Off the shelf sales enablement tools are the way forward when it comes to aligning sales and marketing according to a new report from Forrester. Their recent predictions for the future of B2B business highlights the need for marketing to take the lead when it comes to sales enablement technology, its management and its implementation across the whole of a customer’s journey.
A shift in focus.
The focus shift from sales to sales and marketing-led sales enablement might be a challenge to many business cultures. Closing deals has been the end goal for the majority of sales enablement investments to date. But as customers change what they want from their sales experience, businesses must respond or risk losing out to those who are.
“Organizations in which SE (Sales Enablement) reports to marketing are exceeding revenue expectations more frequently”. - Forrester
Customer experience collaboration.
The key to a successful partnership between sales and marketing will be an understanding that the customer experience, not just a sale, is what will influence company success in the coming years.
A steady increase in digital transactions hasn’t resulted in a reduction in seller interactions as sales teams feared. In fact, seller interactions are predicted to increase, but the conversation has changed.
Traditional sales pitches need to evolve towards tailored communications based on each customer’s requirement an area which is the bread and butter of marketing departments. Joining the power of sales with the precision of marketing can create a memorable, and profitable, customer journey.
Creating a Sales and Marketing powerhouse.
To nurture an authentic partnership between sales and marketing you need common ground. The magic ingredient that connects both teams is…. data, and ultimately, how it can be leveraged to drive sales.
Both teams have masses of valuable information on customers, prospects, products, and more. Learning how to share information and use this to build data-driven insights is essential to designing an effective customer experience.
Together, sales and marketing can design and implement a compelling narrative to drive sales, loyalty, and recommendations.
Putting data to work.
Of course, having data is only half the battle. Being able to access it freely and without delay, analyze it, and draw insights from it is a whole other issue. Yes, we are talking about the continued existence of data silos and data gatekeepers.
Sales have a wealth of customer relationship information and sales data, whilst marketing has statistics on every customer action and buying signal across the whole of the customer’s journey before, during, and after contact with the sales team. Aligning this data is often not straight-forward.
In many businesses, these data sets are separate and inaccessible to other departments. At best, there may be one Excel spreadsheet whizz who can run reports for teams to review. That one person probably has a job of their own to do, so you rely on goodwill to get insights at any speed.
Waiting on data in this way will only ever result in one view of data – historical. As soon as the data is exported, it is out of date. This is the biggest downfall of siloed systems. The answer? Integrated, ideally Cloud-based, systems that collate data in one place for quick review, analysis, and update.
“It is sometimes concerning how fearful businesses can be of cloud solutions despite the fact that tools like Outlook 365 are used by so many.” - Joe Cox, UK Sales Manager. sales-i
This integrated approach is how sales-i delivers powerful insights to its users. With back-office information, CRM data, and automated analysis, insights to shape your every conversation are only a click away.
The ultimate customer journey.
Just as sales teams have been using their sales-i software to inform and shape their customer interactions, marketing teams can use the same data to design tailored campaigns and communications.
Understanding the industry, sector trends, customer actions, and more enables the creation and continual refinement of:
- Industry trend commentary
- Product promotions
- Upsell and cross-sell promotions
- Feedback on sales and marketing techniques and ROI
All of which deliver:
- Shorter lead time in the sales pipeline
- High-quality leads for the sales team
- Customer retention increase
- Repeat order increase
- Customer loyalty
- Direct recommendations from existing customers
- Opportunities to establish influential partnerships across industry networks
- Smarter, more profitable interactions in every stage of the business
sales-i’s Head of Communications, Mark McDonagh shares his thoughts on Forrester’s report.
“Speaking from our own experience of working closely with our sales teams, when you focus on a cross-function sales enablement strategy it delivers better results through more insight led sales and marketing activity throughout the whole customer journey.”
Just as data silos can slow down how your business operates, divisions and lack of transparency between internal teams can create barriers throughout the customer journey.
To enable a seamless, coherent experience across your business you need to maximize the resources you have, and your biggest resource is your employees. By forging a cohesive partnership between sales and marketing you can ensure all of their efforts are moving your company in the same direction. A direction built on data, insights, and goals rather than assumptions and out-of-date results.
Fuel your new super team with the information they need with sales-i’s intuitive sales enablement software. See how easy it is to use sales-i, book a demo today.