Finally, we were able to come with an article that could bring high quality, useful and practical insights about sales enablement. Indeed it took us long about what kind of content to write about. However, we thought that rather than giving out an explanation about sales enablement and ADR, perhaps an outlined guide would be more helpful in order to work out a plan. Again, Hubspot brings us a suitable guideline which helps a lot to get an insightful and proposes a kind of a standard procedure to work with. For that, what we did, instead of writing our own story, we relied on Hubspot’s expertise and summarised this guide on sales enablement
(that you can have access here: https://offers.hubspot.com/sales-enablement-training-workbook)
Therefore, what we did instead is providing you a summary and an outline of this sales enablement process should look like and what are the key/most important points we need to consider.
Sales enablement is the processes, content, and technology that empowers sales teams to sell more efficiently at a higher velocity. As we have said in various of our previous posts, in order to succeed in digital sales, you need to implement a sales enablement strategy at your company, having both your marketing and sales teams to work closely together. Therefore, sales and marketing must be fully coordinated and aligned in woking “as 1”, sharing as much information (results, content, relevant data, competition, etc.). In that way, you can work all the sales funnel efficiently. It is key to understand all the sales and marketing cycles in order to understand the good and bad numbers, thus getting your results in order to improve the numbers!
1. Sales Enablement Self Assessment
Align goals, where you need to describe your current process for setting company goals and translating them into departmental goals. How clearly defined is this process? How do employees at all levels of the organization understand it?
Describe the relationship between marketing goals and sales goals in your company.
Do marketing and sales have shared goals or separate goals? How closely are their goals aligned?
2. Target Buyers
Describe your company’s target buyer. What characteristics make a person or organization a good fit for your offering? How do you know? Are there any factors that make someone a bad fit for your offering?
Ask a colleague to describe your company’s target buyer. How is their description similar to yours? How is it different?
Describe when and how leads get passed between marketing and sales. How well is this process understood by the members of both teams? Describe any processes you have in place to align marketing and sales, such as regular meetings, reports, service-level agreements, etc. How effective are these processes?
Describe the content creation process at your company (if any). Who is in charge of it? Who else is involved? How effective is it? If you don’t have a defined process, describe any efforts your company has made to produce content.
Describe the way content is (or isn’t) currently used in your sales process:
Do salespeople use the content marketing creates? Are they able to find it when they need it?
You need to know and assure how is the marketing technology being used at your company
Where do you store and organise your contacts? What tools do you use to create and distribute content? How is your website managed? What tools do you use to communicate with marketing leads? Do you have a marketing automation platform?
How do you track the progress of individual sales? How do you report the performance of individual salespeople? Do you have any tools to automate or simplify your sales process? Do you have a CRM?
With any large initiative, you need both a guiding vision and actionable goals.
Without a sensible vision, a transformation effort can easily dissolve into a list of confusing and incompatible projects that can take the organization in the wrong direction or nowhere at all.”
— John Kotter
4. Designing Your Vision
Describe your organisation’s vision in the space below. Remember, you aren’t done with this step until you can describe your vision in five minutes in a way that gets people excited about it.
Aligning Your Teams Around a Unified Revenue Goal: if there are other costs you need to calculate, search the internet and see what you find.
You need figure out and take into consideration how much that vision will cost to achieve, not only in monetary terms but also in time! Remember that time is money not just for you and your organisation but also to those to whom you’re approaching.
Once you have the cost of your vision figured out, answer the following questions:
How much will it cost? How does that compare to the resources you have on hand? How much more revenue do you need to realise this vision?
Now that you’ve defined your vision and you understand how much it costs, you need to convert it into goals for your marketing and sales teams. The first step in doing that is developing a robust lead qualification framework. After all, the more qualified a lead is, the more likely they’ll help you achieve your revenue goals.
5. The Ideal Customer Profile
To define a qualified lead, you have to understand what makes someone a good fit for your offering. Creating an ideal customer profile is an excellent way to do this.
An ideal customer profile is a checklist of the most basic attributes someone needs to have to be successful as your customer. The best way to create your ideal customer profile is to get representatives from both marketing and sales together to discuss what attributes your best customers have in common.
If you’re in a B2B organization, your ideal customer profile will be at the company level. If you’re in a B2C organization, it will be based on a particular market segment. Regardless of what space you’re in, here are some questions that should help jump-start the conversation between marketing and sales:
- Are there economic factors that make a customer ideal or not ideal?
a. B2B: Number of employees, revenue, customers, etc.
b. B2C: Income, education, household size, phase of life, etc.
- Are there market segments that are ideal or not ideal?
a. B2B: Industry, vertical, etc.
b. B2C: Occupation, interest, lifestyle, etc.
Are there geographic locations that are ideal or not ideal?
Are there legal standards that are required to purchase your product or services? Are there any other attributes that make a buyer ideal or not ideal?
When we rely on data, we can turn it into a fact-based conversation. We can both see exactly what’s happening. Data takes the emotion out of it. It keeps you from getting defensive, especially if you approach it [by saying], “Let’s both sit down and look at the data.” It also helps you figure out what the true issues are and points you in the right direction to fix them.
6. Measuring Sales Readiness
In addition to identifying what makes someone a good fit for your product, you also need to know how your prospects demonstrate that they’re ready to talk to sales. A person can be a good fit for your product, but if they aren’t interested in talking to you, you need to leave them alone.
To measure sales readiness, you need to identify the actions people take that are correlated with purchasing your product. Identifying these actions will be a joint effort between marketing and sales and should be based on data, if possible.
Here are some actions that you may want to consider:
- Content conversions
- Number of page views
- Specific pages viewed
- Forms submitted
- Live chat interactions
- Other activities
- Email engagement
- Email opens
- Email clicks
- Email replies
- Negative metrics (SPAM, unsubscribes, etc.)
Social media engagement:
a. Following your company on various channels
b. Engaging with social content (shares, comments, etc.)
c. Connecting with sales
Online and in-person event attendance:
c. Engage (comments, business cards, etc.): despite this is quite difficult to achieve in some scenarios, getting at least one piece of data i.e. Ask them what they thought about your products/services
The Lead Qualification Matrix
In this activity, you’ll combine your ideal customer profile with your sales readiness metrics for you to create a single lead qualification matrix. Your brainstormed ideas for your ideal customer profile take time to discuss with other people in your company. Hold a meeting between marketing and sales to create a definition everyone agrees on. When you’re done, you should be able to list out the attributes of an ideal customer as a series of checkboxes or bullet points.
In most cases, your ideal customer profile will be five or six checkboxes, but it can be more or less, depending on what your teams decided. For the purposes of your lead qualification matrix, you need to determine the cut-off between good-fit and poor-fit leads.
Define the cut-off between good-fit and poor-fit leads. How many checkboxes in your ideal customer profile does a lead have to check off to be a good-fit lead? Are there any boxes that EVERY lead MUST check off, regardless of how many other boxes they check off? Are any of the activities in the “actively investigating your product”
You also need to develop a strategy for how you handle these leads and help them make progress. Here are some questions to discuss with marketing and sales: Nurturing: How does marketing nurture unready leads to get them sales ready?
How do you know when a lead has moved from being unready to being sales ready?
Notifications: How does marketing notify sales when a lead becomes sales ready? How frequently is sales notified (immediately, once a day, etc.)?
Unqualified Leads: How does sales send leads back to marketing?
Lead Details: What information needs to be included when marketing sends a lead to sales?
Now that you know what a qualified lead is, you’re ready to go out and achieve your revenue goal. If the revenue goal you’ve defined is more than the revenue your sales team typically produces, don’t worry — that’s what sales enablement is for.
The core of this part of your sales enablement strategy will be your sales and marketing service-level agreement (SLA), which will require marketing to provide sales with a certain number of qualified leads and require sales to contact those leads within a certain timeframe.
8. The Sales and Marketing SLA
An SLA (this is commonly know in the technology world as Service- Level-Agreement but I am sure we could also take the risk and name it Sales Level Agreement for our purpose) is an agreement between a service provider and its customer that guarantees a certain output. When it comes to sales and marketing, this is actually a two-way agreement, with marketing promising a certain number of leads to sales, and sales promising to contact those leads within a certain timeframe.
In this activity, you’ll need your sales data for a full year, divided into quarters. You’ll need to know:
- How many qualified leads did you generate?
- How many of them became sales opportunities?
- How many of those opportunities closed into customers?
- What was the value of each sale? These numbers can be used to calculate the following key metrics:
- Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate (number of opportunities divided by total number of qualified leads).
- Opportunity-to-close conversion rate (number of new customers divided by total number of opportunities).
Average deal size (sum of all deals divided by number of deals). Compare different quarters of the year to see if these rates change or are steady. It’s normal to have some seasonality in your sales, so be sure to take that into account as you calculate your SLA.
If your SLA requires your marketing team to produce more qualified leads than they’ve typically been producing, the best thing to do is to audit the way you’re using your marketing production process and look for ways to reallocate resources.
Sales Velocity: a formula
Just as you were able to calculate your marketing velocity, you can also calculate your sales velocity. The formula to do this comes from “Aligned to Achieve.” There are four metrics you need to identify and measure:
- Number of opportunities: How many sales opportunities can a rep handle in a given time period? For more complicated sales where the rep has to be deeply involved throughout the process, this number might be fairly low, but for more transactional sales, it can be fairly high. This number might also vary from rep to rep, based on how much experience they have.
Average deal value. How much does a typical sale close for? This is a key metric to know when you’re initially calculating the SLA.
- Win rates: What percentage of sales opportunities actually close into new business? This is another metric you need to know to calculate the SLA, and it’s an important one for both sales and marketing to keep an eye on. If this rate is low, it could be that marketing is attracting the wrong kinds of people. Revisit your ideal customer profile and make sure it’s accurately reflecting the sorts of people who are most likely to close. Dig into your sales team’s lost deals and see if you can find common traits that don’t exist among your customers.
- Sales cycle length: How long does it take your sales team to turn opportunities into customers? Remember, the goal of sales enablement is to make your sales team more efficient, so hopefully you’ll be driving this number downward soon.
Once you know these numbers, you can calculate your sales velocity using this formula:
Once you know these numbers, you can calculate your sales velocity using this formula:
SALES VELOCITY =
Meetings: achieve productivity and useful meetings
Marketing meetings are an important part of sales enablement. Having a regularly scheduled time for marketing and sales to come together and solve problems is crucial to ensuring the success of the strategies you’re designing
Therefore, it is crucial to take into account some homework before a meeting. You don’t need to have all done but at least, some ideas in order to be able to build a buyer persona when you get into a meeting with the team:
Defining your target buyer is a vital part of sales enablement. If you implement the processes, content, and technology necessary to accelerate your sales, but you don’t know how to target the best prospects, there’s a good chance you’ll accelerate yourself right into a dead end. Having a clear definition of your target buyer will prevent that from happening.
Developing Buyer Personas
If you want to sell efficiently at a higher velocity, you need a deep understanding of the people who tend to buy from you. A great way to get that understanding is to create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your target customer based on data.
What are your primary buyer persona’s identifiers? Communication preferences? What are your primary buyer persona’s goals? What are your primary buyer persona’s challenges? Primary challenge? Secondary challenge?
If you haven’t fully defined your primary buyer persona yet, you can use your ideal customer profile as a first version of your hero statement. Remember, using an ideal customer profile and then defined personas later based on further research and customer conversations.
Content is a vital part of sales enablement.
After all, sales enablement is the processes, content, and technology that help sales teams sell efficiently at a higher velocity. The activities in this section will help you develop a content strategy that will live at the heart of your sales enablement efforts.
Once you have that content created, start thinking of ways you can package the most important content in a way that can be given to sales prospects.
Finally, draft an email template that your sales team can use to share this content with their prospects. Include links to each relevant piece of content — or, if you’ve packaged all of the pages together into a longer piece of content, such as an ebook, include that instead. Make it clear to the prospect that this content should answer most of their questions so that the time on the sales call can be spent discussing their unique needs.
How confident are you in your ability to get your sales team to use this email template with every sales prospect? Who would you need to work with to make that happen? Now it is the “pull strategy first and then, the push relevant ‘needs’ of your buyer persona.
It is sometimes recommended some bibliography in which you could learn mucho more about inbound marketing. One that could be of help would be:
“They Ask, You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan — .
Now that you have your processes and content all figured out, it’s time to think about technology. Technology can do a lot to accelerate and simplify your processes. It helps you together with your team on how to create and organise that content which drives you sales and generates relavant impact.
Some of you might be thinking, ‘Doesn’t technology come first?’. Well no! Despite we have talked about technology earlier in this post, in our view the approach / planning should come in a different manner. First it is all about your goals, achievements, knowledge, get to know how you operate, who is your buyer persona, and many other factors. Brainstorming comes first! Then, technology.