Sales and marketing teams have been opposing forces for quite some time, but because the goal for both is to increase revenue, we’re seeing the dawn of a new era of collaboration as people realize they get a lot more done working together than against each other.
And yet, there is still so much room for improvement. Think about it. While sales relies on your marketing team for content, you rely on sales to help you produce that content. So if 90% of content created goes unused by sales—and that means relevant, up-to-date, and compliant content in highly regulated industries—then, Houston, we have a problem.
That’s where sales enablement steps in.
A successful sales enablement strategy provides your organization’s sales team with the information, tools, and content it needs. However, if you aren’t developing your search function with your reps in mind, involving sales in your content development process, or leveraging the right enablement key performance indicators (KPIs), you’re missing out.
Here’s what’s missing from your sales enablement strategy—and what you can do to remedy these shortcomings.
Your content search functions are not framed around sales.
In the past, marketing teams created content and placed it in a repository so that sales reps could have at it. Sifting through hundreds of folders to find content was not only inefficient but also created a misalignment: Sales was unable to find and use the most up-to-date marketing materials, and marketing couldn’t track if content was even used.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement at this point, chances are that your system needs an overhaul. For starters, consider how your content repository is currently organized. As a rule of thumb, if your reps can’t find something in five to 10 seconds, it’s time to rethink the organization of your content.
Optimizing content libraries around sales enablement technology helps reps search for content based on their preferred parameters. Flexible organizational systems utilize a flat file structure in which all content is search-optimized around the needs of your reps. These modern, mobile content libraries allow salesforces to access the content they need—without having to navigate through multiple folders or systems.
Incorporating a search function framed around the needs of your reps also ensures that they’re able to leverage content to the best of their abilities. By putting in the legwork and organizing your systems around how sales is searching for content, you set up your salesforce for success.
You do not have defined KPIs.
Let’s say you have somewhere around 200 pieces of content—and a large majority of it is not utilized by sales. Despite your efforts, you still cannot uncover the underlying problem. Rather than panic, you should ask yourself, “What are the steps I can take to improve?”
KPIs help teams leverage real-time data to outline exactly what they need to do to guarantee organizational success. Perhaps you’re already tracking metrics in your customer relationship management system. By defining important sales KPIs and integrating sales enablement tools into your existing systems, you can gain an overview of content effectiveness and audience engagement.
Below are some common sales enablement metrics to track:
- Sales Rep Quota Attainment: You know that reaching quotas is a primary sales goal; enablement programs should be designed to improve these rates.
- Time to Quota: Research shows that 84 percent of sales training information is lost within 90 days; the quicker you ramp up reps, the better.
- Conversion Rates in the Funnel: Sales enablement helps identify hot leads and enables reps to respond faster, which helps deliver targeted messaging.
- Time Spent on Selling: If your reps aren’t selling, they aren’t driving revenue—plain and simple.
Implementing effective data collection into your sales enablement strategy helps leaders focus on improving your overall sales initiatives. Pinpointing, measuring, and tracking the right KPIs enables managers to track and incentivize the performance of individual reps.
You either don’t solicit rep feedback—or don’t act on it.
Ultimately, as a marketing manager, your biggest priority is to ensure the consistency and effectiveness of your communication efforts. This means listening to your sales team—and improving your processes based on your team’s feedback.
Your sales reps are in the trenches. They’re interfacing with your end users on a daily basis.
Because your content should solve customer pain points with useful content, it only makes sense to involve sales at the beginning of this process.
Salespeople have the most visibility into how your consumers think, behave, and respond to marketing and sales materials. They can share their experiences and provide insight into what’s working and what’s not. By involving rep feedback before, during, and after the content creation process, you’re helping ensure that content is discoverable and usable for both end users and the reps consuming it.
The importance of sales and marketing interaction is by no means an understatement. Today, organizations rely on this collaboration to ensure that end users receive relevant materials. When executed properly, enablement gets the right content to the right end users, improves team collaboration, and increases sales effectiveness through activity monitoring and tracking. If this isn’t happening, it’s time to reconsider your efforts.