How can marketing help address sales challenges? If a sales department is not large enough to include sales enablement staff, marketing tends to take on these tasks in partnership with sales leadership. Collaborate with the creatives and strategists to optimize your processes, tools, and templates so that every bit of effort the sales teams puts into their relationships has maximum impact. As a Fractional CMO, aligning with the sales team is a high priority in our consulting engagements. We love to bring marketing expertise to B2B companies that have almost exclusively grown through sales-led strategies. Focusing on sales enablement first lays the foundation for even better marketing results.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at how partnering with a Fractional CMO+O (Chief Marketing Officer + Marketing Operations) can help sales teams overcome some of their challenges.
Yes, this is marketing’s job, but it works better when sales is involved in the process. Salespeople know the customers and the audience because they have direct contact. Not involving sales in the content planning and creation is a major inefficiency. It is also a great way to ensure that MQLs come in with the right information. At the end of the day, not everyone is ready to buy so ensuring that content is addressing the needs, reservations, challenges, and fears at the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel is the key to a strategic victory.
Get involved with the messaging and thought leadership development by meeting with marketing regularly to discuss market trends and brainstorm content ideas. Additionally, the sales team can help write blogs or film videos to ensure that the top of the funnel is well-educated. Afterall, sales should have a vested interest in what content prospects or MQLs are consuming because they ultimately will have to close a deal. Cultivating a thorough understanding of each stage with both teams will help bridge any gaps in the sales process and identify opportunities for optimization.
“So you mean to tell me, I have to actually post on social media?” “I am not an influencer and this does not help me meet my quotas” We would ask what are you sharing? Are you driving traffic to your website? And are you showing up as a salesperson or a trusted thought leader in the industry who’s ready to answer questions and offer support regardless of a purchase? As more and more salespeople take to maintaining their personal brands and garnering trust as an individual first, companies are benefiting immensely. This can be less difficult than people think. If the inbound marketing is aligned with sales in the planning and production phases, it will make social selling easier for the sales team. Now there’s an arsenal of well-written, strategic content (blogs, videos, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies) that sales can share with their personal network on Linkedin with the minimal effort of 1-2 sentences of personal commentary and expertise. Prospecting with messaging and connection requests is also a great time to curate and share content so that salespeople are adding value at all times. This drives traffic to the website which will ultimately result in more leads. The marketing team is a great resource to tap into for training salespeople on platforms and practices that can improve performance for the department as a whole.
The name of the game is to stay top of mind throughout the decision-making process. Follow-up procedures are paramount. Automation is a game-changer when your intent is to keep the prospect engaged without pushing them to buy your product. Continuing to provide value to leads that aren’t ready to buy is the ultimate trust-building activity. Collaborate with marketing to develop scripts, build automations, and stay relevant by sharing content that addresses their objections, challenges, and goals. This is similar to inbound marketing, but, if there was a sales touchpoint, there is more information on the lead’s specific needs that can help better curate or inform new content developed specifically for the account. This moves toward account-based marketing. The best technique for landing high-value targets.
Speaking of account-based marketing, customization is a major advantage that sales teams have. They have spent the time to get to know a prospect. When they are well versed in the content library, they can curate or request edits to existing collateral to make sure that the customer sees themselves in the messaging. Sharing case studies and testimonials from peers with similar challenges is a great way to warm a cooling lead. Nothing beats the delight of feeling heard. Making personalized communication and delighting prospects will work wonders in enticing people to sign sales contracts.
Support the Process with Collateral
Training tools, deliverable templates, and, of course, plain old marketing collateral (flyers, brochures, specs, guides, case studies, etc.) are always useful, both internally and externally. The faster a salesperson can learn about the company, products/services, tools/platforms, and processes, the faster and more effective they are in their role. Making sure there are robust training materials and a comprehensive, user-friendly collateral library can make the difference between breaking even and having a breakout revenue year. We understand that entrepreneurial mindsets are championed in sales organizations. However, high performers should share efficiencies and the team should evaluate processes regularly. Align your sales process by encouraging your sales team to learn new tactics. Try to highlight the value that they will get out of your new process or new tools and support it with written training materials so it won’t feel like change is being imposed on them. As marketers, we are always excited to get a peek behind the sales curtain so that we understand the inner workings when we are creating new content.
Marketing’s role in sales enablement is two-fold: ideation and execution. Collaboration between sales and marketing in the ideation and planning phases of content creation can ensure that the team has everything they need to close deals including marketing qualified leads and other materials to educate prospects. Marketing executes on the ideas and the final alignment happens during stake holder approval.