Now that technology has allowed virtually every consumer experience to become more personalized, it’s not surprising that marketing has become more customized, too. Just as inbound marketers create a buyer’s journey that gives individual buyers the kind of content they’re actively searching for, account based marketing, or ABM, is creating a better way for marketers to target an account or company.
More than 80% of marketers say that their ABM initiatives outperform other types of marketing investments. The key word here is “investment.” ABM requires a much different approach than traditional marketing services, and, in order to be successful, it’s critical to put the work in up front before you pull the trigger.
Content creation is no longer optional for businesses that want to thrive in today’s competitive environment. Regardless of what it’s called — a blog post, infographic, video, etc. — content has become the way we consume information to help make better decisions in all areas of our lives.
When trying to find valuable content, we usually turn to Google. From looking for a recipe to figuring out where to buy the best jeans, we are now making more than 63,000 Google searches every second of every day. That adds up to 5.6 billion searches a day.
Understanding how to create great content and generate more traffic to your website through content marketing can help you attract potential customers. But it’s equally important to understand how to calculate what kind of return on investment (ROI) you’re receiving from your content marketing.
Then you can evaluate what’s working — and improve or eliminate what’s not.
As the way customers buy products has changed, so has the way companies market to them. That, in turn, has changed the entire dynamic of the sales process, opening the door for new methods of selling and transforming the way that sales teams now approach their prospects. One of the biggest changes in recent years has been the growing popularity of sales enablement, which brings together the strength of both the sales team and the marketing agency or department to create a more targeted, strategic approach.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, it seems like you’re spinning your wheels with your sales and marketing efforts. You’ve implemented what you feel is a strong sales enablement program, and you’ve been reasonably successful with it … until now.
Suddenly, it seems like that well-oiled sales enablement machine is grinding to a halt and you’re not sure exactly what to do about it. You’ve worked hard to make sure that you’ve set up your sales enablement strategy properly, including developing a well-defined mission statement and creating buyer personas to target your potential customers.
You’ve set goals, developed a thorough on-boarding program and are working to provide ongoing education for all team members. You’ve made sure they understand the processes and are up to speed on collaborative tools. On paper, it looks like you’ve checked all the boxes, but your sales results are telling a different story.
There are many different reasons that you start losing leads and it can be difficult to determine what’s causing this sudden slowdown. It’s time to take a closer look at what’s happening in your sales enablement strategy and see if any of these common problems could be causing you to lose leads.
In order for your sales enablement program to be successful, you or your content marketing agency need to have a well-thought-out strategy in place. This strategy will direct your efforts, keep you on track to reach your goals and help you see when (and where) you need to make adjustments.
Think of it like a business plan for your sales enablement program. You wouldn’t start a business without identifying your objectives and determining how you’ll reach them. The same should be true of your sales enablement program.
The right strategy helps you define and collect all the different components involved in your program and determine what needs to be accomplished by each person who is responsible for each step. It also offers a useful set of guidelines to follow as you grow, because it provides a documented reminder of what you want to accomplish and serves as the foundation for your growth.
To begin creating your strategy, bring key stakeholders from both sales and marketing together to provide input. This will ensure that the strategy you create is attainable and reasonable, and it’s also easier to get buy-in from all departments when they’re given the chance to participate.
As you outline your strategy, here are seven essential elements to include that will lead to a great sales enablement strategy.
For organizations that use content marketing to promote their business and spread awareness of their brand, sales enablement is all about aligning sales and digital marketing specialists in order to propel the sales process forward. While that requires having team members work side-by-side to improve efficiency, it depends heavily on technology to bring those processes together.
There’s a significant payoff in having the right technology; a study by Forrester Consulting found that companies who use sales enablement technology are able to increase the speed of closing deals by 43% and boost company growth by as much as 60%.
Implementing technology is an important step, but it can only be done after you know what processes it needs to serve and what you expect it to do. Once you outline your processes, you have to identify what types of sales technology stack will support and further them, then ensure that everyone involved knows how to use that technology to its fullest.
After all, the greatest technology in the world is only effective when it’s being used properly. If you don’t believe that, hand a smartphone to your grandmother and see what happens.
Case studies are an effective way to show prospects what your company has done for others and how you can help them achieve their objectives. Unlike reviews and testimonials — in which customers explain first-hand what it was like to do business with you — case studies use a storytelling approach to demonstrate the success that customers had as a result of working with you.
According to a Publicis Hawkeye study, 77% of B2B buyers in the consideration stage said testimonials and case studies are the most influential types of content. When you’re convincing prospects to do business with you, an effective case study can tip the scale in your favor. Let’s look at what a case study is and how you can use it to sell your products and services.
The title of Bob Franco’s 2016 book pretty much sums up the current state of sales. “Sales: The Hardest Easy Job In The World” emphasizes that while sales jobs are relatively easy to find, they’re not for the faint of heart. For employers, sales jobs are becoming increasingly harder to fill. According to The Wall Street Journal, sales careers have become a tough sell — no pun intended — as the way people research and buy products has changed.
Because people have changed the way they research and buy products, salespeople have had to change their approach, too. Now, the image of the slick-talking salesman is as dusty and dated as a cassette tape player. Today’s customers expect conversations, not sales pitches, and one of the things they value most in those conversations is consistency.
Customers want a consistent experience with your product or service, and they also want a consistent message. Without a consistent message, they’re not sure what you’re selling or why your product or service is better than your competitors’. And, in a world where so many messages are being delivered in rapid fire from every direction, it’s easy for customers to get distracted. Inconsistent messages confuse customers and, as the saying goes, “A confused mind always says no.”
One of the best ways to maintain consistency is by using a sales script. All too often, salespeople are reluctant to use a sales script; after all, no one wants to come off like a telemarketer who’s reading through a flowchart of predetermined responses. But sales scripts are one of the most effective tools you can use to improve results.
Research shows that using the right sales scripts can increase closing rates and conversions (and as a digital marketing agency, those metrics are very important to us). Just as with sending the right email, the key is to create a sales script that is dynamic, engaging and can get the salesperson to where they need to be with the customer, whether that goal is to set an appointment or close a sale.
The way customers buy products has changed dramatically with the growth of e-commerce, but many businesses still depend on the old way of selling. Not surprisingly, that doesn’t yield the same kind of positive results that it used to.
The fault can’t really be placed on sales teams; without the proper tools to sell in this new environment, they can’t adequately compete. But, when given new ways to educate prospects, they can make significant progress.
That’s why sales enablement, a relatively new concept that has grown out of the unique needs of today’s business environment, has gained so much traction.
Sales enablement creates the processes that provide sales departments with the tools, information and platforms they need to increase their effectiveness. As they become more efficient at leading a potential customer through the buyer’s journey, they can provide that lead with the experiences and information needed to make a purchase.
In doing so, they’ll see greater success when it comes to closing deals.
That sounds great on paper, but what does that actually mean — and how does it work? Does it really work? Let’s take a closer look at sales enablement and how it can improve your company’s effectiveness.
Spending time on the right leads is crucial for any business growth. When talking with prospective clients, we often forget to ask ourselves whether this is the type of client that could bring long-term value to our business.
Start-up founders and business professionals often get blinded by the possibility of turning a lead into an active client, forgetting to take into consideration the opportunity cost of on-boarding a bad lead. Understanding how to qualify leads becomes an important part of every sales process.
As a business owner and a sales professional, the time you spend qualifying a lead is synonymous with the success you will have. Leads should be prioritized based on their importance and relevance to the business itself.
Applying this simple-yet-effective thought can save you and your salesforce a lot of time in negotiation with potential clients who will bring more troubles than revenues.