If you missed all the hype around the “sales enablement” buzzword, you’re not alone. While the concept has been around for a while now, it might not be a phrase you're used to hearing yet. Sales enablement nurtures a symbiotic relationship between your brand’s marketing and sales teams — a relationship that often gets overlooked in our busy work schedules when teams are working quickly and often in silos. When your sales and marketing peeps are aligned, they work like a well-oiled machine: efficiently, intelligently and effectively. And this machine will increase your revenue, if done right.
We all want increased revenue, right? Great! Here we go...
What is Sales Enablement Content, and Why Do I Need It?
Simply put, sales enablement is the alignment of your marketing and sales teams, in a way that delivers the message you want to the audience you need. A robust sales enablement strategy can include everything from content to work culture, to the technology you use to compile and distribute information. Above all, sales enablement is a shift in mindset, from focusing on attracting customers at the top of the funnel, to guiding them through the buyer journey to end-funnel conversion. You may decide that you need a marketing staffer devoted to sales enablement, or you might choose to tackle it holistically, by making fundamental changes to the way your team generates content.
When we talk about Sales Enablement at First Page, we're talking specifically about how your marketing team can enable your sales team to make more sales. This is usually done through supporting the sales team with content that will improve their prospect conversations, driving more leads into the pipeline, and lead scoring so the sales team understands who is the most qualified for them to reach out to and call.
Whatever approach you choose, you’ll need to understand what kind of sales enablement content works the best for your team, how to create it, and how to deliver it.
Here, we offer you five tips for creating effective sales enablement content:
Tip #1: Get Them While the Getting’s Good
Rather than keeping employees siloed, sales enablement fosters a mutually beneficial relationship between marketing and sales teams… but in order for it to work, you have to be on the ball. Create a culture of partnership and trust early on, and let sales reps know they can depend on your marketing team when they need them. Here are some of the content pieces that will help you build the bond between marketing and sales.
Onboarding Materials: Create an onboarding kit for new employees that lays out your sales enablement strategy. Include workflow, contact information and other relevant details, along with sample content and frequently asked questions.
Sales Training/Coaching: Whether the sales reps at your company are seasoned pros or new to the game, they may not have experienced this kind of marketing-backed selling before. Give them a crash course in sales enablement by conducting training sessions, workshops or roundtables that will help them see the process in action. Share success stories, and allow marketers and their sales counterparts to show what worked and what didn’t.
Brand Guides: Beyond fonts, colors and logo placement, a brand guide should clearly demonstrate tone, voice, values and more. The more detailed the guide, the more comfortable the sales staff will become. And when they believe in it, the buyer will believe.
Tip #2: Equip Them With the Tools They Need to Excel
A good sales rep will have an armory of data to back their claims. A great rep will understand what’s behind the numbers. Help them fill their toolbox with everything they need to answer even the toughest questions. Remember that this late in the customer journey, fluff doesn’t sell; substance does. What tools do they need?
Buyer Personas: These will help give sales reps research-backed information on customers. Beyond just demographics, a good buyer persona will address emotional needs, decision making influences, and other factors that impact their perception of your brand.
Sales Scripts: Sample scripts for a wide array of communications and needs will be a big help to sales reps, especially those who might be new to your brand. Remember that scripts should more closely resemble a list of talking points, rather than something to recite word-for-word.
Product Sheets: Info sheets on your brand’s products aren’t just to educate your customers; they can also be a useful tool for salespeople to learn more about product specs in order to better communicate the benefits to the buyer.
Competitor Info: Why is your brand’s product better than Company B’s? Analyzing your competitors and presenting your discoveries to sales reps can give them a wealth of information when talking to buyers about the reasons your product stands out.
Tip #3: Give Them Content That Converts
Your marketing team is likely generating content constantly; it is king, after all. But are they generating the right kind of content? Have they asked sales reps what questions customers are asking them? If not, now is the time to start. Once you have this exclusive intel, you can put together meaningful, impactful content, like:
Blogs: Chances are you already know how valuable blog content can be. But once you tap your sales team for the topics, questions and concerns they hear on the frontlines with customers, you can create the kind of blogs that win sales.
Guides: These give you a chance to expand on some of your most popular blog topics in a format that is more in-depth, professional and formal. Guides can set your brand apart as an industry leader, especially when they are informed by your sales team.
Case Studies: Further down the funnel, around three quarters of potential B2B buyers say case studies are the most influential marketing tool. Learn how to write a case study that shines, and then let your sales team spread the word.
Tip #4: Help Them Sell Themselves… So They Can Sell Your Brand
A lot of sales reps seem to have a knack for public speaking. Some are flawless performers, while others exude confidence and sincerity. Whatever their style, it’s always helpful to have some consistent guides for how to present to and communicate with customers. This will help you ensure that no matter the situation, the messaging will be consistent and on-brand.
Presentations: When it’s time to convert, a buttoned-up presentation filled with meaningful information, attractively designed and true to brand can make the difference between, “I’m in,” and, “I’ll think about it.” Create a bank of presentation templates they can customize themselves, or, if you have the people power, help them design one-off decks tailored to their needs.
Emails: You likely have an email strategy in place, but a sales enablement email plan will help supplement that with branded communications that answer important questions and position your sales reps as available and knowledgeable experts, ready to help.
Social Posts: As with email, it’s probable that you already have a social strategy for your brand. However, this is where listening to your reps comes into play again, more important than ever. Your sales staff have often heard from customers which social posts resonate with them… and which don’t. Consult your reps to craft social content that packs a punch… and lands the sale.
Tip #5: Stay Connected
Sales enablement isn’t a one-and-done tactic or campaign; it’s a shift in employee and company culture. For some businesses, the change will be fluid and inconspicuous. For others, it might feel like a mountain — insurmountable and in the way. In any scenario, communication is key. This is about more than creating a pile of content that can be doled out to sales reps or filed away and never seen again; this is about crafting a relationship — and like all good relationships, it’s going to take some commitment. Here are some ways to keep the sales enablement love growing:
Maintain Contact: Whether you choose to have a weekly rundown, Q&A sessions or lunch-and-learns, the most important detail is that you keep your marketing team and sales reps connected. Communication should be a two-way street, with clear workflow, procedures and processes.
Storage and Usage: If no one can find all this amazing content your team is creating, what’s the point? This is where you might want to look into software programs or CRM tools to store, manage and share content.
Sales enablement may not be the buzziest buzzword out there, but the difference it can make in your brand’s conversion rates and ROIs will be sure to get attention. Remember that above all, sales enablement is about cultivating the relationship between your marketing team and sales reps, and then creating knockout content designed for their needs. If you aren’t sure where to start on your sales enablement strategy, our Sales Enablement Expert is here to get you going. Contact us today for all the details.