The State of Sales Enablement
The line between marketing and sales responsibilities in sales enablement programs has become blurrier in recent years. With both functions facing internal pressure to grow existing accounts, improve engagement and convert more high-quality leads, it can be difficult to define what each function is on the hook for.
For marketing and sales to meet commercial goals, understanding the customer buying journey should be the foundation of sales enablement programs. Both functions bring different types of customer insights to the table, ultimately shaping the role they will play in meeting their shared objectives. For example, while sellers consistently speak with customers on a more intimate level than marketing does, it’s marketing’s responsibility to identify and activate insights from those sales conversations.
Below are some additional examples of customer insights provided by each function:
Customer Insights Provided by Marketing
- Sentiment toward category, brands and products
- How customers interact with channels across the buying journey
- Customer satisfaction captured from social and CX efforts
- Customer behavior across marketing-owned channels
- Brand/category awareness and reach across current prospective customers
Customer Insights Provided by Sales
- Opinions of competitors’ product or services
- How customers shop the category
- Feedback on product features and value
- Triggers for interest in product or service
- Impediments to customer journey progress
Activating Customer Insights to Understand the Buying Journey
Marketers must focus on putting these insights into action by creating customer buying journey maps that influence content creation. Content aligned to the buying journey equips sellers to have more strategic conversations that aren’t just focused on product specifications and pricing. B2B buyers need sales and marketing support to make complex buying decisions, create internal consensus and work through organizational changes. (Read Engaging B2B Buyers in an Uncertain Environment – subscription required).
The more that marketing and sales can share insights, the higher quality content will be to help customers to advance through the buying journey. This type of information increases funnel velocity by making it easier for customers to make buying decisions and positively impacting the likelihood of high-value, low-regret deals (where customer make more ambitious and expansive purchases, not just settling for the cheapest pricing option).
From an operational standpoint, sales enablement content should be easy to locate internally. Many marketers find it helpful to tag content based on how it aligns to the buying journey and educating sellers on when to use content during conversations with customers.
The marketplace is also abundant with new software products and sales enablement platforms that make it intuitive for reps to navigate from any device. AI is becoming a prominent capability for most sales enablement vendors. AI capabilities provide features like predictive sales content, which recommends content options, based on a historical analysis of content that has been used effectively in previous deals.
Break Down Siloes
At the end of the day, marketing and sales must learn how to effectively collaborate and focus on creating a culture of customer-centricity. Both functions need each other in order to generate revenue. The more that marketers and sellers can have effective customer-focused conversations, share insights and identify points of buying journey friction, the better the results.