If you’re at all familiar with marketing and the ever-evolving world it encapsulates, you know how fast-paced this field is. Marketing teams are constantly transforming to include new strategies, tools, and ideas that can be promoted and implemented in your business.
However, if you want to make the most effective use of these strategies, you have to make them fit your business like a tailored suit. While you may find a marketing strategy that fits your general business and marketing demographics, you’ll get the most use out of it when you customize the strategies to work with your strong points and help elevate your flaws. The best way to do this in your business is by growing the relationship between your marketing and sales departments.
Marketing and sales are intrinsically related to one another. By investing time in encouraging a relationship between your marketing and sales departments, you’ll increase the effectiveness of both!
How do you do this? Well, this article will explore the relationship between marketing and sales and how your business can make better use of both departments to increase revenues.
Personal Strategies for a Changing Future
In recent years, sales enablement has gained increasing popularity as a marketing strategy. Sales enablement asks a company to switch its focus from product-minded to customer-minded. This means that a business should be more considerate of the customer's perspective on their business. Overall, this encourages a rearrangement of strategies to help sellers create varied and personalized experiences for each customer.
Sales enablement is a fantastic ideal to reach for as a business. And it has been shown to work wonders for that essential bottom line. These benefits are reached once your staff has been trained and equipped with the right tools and knowledge they need to effectively implement this selling strategy.
To make sure they get everything they need, your sellers will need data and support from your marketing department. This ensures that your sellers are gaining the information they need to be effective communicators. This information exchange will help boost your business and make your company better at selling.
At Fusebox One, we have seen the epic transformations that take place when a company shifts its focus to customer-specific solutions while using an on-demand marketing management platform to cater to those ever-changing needs. When you’re empowered with the right tools and the right support, you can adequately face the future of marketing in a way that will turn new profits for you and your team.
It might seem intimidating to change your marketing and selling strategy. However, if you’re not seeing the numbers you’d like to see from your business, it might be time to take a big step and make a major change to your selling strategy. But to make this change, you’ll have to implement a widespread shift in your company’s mindset.
The sales staff can’t do it alone; a strong marketing team is also expected to pull its weight. Below, our Fusebox One experts have highlighted some of the best ways for marketers to improve their relationships with sellers and bridge any gaps that may have formed due to miscommunication over time.
Start reaching for higher success and learn how you can effectively employ a sales enablement strategy in your business by reading on.
What Exactly is Sales Enablement?
While we’ve discussed it somewhat, it’s critical to set an explicit definition to ensure clarity. Sales enablement is a selling strategy that focuses on the various practices, processes, and technologies that improve how sales associates communicate with customers. This allows for consistently higher-value conversations with customers that lead to better sales. Plus, you'll also have higher customer satisfaction. With an effective communication strategy, sales associates can successfully implement these tactics across the wider customer base.
In essence, this means that when the salespeople are better equipped with information, data, and tools to communicate with customers, the better the selling process will go.
Why It Matters to Marketing
From that definition, it’s clear that sales enablement focuses predominantly on the relationship between a seller and a customer. So, why does marketing have to get involved?
One word: Integration.
Strategies, goals, pipeline plans, and research data must always be shared among any team that’s relying on that data to provide high-value conversations to customers. The only way to get this data to the sellers is by encouraging inter-department communication. If sales enablement doesn’t matter to your marketers, it shows that they are not as involved as they should be. This likely means that your sales enablement tactics are also not as effective as they could be.
Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing calls sales enablement the “vehicle for marketing to serve its internal customer – the sales organization...” This is what we mean by shifting company mindset. Your sales department does not work for the benefit of marketing but for the customer. Marketing exists to promote the product and assist the sales department by enticing customers.
Shifting the view to fit this perspective can show that marketing is to sales what sales are to the customer.
Integrating the Strategy into Your Business
Whether you’re looking to put the focus on sales or on marketing, you need to make it clear in your business that communication is key. You want your departments to start communicating and relying on each other for more effective communications. When you have data about demographics and marketing moving to the salespeople, you’re giving them the tools to employ better communication strategies with customers.
This doesn’t mean isolating this information in a single PowerPoint or meeting. This means making it easy for your team to reference these elements in real-world applications. Just how your marketing team effectively relays information to the customers about products, they can do the same with information about customers to sales associates.
While the marketing sector of your business continues to become more reliant and focused on using and collecting data, they can offer this kind of insight to the company as a whole. This means that they can start passing data along so that the momentum of customer interaction can be harnessed more effectively. This data marketing collects can be used to maximize profits across the board, so get the most out of your research and marketing teams by intergrading their developments into other aspects of your business.
Remember, this is all in service of the salespeople so they can close a higher volume of deals. But it can extend beyond that with proper integration.
Strategies for Integrating the Marketing Team into the Wider Business
It’s well and good to be enthused about implementing sales enablement into a business, but actually doing the work to implement these changes can be more complicated than it seems. This will be especially true in an existing business, as people can find it hard to change if they’ve been using another system for a long time.
There are some tactics you can employ to make the transition from your old sales model to the sales enablement mindset. These can make the transition smoother while also helping encourage employees to see the value in the switch. This is crucial, as you want them excited rather than resentful or resistant to change.
Encourage Teaching Opportunities
Being a good salesperson is a lot like other talents and skills. While some people are born with natural sales talent, others must work hard to acquire their skills. However, like with any other skill, it’s good to constantly strive for improvement and continue to practice sales tactics to gain mastery. But even a highly skilled sales associate won’t be able to sell a product if they don’t know anything about it.
This is where the marketing team comes in.
No department in your business should be better at describing your product than marketing. While product development has in-depth knowledge about the product, marketing specifically understands how the customers see the product or service your business is selling. This is important because sales enablement is always focused on the customer’s perspective. By understanding what kind of consumer is interacting with ads, interested in the product, and how the product was advertised to them, sales representatives can use this information to communicate with customers.
By having your marketing staff dedicate time to inform the sales staff on the product or service being sold, they can get all the data they need to adequately serve the consumer. They will also better understand the use of the product, what selling features were highlighted in ads, and how they can use these aspects to sell the product to the customer.
Understanding the Customer
A major benefit of having marketing and sales departments communicating is that your business can gain a better understanding of its ideal customer. Most marketing teams have an idea of who the model customer is for your product or service. This can be a visual representation or a metaphorical one.
For example, a company that is trying to sell high-quality baking equipment will have a different image for an ideal customer than a custom skateboard company.
The baking company may be looking to market to women aged 35-65 who have a weekly job but bake on the weekends and holidays for their family. This customer has a problem with finding time to bake and wants quality equipment that will make their hobby more accessible. On the other hand, the skateboarding company is looking to market to men and boys aged 15-25. They may spend most of their time skating and want a quality board to keep up with their activities.
Whatever your business focuses on, both marketing and sales need to know who the ideal customers are. Both departments need to answer the following questions:
- What do your buyers think about before they make a purchase?
- What are some of the biggest challenges your buyers face?
- Why do your buyers need your product or service to succeed?
- Do you understand the customers’ goals and ambitions?
That’s what sales enablement is all about: Thinking about marketing and sales strategies through the eyes of an interested customer.
Filling the Gaps
Sometimes through miscommunication or other reasons, marketing and sales disagree on who the ideal customer is. This is a problem.
On one hand, it may mean that marketing is targeting the wrong demographics. They may have the wrong idea about who the real buyer of the product or service is. It could also mean that the sales department has been ineffective at appealing to the customer that the marketing team is targeting. On the other hand, it may mean that both departments are not effectively reaching the right demographics for your product which will negatively impact how many sales you do.
By having these departments intercommunicate, you can understand your ideal customer better. If there are holes in the marketing or sales strategies, communicating these differences can help open up more opportunities for both departments. Had these departments remained compartmentalized, these issues may have never come to light, and your business would have suffered because of it.
In any case, by making sure everyone in your business understands the ideal customer, they can work to appeal to that fictional ideal more. This knowledge lends itself to better use of data and communication tactics which will make for more effective real-world sales strategies.
The best way to get different teams collaborating is by making them do it. Schedule meetings specifically for information exchange and to ensure that departments are working in tandem with one another.
Don’t leave your employees hanging, be clear about the purpose of these meetups. Here are some tips to keep in mind while you build a strategy for implementing sales enablement in your business:
- Set an agenda If you make meetings for marketing and sales to get together, make sure the purpose of the meeting is clear. This will keep the meetings more concise, so the meeting won’t interrupt either group's schedule. In general, meetings can be a great way to confirm that each department is on the same page.
- Be consistent about scheduling Have a weekly or monthly plan in place so that marketing can share information they’ve gathered with sales. Consistent meetings make sure information is up to date but also offer opportunities to discuss innovative marketing and sales strategies. All while keeping both departments aware of any challenges the other is facing.
- Make a connected calendar Another way to make departments more aware of one another is by hosting a connected calendar. This can help both marketing and sales understand each other’s schedules and needs.
- Participate in these calls Having management or the owner of the company sit in on these meetings can help staff realize how vital cross-department communication is for the business. It also incentives them to participate more because they directly see that they are supported and understood by leadership.
Being organized will make it easier for marketing and sales to make the most out of cross-department communications.
Try to keep all the information that’s being shared cross-department in one place. If you choose to use a feedback email chain, a messenger, or some other existing internal communication system, make it easy to find information. It won’t do anyone any good if the information shared is impossible to find. Being organized will also encourage departments to share more data, as they’ll both find it more useful.
When you set up all this infrastructure to assist your employees with the transition into a sales enablement company mindset, you’re setting your business up for success. With these platforms to communicate with, each department will understand the benefit of communication. And, with ongoing meetings, they’ll see the positive advantage these changes are having on the organization as a whole.
It’s All in the Analytics
Marketing departments used to focus solely on design and advertisement campaigns, but as the future rolls forward, teams seem to be increasingly driven by data.
To help your marketing teams understand the real value that sales enablement brings to everyone, you might want to show them the facts. Data-driven people are better motivated when they comprehend how the numbers reflect benefits. But using their own data to support why marketing should be more involved with a business, you can directly show them how valuable their knowledge is.
One way to start off on the right foot when establishing a relationship between marketing and sales is by making sure there are strong Service Level Agreements between the teams, so all definitions and expectations are understood. A 2018 HubSpot study showed that teams with strong SLAs had a much higher ROI from new leads.
Marketing has a greater involvement in sales enablement than it may think. It isn’t just about being excellent support for the sales staff, which it should be, but it’s also about assuming a part of the responsibility of making more money for the company. Again, integration is the way of the future.
A Note on SLAs
Here’s another thing about the importance of Service Level Agreements: they can make cross-departmental meetings far less irritating and way more productive. Nothing is more frustrating than two teams having two different definitions of a very important term or metric.
It’s time to sit down with your team and decide on clear definitions that are qualified by both departments. Sales-qualified (SQL) and marketing-qualified (MQL) definitions will add oil to the gears of teamwork, and communication will be smoother than ever.
Create Personas and Have A Conversation
Persona creation goes hand in hand with making an ideal customer.
Many businesses with large sales efforts like to create “personas” for the typical buyer they may come across during lead acquisition. This is how marketing targets certain demographics for a product.
While this is typically something that the marketing team constructs and then passes on to the sales team for them to use. Instead, the conversation should begin before the personas are developed to encourage collaboration and to integrate the top needs and concerns of both parties involved.
By far the easiest way to stay on top of all of these demands and ensure that integration remains strong is by using a comprehensive, on-demand marketing platform.That way, content can be shared and immediately standardized across every department and every branch of your company. Marketing is a tool for communication that should have equal input from the sales team.
Use the Natural Resource of Inbound Marketing
If you have an inbound marketing team, odds are you are doing great with lead development. Part of sales enablement is using what you have already invested time and resources in. After that, you must then integrate it with the sales staff to make the most profit off this seemingly untapped market. Your goal as a business owner should be to use all your resources as effectively as possible to increase your ROI. By using inbound marketing data in other places of your business, you’re reaping even more benefits from this initial research.
Inbound marketers have all of the resources that sales have, if not even more, and these resources should be shared to help sellers understand what a buyer goes through during the purchasing process. Through effectively communicating this process, inbound marketing can turn into a new lead generation source.
Make the Most of Your Sales Enablement Plush
By using some of the tips discussed in the article, you can lead your business to the heights of success. Utilizing the resources available through Fusebox One can help you through the steps of change that are often a hurdle in any industry.
Our marketing operations services and sales enablement guides can help you make the most out of your sales enablement practices. Don’t keep using sales tactics that limit the use of the valuable data your marketing teams deal with every day. Share the knowledge and share in the profits. Make better products, better sales, and become more profitable when you successfully implement a sales enablement strategy into your business.