Successful Sales Enablement: 3 Pillars for Marketing & Sales

Marketing and sales are growing closer and closer together. Instead of building parallel worlds, it is now a matter of integratively linking the departments so that high-quality traffic and qualitative leads can be generated.

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B2B companies are currently experiencing a paradigm shift. Along with digitalization, the current global economic situation, and changing customer expectations, the work areas of sales and marketing are overlapping more and more frequently.

Qualified leads are at the heart of the marketing and sales interface.

The potential customers are searched for by marketing, collected, further developed and passed on to sales if predefined criteria (scoring) are met. Close cooperation is necessary to ensure that the quality of these leads meets the expectations of both departments.

This preliminary work of collecting and qualifying leads for Sales is part of Sales Enablement. We show you the basic elements that are needed for successful sales enablement.

Basic Elements for Sales Enablement

Sales enablement comprises the sum of all strategies and measures that support sales in improving sales work and making it more efficient. Sales should be equipped with as many resources as possible (and thus also qualified leads) in order to be well prepared to start the sales process.

Marketing supports Sales by creating a common definition of a qualified lead, and Marketing focuses on sourcing and developing those same leads. Non-qualified leads are held back early in the process and never find their way to the sales team.

The sales team only contacts those leads for which there is a clear interest. Unnecessary follow-up and lengthy clarifications are anticipated.

Such an interface between marketing and sales involves a lot of coordination and communication. Many companies therefore rely on automated marketing solutions to standardize recurring processes and make them even more effective.

But a marketing solution alone does not ensure qualified leads. Only with relevant content, meaningful data and personalized communication can potential customers be contacted in a targeted manner and developed into qualified leads.

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Pillar 1: Relevant Content

The basic prerequisite for sales enablement and thus greater sales effectiveness is not only the right software, but also practical content. A realization that successful B2B companies are already implementing.

Success Factors for B2B Companies with Content Marketing

Successful companiesAverageUnsuccessful companies
Has a documented content marketing strategy60%43%21%
The organization's content marketing is mature77%49%10%
Uses metrics to measure content performance94%81%60%
Uses content marketing to nurture leads73%60%38%
Uses content marketing to increase sales 64%51%41%
Builds a subscribed audience60%47%25%

Source: Own illustration based on B2B Content Marketing Report 2021, CMI Content Marketing Institute

Recognizing and Integrating Changed User Behavior

The focus of the content strategy is not on product or company-specific content, but on articles that pick up on the needs and questions of the target group. This informative content serves the purpose of picking up the potential customer very early in their customer journey, accompanying them step by step and positioning the company as an advisor without the need for direct personal contact.

More than 70% of buyers feel more comfortable gathering information themselves and not contacting sales directly at the beginning of a Customer Journey. Giving users the opportunity to access all the information they need and to be able to find out on their own is therefore also part of sales enablement.

Sales is no longer the only source of information during the customer journey. And yet the sales team knows its own clientele and their concerns in the sales process very well. Close cooperation between marketing and sales is therefore of great importance.

Sales can provide Marketing with a lot of insights into what the target group is concerned about. Marketing, in turn, has the task of processing these inputs into content that can be retrieved at any time

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Covering the Customer Journey

To ensure that the entire customer journey can be served online rather than just fragmented content, the right content must be created for each phase.

Which form of content has the desired effect can vary depending on the industry and the need.

Content Types B2B

Source: Own illustration based on B2B Content Marketing Report 2021, CMI Content Marketing Institute

In order to cover the customer journey of each individual, it is also worth linking with intelligent software that knows the behavior of the user and provides him with supplementary content with the help of automated mechanisms. This is the only way to cover a truly individual journey that supports sales enablement.

Pillar 2: Meaningful Data

In order to be clear whether the published content is also received by the target group, the users must be tracked and the data collected and processed in a meaningful way. Without the evaluation of correctly measured data, only assumptions and presumptions can be discussed. The collection and analysis of customer data is therefore an important part of sales enablement.

With the analysis of customer data, theses can be confirmed or rejected and the created customer journeys and associated content can be continuously optimized.

Extensive tracking helps to identify behavioral patterns and clusters and clearly highlight visitor preferences. How does the potential buyer interact with a specific content and how does their customer journey continue?

Source: Customer profiles from Aioma Software

The exploitation of meaningful data and the content strategy are closely linked.

With regard to data protection and the associated GDPR, data should of course only be collected if the user has also consented to the collection and exploitation of the data.

Consent to Data Processing

In order for a user to be willing to disclose his data and to be contacted in the following, he must also be offered something. It is therefore part of sales enablement to provide the user with valuable content in advance, e.g. in the form of a white paper or an e-book, free of charge.

In the B2B area, there is still a lot of reticence and learning potential in this respect, as such an exchange of information used to be based on personal conversations.

However, providing purchase-relevant information in exchange for the user's contact details is a good way to meet the user at eye level (he understands what he is giving his contact details for), to establish a first contact without the need for personal contact and to create a meaningful customer profile.

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Pillar 3: Personalized Communication

The content is created, the user behavior is measured. Now one last element is missing to be able to guarantee qualified leads and thus efficient sales enablement: personalized communication.

With the right content strategy, the first foundation is laid so that the user has access to relevant content. However, in order to guide the user efficiently through his customer journey, he should be proactively shown supplementary information. Individualized newsletters as well as automated social media posts are particularly suitable here. With the help of these channels, the reach of the online presence can be additionally expanded and the company always remains present to the user.

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Source: Personalized Newsletter from Aioma Software

Here, too, it makes sense to use appropriate tools to enable a personalized approach and to automate recurring processes. This guarantees that leads are always further developed and ultimately only those who are ready for personal contact are passed on to the sales department. The personalized approach thus covers the last aspect of sales enablement and ensures a higher probability of closing sales.

Measure Interactions

With every newsletter opened and every post read, more information is collected about the user thanks to the corresponding tracking. These all flow into a customer profile and provide information about whether a user turns out to be a potential customer or not.

Ausschnitt Scoring Aioma

Source: Scoring from Aioma Software

Active communication with users thus helps to check the jointly defined criteria for a qualified lead and, if necessary, to guide them further in their customer journey.

Conclusion

Changing user behaviour and turbulent times are changing the tasks and overlaps of marketing and sales. Sales enablement focuses on combining the competencies of both departments in a meaningful way.

The goal is to develop users into qualified leads with relevant content, functioning tracking, as well as active and personalized communication. In this way, the strengths of marketing and sales are combined profitably.

Marketing automation tools help to optimize repetitive processes, cover individual customer journeys and better assess the quality of a lead.