B2B sales cycles might be getting longer, but you can still close more deals at a quicker rate than you have before. Your marketing preps, nurtures, and guides prospects through the buyer’s journey, getting them ready to be handed over to a sales representative to close the deal. In other words, marketing enables sales. They work hand in hand, sharing data and realizing they both play integral roles in closing a deal. Thus, they need to be aligned and on the same page to achieve success.
Marketers are always collecting data. Sign-ups, registrations, subscriptions, surveys, past purchases and actions, customer preferences, the types of content that do better with certain customer segments, marketers keep track of it all to paint a picture of their prospects. The more they know the better they can nurture a prospect by personalizing their communications to them and finding the opportune times to reach out.
A prospect’s Digital Body Language can tell a great of the story about them. Digital Body Language accounts for all of a prospect’s activities online, the websites they frequent, the blogs they regularly read, the newsletters they subscribe to, the companies and SMEs they follow on social media, and more. Just as a person’s regular body language might indicate their intentions and interest, Digital Body Languages gives you an idea of someone’s level of interest and engagement in your brand, products, and services.
Collecting this information, developing insights into it, and taking action upon it is a process called data activation. After all, the best and most telling data in the world means nothing if it is not put to use. The right customer information can tell you:
Marketing teams use a process called lead scoring to determine which prospects are more interested and readier to be turned over to sales than others. They assign scores to prospects based on their data, actions, and levels of engagement. Of course, levels of interest and engagement can wave, increase, or plateau for a multitude of reasons, some of which might be beyond a marketer’s control. However, they can take action to re-engage a prospect and nurture them further. Therefore, lead scoring constantly undergoes refinement, as interest and engagements levels can change action to action and day to day, so teams need to stay on the ball and ready to take appropriate measures.
Once marketing scores a prospect high enough and determines that they have been primed and readied, they hand them over to sales, along with the information they have on that prospect. Such data, such as the prospect’s background, interests, preferences, what they responded to and what they didn’t, their business needs, and the problem they wish to solve, plays an integral role in a sales representative working with that prospect and closing a deal.
If a prospect is brought to sales but are not ready to sell, marketing can always nurture them more. The key is to remain on good terms with them and to keep in touch by providing relevant, useful communications and information. It can take some finesse to fire back up their interest and engagement to help the sales team, but marketing has the information to make it possible.
Marketing and sales working together generates the best results in building your brand, your reputation, and your revenue, which is what it is all about. Once a prospect has been prepped and readied for the handoff to sales, a sales representative needs to be able to make the most out of that opportunity.
A marketer’s success depends upon their ability to help a sales representative sell. Sending out the right content at the right time to the right prospect definitely plays a role in that, but a sales representative only has so much time and so many resources they can utilize. For the best success, they need to know where to focus their efforts. You, as a marketer, can lend a hand by passing over the pertinent information about prospects, the content that they responded to and won them over, and any insights you have into their behavior, intentions, and just what the business problem they need to solve is. By arming a sales representative with this knowledge, they can speak more intelligently with the prospect and have a better chance of guiding them toward making a buying decision.
A hard sell is not always the best way to go. Nowadays, customers have taken control of the sales cycle. Therefore, the best sales representatives simplify a prospect’s decision-making process. They possess a keen understanding of the prospect’s needs and behaviors and know how to deliver immediate value as they take them through the sales process.
Marketing lends a hand by providing higher-quality leads, so sales can focus on higher-priority activities, which can drive a steadier and more predictable sales pipeline. To facilitate successful sales enablement, marketing should provide sales with:
Remember that marketers are having conversations with prospects. With the right sharing of information, sales representatives should be able to step seamlessly into those conversations. By providing the right content and properly educating prospects, marketers might do most of the work in getting a prospect ready to make a buy. They might even have already come close to making up their mind, which makes it easier for sales representatives to take over and guide the prospect toward a purchase.
The key is remembering that you can offering a solution to a prospect’s problem. You are offering value and helping them out. Both marketing and sales need to be aligned on this and sharing information so that the conversation with the prospect can be maintained and there is less burden on sales to drive home a sale or make a harder pitch. This approach also allows for:
Sales enablement is more about the buyer, or prospect, than the marketer or seller. Both marketing and sales need to know who the prospect is and where they are in their customer journey to properly craft how to market and sell to them. Thus, the buyer’s process should act as the foundation for all your sales enablement efforts. You have to be able to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes in order to be able to reach and connect with them.
Other important objectives for sales enablement include:
Whether a marketer or a sales representative, the most important tool for sales enablement is empathy. The information you have on prospects will allow you to get to know them and understand where they are coming from. What frustrates them? What keeps them up at night? And what delights them? What intrigues them?
Sales empowerment might be all about empowering sales, but marketing and sales are not two separate entities all to themselves. They work together toward one goal of turning prospects into customers and generating revenue. Customer data acts as their Holy Grail that puts them on the right path of being able to reach, connect, communicate with, and market and sell to prospects and customers.