Once your sales reps are in conversations with buyers, we wanted to know what further insights the experts would share for providing your sales team with continuous support--sales enablement--to get sales done.
In Part 1, our illustrious experts answered:
What type of content best supports buyer conversations?
In Part 2, they shared excellent insights to:
What do sales reps need to know to use content effectively in buyer conversations?
In Part 3, below, our influencers wrap it up by answering:
How can marketers best support sales reps once they’re engaging buyers?
Many view marketing as a separate entity from sales, but our experts provided insights about how marketing and sales bring the biggest benefit to their companies when they work hand in glove.
Their input covers the following critical areas:
- Shift Marketing to Cross the Full Continuum of Buying
- Unite Marketers with Sellers
- Ensure Marketers Understand Selling
- Create Targeted Content Your Sellers Know About
Take a good look at what they had to say…
Shift Marketing to Cross the Full Continuum of Buying
1. Mathew Sweezey
Sales and Marketing must align on how they want to market to engaged prospects.
ABM has created a very easy to follow method for brands to follow. The key is that these efforts are co-created so sales has faith in marketing’s efforts.
2. Samantha Stone
Marketing should not end with an introduction to the buyer. Marketing can play an instrumental role in nurturing a relationship with the buyer before, during and after a sale has occurred.
Some of the key ways we do that is by building content sales can use to create conversations, communicating directly with buyers with stage and role relevant offers, events and insights, and conducting research that surfaces buyer readiness, pain points and likely obstacles that sales must learn how to address. This last piece is particularly true right now when the global pandemic has changed buyer priorities and decision processes. It's our job in marketing to understand how it has changed, and explore ways we can best meet their new needs.
3. Lee Odden
Collaborating with sales for insights about content topics and formats will enable marketers to create the kind of content sales reps actually need and that buyers are actually interested in.
This collaboration effort should be ongoing and part of a sales enablement optimization process to improve the effectiveness of marketing support of sales.
4. Brian Carroll
Marketers need to move from “one and done” marketing and ad hoc content to support buyer engagement in the middle and late stages of the sales process.
I advocate that marketers must go out in the field (and participate in meetings) with their sales team and potential buyers so that they know how exactly to support sales reps (and buyers) better.
Here are two great questions, “what else can we be doing to help our sales team sell?” Also, “what should we stop doing, that doesn’t add any value to our sales team or potential customers?”
Unite Marketers with Sellers
5. Jay Baer
Marketers as a whole need to do a better job of understanding the informational needs of buyers throughout the consideration funnel, and sales is the best group to provide those insights.
Marketers need to create content when they know exactly how it will be used by sales, in what sequence, and for what purpose. Too often today marketing creates content that sales doesn't even know about, much less utilize.
6. Carlos Hidalgo
Marketers can integrate (more than align) with sales in developing and implementing the demand generation process.
This includes getting their insights for buyers, knowing when in the buyers’ journey the typical buyer will engage with sales. It means enabling sales with the right content, the right templates to use to send out the content. Marketers must also deliver education to sales about their buyers, the purchase path and the market pressures that may exist that impact the buyer.
7. Andrea Fryrear
Andrea is the co-founder of AgileSherpas, where she helps marketing leaders improve productivity, innovation, and speed to market by adapting agile practices to marketing work.
LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
An agile system with a quick response time is great for these times.
Having sales reps join marketing at their daily standups keeps marketing informed of high value deals that are in flight, allowing them to suggest existing sales enablement collateral that can help, or even create something new on the fly if appropriate.
These rapid-fire, 15-minute strategy sessions keep everyone on the same page and allow for real-time reprioritization of work to support the sales and marketing collaboration.
8. Andy Crestodina
They can steal the laptops of top sales reps and dig through the sent mail folder, mining it for top questions and great answers.
I’m kidding about the approach, but serious about the idea of data sharing. Marketing and sales should be in lockstep in their understanding about the information needs of prospects. They are a unified team in the shared goal of answering questions.
- Sales reps answer questions in real time (sales calls and meetings)
- Marketers answer questions in slower, but durable ways (articles, videos, web pages, etc.)
Together, they create clarity and more informed prospects. The team that teaches the best wins the most attention and trust.
9. Achinta Mitra
Achinta is the founder and President of Tiecas, Inc. He is a Mechanical Engineer with an MBA in Marketing who provides actionable marketing advice to manufacturers and engineering companies. That’s why he calls himself a Marketing Engineer. LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Sales must provide their input in developing content. Marketing needs to work with Sales for them to understand the purpose of each piece of content and when to use it for better engagement. This truly needs to be a collaborative effort for content to be effective.
10. Katie Martell
Listen to Sales. They are the ones on the front lines of the business intaking what buyers need, and how they are doing at an EMOTIONAL level right now. This is insight unavailable to marketers through buyer behavior on our website, intent data we may buy, or even persona research. We do a lot of one-way pushing to sales -- e.g. publishing new content to the intranet and letting Sales know it's there.
Things are changing in real-time and it's incumbent upon marketing teams to foster an open two-way dialogue with Sales around what they need to support potentially scared, stressed, distracted buyers.
We can't know what to give them until we've learned what they need.
Ensure Marketers Understand Selling
11. Tom Pick
Tom Pick is a top B2B marketing influencer, blogger, and senior digital marketing consultant who helps clients improve their online visibility, increase brand awareness, and generate leads.
LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Marketers need rich buyer personas, of course, so they can address pain points. They also need to understand the sales process, so they can create useful content for each stage.
But they also need to understand the needs of their sales team: where do they really need supporting content? What snags in the decision process do they run into where the right content can remove a bottleneck or change someone's mind on the buying team?
12. Carla Johnson
First and foremost is to understand the sales process firsthand. Most marketers sit behind their desk and never get face-to-face with a customer.
To better support sales reps they have to know their world and how questions change at that point. At that point they should be able to help sales reps understand what content is right to use in what situation to tell a long-term, unified story.
13. Mark Schaefer
The most enlightened role of marketing is to understand customer needs and translate those into swift responses. So there is a very important synergistic relationship between sales and marketing. It's more important than ever.
14. David Meerman Scott
Marketing videos (created by marketing and intended to be viewed by many buyers) and sales videos (created by salespeople and intended for just one buyer) are powerful when used in combination.
Marketers need to understand the power of video and work with salespeople on how best to use it to reach buyers.
Create Targeted Content Your Sellers Know About
15. Robert Rose
Marketers can help sales reps by arming them with the content that delivers value to the buyers. Content that continuously delivers more and more clever descriptions of our products and services are table stakes.
What really supports a sales rep is to enable them as the most valuable distribution of content there is. In other words - deliver them content that is unique, exclusive, and delivers value to the buyer, so that every sales rep has every reason to have a valuable relationship with buyers.
16. Pam Didner
Categorize and map the content by industries, by personas, by sales stages, by products, and by customer journeys. Make it easy for sales to understand what content to use when. The best way is to have a sales content management library.
17. Doug Kessler
Let them know what content is out there, who it's for, what it covers and what it links to.
I'm always amazed how many marketing teams aren't talking to sales colleagues about the content that's there to help them have better conversations.
18. Joe Pulizzi
The creation and delivery of consistent, valuable and helpful information targeted to specific buyers...then just make sure the salespeople know how to use it.
19. Bernie Borges
Bernie Borges is CMO of Vengreso, a B2B marketer and podcaster with decades of experience producing content that salespeople love because they can use it to start sales conversations.
LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Marketing should have an ongoing approach to supporting sales with content. This “sales enablement” role needs constant attention.
Marketing should regularly speak with sales leadership to stay in touch with their needs, and ideally deploy a sales enablement technology platform where content is stored and organized so reps can find content easily.
Through CRM integration, marketers can track the effectiveness of content assets used throughout the sales continuum from first touch through closed-won or closed-lost. The approach I just described requires the proverbial trifecta of people, process and technology.
20. Nancy Harhut
Nancy Harhut is the Chief Creative Officer of HBT Marketing, where she blends behavioral science insights with marketing best practices to create online and offline campaigns that beat benchmarks and controls. LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Marketers can support their sales reps by providing what those reps will need to overcome buying barriers.
Right now, people are uncertain and afraid. And those two things stop sales. So sales reps will want to ensure a buyer trusts them, believes they’ll help him or her avoid making a mistake, and understands how your product or service will help meet the needs of the “new normal.” So highlight guarantees, showcase credibility markers, and frame your benefits to appeal to today’s mindset.
Because humans often rely on decision-making shortcuts, adding some behavioral science to your content can help trigger their automatic, hardwired behaviors. For example:
- Content that includes Social Proof - When people are uncertain of what decision to make, they follow the lead of others like them. So showing that other buyers are also making the decision you’re asking the targeted buyer to make will go a long way. People will be looking to their peers for cues about how to behave.
- Content that demonstrates Cognitive Fluency – People prefer things that are easy to think about and easy to understand. More important, they feel more confident in their ability to make a decision about those things. So create content that is uncomplicated and won’t make your buyer struggle to understand or respond to it. While always important, cognitive fluency is even more so now when people are extra distracted.
- Content that recognizes Autonomy Bias – People have a deep-seated need to feel in control of themselves and their environments. And right now, things feel wildly out of control. However, having choices gives people a sense of control. So enable your sales reps to offer choices to their buyers. Previous research shows this can quadruple the likelihood someone will make a buying decision in the moment.
Selling in volatile times requires fresh strategies. Download this eBook to learn how to develop those strategies to be productive now and into the future.