Sales and Marketing go together like two peas in a pod … at least that’s the ideal companies dream of.
These two departments are integral to the success of one another — and the business as a whole — yet too often they are siloed and separated. It’s an untenable situation, as it makes alignment incredibly and unnecessarily difficult.
The right sales enablement platform, however, could be used to unify Marketing and Sales in a single digital ecosystem, providing team members with a robust solution for collaboration, coordination, and communication.
Traditional tools just don’t cut it. Exchanging versions of a white paper over email is a detriment to both the Marketing staff and Sales rep, who may then have to dig through a crowded inbox to search for updated collateral. This and numerous other inefficiencies can be solved with Sales enablement technology, which can drive performance through analytics and insights.
Let’s take a closer look at what Sales enablement marketing is all about and what benefits enablement software can generate for a Sales organization.
What is Sales Enablement?
First things first: defining “Sales enablement.”
What may sound like another corporate buzzword is in fact a concrete methodology of ensuring Sales reps are supported and equipped with the tools and materials they need to succeed. This means they have all the content, coaching, analytics, and knowledge they need to sell without first having to ask. This frees the Sales rep of time-consuming and routine tasks so that they can do what they do best: sell.
A Sales enablement strategy is focused on optimizing the Sales cycle and enhancing the buyer experience. A Sales professional with easy access to collateral can effortlessly pull and share relevant content for the customer, while the Sales manager has more time to coach them on personalization or other tactics. The sum result is improved Sales productivity and a staff that’s empowered to strive, innovate, and succeed.
What is Sales Enablement Marketing?
So what role does marketing play? Because marketing is crucial to the Sales process in general, it is also important to Sales enablement strategy, both in theory and practice. The more lock-step Marketing and Sales are, the more seamless the Sales cycle is. This alignment is a business’s dream — in that it is the ideal situation. But it’s challenging to realize.
Sales enablement technology can help companies achieve that cohesion by eliminating common barriers to collaboration. For instance, a siloed marketing team might produce content devoid of feedback from the Sales team on what they’re actually hearing from leads. With a Sales enablement platform, those analytics can be shared and Marketing can produce optimized content. Marketers can then push new collateral through enablement software that reps can instantly access and begin sharing.
When is Sales Enablement Marketing Valuable?
Marketing has many diverse roles to play in enablement, from Sales training to product marketing and strategic decision-making. Here are some examples of where Sales enablement marketing is most valuable:
- Sales onboarding: Providing new Sales hires with a foundation of knowledge is important to setting them up for success. This requires a proper and robust Sales onboarding stage that walks employees through company culture, policies, best practices, and more. The internal content that new hires consume at this stage will decide how prepared they will be to perform at a high level. Marketing not only needs to create informative and educational material for onboarding, but also work with Sales to identify the biggest content needs. Gaps in Sales training can be costly in retraining or rehiring, but Sales enablement software can be used to avoid those pitfalls.
- Product marketing: Marketers understand the products that their company sells through and through. But because they’re marketers, and not customers, they might not think of everything from the buyer’s angle that’s critical to know. If Sales reps hear from a growing audience of buyers about a new pain point that isn’t reflected in current collateral, they should collaborate with Marketing on updating materials to get on trend. That’s a lot easier said than done in many instances. A Sales enablement solution can provide a shared space for relaying feedback and fine-tuning marketing that enables a smooth Sales cycle and attracts new customers.
- Sales coaching: Markets and trends change over time, forcing companies and Sales to adapt. No professional’s skill set can stay the same and still allow them to be effective. That’s why high-quality Sales training is vital to the performance of the team — and Marketing can help in this situation, too. Content that’s used in coaching needs to not only be instructive, but also interactive and engaging. These latter two qualities help improve learning retention and the Sales rep’s ability to deploy skills in the real world. Marketing needs to work with Sales managers on what topics to cover to ensure Sales staff is enabled and supported to the highest degree.
- Strategy and planning: At the outset of any year or campaign, Sales and Marketing should be working closely on goals and how to achieve them. Together, these departments need to settle on what tangible next steps need to be taken to ensure progress toward goals. These discussions will inform what content needs to be created or refined and exactly how these assets figure into Sales rep enablement. Beyond that, Sales and Marketing must be in close communication on a near daily basis, as well as a Sales enablement solution that can foster that collaboration.
- Data mining: Sales professionals are often preoccupied with clients and the sales cycle, meaning they might not have the bandwidth to pick up on trends in how content is accessed. With a Sales enablement platform, Marketing can dive into the analytics and pass actionable insights to the Sales staff that can put into use right away. This example helps illustrate the main thrust of Sales enablement and the role Marketing plays in ensuring reps are constantly equipped and supported to succeed.
How to Find the Best Sales Enablement Software
While Marketing has a big part to play in a Sales enablement strategy, there are also expectations that company leaders will enable Marketing to coordinate and align with Sales. As mentioned, a reliance on traditional tools might do more harm than they do good when it comes to enablement. Working through email, chat, spreadsheets, or PDFs simply can’t facilitate the type of collaboration needed for success. That’s something that only a Sales enablement platform can do.
But how to find the right solution for your needs?
When looking for enablement software, there are certain considerations you need to keep in mind that impact both Marketing and the overall Sales enablement program. Factors like:
- Feature set: The point of a Sales enablement solution is to eliminate the need for teams to go between multiple, disparate tools. To that end, the platform you consider buying has to have a robust feature set that can support all sorts of action across content and coaching. Software with one but not the other just entails adding another solution into the mix, which complicates alignment that was desired with the enablement solution implementation.
- Analytics: Data reporting is crucial to the performance of modern businesses. Marketing and Sales teams need tools for collecting and analyzing data. The best sales enablement solutions can address this need with built-in analytics that can help employees share top-performing content or identify coaching modules that need workshopping.
- User experience: The platform has to be intuitive and easily navigable, or else Sales and Marketing will struggle to fulfill the enablement mandates they’re given. A confusing interface or overcomplicated workflows will actively prevent alignment and collaboration instead of facilitating them.
Talk to Showpad Today About Sales Enablement Tools
Marketing and Sales are inseparable, in a sense; you really can’t have one without the other. So when designing a Sales enablement program for your business, it’s harmful to neglect the importance of marketing. Whether involved in content, coaching, analytics, strategy, or sales training, marketing has a pivotal role to play in enablement.
Want to ensure your Marketing department is empowered to pursue this level of collaboration and success? Talk to Showpad today about our all-in-one Sales enablement solution and the advantages it can grant your business.