Circling above a raging forest fire in Arizona last year, brave firemen in helicopters saved hundreds of families in danger. How did they do it? First they observed the thick plumes of smoke rising above the forest, then the wind’s direction through the trees, and ultimately, the terrified people trapped in their homes.
How does a firefighter’s strategy inform your sales enablement best practices? As a sales enablement hero, you’ll take a strikingly similar top-down approach.
Align Marketing with Sales
Sales enablement requires that both areas work toward common and mutually accountable objectives. Create alignment in your organization by giving your sales leaders a seat at the marketing planning table. Three things should be discussed:
1. Common Performance Metrics – Is your marketing team focused on lead generation, response and conversion rates while your sales force focuses on average sales cycle, time to close, and percentage of reps that reach quota? Uncommon metrics lead to working at cross-purposes and prevent unified performance targets.
2. Unified Performance Targets – When marketing and sales share common performance targets, using common metrics, marketing campaigns and sales calls are more effective, sales cycles are shortened, messaging is more consistent, and quotas are met.
3. Proper Asset Management – Rather than create “random acts of enablement,” communicate the availability and intent of all tools before adoption. Most sales forces waste marketing assets because of overproduction and under-communication.
Share Knowledge of Sales Territories
With sales enablement, marketers empower sales with macro-level performance analyses of sales territories. These reports help sales managers deploy the right people to the highest performing regions. Representatives gain valuable insights into which companies are showing signs of buying activity and why. Sales representatives then prioritize the prospects most ready to buy.
Trade Intelligence on Specific Companies
In leading organizations using sales enablement best practices, marketing and sales share intelligence about customer and prospect companies. This can include overall level of engagement, specific employees engaged with sales, levels of buying authority, and even voices in the company who may be active in social media and discussing a product or service.
Discuss Insights on Individual Buyers
With sales enablement, marketers present sellers with a vivid ground-level picture of potential buyers. Marketing produces graphical reports showing the activities of individuals within organizations who are nearing a purchasing decision, and for each, which conversations would advance the sale. The communications that triggered interest, opened a dialogue, or called the prospect to action are all attributed. Relationships begin, with marketers assigning representatives to each prospect, and ensuring further communications are personalized, building the trust it takes to close the sale.
As part of your sales enablement strategy, your CRM rules may segment buyers at different readiness levels and help sales set performance benchmarks for each tier. Marketing automation forecasts future outcomes more clearly as these benchmarks are set, tested, and incrementally improved. Your organization’s end result is a partnership extending far beyond yesterday’s lead generation. Sales enablement empowers your marketers and sellers to each “see the forest for the trees.”