As marketers, our role in the partnership with sales has gradually shifted from facilitation to support, to empowerment. Successful marketers now play a pivotal role during every phase of the sales cycle from lead generation to closing. As your marketing department continues to move forward along the facilitation-to-empowerment continuum of sales enablement, keep a tight focus on these top five mandates:
5. Proactively Manage Sales Assets
To sell to today’s self-informed buyers, your salespeople and resellers need relevant, resonant content to support every opportunity in the sales cycle. Content needs to be varied and engaging, from how-to videos to interactive webinars. Marketers must continually engage with sales leaders to learn precisely when to “push” content to representatives. Sellers must be freed from the administrative work of having to search for content on portals or outdated content management systems. Buyer behavior signals should be established which automatically trigger content delivery to the right personnel at target organizations.
The content itself should be customized for the salesperson or reseller, as well as for the customer segment. When that content is downloaded or shared, sales people should be notified to start or continue a dialogue within the windows of opportunity marketing has created.
4. Drive Holistic Customer Development
Marketers now support the development of leads from generation to segmentation to nurturing to closing. It’s no longer sufficient for marketing to deliver qualified leads in a handoff to sales. Sales enablement technologies support a holistic approach to moving prospects and customers forward at every stage in the relationship. Prior to the first sales call, marketing has 100% ownership in tracking each contact – quickly into sales, or gradually through nurture campaigns. After the first sales call, developing the customer is a completely collaborative process.
3. Unify Performance Metrics
Your marketing team can’t be focused on lead generation campaign response and conversion rates while your sales team focuses on average sales cycle, time to close, and percentage of sales representatives that reach quota. Uncommon performance metrics between marketing and sales lead to working at cross-purposes. Mutually develop a system of common metrics and performance targets which will make your marketing campaigns and sales calls more effective, shorten your sales cycles, and increase your rate of closings.
2. Supply Buyer, Organization, and Territory Intelligence
With sales enablement technologies, one of the most powerful ways in which marketing supports sales is with insights into buyers.
At the individual buyer level, you can show sales what an individual prospect or customer cares about, her activities, proclivities, and level of engagement – everything that comprises the “digital body language”. Your marketing insights can include social media discussions that are catching prospects’ interest, the marketing communications most responsible for driving interest, and then your recommendations for how sales should engage.
At the company level, you can show sales what roles individuals within an organization have in a buying decision, and how active and engaged these individuals are at any point. You can even provide insights into negative behaviors, including comments on forums on social media sites. At the territory level, you can provide insights on organizations that are showing the most signs of buying activity to enable sales to prioritize sales calls and visits.
1. Build Trusted Relationships
In three of the above mandates, there are components of building a trusted relationship. In managing sales assets, you’re building trust through targeting the buyer’s needs, personalizing messaging to the buyer, and customizing the content from the sales person to initiate a personal relationship and grow familiarity. In driving customer development, it’s about keeping customers engaged with you and avoiding the slack of apathy. Of course, by supplying sales with the right buyer intelligence, your representatives will develop closer, more trusted relationships through mutual understanding and reliance.
Learn how your marketers can empower sales. Call a Bridge Metrics executive at 877.801.7158.