Sales enablement is a team sport, with salespeople working together with the support of the marketing team. Marketing’s perspective helps salesmen to see the other half of the picture, and therefore earns them the right to make strategic and tactical contributions. Although you will need to find ways to best support your sales team to sell your specific products or services, here are seven best practices to get the game underway!
1. Hire the RIGHT People
Salespeople need the knowledge, skills and capabilities to consult your leads. Customers want experts who truly understand their needs and difficulties. Today’s buyers are educated, entering the sales funnel much further along in the buyer’s journey. Your sales reps must be flexible when they discover the customer already knows his/her needs. Additionally, leadership is crucial, so existing sales staff can guide new recruits in how “things are done” in your business, while still discovering solutions to engage their own customers.
2. Evaluate, Yet Understand Your Sales Team Members
The marketing team must do just this: be part of the team. Look beyond your sales team’s performance; put yourself in their shoes, understanding what works for each salesperson. Each salesperson is different, so your measurement should be of the buyer impact and not the salesperson’s effort. By considering their impact on customers, you can guide them in how to focus their efforts.
This leads to the theory of Return on Effort. This is defined as the indicator of incremental value generated by the efforts put into a specific project. Understand that your sales production is truly a result of many internal and external factors; including skills, knowledge, motivation and environment. Focus on those factors you can control. Training and feedback must be tailored to individual sales reps’ needs: strong salesmen rely on their abilities and may need to be encouraged to learn more about the usefulness of the product, while weaker sales reps with technical knowledge will like to discover fine details of the product to offset their lack of sales skills.
3. Training Should Be Continual
Both marketing and sales teams need to understand how your customers view your company, both happy and dissatisfied buyers. Although your team will think in terms of your product or service’s features, the customers consider its capability in solving their needs. Work together to create scenarios and options for the variety of buyer personas your sales team will encounter, supplying them with resources necessary for success.
4. Sell it to Sales
Nothing deflates a sales enablement strategy more than the attitude that marketing is forcing rules and procedures on sales. Encourage sales reps to share what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and what interests them. Provide competitive insight and hard data; product research and marketing data will only increase their knowledge and ability to sell your company. Let them speak openly about what tools and resources are successful or which ones may hinder their abilities.
5. Align the Tools and Resources to Your Buying Cycle
Different companies deal with a variety of buying cycles and educated buyers, so the content must reflect your specific culture. What types and avenues of communication work with your buyer personas? Revise your focus based on this, even if there are several directions you must go. Work together to identify buyer behavior, and to develop a scoring system to allocate points to certain actions. Marketing can create templates for a variety of contact points, and if using a marketing automation system integrated into your CRM, your sales team has an even easier task. Segmentation makes dynamic materials easy to send to leads.
6. Don’t Relax During Successful Periods to Prevent Crumbling
As you become more successful, look for ways to expand your leads, without starting from scratch. As new hires come on board, make sure they are receiving the same messages that your established sales team is using. Customers don’t want to hear different answers when approached by salespeople from the same company.
7. Let the Entire Company Participate in Sales Enablement
Truly successful sales enablement brings together not only the marketing and sales teams but welcomes input from throughout the company. Since sales enablement is a frame of mind, empower your entire organization to provide ideas and tactics to increase sales success. This allows for improvements in not only sales and marketing, but customer service and product development. Let sales enablement permeate the entire company.
So go ahead, build your team. Let each player work together to make sales priority, building on the tools and resources the marketing team provides. Allow for everyone to have a voice, making improvements based on successful metrics and data. Keep building team members up, training on a regular basis to keep the information fresh. You will see an improved system that maximizes the sales cycle, strengthens skills across departments, and continues to create and foster strong salespeople.
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.