Any marketer that’s ever sat through a Board of Directors meeting explaining CPC or CPA knows that executives and board members care little about campaign performance. Today’s B2B marketers are not just expected to deliver leads, they’re expected to deliver profitable customers that drive strategic value and top-line growth, and do so cost-efficiently. Sixty-seven percent of B2B marketers are accountable for revenue performance or contribution, with the average goal for marketing-sourced revenue exceeding 30%.
Essential to meeting this goal is giving Sales high-quality leads, as well as the information, content, and tools they need to sell more effectively. In fact, 100% of CMOs in one survey claim that the relationship between Sales and Marketing is more critical to revenue marketing success than any other relationship, including finance, the executive team, the board, or IT. Sales enablement has become an essential component of a revenue-driven B2B marketing strategy.
Organizations with a formalized charter around sales enablement are achieving 12% higher win rates and an increase of 35% in sales quota attainment. Yet nearly half of organizations report they do not have a dedicated sales enablement team, program, or function. B2B marketing leaders with revenue accountability must consider arming the field for success an extension of their responsibilities.
In fact, TOPO recommends that Marketing take ownership of creating content, conversation guides, and sales training while leaning on sales management to operationalize the information, putting it into practice. The benefits of this approach are that it affords Marketing the ability to deliver a consistent, cohesive message to the market, maximizes the impact of campaigns across channels, and creates a culture of learning and improvement.
High- quality content centered around the buyer’s experience
The foundation of a successful sales enablement program is high-quality content built with the buyer and their journey in mind. Typically, this content falls into two categories—educational content that will be consumed internally and content that Sales can share externally with potential buyers as part of the sales process. Internally, Marketing should arm Sales with materials that help them better understand buyers, including personas, buyer journey maps, and positioning statements, as well as content that frames products and services through the lens of the buyer—such as product sheets, sales battle cards, and competitor comparisons.
Externally, Marketing should consider how to empower Sales for success at all stages of the buyer’s journey. In contrast to the focus on lead generation familiar to most marketers, the value of sales enablement comes in the latter portion of the journey. This could include items like solution briefs, eBooks, whitepapers, and case studies, or more creative items designed to help Sales overcome objections during the decision stage, such as total cost of ownership and return on investment calculators. And, of course, we can’t forget the all-important “first meeting deck.”
Coordinated marketing/sales plays that maximize conversion
Beyond just providing content, Marketing has a role to play in educating Sales on when and how to use the content—providing reps with coordinated plays for campaigns in-flight and even comprehensive playbooks. At the campaign level, Marketing might develop email cadences and call scripts to follow up on key content downloads. Marketing can arm Sales with messaging and special offers to engage webinar registrants or put together social selling campaigns and materials.
A comprehensive sales playbook can help train salespeople more quickly, freeing up crucial time to focus on selling activities, while helping Sales apply the most effective techniques to their outreach. An effective playbook documents essential items like company background, sales team structure, sales processes, and methodologies. It summarizes brand and product messaging. It arms sales reps with the product’s ideal customer profile and buyer personas; email and call cadences; discovery, qualification, demo, and negotiation questions; tips for overcoming objections; key performance indicators; and the resources they can leverage from Marketing.
Continuous training and communications that keep Sales in the loop
Just building the content and plays isn’t enough. Marketing must also incorporate them into ongoing training and communication designed not only to reinforce previously introduced materials, but also to keep Sales in the loop on upcoming campaign activities and how to make the most of them. Additionally, training and onboarding materials from Marketing can include a virtual introduction to the sales playbook, as well as more fundamental items like “Sales 101” for SDRs who are new to the function.
When creating training programs to ramp new reps and ensure existing reps are keeping their skills sharp, Marketing should consider including:
- Live and on-demand webinars
- An overview of available content and how to use it
- Recordings of effective sales calls by stage, combined with group discussion
- Shadowing exercises and role-plays
- Transcripts of win-loss calls.
Training materials should be stored in the cloud to ensure reps always have access to the latest version. Optimally, organizations should use a learning management system to ensure adherence.
Beyond training, sales enablement teams should establish a regular cadence for communicating upcoming campaigns and aligning with Sales on how to best maximize conversion with Marketing-provided information and tools. One method of doing this is a weekly standup, followed by an email containing all the details. Utilizing collaboration tools like Slack or Teams with a special channel for marketing updates is an easy way to share quick updates and create excitement around new content and other announcements.
A final area where Marketing can enable the field is with technology. In companies lacking a Sales Operations function, Marketing Operations can take a leading role in selecting and implementing sales engagement, sales enablement automation, and sales readiness tools. According to Forrester, B2B sales organizations with the right tech stack in place can recognize a 24% reduction in ramp time for new reps and an increase of 18% in per-rep transactions for an overall 20% improvement in performance. For those with a Sales Operations function, Marketing Operations can partner to improve integrations and data sharing between systems, ensuring platforms are used to their ultimate advantage while pulling actionable data spanning the continuum of marketing and sales activities to inform strategy.
Drive revenue with hyper-aligned programs and campaigns
PMG partners with B2B tech and SaaS marketing organizations to enable sales success—delivering comprehensive campaigns and coordinated sales playbooks built with the buyer’s journey in mind.
Schedule a free 30-minute consultation to learn how you can improve Marketing and Sales alignment, increase sales engagement rates, and close more new business with PMG.