Sales enablement is an area that has grown in popularity in the last few years, sparking a lot of interest in sales enablement technology solutions, like Salesloft and Outreach, and others. Although, sales enablement tech is great, it is not without challenges. Additionally, because the technology is relatively new—as in it didn’t exist in its current state a few years ago— marketers in most organizations are missing some unique opportunities that sales enablement technology provides. When marketers maximize the value that sales enablement technology offers, it changes the dynamic between how marketing and sales interact with each other.
Martech Stacks Are Evolving
If you look at the most recent marketing technology (martech) surveys, you’ll find that the majority of marketers have martech stacks with a variety of different systems connected together.
- 52% of marketers have an integrated, multi-system martech stack
- 32% of marketers have a disconnected, multi-system martech stack
- 6% of marketers have a single system that does almost everything
- 10% of marketers don’t know what’s in their martech stack
Although a multi-system stack enables you to choose the best tech for your needs, when you connect a variety of different systems, it can create a lot of problems.
The Progression of Sales Enablement
If we think of sales enablement as part of the average marketer’s tech stack, there’s a general progression of the types of tools we all used, as you can see in the versions below.
Version 1.0 Sales Enablement Tools – Prior to 1999
In the beginning, sales teams were the primary users of early sales enablement tools, which included:
- Customer Relationship Management platforms (CRMs), such as Salesforce
- Email Templates and Files, such as Microsoft Outlook
Version 2.0 Sales Enablement Tools – Circa 1999 to 2004
In the late nineties and early two-thousands, Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) with add-on sales enablement programs began to become popular. It was during this era that marketing began actively engaging in helping sales using the plug-ins that their MAPs offered. Examples of these include:
- Outlook Plugins
- Eloqua Engage/Profiler
- Marketo Sales Insights
Version 3.0 — Today
Marketers today are usingdedicated sales enablement tools that are technologically advanced and remarkably powerful. These are better tools for sales enablement in that they go far beyond what the early tools offered with capabilities such as automated sequences, call and email intelligence, basic predictive analytics, and more. These tools have helped to standardize the processes that sales teams follow. Examples of these include:
The Challenges of Sales Enablement 3.0
Dedicated sales enablement tools are a good thing from a technology standpoint, but one of the big issues that marketers are dealing with is that these systems are now further away from marketing than the marketing automation add-ons that were used previously.
Sales Technology’s Ever-Growing Landscape
Sales enablement technology is the largest area of the current technology landscape and it is continuing to grow at a fast pace with a diverse array of solutions available.
The New Marketing and Sales Technology Paradigm
The Hub and Spoke Model – Marketing automation used to be the central hub of everyone’s martech stack. Everything was connected with your MAP, including sales enablement, which was seen as a part of marketing automation.
The Shopping Mall Model – Today, marketing automation stacks look more like a shopping mall, in which you have multiple “anchor” platforms (CRM, MAP, ABM, Data warehouse, CDP, etc.) with complimentary tools (Outreach, Salesloft, etc.) connected to them.
Complexity – the Challenge of the Mall Model
Although the mall model has many advantages, it becomes challenging for marketers to deal with the growing complexity of multiple integrations across a martech ecosystem, especially when compared to the simplicity we once found in the old hub and spoke model approach.
A Four-Step Approach to Managing Sales Enablement Tools
The great thing about the approach we’re about to discuss is that you can apply it to any new technology you want to introduce to your tech stack and see great results.
STEP #1: DEFINE YOUR IDEAL WORKFLOWS
One of the big challenges we have in marketing and marketing ops is that we are “ready, aim, fire” people. It’s not that we always want to be running to stand still, but it is sometimes necessitated by the fact that we’ve got one more campaign to get out the door. We never seem to have enough time to do all the work that is required of us. What’s even more difficult is we are constantly being asked to generate more leads and influence more revenue with the same level of resources we had last year. Keeping up with the demands that are put upon us can seem like a never-ending cycle. In order to get control and maximize the value of the new technologies available to us, we have to take a step back and really think about how the whole process needs to work and how we want the workflows to operate.
Accommodating Sales Enablement in Workflows
Think of all theprocesses and workflows you currently have in place. Now, ask yourself how you can include sales enablement in these processes. Even if sales enablement is owned by another department, like sales ops or revenue ops, the need for these groups to coordinate and collaborate with marketing is one that is becoming more and more critical to business success. If you don’t make coordinating sales enablement strategies across departments a priority today, it will be something you’ll need to address in the near future. Three areas where you should consider incorporating sales enablement are:
- Lead Management — Adjust your lead management process to include sales enablement tools. Ask yourself: Can marketing help route and automate the process of getting leads into sales enablement sequences faster?
For example, let’s say that you are sending leads to the CRM, and you have access to sales enablement technology. Using automation and sales enablement technology, you can build campaign sequences that include a series of initial touches for each marketing qualified lead (MQL) that comes in. This will enable you to route leads to both your sales and marketing teams faster, shorten initial contact times for customers, and empower sales to respond to inbound leads quickly, which ultimately impacts speed-to-close rates.
- Content Management — Adjust your content maintenance process to include sales enablement tools. Ask yourself: Can marketing automate and/or centralize the management of email content in our sales enablement tech?
If you have sales enablement tools, like Outreach or Salesloft, you now have a new content repository (in theory) that marketing needs to have some control over. We don’t want to go back to the days when sales teams were going rogue and designing their own content that may or may not have been on-brand. As marketers, we need visibility into the content that’s being put out there and control over the voice and images of the communications we are sending to customers and prospects. Most sales enablement tools have APIs for centralizing, synching and managing content, which is critical to marketing’s ability to more efficiently and effectively use the content that is available.
- Nurture Strategy — Adjust your nurture strategy to include sales enablement tools. For example, where should mid and late funnel nurture actions take place? Ask yourself: Can marketing use sales enablement to leverage and automate additional nurture workflows?
When it comes to middle and late-stage nurturing sequences, there’s often some element of confusion regarding who is responsible for next steps. Is it marketing’s job to continue nurturing or should sales be doing all the follow-ups. What is great about sales enablement tech is that it gives sales visibility and control over what is happening in the sales enablement tool. This is where marketing has a unique opportunity to build supportive mid- and late-stage nurture flows that sales can use. Best of all, these flows all have the potential to be fully automated. This allows marketing to contribute to the customer journey as prospects move down the funnel.
Marketing + Sales = Better Together
All of these process changes will require marketing to pursue more collaboration with sales operations, which is a good thing. There is a lot of value that marketers can contribute to the sales process. When we aren’t working closely with sales, we miss a great opportunity to benefit from the synergy that comes from joining forces to achieve goals.
The Evolution of Process Changes
Before: MAP → CRM
Before dedicated sales enablement tools came on the scene, we relied on a one-way linear relationship between marketing and sales, where our MAPs sent information to their CRMs.
Current: MAP → CRM → Sales Enablement
Once dedicated sales enablement tools, like Outreach and Salesloft, hit the market, the capabilities grew, but the relationship between the tech has remained linear for the most part. The MAP passes information to the CRM, which passes information to the sales enablement tech.
Ideal: MAP ↔ CRM ↔ Sales Enablement ↔ MAP
Creating connection points between marketing automation and sales enablement is where we need to go as marketers. This is where we have an opportunity to add more value to sales enablement, by optimizing the efficiency of workflows and automating many of its time-consuming functions. Here, we also have an opportunity to get more value from sales enablement. When we integrate these tools, we are able to see what messaging is working and what’s not. We are able to better understand and control content usage, too. As a marketer, when you send an MQL to sales, you want to make sure they are following up on that lead. When sales enablement tech is integrated with your MAP, you are able to help sales follow up by passing the lead to the right sales rep and then letting them know that you have entered that lead into the appropriate sales sequence on their behalf within the sales enablement tool. Even better, you are able to automate that process so that each customer receives attention faster — and that’s good for everyone.
Benefits of Automated Sales Enablement For Marketing
- Marketing is able to make sure its leads are being followed up with faster, and time is of the essence when it comes to gaining or losing a sale.
- Marketing MQL’s move further down the funnel.
- Marketing’s influence on pipeline revenue becomes greater.
STEP #2: IDENTIFY TECHNOLOGY GAPS
Once you have defined your ideal workflows, you need to focus on identifying any gaps in technology that are preventing you from making these workflows a reality.
- Understand how and where your marketing technologies integrate (or don’t integrate) with sales enablement technologies. Ask yourself: Are there integrations that exist that we aren’t taking advantage of? For example, Sureshot had a customer who was using Hubspot and Outreach, and they were experiencing a breakdown in the processes between these two systems in that the workflows they had set up were taking too long and creating additional issues. We brought it to their attention that there is an integration between those two systems that would allow them to automate many of their processes, and they have now taken advantage of that integration and are saving both time and energy.
- Identify any missing integration points between your technologies that are needed to support ideal workflows. In this case, you may have integrations, but they may not necessarily support your ideal workflows. Here, it’s important to look at things with your eyes wide open and be realistic about what can and can’t be done, as well as what’s available and what isn’t.
- Note all gaps/needs as part of your considerations for the future state of your workflows. This is the time when you take inventory, and look at the workflows that you need and how you want them to play out. Ask yourself: In an ideal state, how would we want our workflows to operate? Be sure to note anything that stands in the way of creating your ideal workflows.
Marketing can add significant value to sales enablement tech use and vice versa. Examples include:
- Increasing speed to lead
- Improving late-stage nurture sequences and campaigns
- Influencing messaging to help sales have better close rates
- Eliminating tension between sales and marketing over middle and late-stage nurture
- Providing prospects with good content that adds value to their customer journey
- Reducing churn by automating responses to milestones in the customer journey
There are so many things marketing can do with sales enablement technology that will help sales. For example, marketing can create a series of late-stage sales enablement sequences and campaigns for sales to leverage. This is just one of many ways marketing can demonstrate to sales how it’s adding value to their pursuit of closed deals.
STEP 3: ROADMAP THE UPDATES
Once you know your ideal workflows and you’ve identified any technology gaps and obstacles, it’s time to prioritize the process updates that you plan to make. You want to identify the quick and easy wins to implement. Then, move on to the harder changes that may produce more value.
The Value Complexity Matrix featured below is great for helping marketers stay focused on prioritizing next steps according to their business value and implementation complexity.
- High Value + Low Complexity = Easy Wins
- High Value + High Complexity = Strategic Initiatives
- Low Value + Low Complexity = Worth Pursuing or Revisiting Later
- Low Value + High Complexity = Deprioritize
STEP 4: IMPLEMENT SALES ENABLEMENT WORKFLOWS
There are a lot of layers when it comes to implementation, so we’re just going to focus on one example. Recently, Sureshot was able to help a customer who used Salesloft via our automation orchestration engine. Our solution automated the process of placing MQLs into a variety of different sequences based on where they fit. In this case, fit was based on geography. Our engine also automated the process of adding contacts to Salesloft’s Cadences (sequences).
Sureshot’s engine orchestrates automations between MAPs, the CRM and Salesloft, so that these technologies work together more efficiently and effectively.
Of course, implementation will look different for every organization. For example, the IT team might be charged with taking care of the technical aspect of a workflow, while marketing is handling another aspect. Or there may be zero technical requirements, but the marketing team simply needs to be able to go in and create the content for sales to use. In conclusion, there are a lot of different ways to implement capabilities and increase the value you are getting from your sales enablement technologies.
About Your Host, David York, Founder & CEO of Sureshot
David has over 19 years of marketing technology, automation and operations experience, including:
- Director of Marketing —Enterprise and Startup Level
- Senior Marketing Consultant for Eloqua
- Marketing Consulting Principal
At Sureshot, we help marketers orchestrate their revenue engine through a combination of software, integrations and services. Leading companies trust our solutions to help them navigate the increasing complexities of their marketing technology stacks. We enhance the revenue orchestration capabilities of B2B marketers by providing data, messaging and customer journey solutions that restore simplicity and functionality to complex processes.