How to Make Sales Enablement a Reality and Why it Matters
Posted by Resource Nation on November 25, 2013 in Marketing, Sales 2.0 [ 0 Comments ]
A recent blog post published on the Harvard Business Review outlined the various points of contention that can lead to friction between your sales reps and their colleagues in the marketing department. These two teams are inextricably linked in their reaching their target: driving revenue. However, they frequently fail to see eye to eye, which may be explained by recent research conducted by Brainshark, which found the materials sales reps are given to close sales don’t get the job done.
Related: 4 Steps Towards Sales Optimization
Why the Current Model Just Isn’t Working
According to the study, 70 percent of sales reps indicated they get their materials from the marketing department. At the same time, 42 percent of sales professionals said they rarely or never are part of the process to develop these materials. As a result, 51 percent explained they’re forced to modify existing materials to fit their needs (Tweet This Stat!). A significant number of sales professionals explained their materials were not current or not relevant to their sales prospects.
Instead of creating an environment that fosters ill will toward colleagues, businesses need to create a collaborative culture that enables members of the sales and marketing teams to come together to develop the materials that will help customers make informed decisions, which helps improve conversion rates.
How Businesses Can Respond
The technology solutions firm CDW recently presented at the Forrester Sales Enablement Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., highlighting the way the company has developed a work environment that allows marketers and sales professionals the structure they need to solve much of the complexity facing the market.
- Listen to feedback. All stakeholders in the business will likely have an opinion about the way sales and marketing materials are developed. Between your sales and marketing departments, there is a incredible pool of business intelligence that is being artificially segmented. Research already substantiates the claim that sales professionals feel limited by the tools they have on hand, so understanding how the gaps can be closed depends on listening to what employees feel works and what doesn’t.
- Understand perspectives. Harvard Business Review’s article underscores the broad philosophical difference between sales and marketing professionals. In short, marketers are more interested in segmenting their customers based on demographics and aggregate data, whereas sales reps are focused on individuals and fostering relationships among these contacts. These ideas are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For instance, pricing strategies can be developed together to ensure there’s a structure that the sales team can follow, but they still have some wiggle room to negotiate with clients.
- Develop strategies. These plans should play on the strengths of both teams. While marketers may consider customers with long-term goals, sales will likely proceed with short-term targets in mind. So, these teams must coordinate a strategy that takes both approaches into account. As the marketing team creates a plan that forecasts customer needs several months out, it should collaborate with the sales team to establish benchmarks that align with the customer journey the marketing team has mapped out.
- Training for product knowledge. While marketers are more inclined to know about the products and services the company offers, both they and the sales team would benefit from a deeper understanding of how their company’s offerings function. In this way, both teams will be on an equal playing field when developing tools for sales enablement.
By only giving one part of the equation a role in designing the tools the other half needs to complete a sales transaction, companies are shooting themselves in the foot. Without question, there will be hindrances along the way but the result will be worth it. CDW found a way around this by developing an online portal that simplified access to 20,000 pieces of content. Instead of four distinct portals to connect with this information, the company streamlined the process into one, creating a resource that’s available and collaborative.