If your organization provides a product or service, you likely have a sales department – a team of employees dedicated to providing that product or service. But just like every other department at a company, your sales team doesn’t operate in a vacuum.
Sales enablement is the process of providing your sellers with the information and resources they need to do their job effectively. In practice, sales and marketing teams are most effective when they work collaboratively. Thus, a successful sales enablement strategy is the set of tools and relevant content you use to help your sales and marketing teams work together to drive revenue growth.
The Role and Responsibilities of Sales Enablement
When you have a sales enablement strategy in place, your sales and marketing departments have the resources they need to close deals – and ultimately help your company make more money. Sales enablement responsibilities often include:
- Bridging gaps between sales and marketing efforts, ensuring neither team works in a silo
- Holding a deep understanding of product or service content
- Knowing how to access and disseminate marketing content that sales teams need
- Implementing or improving content management systems
- Providing onboarding and sales training programs that support product knowledge
- Using key performance indicators (KPIs) to analyze real-time sales data
- Working with both sales and marketing to eliminate roadblocks
An organization may have a dedicated sales enablement manager, or they may have key members of sales and marketing work to implement a sales enablement program.
The Irreversible Connection Between Marketing and Sales Enablement
Sales teams are more effective when they have strong marketing support to back their efforts. Marketers provide the materials and messaging that sales reps and sales managers need to attract, convert, and retain customers. Thus, strengthening the collaboration and communication between sales and marketing departments is a critical component of the sales enablement process. A sales enablement strategy should ensure that your marketers understand your salespeople’s needs and that each team is providing useful feedback so both departments can work more efficiently.
5 Crucial Components of Sales Enablement
How do you develop and implement an effective sales enablement marketing plan? Your sales strategy should feature these five components:
- Collaboration: Working together is key. If your sales and marketing teams don’t understand one another’s pain points, you will end up with frustrated employees and fewer deals.
- Customized content: Each buyer is an individual, so they will need tailored content with messaging that speaks to their interests and needs. Marketing teams need to provide content that has strong, consistent branding but personalized messaging.
- CRM integration: Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms ideally help all team members stay connected and informed. However, manual data entry can be cumbersome and time-consuming. To make tracking easier, integrate CRM with mobile sales enablement tools.
- Social selling: In the past few years, social media has revolutionized the way customers interact with brands, search for solutions, and buy new products. Using social selling in combination with traditional marketing tactics can help you build long-term relationships with customers.
- Performance metrics: Strong marketing strategies are driven by customer data and insights. Once you know what you want to measure, you can use a customized dashboard to help your sales teams evaluate their marketing materials, refining high-performing assets and eliminating ineffective ones.
Building the Right Sales Enablement Strategy
Once you have the components of strong sales enablement in place, it’s time to implement your strategy. Utilize these best practices when implementing a sales enablement plan:
- Define your goals: Start by reviewing your current marketing efforts and defining where you want to go. Does your sales team want to increase leads by a certain percentage? Are you hoping to reach a new demographic? Use these goals to guide your efforts.
- Know your audience: Understanding your target customer will help you stand out from the competition. Ensure that insights from your market research inform the development and targeted delivery of marketing materials.
- Track the buyer’s journey: Make sure you are capturing data at each phase of the buying process, from awareness to decision and retention, to help refine your content creation and optimization.
- Use analytics: Choose sales enablement software that offers data-driven usage analytics and insights. These will help you understand which marketing initiatives are working best and improve the customer experience.
Tools and Technology That Can Boost Your Strategy
Sales enablement technology can come in many different forms. But first and foremost, you need a CRM and a content management system. A CRM can be any centralized platform, such as Salesforce or HubSpot, that you use to store customer contacts, record interactions, track opportunities, and manage marketing campaigns. A content management system, on the other hand, is the software tool you use to create, update, and share marketing collateral and assets like logos, templates, graphics, brochures, and fonts. Because your sales enablement team will need both platforms, they should ideally integrate to streamline sales productivity.
Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations – What’s The Difference?
It’s important to note that sales enablement and sales operations have distinct tasks:
Sales Operations Definition
Sales operations, in contrast, refers to the administrative activities that support a sales team. A sales operations team might be tasked with:
- Recruiting, hiring, and training new sales employees
- Assigning sales territories
- Managing compensation structures
- Selecting applications for the sales tech stack
Enablement and operations are different functions, but they work together. Ideally, sales operations staff handle the logistics that help the sales department run, and sales enablement uses the tools provided by sales operations to implement strategy. Additionally, key stakeholders from sales operations can weigh in on sales enablement planning. Both operations and enablement teams may offer ongoing sales coaching and support to help reps move more customers through the sales funnel.
Best Way To Measure Sales Enablement in Your Organization
No matter what industry you work in, you need a way to assess the effectiveness of your sales enablement strategy. Otherwise, you won’t know if your efforts are working, and you won’t be able to identify what tactics should be refined or replaced. There are many different KPIs you can use to measure sales performance and enablement in your organization. A few common metrics include:
- Win rate: Simply put, your win rate is the percentage of deals you’ve closed over a set period. To calculate your win rate, compare the number of won opportunities against the total number of opportunities.
- Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate: Typically, companies define a lead as a sales prospect, whereas an opportunity is a possible deal with a clear dollar amount. A high lead-to-opportunity conversion rate can indicate that your marketing materials are working.
- Sales cycle length: Also known as deal velocity, sales cycle length measures the amount of time between the first contact with a potential lead and the final sale. Shorter cycles could indicate effective messaging that compels the customer to take action.
- Average contract value: Sometimes referred to as average selling price, this is the amount that customers typically pay for a specific product. This metric helps you understand how effectively you are communicating your product’s value, and assess how frequently reps are offering discounts during sales conversations.
How Brand Consistency Can Drive Sales Enablement
Strong, consistent branding helps you build consumer trust. With so many different brands vying for their attention, potential customers need to be able to easily understand who your company is and what it stands for. A strong brand identity uses colors, imagery, typography, and messaging to convey to consumers that you are reliable and deliver high-quality products or services.
Building trust with your customers helps develop loyalty and improve retention – customers are more likely to return to your business in the future and recommend your brand to their friends and family. By developing marketing materials for your sales professionals that convey your strong brand identity, you can align your branding efforts with your sales enablement goals.
Partner With Marcom To Improve Sales Enablement
If you’re struggling to implement a sales enablement strategy at your organization, Marcom is here to help. Our on-demand marketing platform, MarcomCentral, offers a centralized portal for organizing your brand assets, distributing collateral, and automating workflows while ensuring compliance. Plus, MarcomCentral integrates with the most widely used business tools, like Salesforce, Google Drive, and Slack.
Don’t let your sales or marketing teams waste time hunting for the assets they need. Marcom makes it easy to find the right sales collateral quickly and customize it while ensuring brand consistency. With an intuitive interface and countless integrations, MarcomCentral helps your sales leaders deliver the right content at the right time to close more deals. For more information about our sales enablement platform, review our case studies or contact us today.
is a marketing strategy that leverages distributed channels, like local sales reps or franchises as marketing channels.
is a B2B marketing strategy where vendors sell products through resellers, instead of directly to consumers.
is the process of organizing and managing company files, typically creative files.
Rules that organizations use to ensure brand consistency for a particular brand identity.
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