How to Align Sales and Marketing: Why Sales Enablement Drives Revenue and Delights Your Customers
by Michael O'Mara, on Sep 7, 2021 9:00:00 AM
Think of sales and marketing as the gasoline and lubricant to a car engine. A healthy sales department fuels the entire company to grow and prosper. But without an aligned marketing team, your sales department has no one to sell to. That’s when smart marketing practices and collateral bolster your sales processes and communicate to your customers that your product and services are the right fit for the job.
Sales enablement, on the other hand, is essentially the car’s computer. It communicates with every single part of the car—or business— to ensure every necessary component is functioning and on the same page. If there is misalignment or problems to solve, sales enablement practices identify them and improve your solution-generating process.
But that’s easier said than done.
We know it can be difficult to align communication between sales and marketing. We also know that doing so results in more revenue and happy customers. I’d imagine you know this too.
Every day, new initiatives and strategies pop up and claim to solve all of your problems. We’re here to tell you that there is no magic bullet—solutions are not one size fits all. But there is a proactive approach that improves workflow, helps you make data-driven decisions, and enables you to grow smarter. It’s called sales enablement, and it’s what this blog is all about.
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement is providing your sales and marketing team the resources they need to work together and close more deals. Your marketing team is not a sales team. Your sales team are not marketers. But that doesn’t mean they can’t work together to align their goals, materials, and perspectives on what it takes to generate and close leads.
The sales enablement resources your team can utilize include but are not limited to:
- Helpful productivity tools that boost writing clarity or services that connect essential websites together
- Insightful knowledge about sales or marketing process
- Key product or client information to better inform each team how to approach clients, both specific or general
Your marketing team needs to provide your sales team with the valuable resources they need to sell. It is not your sales team’s responsibility to flesh out messaging and marketing strategies. It’s their job to use those strategies and sell sell sell.
Your sales team must communicate with your marketing about which types of content and materials are missing from existing messaging and marketing strategies. Feedback is vital! Creating new content for marketing initiatives allows the sales team to use that material to reach even more customers and sell the inbound way.
Three problems solved by sales enablement
The modern marketing journey is data-driven and forever changing. No two marketing strategies look alike. And that’s because each strategy is developed with buyer personas and key metrics in mind that optimize your target’s buying journey. At some point in the future, a new marketing paradigm will emerge, and strategies will shift, but for now, inbound marketing is the most effective method to attract leads and keep them coming back.
Just because inbound is the most effective way to market doesn’t mean common issues don’t arise. And that’s where sales enablement kicks in.
Here are three key areas sales enablement streamlines common internal and external issues around marketing:
1. Analysis and reporting
Your business needs standardized sales reports that every stakeholder can understand and apply to their own workflow. If everyone is on the same page, work doesn’t just get done faster, it gets done better. Sales enablement is more than just optimizing sales—it’s bolstering teamwork and connectivity.
2. Workflow optimization
Conduct an internal sales process audit to identify friction and pain points in your communication and sales processes. Warning: this is much harder than it sounds. It requires careful, honest attention to uncovering these points, and commitment to apply the meaningful changes to relieve pain and foster a healthy work environment. For example, if your sales team books 100 product demos per month but only closes four leads, what is the problem? Is your sales team bad at closing leads or does your demo process need to be overhauled? It’s up to you to find out with a practical, agile sales enablement strategy.
3. Lead qualifying
Ever-changing marketing best practices can certainly add difficulty to sales and marketing processes!. In fact, routine optimization and updates can feel overwhelming to even the best employee.
Think about it: with all of the information out there, is it harder or easier than ever to generate and nurture a qualified lead? Sure, the tools and tech at your fingertips are incredible. But the buying journey is murky. Competitors are, well, competitive. You’re not the only one with skin in the game. That’s why developing a replicable system to discover and close qualified leads is so valuable for your sales team.
A software solution to generating better leads is known as customer relationship management software, or CRM. The right CRM provides your sales and marketing teams one place—a hub—for data and communication so you can focus on solving your customers’ problems and helping them thrive.
Three best sales enablement practices
1. Align sales team around your CRM
Adopt the CRM that best fits your business needs. (We recommend HubSpot to all of our clients.) Then, integrate your sales processes into your CRM. You and your sales team will have everything you need in one place to start and close sales. It’s all here: client communication, contacts list, contact history, and deal history. HubSpot offers all of these tools for you for a very low annual fee. One thing to note: triple check your preferred CRM is compatible with your existing tools.
2. Invest in ongoing training
Training is not onboarding. Your onboarding process needs to be organized, structured, and focused on your employee’s role. The same goes for your ongoing training after that initial few months on the job.
Investing in training opportunities is essential for your employees’ well-being and continued growth, as well as your company’s success. Relevant training initiatives communicate to your employees that you have their best professional and personal interests in mind.
When your sales team is empowered to learn, they are committed to better sales practices. Training reduces turnover, improves sprint performance, and boosts job satisfaction. Invest in training now and save time in the long run.
3. Formalize your processes
Never assume people understand your approach and how to execute your system and processes. You need to formalize and document every step of your internal sales enablement strategies to communicate and optimize workflow. Here are a few potential consequences of failing to formalize your company’s processes:
- High employee turnover due to frustration and confusion
- Cold leads and dry pipelines leading to reduced profitability
- A high volume of unqualified leads junking up your pipeline
- Stagnant growth because you can’t return on your investments or retain staff
Choose the right path. Formalize your process and reach levels of productivity and success you’ve only dreamed of.
Work with Sauce Marketing to boost sales enablement
As we said at the beginning, we know how hard it is to align communication between sales and marketing, let alone your entire company. Sales enablement is not a one-size-fits-all solution to your issues. In fact, that does not exist. It is, however, one of the most effective ways to get your team on the same page and keep them there.
We’re a We're a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner. That means we know how to leverage software and productivity solutions to improve your business. Sales enablement is one piece of the bigger puzzle, and by choosing to work with Sauce, you will reach greater heights, earn more profits, and hear from happy customers on a regular basis.
Request a risk-free call with a Certified Growth Guide to discover just how empowering an effective sales enablement strategy can be for you and your team.