Bridging the Gap Between Marketing and Sales with Sales Enablement Technology

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As a business practice, sales enablement occurs when marketing teams generate and distribute products and information that help sales teams convert prospects more effectively. However, certain marketing technologies known as sales enablement platforms can assist marketers in achieving this objective. The standard functionality of sales enablement systems may include content enablement, automation and workflow tools, training capabilities, and analytic tools that provide insights to inform future tactics.

 

In the early stages of the B2B sales process, when buyers independently conduct research and establish opinions that influence which vendors they select and with whom they engage, marketers have traditionally played a crucial role.

 

Recently, since the COVID pandemic has rapidly accelerated digital transformation, pushing trade show activities online and generally decreasing face-to-face encounters, this trend has grown even more prominent. According to the Korn Ferry Buyer Preferences Study, 2021, more than 79 percent of B2B buyers wait until they have fully defined their needs before contacting a salesperson, while nearly two-thirds (57 percent) identify solutions first and 37 percent only engage sellers to finalize the terms of a deal.

 

This aversion to working with salespeople appears to be caused, at least in part, by the belief that sellers are more product-oriented than solution-oriented and are unable to truly contribute value. During the pandemic, salespeople lost some opportunity to create rapport through face-to-face meetings and activities, which has made this even more difficult.

 

According to the Korn Ferry study, sellers have had to learn new abilities and build tactics for persuasion using digital platforms, although they are not yet very proficient at it. Virtual selling is not anticipated to be a passing fad, so sellers must improve their skills and acquire the necessary tools to be successful.

 

Sales enablement platform capacities

In spite of the fact that sales enablement has emerged as a distinct category in recent years, there are still considerable disparities between the solutions provided by the many companies in this market.

 

In a variety of methods, sales enablement platforms strive to bridge the gap between marketing and sales in B2B operations, with capabilities such as:

  • Content management, personalization and distribution
  • Coaching and instruction
  • Tools for communication such as VoIP telephony and video conferencing
  • Collaboration
  • Workflow automation tools for activity logging Analytics for measuring activity and providing insights
  • Integrations with additional enterprise technologies

 

Advanced functionality that allows suppliers to differentiate their products includes the following:

  • Conversational intelligence, maybe including in-call coaching in real time
  • Artificial intelligence that recommends optimal next steps or determines how to teach or train individual salespeople most effectively
  • Creation of content, including 3D, VR, and AR

 

Let’s examine the variety of features given by sales enablement platforms in further detail. Read more from Allego if you’re interested in implementing a platform for your team.

 

Content management

Insofar as marketers are concerned, the most important capabilities of sales enablement systems are content-related. The ability to consume and organize content assets in a variety of formats, with a view toward making them easily discoverable by salespeople, is chief among these. In certain instances, the platforms index content available on current file storage systems like Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint, or Dropbox, saving marketers the time required to submit all of their content to a new system.

 

As with digital asset management (DAM) systems, these objects may be tagged and metadata may be added. Some systems employ a familiar organizational structure, such as files and folders, but the systems also provide the curation of these assets into micro-sites or portals connected with specific business objectives, such as products, initiatives, vertical customer types, or individual customers.

 

Content personalization and distribution

Customer surveys continually reveal that customers expect firms to comprehend their circumstances and issues and to modify their messages accordingly.

 

The characteristics of a sales enablement platform that address this concern include the capacity for marketers to create templated content that can be dynamically or manually personalized by the seller as they prepare to meet with the prospect. Marketers can also give the building blocks that enable salespeople to design bespoke portals that address the unique scenario of a prospect or customer.

 

Once these customized experiences have been developed, platforms often link with email, file-sharing, and video conferencing applications for dissemination.

 

Coaching and instruction

Depending on the organizational structure, marketers may or may not be responsible for this part of sales enablement. Sales enablement solutions include capabilities to onboard new salespeople and familiarize them with what they will be selling, as well as to continuously inform and educate sellers. This may include textual or video instruction, interactive quizzes, and video roleplaying, among other similar activities. The sales leadership can use analytics features to determine what a particular salesperson should be learning, or AI functions can advise topics a salesperson should brush up on, based on the use and consumption of information by customers.

 

Collaboration and communications tools

Platforms for sales enablement include tools for facilitating contact between sellers and customers, such as dialers, email applications, and videoconferencing. They also feature capabilities that facilitate collaboration between marketing and sales. A tool may, for instance, enable sellers to provide marketers with feedback on specific content in order to improve its effectiveness.

 

Process automation

Instead of manually recording the outcomes of sales meetings, salespeople utilizing these platforms can utilize automated technologies to execute this activity. Some solutions also enable sales management to develop frameworks that adhere to prevalent sales strategies or to tailor them to their own philosophies.

 

Analytics

The sales enablement role of measuring all marketing and selling activities is a crucial advantage, allowing marketers to do analysis and iteration that result in more successful content. Additionally, sales management can track the performance of individual sellers and identify best practices to be shared across the firm.

 

Integrations

As with many other types of business technology, the ability to link with other tools, particularly CRMs and content production and distribution tools, is nearly a given. However, companies vary about which sorts of integrations are offered out-of-the-box and which must be established via APIs.

 

The strength of the vendor’s own developers and the community of agencies and systems integrators who are familiar with their solutions are intrinsic to this competency. Some vendors have stronger partner networks in particular geographies or with greater experience in particular industries.

 

Advanced performance

Numerous advanced capabilities provided by sales enablement companies utilize uncommon technologies, such as virtual reality and 3D modeling, to create virtual showrooms in which customers may interact with replicas of the products being sold. In addition, vendors in this market are integrating call analytics tools, such as recording, transcribing, and analyzing salesperson-prospect discussions. This also includes real-time coaching that may be used to “whisper” in the ear of a salesperson while they are speaking with a client or prospect.

 

In addition, vendors are introducing more artificial intelligence and machine learning-driven capabilities, such as tools that analyze the available data and recommend a next-best action (or piece of content) to further a sales discussion. This type of technology can also recommend beneficial training or coaching for a salesman.