Equipping sales people with the right data, content, channels and communications so that they can usher prospects down the pipeline and close more deals is the goal of every sales enablement strategy. When sales enablement is done right, great things happen, like sales goals being achieved, companies generating revenue, customers feeling satisfied, and marketing earning the team-player respect it deserves. It’s no wonder that in the last five years, sales enablement has seen a whopping 343 percent increase in adoption by companies eager to obtain its manifold benefits. Research shows that companies that engage in sales enablement see an increase in sales of 6 to 20 percent, and boast a 49 percent win rate on forecasted deals. And yet, despite sales enablement’s promises of money to be made and customers cueing up to be catered to, it must be done correctly to avoid results like these:
- Most sales reps spend around 440 hours annually looking for the right content for customers
- 90% of B2B sellers don’t use sales materials because they’re outdated and difficult to customize
- 42% of sales reps feel they don’t have enough information before making a call
To ensure you join the sales enablement savvy companies that enjoy a 14% increase in their annual contract values and overall deal size, we’ve outlined five steps you need to take now.
- Begin With Your Data
Perhaps no other variable has the immediate power to transform your sales enablement success than your data. If it is clean, complete, standardized and enriched, then the leads you send to sales will be ripe for the picking and the marketing-approved personalized campaigns they send will deliver maximum results. If, however, your data sources are siloed, poorly integrated or unmanageable, then everyone in sales and marketing, as well as your prospective customers, will suffer. Your mandate as a marketer on a mission to experience the true magic of sales enablement begins by ensuring your data is top-quality 24/7. This is done by following Sureshot’s Data To-Do List:
- Eliminate data siloes enterprise-wide and connect data sources via intelligent integrations
- Centralize access to company data and manage how it is processed, stored and shared
- Use enriched data (aka third party) to ensure sales knows precisely who they are talking to
- Route the right customer contact data to the right sales person at the right time
- Track data trends and leverage insights to improve campaign performance
While this to-do list may seem like a tall order, 99 percent of the heavy lifting will be done through integrations and workflow automations. This means that once you have your tools and processes in place, you can maintain near-perfect data quality via an auto-pilot approach that frees your marketing ops teams to begin focusing on Step 2.
2. Conduct a Content Inventory
Content is a critical investment for every company looking to remain competitive, and yet 65 percent of the communications that marketing creates for sales are never used. What’s even more disturbing than that waste-exposing statistic is that the reason content isn’t used is because sales people can’t find it when they need it. That’s just crazy.
Once your data ducks are all lined up, it’s time to wrangle content from every source available, including your Content Management System (CMS), Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform, and any other tool, system, platform or warehouse where content lives. Your goal in this step is to create a content list that will help you identify what you already have, what is missing, and what still works, but needs to be updated. With your list in place, you are ready for step three.
3. Interview Individual Sales Team Members
Perhaps one of the most important steps in this process is one that requires no more than asking a few questions and then listening well without reacting. Now we at Sureshot love tech and the awesomeness it brings to the table, but hear us now, it’s impossible to enable sales people via technology alone. You must actively pursue ongoing and mutually rewarding relationships with the folks in sales. After all, you’re both essentially playing for the same team.
To get your sales interviews off to a great start, schedule one-on-ones and encourage each interviewee to be candid. Because everyone is busy, come to your meeting prepared to free people in 15 minutes or less. Start with your top sellers and work your way down to underperformers, but be sure to interview both because they each bring unique insights into what’s working and what’s not. Finally, bring your current content list, or a few samples and then ask questions like these:
- Tell me about your best customer and how you closed the deal.
- What are the go-to pieces you use in your selling process?
- Is there a particular piece of communication you opt not to use, and if so, why?
- Is there something that customers ask you for that you wish marketing would create for you?
- Are there particular pieces you wish you had better access to?
Once interviews are over, thank folks for their time and then keep them apprised of the progress of various content pieces you discussed. In addition to fact-finding, you want to lay the groundwork for continuing conversations, so that the pieces you create will not only contain useful information, but will actually be embraced and used.
4. Develop a Content Calendar and Templates for Sales Enablement Pieces
Upon crossing off steps two and three, you are ready to develop a schedule of content for development. We recommend prioritizing the pieces you develop according to your budget and the most pressing needs your interviewees shared. As pieces are approved and ready for use, make it ridiculously easy for sales folks to find and use them by housing them inside your sales team’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. This is easily accomplished through plug-n-play integrations that connect your CMS with their CRM. Also, look for integrations that allow sales people to easily personalize the messages within a template.
5. Connect Content Sources and Automate Campaigns
Remember back in step three when we said it’s impossible to enable sales using technology alone? That’s still true, but with automation you can get mighty close by sending highly personalized, yet completely touch-free multi-channel campaigns. This requires intelligent integrations between your data, content and channels, but once established your days of manually managing personalized campaigns are over. More importantly, you can empower sales people to respond faster to prospect and customer queries by using automation to send interested parties the information they request instantly. Automation also makes it possible to fill the sales funnel with more qualified leads when you use your high-quality data to send personalized cold campaigns that resonate with their recipients.