Sales reps are the backbone to lead nurturing. They’re the ones who know your offering inside out, communicate with prospects daily and leverage your marketing team’s tools to create a solid selling strategy. However, when there’s a disconnect between the two, salespeople are often left in the dark over the resources and support they have available; creating holes in your sales funnel.
Remember, if you help sales close deals, they will become your business’ best friend. So, here are five sales enablement tricks you can implement to create a happy, hardworking sales team.
1. Shadow Sales Calls Together
How often have you heard “Marketing isn’t delivering enough high-quality leads to sales” and “Sales isn’t doing enough to follow up with the leads marketing sends over”?
To bridge the gap, ensure the marketing team sit in on sales calls or demos to gain insight on the questions prospects are asking. From this information, they could identify pieces of content that will help sales reps nurture a lead and even discover questions that content could be created for.
When sales and marketing teams work together, companies typically see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher close rates. So, the more support marketing can give reps, the better equipped they’ll be to secure leads in make-or-break scenarios.
Provide Content for Each Stage of the Sales Funnel
Sales enablement content is there to build credibility, educate prospects and overcome any objections they might have during the customer journey. However, the content needed to push leads over the finish line entirely depends on which stage of the sales funnel they’re at.
If your marketing team hasn’t given salespeople content that can provide the right information, in the right place and at the right time, closing these leads can be almost impossible. In fact, only 35% of salespeople think marketing knows what content they need.
Marketing teams should communicate with sales teams to gain insight on which stages leads frequently to go cold. What content might convince them to re-engage? Armed with content that’s aligned with your buyer personas, sales teams will be better equipped to reach high-value prospects, answer enquiries and most importantly – close high-value leads.
Here’s how content can be used at each stage of the sales funnel
2. Top of the Funnel – Awareness
This is where your inbound marketing efforts come into play, e.g. SEO and paid advertising. Your product or service isn’t immediately obvious, so content is used to generate brand awareness amongst competitors and interest in your offering. It’s all about nudging your target audience towards enquiring.
Social Media: Posting awareness-geared content on your channels encourages buyer personas to like, comment and share your content with their followers. They’re getting to know your brand, products and services so that when they need what you’re offering, you’ll be at the front of their mind.
Infographics: A visually engaging way to talk about a certain topic. They often show statistics and data in a format that’s easy to interpret. Infographics are a great tactic for attracting the reader’s attention and encouraging them to get in touch for more information.
Videos: Perfect for showcasing the people and personalities behind your brand. They make you seem approachable and on-hand to help, which is essential for persuading buyer personas to enquire. Brand films are ideal for sharing your company’s values and mission, while “how-to” videos allow you to answer questions and share actionable advice with visitors.
Middle of the Funnel – Consideration
Usually cited as the most crucial part of the sales journey, the “consideration stage” focuses on your sales team’s efforts. Leads at this part are exploring their options to conclude whether purchasing from you is the best option. Reps should be using content here to build relationships and showcase how your offering is the best solution to their problem.
Case Studies: A method for telling a client success story without it being a typical sales pitch. Strong case studies contain a few essential ingredients: a clear story, quantifiable results and of course, a reputable source to provide a testimonial (e.g. client). They should be completely customer-centric, not just talking about your business. Sales teams can use case studies to promote how your business prioritises your customer’s individual needs, something many fail to do in their sales material.
eBooks: These full-circle documents can speak to the needs of high-potential prospects whilst sales teams focus maintaining communication. They promote how a specific product or service will provide the solution to a prospect’s needs. E.g. an eBook for a small business finance company could be “Why X Small Business Finance is the Perfect Alternative to Traditional Lending”. Include a call-to-action in each eBook to encourage a prospect to schedule a call or request a product demo.
Blog Posts: At this stage, blog posts should focus on decision-lead content. For example, a blog post for a small business finance company could be “Why X Small Business Finance is the Best Alternative to Traditional Lending”. Ask your sales reps the questions that customers frequently ask and base your blog content around answering them. Reps can send these posts out to leads who want answers during this crucial sales funnel stage.
Bottom of the Funnel – Selling
The final stage where your sales team are doing all they can to give leads a little extra push towards purchasing. Content here must bridge the final gap between the free value you’ve been providing and your paid product offering.
Testimonials: Create a series of emails where customers share their experiences with you. These can be tailored to the customer’s processes before purchasing your product or service and how using it improved things.
Webinars: The goal of webinars here is to showcase your product or service’s value and demonstrate their different uses. What’s more, the Q&As at the end add immediacy which allows the audience to obtain information that’s important to them. Make webinars accessible on your website and include in drip campaigns that your sales teams send to prospects who’re close to the finish line.
Sales Scripts: Although not sent to leads, sales scripts contain all the information a prospect has been given, plus anything extra that could sway their purchasing decision. Sales reps can use them as rough outlines to guide the conversation with a lead and move them onto the purchasing stage.
3. Alert Sales Teams on Published Content
Timeliness and relevancy can make all the difference in securing a sale; especially when it comes to content. Having your marketing team’s latest efforts readily available will give reps the confidence they need to nurture leads. But if reps aren’t informed about new content, how can they be expected to push leads through the pipeline?
Marketing teams must alert sales whenever new content is published. They could go one step further by providing a content’s context or a blurb that reps can use during sales conversations. Sales teams will appreciate having this information when someone in the pipeline will find a resource valuable.
Conduct a content asset inventory to collate all of your best blog posts, videos, downloadable guides, eBooks etc. in a resource bank that sales teams can access at all time. This is also a great way to find any content that could be repurposed into helpful sales documents to help reps push leads through the customer journey.
4. Interview Your Sales Reps
Salespeople are in sales for a reason. They know your product or service inside out, are great communicators and know how to translate their expertise into compelling sales pitches. What’s more, they’re at the frontline of your business every day and are constantly getting feedback from prospects. However, their knowledge is often overlooked for marketing collateral.
Why not get your sales reps to write posts every now and then for your company blog? Or, if they’re not the best writers, get your marketing teams to interview them as subject matter experts to capture their unique insights. Sales reps will certainly appreciate the opportunity to contribute their knowledge.
5. Shout About Wins!
Promoting a culture of appreciation and positivity is essential in any workplace. However, for salespeople, their successes are often treated as an expectation, which can be harmful for their performance.
When a salesperson closes a new deal by leveraging a piece of content, let everyone else know! This not only showcases the rep’s achievement but will encourage other salespeople to utilities the content marketing teams are producing for them.
This praise should also be fed back to marketing teams – after all, they’re the ones who produced the content! Encouraging unity between sales and marketing will align both departments together and create a seamless transition as leads are passed through the sales funnel.
Although salespeople are experts in their field, they cannot perform to the best of their abilities if you aren’t supporting them. Follow these enablement best practices and you’ll not only see a big improvement in your business’ selling strategies but also your company’s revenue.
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