Sales Enablement Explained

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Imagine a sales process that integrates so elegantly with the marketing department that every week your team has a strong and reliable flow of qualified leads to work through.

Ok, now step off that cloud number 9 and start getting real with yourself. That has never happened for you and your organization, so why even pursue the thought?

Sales enablement by the marketing team can certainly happen. But, we recommend checking in with the C-class leadership of your organization to make sure they are on board. The first thing on order by your Marketing team will be properly funded campaigns.

What we commonly hear:

“Here is a minuscule budget, try and get our product/service in front of as many consumers as you can!”

Thing is, that budget may not even be large enough to capture views in a single metro area like Chicago, IL let alone the entire country.

To capture the eyes and more importantly the hearts of hundreds of millions of Americans, your brand will definitely need more than a cool grand to get started. That is why it is critical to get with the business owner and/or company executives to make sure that the sales goals in their head match up with the marketing efforts your team will be expending.

More ways to look at your stuff

After your leadership team buys in (literally) to the marketing campaign, understand where their near-term work will be. Spoiler alert! It won’t be where you may want it to be. The marketing team will begin by widening the sales funnel. Put simply, adding MORE ways for people to look at your stuff.

Creation of email campaigns, landing pages, sales pages, social media sites, backlinking strategies, product recommendation pages/sites, etc. All these methods are part of the madness of marketing your product/service more effectively.

Tighten up your stuff

Then the marketing team will work to tighten up your stuff. As more people look at and consider it, the marketing team will observe product objections, sales page abandonment, unsubscribes, and other forms of “thanks but no thanks”.

Consider a new logo. If that’s not in the cards, try re-branding with new colors and a catchy byline. Marketing your old product in new ways means getting creative and pulling on the heart-strings of the consumer. Is a charity interest involved? Do you “give back”? Are you “eco-aware”? This is a no-stone-unturned type of exploration that while it may be confusing at first, really can deliver the clicks and calls the sales team is looking for.

Softball before hardball

The sales funnel is a funny thing. The sales pitch that really works at the bottom of the funnel is highly unsatisfactory at the top of the funnel. Bottom of funnel prospects are already informed about your product, have probably shopped around with pricing, and find your brand interesting and worthy of continued engagement.

Making assumptions that someone that just stumbled on your website (top of the funnel) already fully buys into your quality control, competitive pricing, and elite customer service experience is true folly. “Buy now!” and “Call now!” buttons are entirely ignored by these prospects. They need more information, competitive analysis, comparative analysis, talk of discounts/freebies, case studies and maybe even video walkthroughs before they fall lower into your funnel. All rolled up. They need the dreaded “Time to Consider”.

Handling “Time to Consider”

95% of all sales professionals HATE the idea of time to consider. Similarly, 100% of your leadership hates it too. The thing is… if you ask a seasoned sales professional what one of the most important weapons in their arsenal is, and they will tell you it’s the “Time to Consider”.

Handing over the reins (virtually) to your prospect to do their own inspection and qualification of you the product/service provider is key. It’s why we don’t like heavy-handed car salesmen. We like to do our own research on the product. Compare providers. Review options. Allowing your prospect enough length in their chain to do all of that, while still retaining dominance over them is what makes great salesmen sticky.

Digital product/service dominance

So, why are we seeing more sales online and fewer sales from brick and mortar retailers? It’s stickiness.

When effectively executed, a digital marketing campaign will first drop a cookie on each prospect’s electronic device. This cookie will serve to inform them of the prospects actions or lack of actions with their brand (and other creepy privacy related things).

The online retailer will deliver carefully authored emails to their inbox, querying them about their interest, delivering valuable information or discounts.

Their sales team will observe the activity each hour/day of these leads to see if any of them “bubble up” to become something worthy of a phone call.

When a prospect walks out of the retail store, you better darn well have had them sign up for a “buyer rewards program”, or something to get them to stick to you. If not, when they tell you “I’ll be back later today/tomorrow to buy this” what they really mean is “I am definitely going out to my car to buy this online using my mobile phone”. All to receive better pricing, sometimes better service, zero lines to stand in, and better availability of sizes/colors/formats.

Bringing it all around

OK, so this article started talking about sales enablement. Then I began to riff on what your marketing team must do to become an “enabler” instead of just a department that does some “not-sure-if-it-will-work” stuff.

So, as a member of the sales team, how can you have confidence that any or all this enablement stuff will work? Well, you should ask. Frequently. And emphatically. Because it matters to you (your paycheck) and the company that you work for.

  • Metrics. Using digital metrics, you can observe the sales funnel, and if it is indeed widening. You can also observe to see if there are more leads going in this month than last month. More leads in the top = more leads at the bottom.
  • Communications. One part of inbound marketing and marketing automation is that it creates communication triggers that are observable and quantifiable. Are the discussions you are having this month with leads MORE and BETTER than last month?
  • Receive triggers. One of the most annoying parts of marketing is having a sales team that doesn’t proactively respond to triggers. You may be the sales executive that only wants to follow up on those purple unicorn prospects. The ones that stand up, yell, shoot off fireworks, and show up at your office with several duffle bags of cash. Problem is… there are so few purple unicorns out there.

If you truly want to understand your customer, and you feel like this is an important part of your job you’ll be shagging every lead that is set to trigger for you.

A high performing and effective salesperson will provide FEEDBACK to the marketing folks on what is working and what is not working, and in doing so you’ll become an effective sounding board for the prospects, making sure the next one that comes down the funnel with interest is less confused, more excited, and more willing to buy.

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