Today’s smart tech marketers realize that their job goes beyond getting an avalanche of leads in the top of the sales funnel. When product offerings are complex and the sales process is truly a process (vs. a transaction), marketing can make their sales reps looks like rockstars by helping out at the bottom of the sales funnel to close more deals.
Known as sales enablement, this strategic initiative focuses on providing your sales team with the info and tools they need to turn their sales qualified leads (SQLs) into customers.
If it's the first time you’re hearing about the term sales enablement, no worries—while its not a new idea, marketers are approaching it more strategically than ever before. If you want to learn more, check out the full, ungated guide we put together on the topic of sales enablement.
The goal of sales enablement is to get more prospects through the sales funnel, and ultimately make your sales team more effective and efficient. But it's not uncommon for the knee-jerk reaction from sales to be something like “marketing, stay out of my job!”
So what do you do when your sales team isn’t on board yet with sales enablement? Here are some ideas on selling sales on sales enablement (and boy, do we love that catchy headline)!
Let them in on the big picture
When getting started with a sales enablement program, it’s important to make sure your sales team really understands the why behind starting the program.
If left to their own devices, they may conclude that the higher-ups don’t believe that they’re doing their job effectively. Or, sales might believe that it's an attempt to track their every move.
Make sure your sales team understands that the purpose of sales enablement is to make the total organization more successful, and to give your buyers the information they need in order to close more deals.
Operate as part of sales
It's important for marketing to be part of the sales process for a couple of reasons:
- Marketing needs to understand how the sales process works in order to create the right tools.
- When marketing is involved in the sales process, it demonstrates that it's important for marketing and sales to be totally aligned.
In order to truly become part of the team, marketing should attend weekly sales meetings and shadow sales as they lead a couple of prospects all the way through the process.
Show how it makes their jobs easier
Sales enablement tools will inherently makes your sales reps job easier. For example, instead of writing the same types of emails over and over, sales could use templates for common emails sent to prospects.
In your quest to make your sales team really buy-in to the idea of sales enablement, give them some examples up front of how it will make their jobs easier. After they get started, check back to ask them if it’s saving them time and letting them spend more time on closing more deals…we bet they’ll say yes.
Ease into it…
Sales enablement is a process, and to some extent, it’s a change of mindset. Easing into the process with sales shows that its a process, and it won’t be “done” at any point—ever.
A great way to get started—and to gain buy-in from sales—is to hold a series of kick-off meetings and dig into each area one-at-at-time. For example, month #1 could focus on the big picture and the process in total, whereas month #2 could focus on the early interactions that sales has with new leads.
Create a process for dialogue
In order for sales enablement to really work, sales has to understand that they are an important part of the ongoing process: sales enablement is not a one-way hand-off from marketing to sales.
To keep dialogue open, create a channel for ongoing feedback. For example, a link for suggestions on your internal intranet works great if you have a large sales team.
Or, if you have a small-to-mid-sized sales team, consider holding monthly one-on-one meetings with your sales reps to hear how the tools are working for them. Or, see if they have any ideas for what else buyer’s may need to make their decisions.
Demonstrate the value
At the end of the day, sales is really focused on helping their clients and meeting sales goals. If you can prove the value that sales enablement will bring to helping them do this, you’ll be more likely to gain their buy-in.
To do this, determine your key measures of success up front, and show the team how a strategic sales enablement effort will contribute to those goals. “Average days to close” and “MQL to close ratio” are two good metrics to get started with in measuring the results of sales enablement.
Pro tip: If your sales team still isn’t totally convinced, try to butter them up with a round of golf or happy hour beer. It’s good to have sales as an ally as you start your sales enablement journey!