The 2016 Sales Enablement Study from CSO Insights reports that more than half of all enterprises will implement a sales enablement solution by the end of 2017. B2B sales and marketing organizations are taking steps to more effectively collaborate in order to drive more leads and increase revenue.
Veteran sales and marketing executives likely remember a time not long ago when sales and marketing teams worked in silos. Back then, marketing teams did not really hand off leads to sales as much as they tossed contact information over the fence and hoped someone on the sales side caught it.
- As recently as 2014, B2B Leads reported that 50 percent of sales prospecting time is wasted on unproductive prospecting.
Sales enablement solutions have the potential to fix that problem – making sales reps more efficient and productive, and ensuring marketing has a bigger impact on revenue.
However, in order to truly impact revenue and increase sales performance, sales enablement programs must be implemented correctly and fully supported by sales and marketing executives and their teams. Sales enablement teams must incorporate the following four concepts into their efforts to be effective:
The right content, at the right time: Ninety-five percent of clients prefer ample content at each stage of the buying process, according to Demand Gen Report. That means sales enablement teams must provide plenty of content, and make sure sales uses it as the right time in the selling cycle. It is not enough to provide sales reps with a content repository. Content marketers and sales enablement managers must also ensure the reps understand who to provide content to, and when to offer it.
The type of content matters as much as when it is delivered to the prospect. In fact, another 95 percent of buyers report that they prefer short, easily digestible content over longer materials. Use cases are overwhelmingly beneficial as well. Finally, Demand Gen Report suggests that customers prefer content that they can access easily on mobile devices.
Two-way communication and process alignment: Marketo states that when sales and marketing are in sync, companies are 67 percent better at closing deals. That is the dramatic impact on revenue that proves the value of effective sales enablement. The most important thing for sales and marketing teams to do is to document the seller and buyer process. Sales enablement tools should be tightly aligned to that process in order to support sales reps at each stage. It has been reported that sales cycles are 22 percent longer than they once were, because of an increasing number of decision makers involved in the process. A tightly aligned sales enablement process will help buyers meet the needs of the unique decision makers, at each step in the process. Effective sales enablement can shrink the selling cycle by days.
Content analytics tightens the selling process: It’s not enough for content marketers and sales enablement teams to create and share content that they think will work. In today’s age of big data we can effectively create content that we know will work, and pinpoint exactly when it will be most effective. The best sales enablement programs leverage powerful content analytics solutions to provide sales teams and customers the information that they need, exactly when they need it. Analytics can also be used to identify ‘dud’ content, or content that is best purposed in other stages of the lead cycle. Tools exist today to passively capture and report on how customers and sales reps use content, who reads it, and whether they share it.
The right content delivery solution: According to Kapost, 65 percent of sales reps say that they cannot find the content they need. This is a serious detractor to sales enablement success. Shared drives and content repositories are only successful if reps have the inclination and know how to use them. Too often sales reps do not have the time or patience to search for the latest version, or hop on the network to access a drive. Innovative content delivery solutions allow sales enablement managers to confidently and securely share the latest version of documents to sales reps on the go. By providing reps with offline and mobile access to current versions of documents, sales enablement teams ensure reps always have access to the information they need to support each stage of the selling cycle.
Aberdeen reports that 60 percent of best-in-class companies, indicate that, “Marketing has extensive visibility into the sales team’s utilization of content and assets.” However, only 28 percent of lagging companies can boast the same. This speaks to the power and opportunity of effective content-based sales enablement programs. It is no wonder that strong sales and marketing organizations are making sales enablement a must-have for 2017.