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4 Tips on Fostering a Great Sales Enablement Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

4 Tips on Fostering a Great Sales Enablement Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

At this time, the meaning and function of sales enablement may still differ from company to company. However, no matter how you slice it, sales and marketing teams need to be aligned and integrated to allow this function or process to succeed. I’m sure we’ve all been in a position where sales points their finger at marketing and marketing is up in arms. Sadly, it does happen when the departments are not aligned and communication is not where it needs to be. Instead of ignoring the problem and hope it magically fixes itself companies have been rolling out a new function or process to marry the two departments and optimize prospecting and transactions. Sales enablement should reduce friction, grey areas and poor hand-offs between sales and marketing while also encouraging more qualified leads, more successful lead transitions from marketing to sales, and increased communication and better processes.

Here are a few tips to creating a successful sales enablement function or process.

1.  Create a buyer persona agreement Sales and marketing should hold a brainstorming session where everyone adds value to creating the company’s buyer personas. Sales interacts with prospects in a completely different way than some marketing departments do, so both departments need to elicit their experience and advice in this discussion. Once the information is aggregated, both teams should work together to form the appropriate buyer personas, including a summary of duties, in-depth responsibilities, pain points and challenges and appropriate messaging to the persona.

2. Walk through your sales funnel Start from the beginning with marketing’s efforts and walk through the sales funnel, noting each touch between sales and marketing. Be specific when having this conversation so everyone has a better understanding of each interaction that prospects have with your company. As a lead progresses down the funnel, be sure to note whose responsibility is whose and when action is needed as to eliminate any confusion in the process. The clearer that process is, the more understanding everyone will have and the more cohesive marketing and sales efforts will become.

3. Make sure there’s visibility into each other’s resources SiriusDecisions estimates that 70 percent of content remains unused. This number is huge! More often than not, marketing has valuable, persona-oriented content that sales should be using to consult prospects deeper in the buyer journey. But many sales reps are still left, raising their hands and asking for more content or how to find a specific content asset, resulting in wasted time and efforts. It’s important that marketing resources are created using valuable content, that sales understands each piece and will feel comfortable using it, and lastly that the content is shared among BOTH departments and done so in an organized fashion. What’s more, many great ideas for content can originate in the sales department. After all, sales reps have more direct contact with customers and prospects than marketers.

To solve these challenges, marketing and sales should agree to the definitions of the target audience and persona. That way, marketing can ensure the content that is being created is valuable for the audience. In addition, when a new piece of content is launched, marketing should follow a standard process of sharing and training the sales reps on its proper usage. This way, marketing knows who’s on sales’ radar and they can help tailor initiatives so that messaging will resonate with that prospect. When that is able to happen, the bridge between the two departments becomes that much smaller.

4. Encourage sales and marketing meet-ups Sales and marketing should communicate with one another often. Each department has information that can help better the other department. For example, sales can give insights on how the new eBook is doing or marketing can help sales with social selling. However, there’s only so much that people will disclose in traditional meetings. Whether people’s minds are wandering to what they want for lunch or they’re thinking about the call they have in a half hour, there are always some distractions. Even when concentration is on point, it can be difficult to make a formal suggestion or offer your help in areas. Casual get togethers can help solve these issues. Bring lunch in for both teams. Meet up at a local restaurant after work for appetizers or a drink. In settings such as these, it may be easier for people to speak up about insights and be frank about what they think could improve sales and marketing processes. It’s good to encourage communication as it will only help tighten the prospecting process.

Sales enablement will certainly have different responsibilities at each company and may function differently, but the main goal is to better align marketing and sales, reduce friction and increase revenue. The more buy-in from the executive level, the easier it will be for each department to work together and make time for those important conversations.

If you’d like more information on defining sales enablement’s role in your company, aligning sales and marketing to increase communication and maximize profit, and measuring the effectiveness of your sales enablement plan, download our free guide Sales Enablement Explained!

   Image Credit(s):                Flazingo                    

Written by

Megan Toohey
June 5, 2014