Why is it that 60% of B2B marketing content goes unused by sales teams?[1] Perhaps it's due to poor management of knowledge resources. Or perhaps sales simply prefer their own content. If marketing content isn’t fit for the purpose or needs of the sales team - or worse, it doesn’t even exist - who can blame them for taking the bull by the horns and developing their own content to close deals? The solution to this waste of resources - and opportunities - is Sales Enablement.

What is Sales Enablement?

Research company IDC defines Sales Enablement as “the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time in the right format and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward.”

Nicely put.

The focus is on empowering your sales team with the tools and content they need to more efficiently and effectively close sales. The intention is to equip sales reps with easily accessible information, that is right for the buyer and the buyer’s journey, and fuels meaningful conversations that leads them gently and happily down the path to purchase.

While that sounds well and good, how do you actually go about implementing Sales Enablement? The following are 5 tips to help refine your content, and move your sales opportunities forward.

1. What buyers want

You’ll hear Engaging Partners nail this home again and again: Who are your personas? What are their pain points? And where are they on their buyer’s journey? What is going to be specific to their needs, and relevant to their business scenarios? Your content should assist sales reps with identifying prospective clients and addressing their issues with solutions. This focus will help your content lead buyers down the path-to-purchase. It’s important that your sales and marketing teams have a shared idea of the buyers they are targeting.

2. Give them resources

As salespeople move from client to client, between Tom, Dick and Harry, Jane, Fran and Sally, they will find themselves in all kinds of situations. This can mean having to field objections and challenging questions to convert sales leads. Make sure your sales teams is empowered by giving them a collection of content sufficient for the scenarios they face. Whether it be content to present to clients in person, a link they can send through during a video call, or social media and email content, help your sales team to convert by giving them a library of well-organised resources. Case studies are a great tool. And remember, not everything can get covered in one meeting, so develop high-quality supplementary information to follow up sales meetings.

3. Stop, collaborate and listen

If you’re unsure of the resources sales need, then it’s time you found out. Don’t let your sales and marketing teams operate in silos. Your salespeople will have a better understanding of the common customer questions and complaints than marketing, whereas marketing will possess a better capacity to create the solutions. Ensure you’re not at odds or cross-purposes and meet regularly to track sales progress, refine content, and identify opportunities. Sales and marketing should be working closely and collaboratively to constantly evolve your Content Marketing and messages. Content never sleeps.

4. Organisation is next to godliness

68% of companies have more than five repositories of content [1], which is not an efficient way to operate, and can lead to ad-hoc production of content by sales when they need something in a rush. This can mean poorly executed content riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. Ensure content resources are well organised and indexed, so your busy and high-performing sales reps can easily access and use. From here, you can more effectively track what content is being used, when, and to what effect, which is a gold mine for analysis and planning.

5. Automate basic sales activities

According to HubSpot.com, salespeople spend less than a third of their time actually selling, compared to 50% of time spent performing administrative CRM tasks and searching for content. By automating basic sales activities like standard response emails, sequencing, and scheduling meetings, your sales team can put their time and efforts towards having valuable sales conversations.

A great example of automation tech is HubSpot Sales. With HubSpot Sales, you can:

  • Set up key and best performing emails as templates, which you can later personalise quickly and easily. You can then share these templates with the rest of your team to ensure the best emails are being sent, all the time.
  • Follow up in a relevant, efficient way by joining standard emails together as sequences- let the tech manage follow ups!
  • Cut down on time taken to organise meetings by using HubSpot Meetings. This tool connects to your calendar and allows you to show your availability, and share personalised booking links with prospects.

Sales automation increases consistency, accuracy, and speed, giving your sales team time to do what they do best- sell!

So, those are the keys to Sales Enablement. If this is new to you, a great place to start is by creating cooperation and understanding between sales and marketing. From there, equip sales with well-organised and effective content that they can use to increase those sales, and implement automation to make your processes easier.

[1] Kyle Jepson, “DEVELOPING A UNIFIED CONTENT STRATEGY BETWEEN MARKETING AND SALES”, https://blog.hubspot.com/customers/developing-unified-content-strategy-marketing-sales (January 2017)