Building Blocks of a Quota Crushing Sales Enablement Program

Sales enablement is quickly gaining traction across organizations. High-growth companies are finding that in order to grow the business and hit revenue targets, sales teams need more support. 

According to HubSpot, Sales Enablement is the iterative process of providing your business’s sales teams with the resources they need to close more deals. Resources include content, tools, knowledge and the information needed to effectively sell and close more deals.

Source: Demand Metric

Although sales enablement programs aren’t one size fits all, successful programs have these building blocks in common.

sales enablement program

Strategy

A successful sales enablement program almost always starts with a good strategy. In order for a program to make an impact, it needs to be aligned with the needs of your organization, but in order to do that, you need to understand where your team is at today. Your baseline.

  • What current challenges is your company facing?
  • What are the teams’ pain points?
  • Where is there friction in the buying process?

Open dialogue should start to unearth areas of opportunity for team alignment, streamlined processes and content creation. 

Sales Enablement Content

There are two key areas when it comes to sales enablement content – content alignment and content management.

Content Alignment

Sales enablement content can be for both internal sales support and for lead generation. Marketers are hyper-focused on the buyer’s journey and who better to bring back information from the front lines than the sales team? Sales can share insights into knowledge gaps, buyer objections, and content performance. Some examples of sales enablement content are:

  • Internal Sales Support Content: Product sheets, competitor comparisons, email templates and snippets, one-pagers, presentation support, and social messages.
  • Lead Generation Content: Blog posts, white papers, case studies, and videos.
Source: Uplandsoftware.com

Creating content that is underutilized and undervalued, doesn’t benefit anyone. Aligning your content strategy with buyers to further support sales efforts is a win-win across the board.

Content Management

According to Inc., the average salesperson spends about 440 hours each year trying to find the right content to share with their prospects and customers. Yikes.

Creating the content is only half of it. Take it the extra mile by making the content easily discoverable by sales. This can be as easy as a shared file system, a Google Doc, or as sophisticated as creating trackable documents and leveraging marketing technology. You want your team to spend their time selling, not tracking down assets.

Pro Tip: At Lake One, we do a hybrid approach for sales enablement content that consists of a workbook that we call a “Content Audit” along with trackable sales documents in HubSpot. We often categorize the assets by industry, service area, and persona, for easy lookup.

Sales and Marketing Alignment

The alignment of sales and marketing teams for sale enablement isn’t just necessary- it’s the entire point. When creating your strategy, keep that at the heart of it all. Ultimately, you want to create a symbiotic relationship between both teams. Sales should be communicating their needs and knowledge to marketing as we mentioned. This includes what assets would be most helpful in their sales process as mentioned, but it also includes what feedback they receive from leads, how long their sales process typically takes, etc. At the same time, marketing should be communicating back to sales about up and coming events, relative data points and new assets on the horizon. 

You’ll hopefully kick off your strategy creation with a meeting of the minds from both teams, but plan to make this a recurring event. The aim is to have regular check-ins to keep communication open, analyze data, and optimize your efforts.

Learn more about marketing’s role in B2B Sales Enablement 

Training & Reinforcement

We understand busy schedules more than anyone, but training and reinforcement is a must and is non-negotiable for making your sales enablement program stick.

Source: Brainshark.com

According to the Harvard Business Review, salespeople lose 80 to 90% of what they learn after one month. 

Training doesn’t have to be a days-long convention on solution selling. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Frequency and consistency are key. Not sure what to train your teams on? Here are a couple of suggestions to help you flush it out.

  • Review the team stats. Do you have a stellar performer that is standing out about the rest that could share some pointers with the team? Or is your team performing below industry benchmarks?
  • Just ask. Chances are your team has areas that they’d like to improve if given the opportunity.

The Role of Technology in Sales Enablement

According to Forbes, the term “sales enablement technology” refers to a software or system that allows the sales team to access content that is relevant to their target consumer and appropriate for the consumer’s position in the sales funnel. It also makes content accessibility and reporting a heck of a lot easier.

From notifications of initial interest all the way through to closing deals, consider how you want your sales and marketing teams to work together. How can you streamline the process, using technology? Where can you automate a manual process? 

The specific role technology plays in your sales enablement program can vary, but will likely consist of a few of these basics.

Source: 6connex.com

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

A CRM helps manage and organize your company’s interactions with prospects and clients. It’s your central source of truth for account ownership, account activity, and the state of the state. It’s critical for alignment.

Of course though, CRMs these days aren’t just CRMs. There is an opportunity to integrate your CRM with your marketing automation software. A CRM, like HubSpot does this seamlessly and can bring your sales enablement strategy to the next level because it allows your team to see, nurture, and report on leads. Thorough contact records are kept up to date automatically with the actions leads have taken on your website including things like content downloads, email opens, and page visits. These insights help to bring your content full picture.

Related Reading: Is a HubSpot CRM Right for You? 7 Questions to Consider

Additionally, a CRM allows for progress tracking of sales or deals. It’s really where your sales enablement strategy is able to come to life as a shared information access point for better visibility and better forecasting. 

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the use of technology to automate elements of your sales and marketing processes. It’s the clincher in a sales enablement strategy and how you can make the most out of your CRM. Marketing automation can be used to aid in prospecting, lead nurturing, sales follow up and streamlining internal processes. 

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing

Related Reading: Sales & Marketing Automation: What it is & what it can do for B2B

Getting Your Sales Enablement Program Started

Now that you know the basics, here are a few tips for getting started.

  • Start with the end in mind. Know your goals and work backward, determining which levers you can pull to make an impact. 
  • Don’t develop your strategy in a vacuum. Sales enablement is a team effort so make sure you have buy-in and agreement from key stakeholders.
  • Progress over perfection. You’re going to have bumps and you’re going to face challenges. That’s okay! We’re big believers in learning as you go and going forward.

If you’re considering building a sales enablement program, we’d love to chat. Contact us.

7 B2B Manufacturing Marketing Trends Driving Growth in 2020

B2B buying is growing ever more complex. From 2016 to 2018 the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision jumped from 6.8 to 8.2 contacts at a company. Today, consumer experiences continue to overlap and influence our expectations and behaviors more and more each year in our business buying experiences. For B2B manufacturers already navigating a complex marketing and sales environment, this can be challenging. As 2020 unfolds personalization and online expectations will increase. These are seven key b2b manufacturing marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2020. 

Manufacturing Marketing Trends

Account-Based Marketing

B2B manufacturers face some of the most complex buying environments. 

  • Long sales cycles
  • Growing numbers of buying roles involved
  • High-value transactions
  • Channel and distributor relationships

Traditional outbound and inbound marketing strategies can struggle to prove value and support manufacturers’ sales channels in this environment. 

Enter account-based marketing or ABM for short. HubSpot defines ABM as a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.

Account based marketing

At its core, it turns the funnel upside down and aligns sales and marketing to hunt with spears instead of nets. Manufacturers benefit from building an account-based marketing framework by

  • Creating higher quality opportunities
  • Tightly aligning sales and marketing
  • Streamlining and often speeding up the sales cycle
  • Expanding business relationships in key accounts
  • Better measure ROI

Because ABM starts by targeting and seeking to reach only your most qualified ideal customers first, it can be resource-intensive to get a pilot going but provides long term returns. DemandBase found companies that have been using ABM for at least 1 year saw an increase in revenue of 10%, 19% of those surveyed saw revenue growth in excess of 30%. 

Account-based marketing isn’t necessarily one of the new manufacturing marketing trends, but tools and platforms are now making it easier to orchestrate and evaluate and as a result, savvy B2B manufacturers are looking at it as a potential addition to their sales and marketing programs. 

Consumer-Like Buying Experiences

More and more B2B buyers are behaving as they do in their consumer lives. Forester 2020 predictions point to 2020 as a year of change as B2B buyers continue to evolve more of their experiences to online channels. In Gartner’s B2B Buying Journey we see that sellers actually have little opportunity to influence the decisions of their potential buyers. Enter B2B e-commerce’s time in the spotlight. 

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – now there is an even faster escalation in demand for investments by manufacturers to make sure they meet changing buying preferences. Insite Software, a provider of B2B e-commerce solutions for Manufacturers notes in its parent company Episerver’s annual B2B Digital experience report that 93% of manufacturers and 95% of distributors expect more than 20% of their revenue will come from e-commerce websites they own and operate by 2025. 

Chat Bots

With a push online, creating more opportunities for real-time response to customers, and end-users will be critical. Queue the chatbots. Chatbot technology continues to advance every year enabling advanced logic capabilities that manufacturers can use to field all sorts of questions to drive sales and marketing forward. BotCore points out a handful of ways chatbots can help with fulfillment in addition to questions around inventory and delivery, chatbots can be an effective way to answer product questions or point website visitors to the product documentation to help them in their buying process. 

Marketing Automation & Personalization

Marketing automation for b2b manufacturers will continue to grow in importance as the buying journey becomes more digital. Marketing automation helps manufacturers simplify complex b2b processes while personalizing and scaling their digital marketing and sales efforts. 

Here are a few personalization examples b2b manufacturers are taking advantage of:

  • Addressing your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Referencing their company name when giving an example of how their company could benefit from your product
  • Referencing their role or job title when discussing pain points or solutions pertinent to their role
  • Referencing the last piece of content they downloaded by name and asking if they are finding it helpful
  • Customizing the sender information per contact by contact owner
  • Referencing product or product category of interest
  • Referencing examples and case studies

The complex business processes facing many B2B manufacturers are also a challenge marketing automation platforms or MAPs are ready to tackle head-on. 

Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. The automation we’re seeing B2B manufacturers take advantage of include:

  • Routing leads by sales rep territory
  • Sending custom ‘Thank You’ emails by country
  • Routing internal requests like samples, RFQs or catalogs
  • Creating custom tasks by a sales rep for lead review
  • Automatically setting subscription types
  • Setting product interest categories or other data governance within the CRM

MarTech Assessment

Video Video Video

This is one of the manufacturing marketing trends that industrial buyers love: Video. Engineers, for example, nearly 87% report getting at least some of their work content from the video. B2B manufacturers have a ton of options when it comes to video. Brand videos, testimonials and case studies, use cases or field solutions, culture videos, demos, and more. 

An area you can expect to see video grow significantly is through 1:1 personalized video. Short videos created for a specific user. It could be a sales follow up, a quick how-to, or just a thank you. With the influx of more personalized sales and marketing experiences across the B2B manufacturing marketing ecosystem – video enables face-to-face connections that can otherwise be lost in a completely online sales experience.  

Virtual Events

This year many B2B organizations had to adjust their event strategy due to COVID-19. While not anticipated and certainly sudden, many marketing and sales professionals leaned into the pivot and are embracing the benefits afforded to virtual events. A lack of travel and time constrictions. The ability to meet with much larger audiences in discussion settings. Virtual events are here to stay and for B2B manufacturers this spells opportunity. While trade shows will inevitably return in some fashion, planning a virtual strategy for everything from recurring lunch and learns or product demos to featuring unique use cases and customer stories will only enhance the growing online buying process many B2B manufacturers see their customers adopting. 

Manufacturing Marketing Trends

Content Isn’t Optional

Creating content that answers your potential buyer’s questions early in their research process and throughout their buying journey is non-negotiable.

A survey by engineering.com found an overwhelming preference for an online search or a website blog as a primary source for finding answers to questions they have in their work. This begs the question: if your technical buyers have questions, whose content will they find, yours or your competitors?

When it comes to steady consistent lead generation for b2b manufacturers, content is front and center across all of the 2020 b2b manufacturing marketing trends.

A Roadmap to a Sure-fire B2B Sales Enablement Strategy

Implementing a B2B sales enablement strategy can align your internal teams and empower your sales personnel with the tools they need to close more deals. A solid, collaborative strategy can create more effective sales teams and stronger marketing programs. Here are the elements every leader needs to consider when developing their sales enablement strategy.

Creating a B2B Sales Enablement Strategy

What is Sales Enablement?

First, what is sales enablement? According to HubSpot, “Sales enablement is the iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources they need to close more deals.” It involves the creation, distribution, and use of marketing collateral and content within the sales process. The goal of B2B sales enablement is to collaboratively create and use marketing material that sales can use to nurture and close their deals.

Why is Sales Enablement Important

The alignment of sales and marketing is at the forefront of what makes sales enablement important. When up and running smoothly, a sales enablement strategy will create a symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing teams. This facilitates a culture with an open, continual, and constructive feedback loop with the insights to spur progressive change. It also empowers both teams to create and utilize better, more effective content. Sales teams are able to utilize content in their lead nurturing that’s on brand, optimized for conversion and SEO, and written for the persona.

how to achieve sales and marketing alignment

Furthermore, sales and marketing alignment has concrete, real benefits. When teams are aligned, they are 67% better at closing deals and drive 209% more revenue. Read more stats on smarketing alignment here.

When sales teams are enabled with content from marketing, both teams win. According to Seismic research, enabled sales reps generate 65% more revenue. What would your company do with a 65% increase in revenue? They also see a 275% increase in conversions. And the benefits to marketing? A 350% increase in content utilization, according to the research. 

sales enablement strategy

Found on HighSpot 

How to Budget for Sales Enablement

In order to ensure you’re creating a successful B2B sales enablement strategy, you’ll want to make sure you have the budget to support it. Providing the right tools, resources, and technology to increase sales performance is a must when you’re looking for innovative ways to get ahead.

When creating your sales enablement budget, consider costs that are consistent and unavoidable, as well as costs that are unexpected or a value-add to the sales enablement efforts. Here are four core areas that will help you build the foundation of your sales enablement budget: 

  1. Fixed costs: These are your expenses that stay pretty consistent even as things change. For example, salaries for the sales team, the must-have tools and solutions, cost of training, and more. If it’s necessary for the day-to-day operations, include it as a fixed cost. 
  2. Unexpected costs: No plan is perfect, so adding a little bit of padding in your budget to account for those unexpected expenses can help lessen the blow when things pop up. For example, maybe the sales team has an urgent need for an unplanned sales meeting. There are likely costs associated with that meeting or event. 
  3. Variable costs: These differ from your fixed costs in that they might fluctuate as needs change in your business. For example, travel and associated travel expenses, professional development training, contract work, etc. These aren’t necessarily must-haves, but they can help increase sales enablement’s impact. 
  4. ROI/Measurement of Success: Here you should make a case for the investment you’re making in sales enablement. Why does sales deserve the resources you’re requesting instead of a different department? Show what you anticipate the return on investment to be. For example: If you can pull in existing reports and data to support the return of each cost, that will help when you’re building your business case.  

Once you’ve created your budget, you’ll have to make a business case for each aspect of the budget in order to get the buy-in and support you need from executives, to secure the funds and resources you’re requesting. 

Getting Sales Enablement Buy-In Across the Organization 

Even though the business case for investing in sales enablement is strong, you will undoubtedly find that there are some executives and other company decision-makers who fail to see the purpose, value, and ultimately the benefits of it. According to CIO Insights, that could be why 40% of companies don’t have a dedicated sales enablement professional or program. 

Knowing that sales enablement buy-in can sometimes be an uphill battle, how do you go about getting the support you need? 

Related Reading: Sales & Marketing Automation: What it is & what it can do for B2B

Step 1: Know your Audience 

Who you’re talking to will dictate what areas of importance you should highlight. Learn what’s important to your leader or the executives you’re trying to get buy-in from. For example, when it comes to sales enablement, your CFO will want to know the potential to increase the sales reps’ contributions to revenue. A CMO will want to understand how enablement will affect and support the marketing team’s sales content creation. Your CEO might be most persuaded by improvements to profitability and retention rates. 

b2b sales enablement strategy

Identifying the key stakeholders up front and what’s most important to them will help build a stronger case for sales enablement. Each of these conversations should highlight how your b2b sales enablement strategy will improve sales productivity. 

Step 2: Let the Data Do the Talking 

Data can be a powerful tool for making a case for sales enablement. For example, take a look at the day-to-day activities of the sales team, you might find that they spend too much time creating presentations, responding to corporate emails and more. All of these things take away from the time they could and should be selling, which incurs a higher opportunity cost. 

Step 3: Show Results 

If and when sales enablement activities are established, create a regular cadence to review the results of your efforts with company leaders. This will provide insight into what activities are actually effecting change. You want to do activities that produce the desired outcomes, but that might require some trial and error to find which ones yield the best results. That’s why it’s important to monitor performance regularly and adjust accordingly. Being transparent and working together with leadership will allow you to identify what sales enablement activities are actually needed and which ones you can do without. 

Step 4: Start Small 

Getting buy-in from internal stakeholders for your sales enablement efforts can be tough if you come out of the gate full force. Especially if you go from zero to sixty with your enablement efforts. This goes back to knowing your audience. Find out what’s important to your leader and where sales can add value and start there. Once you’ve demonstrated results and built that credibility, you can make an even stronger case for expanding your sales enablement strategies. 

MarTech Assessment

At the end of the day, the goal of implementing a B2B sales enablement strategy is to empower your sales team so they can close more deals and drive more revenue and profitability for the company. By doing this you not only support your sales reps, but you create alignment between sales and marketing and everyone can work towards the ultimate goal: company success.

Email Marketing for Startups: 5 Things to Consider Before You Hit Send

When it comes to email marketing for startups, there are five things we recommend considering before hitting that send button. These ideas might help free up time, resources, and money by being more effective and efficient in your email marketing strategies: 

Email Marketing for Startups

Laser Focus Your Lists   

You don’t want to send your emails to just anyone and not just anyone wants to receive your emails. The saying “quality vs. quantity” rings true here. Focusing your email marketing efforts and curating a select list of people will help with overall performance. Not all buyers are the same nor are they all in the same place in the sales cycle. 

Emailing all your leads? Click here to learn how lead scoring can help qualify and convert.

List segmentation allows you to pull contacts that meet certain criteria based on the information that’s in your database. According to HubSpot and the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced greater revenue. 

To make this critical step even easier, when you utilize marketing automation software, list segmentation can be done automatically. If you aren’t currently utilizing marketing automaton, we recommend it. Especially if you have a large list of contacts, combing through them manually to create your lists can take a lot of time you may not have. 

Get Personal 

Now that you’ve got your carefully crafted email and targeted list, you need to make sure that you’re personalizing your email marketing efforts. Don’t just write to your “list”. Write to Joe Anderson or whatever individuals are on your list. This should be a human-to-human experience. We’ve all been on the receiving end of an impersonal, maybe even spammy email… did you read it? And if you did, did you feel valued or motivated to engage with the sender at all? I’m guessing not. 

Here are a few examples of how to personalize email marketing for your startup: 

  • Address your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Reference their company name 
  • Reference their role or job title 
  • Reference product or product category of interest
  • Note mutual connections
  • Reference the last piece of content they downloaded 
  • Acknowledge seasonality
  • Send by timezone 
  • Include personalization tokens in the subject line

All that said, there’s such a thing as a diminishing return when it comes to personalizing your communications. In a study conducted by HubSpot, they found that personalization drives more replies, only up to a certain point. Once someone altered 50% or more of their email marketing template, the impact on the reply rate was negligible. Create your email templates and work to customize the important pieces that will drive results, but personalizing more than half of your template will not provide more replies. So save your time and energy for other efforts in your startup. 

Make It Mobile-Friendly

Admit it. One of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning is check your phone. I wonder if your buyers are doing the same thing? With 68% of email campaigns being opened on a mobile device, they probably are. That’s why it’s important to ensure your emails are readable and ready to go for mobile. 

When doing email marketing for your startup, how can you ensure your emails are mobile-friendly? Campaign Monitor suggests: 

  • Watch your subject line length to make sure it’s not too long  
  • Use pre-header text to add support to your subject line 
  • Keep your copy short and sweet to engage with buyers efficiently
  • Give thought to your images as they won’t all show up on mobile devices
  • Keep your CTAs front and center to get to the point quickly 
  • Make it click-friendly by leaving white space around links and CTAs
  • Test your emails across multiple devices and email clients 

In today’s digital age, customers expect emails to be mobile-friendly. If you’re not meeting that expectation, you’ll quickly find your emails in the trash or worse, viewers will unsubscribe. 

Focus on Lead Nurturing 

Sending one email does not an email marketing campaign make. To seriously make an impact with your email efforts, you need to focus on nurturing leads and not just spamming them with emails. 

For a valuable, long-term nurturing strategy that allows you to move leads through the sales funnel at their own pace, we suggest an email drip campaign for lead nurturing, or as we refer to them as, nurture sequences. A drip campaign is a series of marketing emails that work together to move consumers toward a final conversion point. (Just don’t make these mistakes!)

These sequences should consist of helpful information, updates, products, services, and notifications spread out over time, meant to educate and engage your leads. The keyword here is “drip.” This is not an all at once blast of information; they should be sent slowly, providing ongoing value to readers. 

Pro Tip: To ensure lead nurturing is most effective, we recommend having a lead scoring system in place. What this does is pinpoint where a lead is within the buyer’s journey and can provide you direction on how to best communicate with them going forward. To learn more about lead scoring, click here

Lead Scoring

Take Advantage of Technology 

As we mentioned above, one benefit of using marketing automation when it comes to email marketing is that you can automate your list segmentation. But that’s just the start. When you take advantage of automation software, you’re allowing the tool to work smarter and harder for you. Given the fact that none of us has an unlimited amount of time and money to dedicate to email marketing, we recommend this route. 

Related Reading: 5 Fundamental Marketing Automation Tasks To Fuel Startup Growth

Marketing Automation for Manufacturing


So, what other ways can marketing automation help with email marketing for startups? 

  • Segment and automatically pull lists 
  • Implement drip campaigns 
  • Schedule emails and campaigns in advance 
  • Personalize communications by including personalization “tokens” in your templates 
  • Create and save email templates 
  • Allows you to easily A/B test your campaigns 
  • Better reporting on what’s working and what’s not 
  • Automatically follow up with leads 
  • And more!

TL;DR (Also Known as Key Takeaways): 

  1. Segment your lists. Casting a wide net might get you a lot of fish, but they probably aren’t all the fish you want to catch. Be specific and targeted with who you’re emailing and nurturing. 
  2. Get personal. Personalize your communications, whether it’s a promotional email, a drip campaign, a thank you email, and beyond. This is true for leads and current customers. You’re emailing more than just an inbox, you’re emailing a person. 
  3. Make your email mobile-friendly. 78% of people use their smartphones most often for email. Your buyers are reading your emails on their phones, so make sure they can actually read your emails on their phones.
  4. Be intentional with your emails and focus on lead nurturing. Set up drip campaigns and spread out the communications to leads. Allow them to move through the sales funnel at their own pace while engaging and educating them. 
  5. If you can, use marketing automation. Make your life easier by putting technology to the test when it comes to email marketing. By automating some of the more time-intensive and manual tasks, this will free up your time and talents for other things.