Sales enablement is the process of providing sales teams with the right content, knowledge, and skills for every buyer interaction. However, just because it’s a “sales” tool doesn’t mean it’s a sales-only tool. In this article, we’re exploring why sales enablement is an important tool for marketing teams, and how they can utilize it to help create and deliver coordinated messages throughout the buyer’s journey.
By now, we’ve all heard about the importance of improved sales and marketing alignment and the need for a comprehensive view of the buyer decision journey. Before we discuss ways that sales enablement can support better alignment, let's explore content strategy for B2B marketing and examine the common barriers to success.
Marketing teams are the primary producers of digital content for sales professionals.
Content marketing is a dominant form of marketing with 89 percent of B2B marketers indicating organizational adoption in a recent Content Marketing Institute Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. Additionally, content marketing costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing and generates, on average, three times as many leads.
Not including staff, the average marketing budget spent on digital content now rests at 29 percent and as much as 85 percent of digital content is created by the marketing team.
Unfortunately, content tends to miss the mark on usefulness for sales.
75 percent of sales professionals report that they ‘occasionally’ or ‘never’ get what they need from marketing, and 78 percent of sales leaders have reported that their sales teams are creating their own sales presentation materials.
According to Firebrick Consulting, they feel that the digital content created for them by marketing is:
- Too generic (67%)
- Not relevant to their buyers (40%)
- Out of date (20%)
Or worse, the content never ends up making it to the sales team at all.
Only 9 percent of organizations are using a dedicated content management system to distribute content to their sales professionals. The most popular content management formats aren’t failing to make content more accessible, but they are creating roadblocks and disruptions in the content cycle.
Here’s a breakdown of popular digital content management strategies:
- 22% - A cloud storage system (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc.)
- 22% - Email attachments
- 18% - CRM or Sales Force Automation
- 17% - An Intranet
- 9% - Personal hard drive
All of these platforms lack the organization and accessibility needed for great content management.
The icing on the cake - many marketers aren’t sure what content they should be creating.
Though most marketing professionals use marketing automation for their digital content, 17 percent stated they had no content effectiveness measurements, and 48 percent felt they only made basic use of them.
How Does Sales Enablement Support Marketing?
1) It Improves Sales and Marketing Alignment
Let's be honest, the majority of sales and marketing teams operate in silos. They send content and leads back and forth with relatively little communication and in return, the process rarely results in closing deals. Sales and marketing alignment is achieved by putting in processes and tools to foster better collaboration and by pushing sales level insight to the marketing team.
Why is this important? Even though salespeople are the ones using the content and know first-hand what their buyers need, less than 12 percent of sales teams are included by marketing in the digital content creation process.
It can be tough to just ask your teams to sit down and collaborate, but with the help of a sales enablement platform you can push content data for shared insights.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “My marketing automation system gives me plenty of data, what difference does sales enablement make?” And it’s a fair question. Let's look at the content delivery process with only marketing automation and no sales enablement integration.
Marketing – Creates inbound content > brings in leads > sends those leads to sales when they’re ready.
- All interactions are tracked in marketing automation.
- Marketers optimize their content for lead generation.
Sales – Receives marketing content and leads > shares content and develops relationships > closes the sale.
- No insight from the content. No insight from the lead.
- Marketers use anecdotal evidence from sellers, or none at all.
Marketers have very little data to judge how effective content is for closing, nor do they know the quality of the leads being generated. They become highly tuned engines for lead generation, but not closing.
Now, let's take a look at the content management process when you incorporate a sales enablement system.
And here’s how that affects the perception of content effectiveness:
% of Executives that Believe Content is Effective For:
With Sales Enablement Insight
No Sales Enablement Insight
2) It Supports Effective Content Distribution
90 percent of sellers are struggling with ineffective digital content management. It’s difficult for them to find the right content, and when they do find it, they don’t have a clear idea of when to use it. Sales enablement offers a content management solution that allows for tailored content experiences, and it’s optimally organized to help sales professionals deliver the right content at the right time.
Sales enablement allows marketing to distribute and track all content assets from one convenient location to users all over world. It streamlines content distribution and automatically updates all assets so that sales professionals no longer have to fear that they’re using outdated pieces.
3) It Creates Actionable Marketing Insights
With marketers creating the majority of digital content and few of them analyzing the data, many sellers are creating their own content out of frustration. The current format of communication is neither integrated nor coordinated.
Sales enablement helps marketers by providing them with access to data that can improve content quality and effectiveness.
Sales enablement provides marketers with:
- 84% improved awareness of the frequency of content use by others;
- 97% improved awareness of who accessed which content, where, when, and how;
- 186% improvement in actionable 360 degree view of the customer
It can be frustrating to be a marketer these days. Painstakingly creating digital content, struggling to coordinate the communications of a global sales force, and starving for target market awareness. If you are interested in how to implement a sales enablement strategy for your business, contact Klyck.io's team of sales enablement experts today.