Did you know that your sales team is probably not ready to sell your product or service? It might sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

In fact, according to research by Sirius Decisions, 82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared for productive and educational conversations with customers.

This could be for a number of reasons, ranging from them not being familiar enough with your products to them not having the tools and resources they need to effectively execute the sales process.

If this is an eye-opener for you, you’re not alone.

Luckily, there is a way you can change this. An effective sales enablement program can help prepare your sales teams for more successful customer conversations and create more loyal fans over time.  

To build out your sales enablement program, you have to begin by integrating your marketing efforts into every part of your business – particularly sales.

According to a CSO Insights report, less than 20% of businesses were spending out on sales enablement in 2013 compared to 59% in 2017.

Source

The ever-changing digital landscape and the advancement of technology have meant that it’s easier than ever to fuse the sales and marketing cycles together to produce better results.

But, in order to get those results, you have to do it right.

Let’s go back to basics.

What is Sales Enablement in B2B?

Sales enablement is essentially the relationship between content marketing and sales right from the start to the very end.

The sales side of the business helps marketing know what kind of prospects to target, while the marketing team creates and distributes content that drives those targeted prospects through the sales funnel and towards the sale.

The goal is to boost sales efficiency by using all the tools and materials you have available. So, instead of getting salespeople to cold call prospects who may or may not even be interested in what you have to offer, you instead use content to educate prospects, create brand awareness, and warm up leads.

How can you best leverage sales enablement?

1. Hyper-targeting

Targeting is crucial in any part of business today, but it’s particularly important when it comes to sales enablement.

To ensure content that’s geared towards sales is successful, you have to really consider who it’s been created for and how you’re putting it out there to reach those people.

Reaching the right businesses at the right time is just one of the steps in the process, but you also have to make sure you’re reaching the right person within an organization for the best results.

When it comes to creating and developing your sales enablement program, knowledge begins with research. If you’ve had a look around, you’ll know that there are tons of marketing tools and apps to help you build content, gamify campaigns, and more. But, if you’re not using them correctly or haven’t targeted properly, none of them will be effective.

2. Deep Analytics

The majority of enablement campaigns are set up in such a way that they automatically let salespeople know when a lead is at the perfect point in the funnel to be contacted.

But to get the most out of your campaign, it’s important to dig deeper than that.

Knowing what kind of leads clicked on a certain link, how much of a piece of content they read, and how long ago they actually visited your company’s website are important pieces of information for the marketing team to know so they can determine whether the content they’re creating is doing its job properly.

3. Create Great Content

This is one of the most important parts of creating and leveraging a successful sales enablement strategy.

In research carried out by the CMO Council, findings showed that salespeople spend around 40% of their time actively looking for content that has been created by the marketing department or actually creating their own content to fit a specific need.

When the sales and marketing processes become intertwined, this becomes much less of an issue. Through deep analytics and hyper-targeting, marketing teams know who to target and, therefore, they know what kind of information and content those people need.

It’s important to start every sales enablement campaign with a plan and a set of goals. Marketers that might not be aware of customer needs must sit down with the sales department to discover the key pain points and desires of their target audience. From there, they can happily create content that taps into those pain points and answers the most common questions.

The kind of content you can create at this stage really varies depending on your goals. You might create broader thought leadership pieces aimed at people at the top of the sales funnel, or you might provide service-based videos and demos for those nearer the bottom of the funnel.

4. Align With Customer Needs

Remember, your customers are the most important people when it comes to sales and marketing.

Successful sales enablement is led by the customer – a fact that many businesses don’t know about. In fact, SO Insights showed that a whopping 54% of sales organizations don’t align their sales processes with their customers’ journeys, but those that do report 14% higher quota attainment rates.

5. Educate Everyone Involved

A successful sales enablement program doesn’t just look at what is being marketed, it also looks at how it’s being marketed and to who.

In order for your sales team to have productive conversations with customers, they need to be in the know about all aspects of your marketing campaigns before, during, and after they happen. In fact, you can take it one step further and provide them with an app or a tool that allows them to tailor pre-approved content that’s already been created in company templates. This will provide a more personalized experience for prospects.

What Does Customer-Lead B2B Sales Enablement Look Like?

At its core, a successful sales enablement strategy aligns your content with your customers’ behavior at every stage of the funnel. More specifically, it hones in on how those customers make key decisions in the purchasing process and duly notes how behavior changes at every stage.

The more you are able to align your content and general output with what your customers want and need, the more successful you’re going to be at making sales.