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Key Points You Need to Know About Sales Enablement

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Key Points You Need to Know About Sales Enablement

Some companies believe that sales reps need nothing besides proper sales tactics and sales skills to effectively sell products or services.

The truth is that sales reps need way more in order to achieve great results – training materials, tools, and resources. Sales enablement is exactly what they actually need to walk leads through the buyer’s journey successfully.

Yet, what is sales enablement, exactly? What about the sales enablement strategy? Why should you implement it into your selling strategy and how can sales enablement impact your business and revenue positively? We’ve answered all of these questions below!

What Is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement makes it a breeze for salespeople (the ones that are remote selling in the first place) to connect with prospects and help them close more deals. It equips them with the right knowledge, content, and information and engages and empowers them to hit their quota.

In other words, sales enablement is the key to selling more effectively and, more importantly, the key to your company’s growth.

It is also kind of a mindset thing. Shifting the existing beliefs and patterns of thinking can help your sales representatives start believing that they can develop basic abilities and become more successful at selling and establishing long-term relationships with customers.

Now that we’ve mentioned customers, keep in mind that sales enablement doesn’t only benefit sales reps and your company but your customers as well since it ensures better customer experiences, too!

Thus, salespeople should get plenty of resources and information to learn from that will help them be better at what they do. Yet, all this can be in vain if the appropriate training on how to use these resources and how to improve sales skills is provided.

Finally, once a sales rep has gotten all the possible support on how to engage, attract, and satisfy the customer, the company should track how they are using this knowledge. Keep an eye on the metrics and results for sales representatives – what’s their average deal size, are they achieving their quota, etc.

6 Benefits of Sales Enablement

There is a plethora of benefits sales engagement provides and these are the main ones:

  • It provides a strict and easy-to-follow framework to all salespeople in your company so that even the lowest-performing people can start delivering significantly better results,
  • It increases predictability and helps with optimizing your sales funnel, which, ultimately, results in closing more deals and establishing stronger customer relationships,
  • It enables collecting more valuable data salespeople can use to convince prospects to make a purchase without coming across as pushy,
  • It boosts the quality of sales conversions,
  • It aligns marketing and sales teams on the tactics and goals since both marketing and sales own sales enablement and impact the sales enablement strategy.

What Is a Sales Enablement Strategy?

A sales enablement strategy is a pretty much self-explanatory thing. It’s basically a strategy you plan to implement to help salespeople in your organization sell more effectively and efficiently.

There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all and you need to tailor the strategy to the needs of your sales team and customers. We’ve already mentioned some of the elements of a sales enablement strategy throughout the text but here’s the complete list:

  • Resources and materials or, in short, content (blogs, case studies, podcasts, webinars),
  • Sales coaching and sales performance coaching (it teaches salespeople how to use the resources provided),
  • Sales enablement and analysis/reporting tools and software.

Why Do You Need a Sales Enablement Strategy?

You probably already know that industries are evolving fast and new sales models, tools, and products emerge on a constant basis. This can get overwhelming for most salespeople, make them lose confidence, and sometimes can even lead to burnout.

Having a group of people that are working on the sales enablement strategy and sales enablement initiatives can help your sales reps keep their sanity, remain focused, and provide consistent results.

A sales enablement strategy can also reduce the tension between sales and marketing directors and make these two departments work almost as a whole. After all, the sales team will do their part instead of losing time on content creation while marketing teams can focus their efforts on producing content and safeguarding your brand standards.

This way, salespeople will be able to answer client questions without a second thought by simply sending over a flyer, a tailored sales deck template, or links to blogs and webinars.

Ultimately, providing clients with a stream of resources and information will boost confidence and instill trust in your products or services and make them more likely to buy.

How to Develop a Sales Enablement Strategy?

1. Organize Sales Content

If you already have a bunch of sales content, all that you should do is organize and categorize it. For instance, you can create content libraries consisting of:

  • Lead generation content,
  • Content for sales conversion,
  • Customer retention content,
  • Content for internal sales support.

And then, we can split this into:

  • Whitepapers,
  • eBooks,
  • Case studies,
  • Video materials,
  • Pricing and discount information.

We also suggest creating several customizable cold email templates and using these when reaching out to prospects.

If you’ve launched a new product or feature recently, write a case study and explain the challenges it solves. Publishing customer success stories speaks for itself and makes products and services that you sell appear more valuable in the eye of a prospect. Do this every couple of months to make it clear to your target audience that you can solve the problems they are dealing with.

Ideally, create and publish high-quality case study videos. Customers are 4 times more likely to buy after watching a good explanation video than they are after simply reading content.

2. Do the Necessary Reporting and Analysis

Boosting conversions would be a mission impossible without valuable data. On the other hand, tons of data can, again, overwhelm salespeople and affect their productivity in a negative manner.

Here’s how to collect data and what to do with it afterward:

  • Generate multiple reports (number of demo calls scheduled, number of leads generated, deals won and lost),
  • Investigate sales processes to discover areas that would need improvement (for instance, if your team is booking a bunch of calls every month but the number of deals closed is drastically lower),
  • Implement a lead scoring system so that high-quality leads are instantly directed to sales representatives and everyone else is moved to a customer management system where salespeople can easily find them once they have some free time.

Now that we mentioned a customer management system, we can move on to the final part…

3. Leverage Technology and Automation

Moden sales representatives now enjoy a plethora of benefits of automation. Going 20 years back, their peers were having to handle everything manually. In other words – nowadays, you can make more sales with way less effort and in less time.

First things first – craft email sequences and set them on autopilot. Sales reps send 94 emails (mostly follow-ups) on average per day. Now, just imagine being able to send dozens of follow-ups without actually doing anything. Depending on the program you are using, the bot can use prospect-specific contact and company details and tailor the message so you don’t have to.

Besides that, you can automate scheduling calls by directing prospects to a calendar where they can choose a time and date that works best for them. Or, you can record an on-demand webinar and automatically send out the invites to people on your email list.

There are other benefits of using call center automations, such as pulling-up information about your customers via omnichannel sources. This way, the agents will have a full picture of each client, optimize sales processes and reach conversions faster.

The live chat feature on your website will allow salespeople to interact with prospects while they’re still hot. You can also up this game and use a filter to surface top-notch leads.

Finally, there is a bunch of sales enablement software specifically built to help you manage every step of the way – from content creation to reporting and collaborating. With one of these, you can easily track your sales pipeline, interactions with prospects, optimize your customer lifecycle, and make your sales enablement process as smooth as butter.

Summary

If you want to boost conversions and drive revenue for your business, sales enablement is the way to go! Make sure that the communication between your sales and marketing teams is on point because both parties need to work together to reach more leads successfully and convert them into customers and brand advocates.

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MARKETING

State of Content Marketing in 2023

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State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MARKETING

MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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