Our Chief Strategy Officer returned from a conference and demanded better sales enablement from the entire team. He wanted sales enablement from the SEO department, the social media department, the content department, and from every individual under the Brand Buddha roof. Overnight, sales enablement became key to everlasting business success. But the question hung in the air, the question no one wanted to ask—
What in the heck is sales enablement?!
I didn’t know. Sales didn’t know. We tried to ask Google, but it didn’t seem to know either…Alexa? No one had a clue.
This is where it gets awkward—do we ask our CSO directly and risk seeming inept? Or do we continue asking sales about their day and providing moral support?
We scrounged the deepest and darkest corners of the web to learn more. Confusion as to whether the term is a vague buzzword or strategic resource rang true throughout the internet, but with a combination of research and common sense we developed the following definition:
“Sales Enablement means providing resources to enable and empower the sales team to more effectively predict sales results and achieve goals.”
The concept seems easy, but we’ve since learned it’s multifaceted. It can change depending on which department you’re applying ‘sales enablement.’ In the end, sales enablement should pull the entire team into confluence, a force that fuels the sales funnel and backs the team.
Why is Sales Enablement Important?
B2B organizations with closely aligned sales and marketing operations achieve 24 percent faster three-year revenue growth.
Sales enablement can shorten the length of sales cycles, increase conversion rates, and provide deeper insight into your marketing impact through sales enablement technology. Sales enablement technology, like CRM, increases customer retention rates by 14 percent with an ability to analyze actual results to inform future deals.
Exercise sales enablement in a multifaceted approach, by flowing the system into these four departments at your business:
Your content marketing strategy should prioritize your sales team to digitally back their conversations with prospects. Historically, 65 percent of marketing content goes unused; but when marketing and sales align, the focus shifts to developing content that engages customers and effectively drives revenue.
Sales enablement demands the space to create a fine-tuned content strategy, and companies with a clear content strategy experience a 55 percent win rate as compared to 43 percent for organizations without one. Consider working directly with your sales team to gain insight into the industry’s challenges and how your services could best solve these problems, and then build content founded on these ideas.
Content plays a critical role at every stage of the buyer’s journey, and the material your company creates should accompany prospects at the right time and the right stage to empower your sales team. Content should vary depending on whether your prospect is in the awareness, consideration, or decision stage, and should address their questions, concerns, and potential solutions within each stage. Sales enablement is all about aligning sales and marketing—which can occur powerfully through the creation of high-value content, especially when optimized for SEO.
Once you’ve created valuable content for your prospects, increase its visibility and likelihood of being seen through SEO. Research highly-trafficked keywords to discover the most engaging topics in anticipation of your industry’s needs, questions, and concerns. A keyword density of at least 1.5 percent is recommended.
- READ MORE: 3 Steps to Grow your Online Presence
SEO optimization will raise the organic ranking of your company’s content, which positions your sales team and company as an authority not only on Google but within the industry. Sales enablement requires tracking user engagement in response to your content strategy. Following user engagement and the response to your content strategy will help your team gather data that can be analyzed to pre-qualify leads for your sales team. Your organization can also further increase your visibility by sharing SEO optimized content through social media channels.
Empower your sales team by building awareness of your company through social media. When 72 percent of sales professionals feel that they are not proficient with Social Selling, be sure to utilize the resources your social media department offers. Sixty-one percent of organizations engaged in Social Selling report an increase in revenue growth.
Although not everyone in your social media community will have an immediate interest in your services, things could change; and when your prospect encounters a new problem or receives a higher budget either weeks, months, or years down the road, be the first one they think to call. Support your prospects in the online community by following, liking, sharing, and commenting when applicable. By consistently touching your prospects and leaving impressions, you’ll cast a positive light on your brand. Even if your brand sits in the back of their mind, you could be the first one they think of when in need of your industry’s services. When the time comes, they’ll think of you!
Empower your sales team by nurturing leads through email, which remains the second most effective way for sales reps to connect with prospects behind calling. Before creating an email sequence, first, create an email template. Next, automate how to respond to users’ engagement with your email campaigns personally. Check out this example:
1. Prospect subscribes to your email newsletter
2. Email prospects a free guide
3. If your prospect downloads the free guide, offer additional tools and resources
4. Offer case studies
5. Offer a webinar
6. Offer discounts
7. Invite the prospect to demo the product
8…and continue to offer content that is genuinely beneficial until that prospect becomes a customer
Your email marketing sequence should consider both those responsive and unresponsive to your email attempts, which can lead to the development of an intricate and potentially complicated process. But once you’ve determined a logical sequence tailored to your target audience, the system can run untouched. You’ve automated follow-ups and have empowered your sales team with extra time to do what they do best—sell.
Implement sales enablement into the content, SEO, social media, and email marketing departments of your business to not only impress your Chief Strategy Officer, but to nurture, develop, and generate leads. How else could sales enablement creatively flow through your business to drive leads? In the end, we’re all the sales team.