How Marketers Can Leverage Sales Enablement to Close the Engagement Gap with Buyers
By Isabelle Papoulias, Chief Marketing Officer at Mediafly
When you think of sales enablement, what comes to mind? Enabling sales reps with the right content for meetings? Giving them the content management tools for easy content discovery to prepare? While this is where most companies focus their enablement efforts, it only scratches the surface. There is so much opportunity to go beyond sales enablement as we know it today: to enable all revenue teams beyond sales to improve and scale processes and create interactive and immersive digital content that inspires sellers to use it and buyers to engage. Marketing is uniquely positioned to deliver, especially if the sales enablement function reports into the marketing leader.
In today’s environment, B2B selling is especially hard. The engagement gap between marketers and customers is only widening as sales conversations shift to digital and remote, buyers’ resources and budgets are getting cut, and buying committees are increasingly facing competing priorities. Catching a buyer’s attention and keeping them engaged let alone committing to purchase is tough. The good news is sales enablement can help save the day. The global sales enablement market was worth $989 million in 2020. That number is projected to grow to $3.1 billion by 2026—a 17.4% compound annual growth rate as companies look to shrink the engagement gap.
Boosting the productivity and effectiveness of revenue teams is more important than ever given the lingering pandemic and the number of companies struggling to stand out to customers. Here are five ways marketers can unlock the benefits of sales enablement.
Make a strategic hire
Even if your company already uses sales enablement technology or processes, you still need the right people in place to get the most out of your efforts. Oftentimes, companies look at sales training, tools administration and sales content creation as an afterthought, meaning there are no dedicated resources to proactively measure, improve and scale. Adding a dedicated sales enablement position to your marketing team will help quickly make greater strides to success. Even just one talented person can make a huge difference. Ideally people, process and technology should always go together.
Rethink content creation
A strong content strategy remains fundamental to a marketing team’s success. That has not changed. What has changed is a remote selling environment and an increasingly digital buyer journey that needs content to work a lot harder. Is your marketing and sales content flat and linear? How visual and exciting is your story? How can you make your assets interactive to get the buyer actively engaged?
As B2B buyers bring their B2C alter-egos to conversations, they expect the same ‘edutaining’ and hyper-personalized content experiences they get from their favorite B2C brands. Choose your most critical content asset and rethink the visual storytelling elements to stand out of the clutter. Experiment with animation, interactivity and snackable formats for success.
Improve content activation
Your company can have the best sales enablement content but if your sellers don’t know where to find it within the application, or how and when to use it, then it loses value. Small changes in content discovery and training for sellers can have a big impact.
For example, when new sales content is released, it’s helpful to offer video training around it. Video training gives the sales reps an opportunity to visually see the new content in action. Additionally, sales reps find it useful when new content is automatically flagged to their attention. Here again sales enablement technology can help, removing the manual labor of email and slack updates. But, without technology, keeping up with manual alerts and training is crucial. Once the content is released, it’s vital to track usage on a regular basis. Sales reps will appreciate all of these steps and you can expect to dramatically improve your company’s content adoption.
Measure what matters
If you are starting your sales enablement journey now you may need to use your best judgement and make qualitative assessments to pair down your content library and improve your strategy. However, it is critical to quantitatively understand ongoing content performance, including: content usage, consumption and re-shares; length of time viewed by page, by sales and account reps, by customers and by prospects; in meetings, in follow-ups and on your website. Ideally, you’ll want to understand content impact on pipeline and revenue as well. Consider investing in sales enablement technology with robust content analytics. In doing so, you can discern the patterns that matter and determine which content was the most successful and which content didn’t work out as planned at every stage of the buyer journey.
Optimize again and again
As the organization updates and releases each new sales asset, you can track the content impact analytics allowing you to constantly improve content and experiment with new formats and narratives.
When each asset is optimized, your marketing team should be strategic about how and where it uses interactivity. The animations shouldn’t just be flashy. Instead, the animations should help simplify the message and guide buyers through a compelling story. Like most things in marketing, the optimization process should be continuous.
From purchasing shifting to digital and buyers’ resources and budgets being reduced, the pandemic has created a multitude of challenges for B2B marketing and sales professionals. Sales enablement can benefit all revenue teams in engaging prospects and buyers better, and marketers can lead the way.