Sales enablement

It's high time Sales and Marketing got on the same page...

Marketing is typically charged with generating leads… and sales, with closing them. So it makes sense that an effective sales enablement strategy starts with a strong focus on getting alignment between your sales and marketing teams.

Sales enablement describes the strategies, processes and technologies that help your sales and marketing teams be more aligned and efficient in their tasks of generating quality leads and closing deals.

But getting marketing and sales on the same page can sometimes feel like rowing in circles with matchstick oars. But it really should be this way, both teams should be working together to deliver revenue and other business objectives.

Why is there a need for sales enablement programs?

Sales and marketing functions can often harbour frustrations with each other. Marketing might think sales aren’t converting the leads they generate or holding on to valuable customer feedback. Conversely, Sales might find it hard to access data that would help them optimise their sales strategies, or that the quality of leads isn’t up to standard.

When these challenges affect results and customer experience, the executive team usually take notice and realise that change is necessary. How can your business fix these problems before you get to this point? Developing a smart sales enablement strategy is the best place to start.

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is an approach that combines the strategic use of technology to create better processes, administration efficiencies and better data insights to – literally – enable your sales team to sell better.

It includes sales process optimisation, the creation of high-quality sales content, smart use of CRM technology and the automation of simple, repeatable tasks so the sales team can focus on closing deals, not chasing data and paperwork.

Sales enablement removes inefficiencies created by day-to-day operation of underperforming legacy systems, improves interdepartmental collaboration and provides real-time data and analytics with which to make better business decisions. If you’re considering sales enablement, you’ll need buy-in from sales, marketing and customer services before you get started.

Optimising your sales processes

Optimising your sales processes starts with taking a reality check on the strengths and weaknesses of your current processes. Have both the marketing and sales teams map out their current internal processes for lead handling and opportunity conversion, and be honest about what is working for your customers, what’s not, and where the gaps are.

Here are a few questions to ask:

  • What works and doesn’t work for your customers?
  • What works and doesn’t work for your sales team?
  • What works and doesn’t work for your marketing team?
  • Where, when and how are prospective customers and leads falling through the gaps?
  • Where can efficiencies be gained and what should the customer experience ideally look like?
  • What needs to change to make this happen?

Once these questions are answered, identify what the ideal process should look like. This process is often best facilitated by an independent third party – someone who can ask the hard questions and remove blinders.

Creating content for sales enablement

High quality, personalised content that is relevant to your prospects as they move through your sales funnel is the key to creating a great customer experience, and increasing the likelihood of converting prospects into delighted customers.

The type of content you create for sales enablement will be no different from typical Inbound Marketing except for the fact it should be developed to target qualified leads and help with customer onboarding. This means it leans towards the later stage of the buyer journey, so it’s worth taking time to better understand this process so that you can ensure your prospect’s information needs are being met.