When implementing marketing automation one of the key, and often overlooked, strategies is sales enablement. So what is sales enablement and how does it pertain to marketing automation? Traditionally, sales enablement refers to educating sales on marketing activities, messaging, and content. In the world of marketing automation, sales enablement refers to educating sales on how they can successfully leverage marketing automation.
Successful sales enablement is a symbiotic process that involves both marketing and sales. There needs to be a dialogue so both teams understand proper definitions, program cadence, and how to best leverage the marketing automation platform.
This post focuses on the four steps to creating and implementing a sales enablement strategy from a marketing team perspective.
1. Identify Your Stakeholders
Here is an example of potential stakeholders and their interests:
- Executives: Sales enablement will benefit executives by creating more efficient marketing and sales teams, resulting in more revenue for the same level of input. Executives will need visibility into plans, progress, and results.
- Marketing team: Some marketing team members may need to be directly involved in the process, while others simply need to be made aware of what is happening.
- Sales team: Sales team members need to be well represented as they are the ones who will be enabled in this process. They will take part in the definition and in the adjustment of sales enablement.
- IT team: The IT team may need to be included for certain focused tasks.
2. Assess Your Current Situation
To better understand the current situation, start by asking questions. You’ll want to get a sense of the current processes and the status quo that exists in both sales and marketing. Here are examples of questions that will help you evaluate your organization’s current situation:
- What is the goal of the sales enablement strategy?
- What is the current sales enablement situation?
- Which marketing automation features are currently being used for sales enablement?
- Are pre-requisites in place? (For example, has the marketing team already created email templates for the sales team?)
- What types of sales enablement is currently in place?
- What types of sales enablement does sales want?
Marketing Automation Platform
- Which marketing automation platform is being used?
- Which features does this platform have for sales enablement?
- Which sales platform is being used?
- How does the marketing automation platform interact with the sales platform?
- What are the profiles and configuration in the sales platform?
You’ll find that as you go through this process, you’ll uncover additional questions that you or your stakeholders deem important.
3. Create A Plan
While there are a variety of sales enablement activities that you can perform with your marketing automation platform, generally the actions will fall into these broad categories:
1) Give the sales team access: Your marketing automation platform will allow you to make emails available for sales reps to send. There are a couple of advantages to doing this:
- These emails are tracked: This makes every email sent this way more valuable to your organization—you will have more activity to score, act on, and target.
- These emails will be displayed: Any email sent by your automation platform is recorded, so that no matter who looks at the lead or contact, all the emails will be visible.
Typically the sales reps can send these emails directly from the CRM or by using an Outlook or Gmail plugin. If you choose to do this, you will need to:
- Determine the method being used: Are they sending them from the CRM, Outlook, or Gmail?
- Determine which emails to make available: Interview your sales team to determine what type of emails your team wants available. For instance, if you are attending an event, maybe they would like event templates so they can invite key prospects.
2) Give the sales team visibility into marketing activities in the CRM: At Marketo, information is shared with our inside sales reps, so that over time, they get to know their prospects before they make a call. For example, your sales teams may know which events prospects attended, which content they downloaded, or which web pages they visited. In Marketo, many of these are called “interesting moments”. There are many ways marketing automation enables you to deliver visibility to your sales team.
4. Take Action
Once you have decided what you will deploy, you need to devise a plan of action. Below are some examples of action plans that you can implement as part of your sales enablement deployment.
Scoring Action Plan:
- Ensure scoring is specified and built
- Ensure scoring is activated
- Ensure sales is on board with the scoring model
Interesting Moments Action Plan:
- Specify what is an interesting moment
- Build and activate interesting moments
- Review interesting moments with the sales team
- How can the marketers get trained on the marketing automation platform?
- Typically the marketing automation vendor will have on-demand and/or live training if needed
- Who will train sales?
- Which materials are needed?
- Your marketing automation provider may offer sales training for a fee
Sales enablement is exciting because it is strategic and provides great value. Sales enablement will lead to better conversions to revenue. Sales enablement is a big component of creating a joint process between sales and marketing.
How have you implemented sales enablement in your organization? What piece of advice do you have to share? Please let me know in the comments section below.