Every marketing material you create is a piece of sales enablement.
Sales enablement is a tactic that aims to connect your potential buyers to the information they need, when they need it most and equipping everyone delivering that content to do so effectively.
Enabling your sales team isn’t just providing them with slide decks and one sheets. It also includes getting prospects prepped to talk with sales and training your sales team to be able to embody your brand in every interaction they have with a prospect or customer.
The first step of sales enablement is connecting buyers to salespeople.
More than 70% of B2B buyers fully define their needs before engaging with a sales rep, according to research by CSO Insights. Because prospects are engaging with content before reaching sales, that content is a form of sales enablement.
By guiding prospects through the awareness, consideration and decision stages, marketers and providing them with what they need to gain value from a conversation with sales.
Blog posts, premium content offers and webinars help buyers become aware of the problem they have. Once they’ve defined their problem and are looking for solutions, checklists and templates can help the prospects start to determine potential solutions. Then, once they’re ready to make a decision, case studies, demos and assessments can help them determine if your company is right for them.
For example, if a buyer is having trouble driving conversion on their website, they might find New Breed through our blog posts on conversion optimization and lead generation. To further understand their problem, they might read our e-book on website redesigns or how to prime your website for lead generation.
Marketing materials enable the buyer to not just understand their challenge and its solutions but also to see how your company can actually help them.
In addition to creating customer-facing materials that guide prospects through their buyer’s journey and prepare them to speak with sales, marketing also creates materials to help prepare sales reps to speak with prospects.
These internal materials can include:
- Solutions deck that breaks down your company’s product or service offerings
- Templates for slide decks and handouts to use for meetings and presentations
- Case studies to prove that you can deliver the value the prospect needs
- Talk tracks to help your sales reps prepare for calls
- Competitor comparisons so your reps know how to differentiate you from your competitors
- Documentation on marketing’s materials so reps can suggest relevant content offers
- Brand guidelines so sales reps can make sure their communications are aligned with the company’s brand
Marketing materials can only take you so far in the buyer’s journey, especially if your sales reps aren’t familiar with the materials prospects are engaging with. Regular meetings between marketing and sales teams to discuss what each team has been working on helps both teams do their jobs better.
Marketing can learn where they have gaps in their strategy, and sales can learn about the materials marketing is producing so they can speak to prospects in more contextually relevant ways.
Additionally, marketing should conduct trainings on the company’s voice and tone, company values and how they should be speaking to the buyer personas’ pain points.
Most sales enablement materials provide answers, but how those answers are delivered is an aspect of brand. In addition to the emails they write and the presentations they deliver, how sales reps speak on calls and act during meetings should also live up to the company’s brand, and trainings can help enable that to happen.
Why Sales Enablement is Marketing's Job
Marketing’s job is to put sales in a place where they can be successful.
Marketing owns your company’s messaging. They create and manage exterior facing content, so in order to create a consistent experience, they have to be in charge of sales enablement too.
You don’t want there to be misalignment between what marketing is saying and sales is doing. If sales isn’t properly following up on marketing’s efforts — by treating inbound leads in a more pushy, outbound manner, for example — it creates a poor experience for prospects and makes them less likely to convert. Additionally, that dissonance between marketing and sales reflects poorly on your company.
Sales enablement positions prospects so they’re ready to talk to sales and helps sales embody your brand and speak knowledgeably about the ways your company can help its prospects. It goes beyond templates and handouts and encompasses training and all marketing communications in order to create a cohesive experience for prospects.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.