operating a shrimping boat without Bubba? Could Marlin find Nemo without Dori? The answer is no, and in the same way these famous duos support each other, your sales team needs your marketing team’s help to close the deal.

Smarketing departments (combined sales and marketing teams) are on the rise. Once upon a time, a marketer’s job was to generate a high volume of leads. Now, a marketer must generate qualified leads and produce the content sales needs to turn those leads into opportunities.

Long story short, sales enablement is all about aligning sales and marketing teams to ensure marketing is providing sales with competitive research, case studies, video testimonials, up-to-date presentations, and lead intelligence. When the sales and marketing teams work together, the result is higher lead conversion rates, increased productivity, and more value for the prospect and your organization.

These three best practices will help in aligning sales and marketing teams for success:

1. Understand Digital Body Language

In your personal interactions, body language is almost always a key indicator of how the person you are engaging with is feeling. Are their arms crossed, and are they reclining? You may want to step it up, because chances are they’re losing interest in what you have to say.  

Your prospects online are no different. Because sales have largely shifted to online or over-the-phone interactions, your sales representatives can no longer read the body language of prospective clients. That’s where your marketing team comes in.

To successfully read a prospect’s digital body language, your marketing team should be tracking the following:

  • Emails Opened
  • Number of Form Submissions
  • Number of Website Visits
  • Pages Viewed
  • Social Media Interactions

Many online marketing automation tools allow you to apply a weighted points system to each of the various digital body language signals. For example, 10 points for a website view, 20 points for an opened email, 30 points for a form submission (you get the picture). Set a threshold of points to indicate adequate interest, and when that threshold is reached, send that lead on over to sales.

2. Get the Right Information to the Right People, at the Right Time

One of the most frequently occurring obstacles that sales representatives encounter is insufficient access to the materials and information needed to move a sales opportunity forward. Sure, at this point you have interpreted a prospect’s digital body language signals and reported that information to sales. Based on these findings, the sales representatives have likely predicted some of the questions the potential client may ask, and prepared to answer them swiftly and confidently.

But what happens when a sales representative is caught off guard?

As they fumble through an unorganized heap of online information, trying desperately to find an answer to the question, the sale might have already been lost. The potential client has lost faith in your product’s ability to meet their needs. This unfortunate situation can be entirely avoided by adopting a knowledge management system. When searching for the perfect system to enable your sales team, look for the following characteristics:

  • An exceptional search bar. Not all search bars are created equal. This feature is the key to empowering your sales team with the exact information they need, exactly when they need it.
  • The ability to track which materials are actually being used. If a piece of content intended for sales enablement has not been viewed in over year, it is cluttering the knowledge pool and standing in the way of closing the sale.
  • The ability to integrate with your CRM system. Your sales reps spend most of their day navigating your CRM system. Set them up for success by ensuring they don’t have to leave it to access the information they need.

3. Make Sales Enablement a Priority

In a guide to sales enablement, this might seem like a no-brainer, but many organizations are missing the mark. Ultimately, successfully aligning sales and marketing is not solely up to marketing, and the solution must be an enterprise-wide effort. You need to involve customer support, human resources, IT, product development, and many more departments which comprise your company.

Everyone in your organization has the potential to be an innovator, and everyone should be driving business growth. This change may require some budget reallocation and increased departmental communication, but the knowledge gained by tapping into the potential of every member of your team is guaranteed to enable sales to close the deal.

You are now on your way to providing sales with invaluable data that is sure to drive revenue. When sales representatives are empowered to perform to the best of their ability, every department in your company reaps the benefits, so leave no one out of the solution. Good luck!

July 21, 2016

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