This might wound a few egos, but who do you think knows the exact questions your customers ask?
*Marketing team quickly pulls up all the data from the company website, CRM, and social media platforms and raises hands, "We do! We do!" *
While data and analysis from online interactions, traffic and engagement will give you a pretty accurate picture of what your customers are looking for, it won't necessarily enlighten you to the more nuanced aspects of the sales process.
This is why smarketing (sales and marketing alignment) is essential. If you're keeping these teams siloed, can you really expect to answer the questions your prospects and customers are asking? After all, your sales team is the customer-facing part of your operation; they interact with prospective buyers daily and have practical, hands-on experience when it comes to converting a lead into a sale.
Your sales team is a gold mine of information, and you should leverage that. Start by taking a keen interest in their day-to-day activities, goals and targets, frustrations, the things they do super, do well, and the things they wish they could do better. Access to this information will help you power up conversion rates and provide them with digital sales enablement content they want to use.
Salespeople work well when they have goals and targets. The key is to find out what resources they need to achieve these targets. Do they need sales enablement material to demonstrate the benefits of your products or services? Perhaps they know that if the customer understood how a product worked, the sale would happen quicker. Maybe they need a way of proving that your offering is better than what competitors have on the market. Find out what will help them build their argument, provide reassurance to the customer and get that sale over the line.
The marketing department might have a theoretical idea about what the sales process looks like, but what is it like in action? When was the last time your marketing team sat down with a sales rep and asked them to do a walkthrough of each step in the sales process? Taking the time to do this will reveal exactly where a conversion begins, how long the process takes, and how salespeople present the offering to the buyer.
Marketers can use these insights to prepare content that fills in the gaps and speeds up conversion. Don't be surprised if you discover a few optimization opportunities that accelerate sales and possibly increase the value of some transactions.
Throwing all available marketing data at your sales reps is never a good idea – clickthrough rates are probably low on their list of priorities, for example. These folks are usually very result-oriented, and they want information that has an immediate impact on their decision making. Drive down to the essentials, find out what they want, how often, and in what format.
Typically, salespeople are interested in sales pipeline performance, individual sales performance, product performance, and forecasts.
While reporting and monitoring isn't necessarily a sales enablement tool, it can help your sales team pinpoint the type of content they need.
Digital marketing makes lead generation a fairly straightforward affair. Depending on how much money you've got to put into paid ads, you can undoubtedly capture the attention of a very wide audience. Of course, that wouldn't be effective; you'd waste time and money and accumulate traffic that has very little to do with your ideal buyer persona. Getting a high number of sales-qualified leads –– now that's more challenging!
Generating tons of leads that take up your sales team's time to process and communicate with isn't a valuable use of resources. Understanding what type of lead sales want to talk to will help create a lead nurturing process that's effective, impactful and continuously successful. Using your salespeople's insight on what a qualified lead looks like can help you fine-tune your ad campaigns and create content that brings the best opportunities to your sales team.
Your sales reps always have an ear to the ground. They may have discovered markets and potential customers they want to sell to, but the available digital sales enablement material doesn't quite fit the profile. Discuss these opportunities with your sales teams and determine what they would need to target them more effectively.
Reaching out to new markets should, of course, be a strategic decision that involves key stakeholders, but your salespeople are often the first to spot these new avenues. The benefits could be substantial, particularly if the new target closely aligns with your current buyer persona and only requires a few adjustments, like providing pre-recorded product demos showing how your offering serves their particular needs.
Understanding the expectations that leads come with when making a purchasing decision will help you determine whether your content is doing a good job of following inbound best practices. You want your content to speak to the buyer's pain points, but you also don't want to manipulate them into making a purchase that isn't right for them.
Sales reps will let you know if your promotions are slightly exaggerating any aspects of your offering's benefits and features; they should also tell you if you're missing an opportunity to highlight some attributes that may totally impress your leads.
It's a fine line between creating a realistic representation and trying to get your audience excited and engaged. Ultimately, your salespeople must be confident when passing sales enablement material onto potential clients. They won't feel comfortable with inflating the truth. Equally, they'll be reluctant to share material that doesn't adequately highlight the value of your product or service because it won't help them sell it. Bottom line: make sure that your content sets high but achievable expectations.
As you design your buyer's journey and build lead generating sales funnels, your focus should always be on answering pertinent questions that help prospects determine whether your offer is right for them. If, by the time they start communicating with your sales reps, they still have objections and concerns, you may be missing a few key opportunities to plug in the information gaps and speed up the sales process.
Today's buyers like to do plenty of independent research before committing to a call or a personalised interaction with someone on your team. Making sure that all the right information is available to them will help to make the sales process much easier for your sales team, so be sure to find out what type of objections they encounter most often and what content would be useful in helping to persuade them towards a purchase.
Sometimes, you may not actually have the ability to cater to a specific need, and that should be made explicit in the content you put out. This will prevent your sales reps from getting inundated with leads who won't get the best value out of your product and are therefore not a good fit for your business.
To ensure your content marketing strategy is impactful and result-yielding, forming a strong relationship between your sales and marketing teams is a crucial building block. Acting on the concerns and suggestions the sales team makes will help them to see the value in maintaining a good rapport with marketing and ensure a continued, mutually rewarding relationship. This approach will make your campaigns more focussed and effective, helping both teams achieve their core objective: to grow the business!
If you'd like to know more about how we help our clients create powerful digital sales enablement content, click the link to get in touch.
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