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Sales Enablement: All the Tools that Optimize Sales Performance

A marketer’s success depends upon their ability to help sales reps sell. Sales enablement encompasses everything you do to make that happen. Your marketing campaigns discover the right prospects and then nurture and guide them through the buyer’s journey, getting them ready to be handed over to your reps. But your work doesn’t stop there. Sales enablement also includes tools that equip sales teams with data-driven insights to help them sell smarter and close more deals.

How Marketing Data Leads to Sales

Marketers are always collecting data. Marketers keep track of everything prospects do—sign-ups, registrations, subscriptions, surveys, past purchases, and user actions—all to paint a better picture of who their prospects are. The more data that they collect, the more insights they gain. Using that data, marketing can better understand potential customers and nurture them throughout the sales process by personalizing communications content and finding the best times to reach them.

Reading a prospect’s digital body language can help marketers understand their behavior. Digital body language analyzes all of a prospect’s online activities—from the websites visited to the influencers they follow on social media. Just as a person’s regular body language might indicate their intentions and interest, Digital body language gives you an idea of someone’s level of interest and engagement in your brand, products, and services.

Turning Data Insights into Action

Data activation is the process of unlocking the value in your data to power the customer experience throughout the sales lifecycle. Just collecting the data isn’t enough; it has to be put to use—activated—to inform your marketing activity. The right customer data can tell you:

  • Your customer’s business problem(s)
  • What types of content your customer prefers
  • What your customer’s next action might be
  • How interested and engaged they are with your brand
  • How close they are to making a purchase

The Handoff: From Marketing to Sales

Marketing teams use a process called lead scoring to rank prospects according to their perceived level of interest and buying intentions. Prospects that meet the predetermined criteria are handed over to sales. At the same time, marketing passes off all of the data that’s been gathered about their prospects: background, interests, preferences, business requirements, and the problem(s) they wish to solve. Lead scoring helps drive a steadier and more predictable sales pipeline by enabling sales representatives to focus on the prospects with the best chance of becoming customers.

Lead scoring, data activation, and other sales enablement tools all work together to help your company use your sales resources more efficiently. Sales representatives only have so much time; sales enablement helps them use it wisely and productively. Arming your reps with qualified leads and data-based knowledge helps them to speak more intelligently with prospects and have a better chance of guiding them toward closing the sale.

When done correctly, sales enablement provides the following:

  • A list of prospects whose behaviors and actions indicate high levels of interest and engagement
  • Topics sales representatives can use to engage individual prospects in high-value and relevant discussions
  • Tools and techniques to help track both prospects and customers throughout the buying and sales cycles
  • Information that sales can quickly access, customize, and send to prospects to help guide them through the buying process

The Sales Process Is a Conversation

Good marketing content drives sales by encouraging conversations with prospects. By providing the right content and properly educating prospects, marketing can do most of the heavy lifting that gets prospects ready to make a purchase. At the end of the lead nurturing process, a prospect might even have already come close to a decision, making it easier for the rep to take over and guide the prospect toward a purchase.

With the right sharing of information sales representatives should be able to step seamlessly into those conversations. With sales enablement tools, reps will possess a keen understanding of the prospect’s needs and behaviors and will know how to deliver immediate value.

Problem Solving Starts the Conversation

To keep potential customers engaged throughout this process, it is important to remember that your products offer a solution to a prospect’s problem. Both marketing and sales need to be aligned on that idea and share information so that conversations with prospects can be maintained. This sales enablement approach increases sales rep efficiency by:

  • Increasing pipeline momentum
  • Reducing the need for sales representatives to do research
  • Reducing the need for sales representatives to customize content
  • Enabling sales representatives to spend more time on higher-priority activities such as establishing a relationship with prospects and guiding them through the buying process
  • Improving your ability to meet a prospect’s expectations

More About the Buyer

Sales enablement is more about the buyer than the seller. The buyer’s process should be the foundation for all your sales enablement efforts. To properly craft sales enablement efforts, both teams need to be on top of where their prospects are in the purchasing journey

Other important requirements for sales enablement include:

  • Sales and marketing alignment. The two teams must be on the same page, communicating and sharing relevant information. After all, both teams share the same common goal: increasing sales.
  • Well-defined goals for both marketing and sales. What sales quotas do you want to reach? By what metrics will you determine success? Make sure your goals are aligned throughout the entire process—from lead to sale, and even after the sale.
  • Continual learning and training. Both marketing and sales teams are always learning and adapting. There will always be another method, tool, or tip that both groups can put incorporate to improve results. In fact, it could be helpful if marketers took sales training and sales took marketing training so they can see how the other side operates and how it links up with what they do.
  • Relevant, engaging content. A must for good sales enablement. Content that prospects want and can engage with is what readies them to be turned over to sales.
  • Leverage existing sales tools. You must make it as easy as possible for sales teams to leverage content, tools, techniques, and data so that they are well equipped to work with prospects.

Sales enablement is made up of a variety of tools that all work together to turn prospects into customers and generate more revenue. But whether you’re marketer or a sales representative, the most important tool of all is empathy. The information you have on prospects will allow you to get to know and understand them better. What frustrates them? What keeps them up at night? And what delights them? What intrigues them? All of this data will help you reach out to and connect with prospects and, ultimately, drive more sales.