Sell More Efficiently. Waste Less Time.
Cognitive Marketing tells us that the key to closing more sales is giving prospects the right information at the right time. Sales enablement ensures that your salespeople have the tools and insights needed for the task.
A Story to Illustrate the Truth
We’re in Need of Alignment
Sales enablement is a vital function that breaks down those silos and ensures effective cross-team communication between sales and marketing. It ensures that our prospects get the right information at the right time — appropriate for wherever our prospects are in the buying process. In short, sales enablement ensures that our sales and marketing teams remain in alignment through the harried, chaotic pressure of daily life.
So how do we define sales enablement?
Good question. Sales enablement has as many as 14 definitions.
Because we at FitzMartin are marketing company, not a sales organization, our approach to sales enablement has a strong marketing perspective. But — we approach marketing with a deep understanding of sales. So in our view, sales enablement comprises three essential functions that once your program is firmly in place will coordinate action between sales and marketing to drive improved results across the board.
1. Data Infrastructure
Data is the foundation of sales enablement. What do you know about your prospects? What business intelligence do you have on them? What pages of your website have they visited? What content have they downloaded? What have they bought from you in the past? The combination of marketing and sales technology gives us more insight into our prospects than ever.
The first component of our approach to sales enablement is to ensure that we have the appropriate infrastructure to collect and share that kind of information with your salespeople. Think MAT. Think CRM systems. Think ERP systems. Think attribution models and dashboards and lead scoring parameters. It’s all about integrating those foundational tools to create a single-source of truth for each prospect/customer.
We also need processes in place to ensure the insights we gain on any given prospect make their way to the right salesperson. To complement that flow of information, we also need processes to share the insights our salespeople gain in the field with our marketing teams to continually inform their work.
- Marketing Technology Review
- Sales Technology Audit
- Lead, Account and Deal Scoring
- CRM Utilization
- MAT Implementation
- Attribution/Dashboard Development
2. Working the Process
In our approach, sales enablement works as a liaison between marketing and sales to ensure that the salespeople have everything they need to successfully guide their prospects through the decision journey. Simple. Well, sort of.
First, sales enablement works to keep marketing and sales in continual alignment. Because alignment is not a fixed point. Everything changes. Sales enablement assesses where we are at all times and helps guide changes in both marketing and sales to ensure they stay tightly aligned.
Are we employing the appropriate processes and addressing the right sales behaviors (as defined by Cognitive Marketing) at each conversion point in the buyer’s journey? Do we understand the factors that are motivating our prospects? Do we have any gaps? If so, what is missing? Sales enablement then works with the marketing team to create the appropriate content, tools andprocesses to fill those gaps.
Day-to-day, sales enablement is monitoring what we know about our prospects. Who is visiting our website? Who is downloading content? Which campaigns are driving the most qualified leads? They are scoring our leads to help identify the most promising opportunities. And most importantly, they are arming the sales staff with that specific information so that they can focus their valuable attention on those prospects with the greatest chance of closing.
At the same time, sales enablement is arming marketing with the intelligence they need to improve their own operations. What are prospects talking about? What are they responding to? Which campaigns are gaining traction? What ideas are motivating prospects’ business? The idea being that the constant flow of insights helps marketing create more effective campaigns, more effective content to generate better leads more likely to convert.
Sales enablement is not directly selling. It’s a continual dance between two critical functions to identify where our best opportunities are and arming the salespeople with the tools and insights they need to pursue the most promising leads and to close more business.
- Sales Barrier Audit
- Organizational Structure
- Service Level Agreement
- Business Intelligence
- Campaign Reporting
- Playbook Development
- Department Meetings
3. Optimization: perfecting the feedback loop
The final component of an effective sales enablement program is continuous optimization. That only happens when we have transparent communication between sales and marketing; when everyone is working from that common, single-source-of-truth for each prospect.
Sales enablement is constantly monitoring the entire sales and marketing process and using what we learn to optimize both functions. It’s bringing leaders from both functions together regularly (quarterly? annually?) to talk through what is working? What can be improved? Is there new technology that could enhance our performance?
Because sales and marketing alignment is not a fixed point, you will need to dedicate monthly, quarterly and annual meetings to help improve your efforts.
Sales enablement is the frame that keeps it all together.
Sales Enablement in Practice
If we can provide you this information, will you present our offer to your boss?
What does sales enablement look like in practice? Here’s a recent example from one of our clients, SPOC Automation, that demonstrates its power.
SPOC targeted a prospect in Texas, with the potential to install their products in multiple states. For months, we targeted the company in several cities with ABM-type ads.
The salesperson had several meetings with the prospect. They explained the benefits of their products. Talked pricing. And still the prospect hesitated, stuck at that 3→4 conversion. Awareness was not the problem.
Finally, the prospect offered an opening. He was particularly concerned that SPOC had the resources to service an account of their size, specifically after the products had been installed.
At that point, the salesperson asked a pointed question: If I can convince you that we have the resources to service your business, will you introduce me to the rest of the decision makers? The prospect answered yes.
We moved quickly from there. Our sales enablement specialist worked with marketing to create a unique piece that featured a number of SPOC’s other customers, each talking about the extraordinary steps that SPOC had taken to service their account. Their words painted a compelling picture.
The piece worked. The prospect was convinced and introduced our client to his peers. Their first order exceeded $50,000 and they project to spend more than $2 million in 2020.
This late-stage sales tool is still being used in their sales process today. In a current customer up-sell, this tool was able to generate an ROI of $1:$1,666.
Why did it work?
The prospect was stuck at the conversion between stages 3 and 4. He knew all about SPOC, but was unwilling to risk his reputation within his own company until he knew that they were not going to let him down when it mattered.
Stage 4-5 Conversion, Commitment: Private then Public
Our client asked for a private commitment — “If I can convince you, will you introduce me to your peers?”
And once the prospect was convinced, he made a public commitment, an endorsement to the other executives involved in the buying decision.
The tool we created worked because it wasn’t focused on creating awareness. It wasn’t selling product features.
Instead it focused on the prospect’s specific fear. By showing SPOC’s ability to provide extraordinary service, in their customers’ own words, they were able to relieve the fear and advance the cause.