What is Sales Enablement? And how can your organization gain from it?

There are several benefits to achieve from working with Sales Enablement, and there are many different types of Sales Enablement solutions to choose from - all solving different needs. As a result, the benefits of working with Sales Enablement vary, depending not only on the type of solution you choose, but also on the readiness, resources, and priority within the organization.

Sales Enablement that is well-implemented breaks down the department silos within the organization. Supporting improved collaboration and alignment between sales and marketing. Additionally, Sales Enablement generates valuable insights for managers to help their leadership.

When a successful Sales Enablement Strategy is in place and fully implemented, the benefits of more relevant customer dialogue and alignment in communicating the company's value to the customers are:

Sales

  • Grow revenue through alignment and effectiveness
  • Improved win-rate through more professionalized client dialogues
  • Enhanced identification of customer needs, supporting better cross-sale
  • Adapt to customers' changing purchasing behavior

Marketing

  • Secure all relevant sales- and marketing content reach the salespeople effectively
  • Improving sales- and marketing content based on insights from both sales reps and customers
  • Aligning the story-telling in every customer meetings

Excellence

  • Secure ongoing training of your sales reps – through aligned processes, playbooks, etc.
  • Insights on which behavior each sales rep should develop or change
  • Insights on behavior vs. performance in the various sales teams

 

What is needed to gain these benefits?

Firstly, if you do not have a CRM yet, we recommend starting there, as most sales enablement tasks require CRM to support structured processes for sales.

Secondly, you need to define a Sales Strategy. A buyer-centric sales strategy to fit the modern buyers' needs, i.e., addressing the potential and their different types of personas with relevant content, matching their expectations and way of buying. 

Thirdly, a matching Content Strategy is required.  The right sales content must match the need throughout the sales process. Blog posts, whitepapers, and customer cases on your website to educate your customers - before a real sales-dialogue in the initial phases of the buyers' journey. In some cases, this type of content effectively identifies a potential misfit by helping the prospect's to understand what the products and services are, and even importantly are not.

The type of content for direct sales dialogues is typically battle cards, sales presentations, competitor comparisons, product sheets, etc. The content must support an in-depth conversation with an educated buyer.

We divide direct sales content into three stages of a customer meeting:

  • Before the meeting: Train and prepare the sales rep. Use one-pagers with the new Value-Messages, Questions, battle-cards, and order history.
  • During the meeting: Support the sales rep in addressing different types of personas. Discover needs through guided questions, delivering insights to build trust and encourage to challenge the prospect. Use Sales tools, such as service builders and ROI calculators, to prove how you are different.
  • After the meeting: Share relevant content based on the meeting dialogue. For example, minutes of the meeting, related documents on products, specifications, etc.

Make sure that the content created for the direct meetings is co-created with sales to address their needs and to help them address the different personas and issues. 


Engaging your customers – throughout the entire sales funnel

A shared understanding of the ideal buyers' buying journey, helps both sales and marketing understand, what makes a prospect drop out of the pipeline and what pieces of content that supports the potential customers moving forward.

This understanding is essential for being able to create compelling content to drive new leads by enabling the buyers - helping them to complete their buying process with relevant information.

"Engagement marketing means leading with content, not products." & 'Ask not how you can sell, but how you can help."

Mohan Sawhney,
KELLOGG SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT

Instead of selling your product or services, try to advise, inform, and teach your customers and thereby earn the right to talk about products and services - and the benefits of doing business with you.

Consequently, it is essential to know precisely where the potential customers are in their buying journey and being able to match their need for information with relevant content.

The typical steps an organization needs to go through when buying and implementing Sales Enablement initiatives are:

  • Research
  • Define a buyer-centric sales strategy
  • Preparing the organization
  • Choose the type of solutions and compare vendors
  • Build and implement a Sales Enablement program

What drives customer experience and how to engage buyers?

You need to know the potential customers business by being able to present, address buyer's needs, share the most relevant content with buyers, and track their engagement.

Firstly, you need to map the customers’ buying journey and gather insights on their type of business, the market in general, and the clients' competitive situation. Then leverage those insights to plan and drive your internal change by delivering a customer experience matching expectations throughout the buying process. Commercial initiatives often focus mainly on customer touchpoints and fail to look at the opportunity to increase the effectiveness in their sales processes and methodology.

Secondly, design your content strategy to engage and teach your potential customers throughout their buying process with compelling content in the formats and channels needed. This content strategy should address both indirect content for digital channels and offline and shareable content for direct channels, meetings, etc.

Stages of the customers' buying journey.
Each step a B2B customer takes in the buying journey is directly related to their purchase intention or level of interest and readiness in purchasing a product.

The different stages of a buying journey, and the types of content needed:

1. Awareness
Content should more broadly speak about technologies, business-trends, etc.
Recommended types of content:
Infographics, Explainer videos, Whitepapers on industry or technology level.
Leads stay in the “Awareness” category until they have decided that a solution, technology or changes is needed

2. Interest
In this stage, content should teach about your product areas and describe the impact of working with your company.
Content in this stage should provide instructions on how to procure and use the service or product offered by demonstrating the value of working with you.
Recommended types of content:
Detailed product description on features and benefits, how to collaborate, How-to-guides describing typical issues and concerns.

3. Decision & Action
When the customers are informed and ready to say GO or NO-GO you need content that convinces them that your service or product is the best option for them.
Recommended types of content:
Reviews & product comparisons are both good at influencing the purchasing decision. This type of content is crucial for closing the deal, so if they cannot find honest reviews or comparisons, they may be skeptical that you have something to hide.

As part of the indirect content strategy, remember to invest in SEO and possibly SEM to ensure relevant leads will encounter your content.

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