Growth Enablement - We ALL win or nobody wins
Growth Enablement is the evolution of sales enablement that brings all company resources to align with growth objectives
MARKETING/SALES ALIGNMENTSALES ENABLEMENTGROWTH ENABLEMENT
The Next Generation of Sales Enablement
For years there seemed to be a natural competition between the Marketing and Sales teams that pitted one against the other. Marketing would claim they delivered great leads but the sales team didn’t know how to close. Sales would in turn state that the leads were all bad and they can’t close someone who simply has no interest in the product or service.
Management would pull their hair out and side with the person they trusted more. They would replace the side they felt failed, and the cycle would repeat itself, everybody would lose.
Finally, someone had the brilliant idea of sales enablement, helping sales achieve sales. Unfortunately, sales enablement focused primarily on Marketing supporting what Sales said they needed to be successful. While that helped, it was not the total answer. While Sales was getting more sales, it did not mean that the company was actually growing and being more profitable. The reasons just focusing on this one aspect didn’t work were fairly obvious for two reasons.
Not all sales are equal
Growth and profitably also require client retention
We all win, or nobody wins, should be the joint mantra of not only EVERY Marketing and Sales team but for customer support as well. For a company to succeed, the line of demarcation that once existed between marketing, sales, and support must melt away.
While Sales enablement originally meant the alignment of marketing and sales insofar as communication and support. A cottage industry arose with trainers and software designed to optimize the sales process and person. Growth enablement looks beyond just the sales department and its relationship to marketing or software. It looks to the entire organization and seeks to optimize any and all opportunities to acquire, retain, upsell, and evangelize prospects and clients. It embodies the frictionless experience of the client throughout the entire lifecycle. The only way of ascertaining what needs to be done is a sales process audit of the entire program to identify those areas that if improved generate additional growth or profitability. Let’s examine a few of the opportunities that most organizations have issues with.
Marketing/Sales Alignment – First and foremost marketing and sales must talk weekly if not daily. They must establish a mutual understanding of what constitutes a good sales-qualified lead. To do this they must examine the hits and misses each week to what happened to the lead and if a sale was not made – why? Was there improper lead scoring or nurturing? Did sales fail to contact the lead quickly enough? Did they engage them in a manner that turned the prospect away?
These are tough conversations, but after a while, there will be a pattern that develops which will allow either or both sides to adapt and improve.
Marketing must also let Sales know before their initial contact the pain points and concerns of the prospect. It is rare that a prospect's first engagement is to ask to speak to sales. Normally they have a number of touchpoints that forecast the areas of pain or concern. Marketing needs to share with sales the website pages they frequented, the blogs they read, and the webinars they attended. This information will show you how to begin the conversation with the prospect. Marketing needs to provide and sales need to utilize.
What is Growth Enablement?
Marketing Support of Sales – If marketing has done a good job developing buyer personas and analyzing the buyers’ journey, they will have a very good idea of the collateral that the sales team can use to help close the sale. The first step is having a lead nurturing program that actually brings a prospect down the sales funnel. To accomplish this, the nurturing campaign has to be highly segmented to that particular buyer persona and offer new and relevant content that gets increasingly sales-focused at the bottom of the funnel.
Create Compelling Collateral - Marketing needs to provide sales with an abundance of sales collateral that the salesperson can send our use at their discretion. There needs to be a balance between allowing the salesperson to modify the collateral and control of specific aspects that can only be altered by a joint agreement between marketing/sales leadership. Marketing needs to ensure that all the collateral shared accurately presents the value proposition and messaging that reflects the perceived pain points and concerns of the client. If the sales team is expected to create such content on the fly it will quickly devolve into feature-based presentations rather than solution-based.
TIP: Create engaging collateral that can easily be shared by the sales team. For example, videos are highly impactful. Marketing should create for each buyer persona a one-to-three-minute explainer video that describes the value proposition and addresses the issues that the persona would have. A second video that needs to be created for each persona is the eighty percent video which addresses the questions that prospects ask eighty percent of the time. Providing these two videos will ensure the information is presented in the best possible way all of the time.
Improvement in the technology stack – There are lots of software tools that are designed to ensure consistent communication by your sales team to the prospects, they measure cadence, responsiveness, and actions by the sales team. The need and value of these systems largely depend on the issues that were identified in the sales process audit. One example that happened recently was that a client was using an overseas sales team to sell a SaaS patient engagement platform to the US market. They would spend countless hours trying to educate the sales team about how healthcare is provided in the United States and about how their product addresses some of the problems. They would burn through, train and release, twenty candidates for everyone they found qualified. Even after that the successful candidates simply sold features and never were comfortable asking for the sale. Hence the close rate was poor.
We helped develop an interactive presentation that the sales team could use that kept the conversation focused, sold benefits rather than features, and gave the prospect a clear return on investment calculation based on the numbers imputed. The entire presentation was sent to the prospect at the end of the call. However, best of all the presentation’s last slide asked for the sale. This allowed even the most timid of salespersons to close in record numbers.
Sales Training – Working in conjunction with the head of your sales team, the marketing department should be creating sales training programs and collateral to ensure consistency amongst salespeople and that best practices are being employed. If there is a salesperson who has proven to be highly effective, involve them in the development of the curriculum.
Customer Nurturing – Prevail Marketing believes that a “customer” is just another stage in the buyers’ journey. It is imperative that the customer continue to feel connected and special. The nurturing process is much more than asking for up sales or renewals, but to continuously remind the client that their decision to purchase from you was a sound investment.
To carry out this client nurturing, continue to share thought leadership, product tips, ideas, and other relevant content that will help your customer. This may include monthly newsletters, customer-focused eBooks and blogs, or quarterly client-only webinars that bring third-party guests and influencers that are respected by the client community.
When customers are consistently given valuable information, this creates a durable bond of loyalty and establishes you as a trusted business advisor.
Client retention -
Customer retention by 5% increased profits of between 25 to 95%. - Harvard Business Review
As the age-old saying goes, you do business with people you trust. As trust increases so does that commitment to a business partner. When a company becomes a customer, it is usually out of the purview and control of either marketing or sales - neither group is involved to ensure that the promises and expectations of the client continue to be observed.
Maintaining trust requires marketing to take a proactive approach to helping customer service grow and nurture that trust. So, instead of waiting for a problem to occur, we identify clients who are at risk and address and eliminate any concerns before they result in the client leaving.
To measure their customer’s expectations and evaluate the health of the engagement, marketing should take the customer's pulse through a process of surveys and interviews. This will allow marketers to identify a potential problem (or an opportunity) long before it becomes a client-leaving event
Client Evangelism -
Recommendations are powerful. When someone who has tried your product or service makes a recommendation, 92% of people will rely on that recommendation - even when it comes from a stranger. Customers already understand the unique value proposition of your brand, and if they have had a good experience will most likely share their experience and make recommendations. To accomplish this, you will need to build a community, a means for them to share, and provide an incentive for them to share.
Conclusion - The days when it was enough for marketing just to deliver leads are long gone. It is imperative that your marketing team go beyond sales enablement and focus on what is truly important, GROWTH. The ideas shared here are just the tip of the iceberg as to the value and role marketing should have in an organization.
If you think your business could benefit from learning how to create a Growth Enablement Program, please give us a call and we will explore the possibilities with you.
People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of Advertising - Mark Zuckerberg.