Marketing supports sales in many ways: bringing in qualified leads, arranging events/tradeshows, creating messaging and branding…the list can go on and on. However, perhaps one of the most important things the marketing department produces for their sales team is collateral for them to use as tools in their prospects’ buy cycles. There are many marketers out there that think providing sales collateral IS sales enablement. The reality is, creating collateral is just PART of the WHOLE of sales enablement, but it is very important nonetheless in providing value to your program.
Whatever you are selling, the role your sales team needs to play is to uncover the prospect’s need(s) and show how your solution addresses their needs and can demonstrate value to your prospect. To support this, marketing has four core functions in sales enablement:
- Lead generation: Bring sales leads where the prospect has a need that your solution solves.
- Training & education: Equip sales with a clear understanding of how your solution fills that need.
- Technology & efficiency: Provide sales with easily accessible assets or tools they can use AT THE VERY SPECIFIC STAGE in the buy cycle and make it easy for them to find and send such assets.
- Measuring & adjusting: track what is being used by sales and read by prospects – and adjust accordingly.
There are many ways that marketing can bring in qualified leads to the sales team (that is a discussion for a later time), but the function of providing sales with those “tools of understanding” to send to prospects during the sales process is the real power of marketing behind sales enablement. It is those tools that will get a lead from prospect to a customer.
The tools (a.k.a. marketing collateral) marketing produces have one thing at the heart of their purpose: to show evidence that your solution fills the need of your prospect. This can take several forms: webinars, press releases, case studies, audio and video client testimonials/interviews, white papers, articles, etc. The important thing is for the collateral to not only be informative, but also engage the prospect when they are using it. This will encourage prospect action and encourage them to continue the conversation with your sales team. Sales enablement technology platforms, like RO|Enablement, are making it easier for marketing teams to determine if they are creating engaging and useful content with prospect and internal team rating functionality. This immediate feedback can improve your marketing strategy and lead to better, more relevant collateral production.
Furthermore, when your sales team is armed with the information about not only WHEN your prospect viewed your marketing content, but WHAT they viewed, it gives them ammo for smarter follow up with their prospect. That insight gives great background into what is driving their purchase decision, where their biggest need areas are, and what they find most attractive about your solution.