What’s So Funny About Sales Enablement, Anyhow?

What’s So Funny About Sales Enablement, Anyhow?

I was pondering this term – sales enablement –  the other day and even reviewing some of the recommendations that I provide others around the topic and I started laughing. Out loud. Like a crazy lady.

Why is it that equipping sales to carry on the conversation with the customer that began via marketing has to have a name and be yet ANOTHER thing we marketers do? Shouldn’t it just be HOW we do what we do?  I mean, isn’t it just that obvious?

Just to put this into context, imagine a world where you have a hankering for something sweet. You’re not sure what you want, so for ideas you start a jogging path around the web, stopping by all the favorite food porn spots you frequent.

You happen upon an amazing chocolate cake on Pinterest and you decide that is exactly what you need. PRONTO. Thank goodness for Google because you find a place local to you that claims to have the best chocolate cake of all time and it is right in your area. Then you call.

Notice the period at the end of that. Your quest for the supreme chocolate cake has now come to an abrupt halt when you inquire about the chocolate cake and the person on the other end of the phone proclaims, “We have a beautiful raspberry tart on special. I can put one on hold for you if you want to come right down.”

AAAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKKKKKK! Rule number one: when a person needs chocolate, they need chocolate and, that right there, that was the ice bucket challenge of order taking. Yikes.

This is exactly what made me giggle about the term “sales enablement”. With over 95% of companies claiming to utilize content marketing, it is only natural to assume these content marketing efforts are the early engagement strategy with customers. These marketers have worked to research personas, grok their buyers, and develop content that gets prospective customers to take notice and pursue even more engagement with their brand. Yet, less than 50% of marketing teams are equipping their sellers with content and information to use during the sales process. WHAT????? This is insanity and, while I used a overly-simplified example above, can be the exact reason some sellers are out of tune with the needs of the buyer.

The simple fix is to provide sales with content to use and, when rolling it out, provide some training to sales to help them understand the content, what it means, and why it is important to the buyer. But, today’s marketing technology stack provides us so many more options.

Imagine a world where a seller knew exactly what messages were resonating with an individual buyer before they ever spoke with them. Imagine if marketing was able to engage deeply around a topic and then sales was able to take it any further. Imagine if this information appeared right in the sales automation system.

I’m being tongue in cheek here.  You don’t need to imagine it, because this world is NOW and it’s being under-leveraged. The age of personalization is upon us, where a buyer’s content interactions at all stages of their engagement with a company can be informed by data rather than guesses to make for a deeper level of engagement for everybody – all the way through the sale and beyond (imagine that!)  This leads to a better world for the buyer and those that market and sell to them.

The results of a recent survey showed that companies that are driving the most revenue from their content are brilliantly using data to inform their content strategy across the entire buyers’ journey and they have mastered the usefulness of their technology stack. This use of technology is going to drive a gap between the best-in-class and all others.  So if that’s the case, how do you “stack” up?

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About the author

SVP of Marketing at Monetate, and veteran B2B marketer. On Twitter @MaribethRoss. Read more at www.maribethross.com

View all articles by Maribeth Ross

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