In order to meet commercial objectives, B2B CMOs must invest in creating sales enablement programs that leverage strategic capabilities. The days of relying solely on a handful of high performing sales reps to drive commercial impact are over, as this responsibility has become one that is now shared by both marketing and sales. Use Gartner’s Seven Elements of Sales Enablement framework to drive alignment between marketing and sales leaders to develop a best practice sales enablement program.
Continuous collaboration with cross-functional stakeholders on program roles and responsibilities is critical to sales enablement success. This cross-functional team can consist of leadership from marketing, sales, product marketing, learning and development and HR. These leaders must develop a regular cadence focused on establishing a shared understanding of business objectives and resource allocation for specific sales enablement activities.
Understanding customer needs is essential to sales enablement program success. Marketing and sales should use customer insight to inform planning decisions, content, activities and timelines. Use Gartner’s A-C-E Model to overcome difficulties and pain points that marketing and sales face when working together. Once marketing and sales are in sync, the focus should be on the constituents that matter by implementing customer insight into technology and program plans.
Historically, the strained relationship between marketing and sales has caused negative consequences; such as sellers using outdated content, poor engagement in sales training and sellers not updating data in the CRM, causing a significant drop-off in lead pass-through rates at each pipeline stage. To change seller behaviors that get in the way of sales enablement program success, consider:
Incorporating key information and content in existing sales processes
Reassessing the user experience of current sales tools
Securing buy-in and support from leadership
Agreeing on metrics that measure behavior compliance and reinforce ideal behaviors on a consistent basis through multiple channels
A very common challenge that sales enablement programs face is how difficult sellers find it to locate the right content, ultimately relying on marketing to consistently develop one-off materials. Both functions should work together to identify buying journey friction points and information needs to create customer facing content that can be activated through both live and digital channels. This should be reinforced by equipping reps with training and playbooks that enable live diagnosis of customer information needs and route customers to approatiate content.
Oftentimes, sellers are tasked with sifting through overwhelming amounts of content, taking them away from more strategic commercial activities. The amount and disorganization of content leads to confusion and lost opportunities to deliver the right information to customers at pivotal moments of the buying journey. However, new software products, such as sales enablement platforms, provide marketing and sales leaders with central content creation portals that make it easier for sellers to navigate.
Another critical aspect of creating an effective sales enablement program is rethinking your enablement delivery strategy. Shift focus away from one-off, lengthy sales trainings and create more digestible 20- to 30-minute weekly or biweekly trainings. Incorporate diverse activities into your sales enablement program by:
Conducting regular team meetings with cross-functional stakeholders
Creating formalized agendas that are focused on lead management, scoring and qualification improvement
Providing platforms for real-time, continuous feedback and knowledge sharing
Developing customer advocacy programs jointly to maximize ROI
Finally, CMOs acknowledge that fantastic metrics and dashboards do not always equate to tangible business results. Regularly exchanging feedback with sales leadership on possible improvements for how insights and guidance are provided will foster sales enablement success.
Learn more about how you can implement this framework by reading the full research note on Sales Enablement Essentials for CMOs.