Sales Enablement is the process used to help sales improve the lead management process and ultimately assist in the achievement of sales. It should be thought of as a strategic ongoing process to assist in sales execution. Often times we hear the sales & marketing teams have a bit of a contentious relationship, however it’s critically important to the business that these teams work seamlessly together. To that end, we are providing a quick review of things we’ve seen make a true difference in that relationship as well as assist in the sales process.
Number one, above all else, communication is key!
Sales needs to understand the programs marketing is running and how they are meant to deal with clients that respond to them. There are a couple great ways to handle this. When passing a lead to sales, I highly recommend including a description that contains detailed follow up information for the rep or a link to an intranet site where marketing keeps a running list of campaign detail, launch dates, and follow up instructions. Additionally, it’s nice to include sales (or at least sales mgrs. or key reps) in your weekly or monthly marketing planning meetings. Let sales help guide you on aligning your content to the various pipeline stages of the buying cycle. Listen to their feedback on which programs are working the best. If they can be involved in the process and have input prior to launch, you get good buy in and it’s more of a team effort. Often times, you’ll be surprised how valuable their feedback can be to ensure the quality and timeliness of leads marketing shares.
Secondly, training is a must.
Hopefully your business has a formal onboarding program for your sales teams. Ideally, the marketing department is given the opportunity to explain their lead management process, provide training on any sales tools, and give a general overview on types of campaigns they plan to run that year. Ensuring there is adequate training on your products and selling techniques is key. Providing training to new employees is a priority, but the occasional ‘lunch and learn’ sessions for the veterans are great as well.
Lastly, tools and process alignment are quite important.
Oracle Marketing Cloud has several very good sales tools available that marketing can extend to sales users (see our other blog posts on Profiler & Engage for Oracle Eloqua). These tools assist in the sales process by giving reps the ability to see marketing outbound communications and client activity, while also having the ability to email their contacts individually using company branded templates. Additionally, I think of the elements for the expected ‘follow up’ process of a campaign as tools. These can be prebuilt rep communication templates, thank you emails, or even lead follow up scripts. Lead scoring, when executed properly, is also something that can jump start the sales process. It can help ensure only leads deemed sales ready are passed to CRM. Remember it’s quality over quantity! I also truly believe that having sales and marketing teams aligned on what the end to end campaign and lead management process entails is really key to success. I can’t tell you how many client meetings I’ve attended in which sales & marketing are on completely separate pages regarding when a lead should be created and what happens once it is. Get agreement on ‘what is a lead’ and the SLA’s attached to the lead life cycle. Then document it, train on it, include it in the follow up expectations. It should be part of sales & marketing onboarding and revisited regularly as the business needs or management changes.
Let’s face it, making a sale is a company wide effort that extends far beyond sales & marketing. Working together as a team while ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding campaign launches and expected results is critical to filling the pipeline and managing opportunities to a closed deal. At the end of the day, marketing plays a key role in providing sales enablement tools and subject matter. Collaborating with sales to achieve goals should be top of mind. Relationship One is well versed on the sales enablement process so please reach out to us for more information or if we can assist with any of the ideas in this article.