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What Sales Leaders Need to Know about Sales Enablement

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Sales leaders should leverage marketing content, channels and campaigns to accelerate sales engagements. Think sales enablement beyond training and development.

Today’s post is by Pam Didner, author of Global Content Marketing (CLICK HERE to get your copy).

Conventionally, sales leaders view sales enablement as onboarding and training. It makes sense to enable salespeople by training them with relevant knowledge and tools to ensure they are ready to talk to prospects and existing customers. This is especially true in technology, or complex sales, where products require education, explanation, and persuasion before customers are ready to make a buying decision.

BUT, the “enabling” part of sales should not be limited to sales training alone. Here are 3 examples of how marketers can also “enable” sales:

Incorporate Messaging and Content into Sales Training

Map Select Marketing Content to the Sales Process

Incorporate Marketing Elements into Sales Discussions

Incorporate Messaging and Content into Sales Training

Sales leaders are fully aware of how important training is. In general, training managers work with sales leaders to design the training with objectives, a training roadmap, and success metrics. Most training content is created from scratch. To save time, training managers can also reach out to marketing. Content such as product demos, show-and-tells, messaging, and pricing guides can also be included as part of training.

In addition, with the rise of digital and mobile devices, training is not limited to only face-to-face and virtual settings. These formats are still valid and effective but continuous training can come in the form of micro-training, which is about sharing snackable and consumable sales tips and best practices on a daily or frequent basis. The quick-bite type of training concept is similar to the approach of turning to the daily meditation or motivation apps to get a quick dose of relaxation or inspiration. Using technology to continuously improve sales knowledge and skillsets is another reason to tap into content from your marketing team.

Map Select Marketing Content to the Sales Process

In general, marketing creates varied content for multiple communications purposes. Depending on the sales stages or conversations with customers, product-specific content tends to be frequently requested by the sales team. Much of this marketing-created content can also work for sales communications. Below are some excellent examples:

Product videos

Product pages on the website

Product sheets

Solutions briefs

Customer success stories

Case studies

ROI reports and ROI calculators

White papers, industry trends and survey reports conducted by marketing

Competitor comparison guides

Topic-specific blog posts, podcasts and the like

These types of content come in handy and should be part of the sales playbook or part of the sales portal. In addition, it can be especially useful as a follow-up to a productive conversation or meeting. According to research, there is a Picture Superiority Effect that indicates people will remember only 10 percent of what you say within two days of your meeting. In a very short period of time, prospects will have forgotten the vast majority of what you were trying to convey. Therefore, after conversations and meetings, it’s important to share content to validate, reinforce or remind customers of your key points. Some of this content can also be used by salespersons for their own mini-email outreach campaigns. Even if sales reps are either waiting to hear back from prospects or trying to re-engage with existing customers, using some of these content pieces is a non-intrusive tactic to keep those relationships warm. Content, in both cases, keeps the brand at the top-of-the-mind of your customers and prospects.

As a marketer supporting sales, it’s essential to have an overview of the most current content available so you can pull the best recommendations from your content trove during opportunity reviews, sales pipeline update meetings, or informal chats with your salespeople.

Incorporate Marketing Elements into Sales Discussions

Marketing can be a powerful tool for sales professionals. Elements such as partner marketing, event marketing, social media, or even a website’s ecommerce components can be integrated as part of a sales effort to accelerate conversions. New technology offers marketers additional capabilities to elevate marketing programs and identify potential sales enablement opportunities.

Here is an example of using social media as part of a sales negotiation. The sales team of a whiskey company was working hard to gain shelf space in liquor stores and supermarkets in a specific city. In order to get more shelf space with these stores, the sales team proposed location-targeted social media ads to promote free tasting events at these stores with agreed-upon dates. The goal was to drive as much traffic as possible to the stores for tasting with the expectation that, eventually, customers would buy that particular brand of whiskey.

While in the store, customers are likely to purchase other types of mixers or liquors which directly increase the stores’ revenue. The stores loved the idea that the brand was running geo-targeted ads to drive foot traffic. Paid media budget was used as part of the sales negotiation to close this deal.

Global Content Marketing

Marketing consultant, author, and speaker. Author of 2 books: Global Content Marketing (CLICK HERE to get your copy) and Effective Sales Enablement (CLICK HERE to get your copy). She shares many examples like the blog post in her newest book, Effective Sales Enablement. Pam specializes in sales, marketing and external communications consulting, keynote presentations, corporate training and workshops. Learn more at pamdidner.com

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