5 Sales Enablement Tools For Inbound Marketing & Sales Teams

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Here’s a simple truth: Without sales, there’s no business. So if it weren’t for the goal of closing deals, marketing content wouldn’t have much purpose. That is to say, at least for B2B inbound marketing, the whole point is to pave the way for the sales process by helping the prospective customer.

Sales enablement takes that truth and amplifies it, recognizing the importance of tools and resources that power sales, meet the team’s needs, and help them do their jobs better.

So, how do you make sure your marketing plan supports and enables your sales team members in all the right ways? And does your CRM serve as a sales enablement tool?

First, consider how HubSpot defines sales enablement:

Sales enablement is the iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources they need to close more deals.

— HubSpot

So, what are the must-haves of a B2B inbound plan that truly support the success of your sales team? This checklist can help you assess your inbound program’s sales enablement strategy to identify gaps and make those iterative improvements that empower the team to close more deals, faster and easier.

1. Develop sales content for all stages of the buyer’s journey

2. Leverage social media for leads

3. Establish a process for lead management

4. Equip your sales team with the right tools

5. Establish KPIs to measure success

1. Develop sales content for all stages of the buyer’s journey

Does your content library include sales-specific content pieces — such as case studies, for example? If so, how well has your sales content kept up with changing buyer behaviors and an ever-evolving sales process? Does your team use this content as part of their approach and regimen for closing more sales? (Hint: Don’t answer these questions yourself. Ask your sales team.)

Chances are, your B2B sales team needs your content help; it’s just as likely that your content can use the help of your sales team. Most salespeople are less than thrilled at the prospect of writing blog articles, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find more knowledgeable in-house resources about your products, processes, industry, prospects, and customers. 

Your sales team knows what potential buyers are looking for. Help them share their valuable knowledge, and help position them as industry thought leaders, by interviewing them for blog articles on your website.

RELATED: 10 Expert Tips for Conducting a Remarkable SME Interview 

Collaborate with members of your sales team to produce other helpful, useful content for potential buyers in the sales process, too. Case studies can be immensely helpful in many sales contexts to help close more deals. You may also include content such as:

  • Specialized sales resource pages
  • Individual and targeted website landing pages for each sales rep
  • Competitive analysis content pieces
  • Automated workflows designed for leads engaged in the sales process
  • And more

It’s essential to make all content easy for the team to share and track. Storing all sales content right in the CRM helps ensure that resources and assets used are the most current and approved for use. Tools like the documents library in HubSpot Sales hub simplify access, updating, and use of sales enablement content.

2. Leverage social media for leads

Studies show that sales representatives with high social networking activity can achieve 45% more sales opportunities, and are 51% more likely to reach their sales quotas — plus, 78% of social selling representatives outsell their peers who aren’t using social media. 

Is your B2B sales team using LinkedIn to prospect, nurture leads, and sell? If not, start with the basics: solid training, a documented plan of action, and metrics for success. If they already are using LinkedIn, make sure you offer the content pieces they need to support the conversations they’re having with decision-makers all throughout the sales cycle as part of their social selling efforts.

3. Establish a process for lead management

Does your sales team have protocols and a process in place for accepting and managing leads from Marketing? Have Sales and Marketing developed an agreed-upon definition of a sales qualified lead (SQL)

What does the timing look like between attempts to connect with leads? How many attempts are made before a lead is returned to Marketing? Is each attempt a phone call, email, or both? What content is shared in each attempt and is it specific to the stage the buyer is in during the sales process?

If you don’t have definitive, confident answers to these questions, grab your sales leaders and get started collaborating on a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to establish the right processes within both Marketing and Sales for effective lead scoring and management. And while you’re at it, use the SLA development process to evaluate the support content you provide, identify gaps, and discuss opportunities for creating new case studies and other materials.

4. Equip your sales team with the right tools

Does your sales team have tools that help them complete tasks faster, boost sales productivity, and close more deals? At the top of the list should be a CRM (customer relationship management software), the use of which directly correlates with successful sales teams. At the most basic level, a CRM should store customer and process data to help manage customer relationships.

And let’s be clear: Spreadsheets are important, effective tools for some tasks — but they’re not a CRM.

At Weidert Group, we use HubSpot, and it’s easy to articulate why. HubSpot’s CRM platform has all the software that teams need for marketing, sales, customer service, operations, and content management that eliminate sources of friction throughout the organization and support business growth. Each one of those products is powerful on its own; together, they’re even better. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT HUBSPOT & ALL THE WAYS IT HELPS COMPANIES GROW

Whatever CRM you choose, it should offer a suite of sales tools that eliminate friction at every step in your marketing, lead nurturing, and sales processes. Look for a CRM that can help your sales professionals:

  • Start conversations. Look for tools that include:
    • Email templates
    • Email tracking
    • Document management and tracking
    • Conversation intelligence
    • Call tracking and recording
    • Contact management and customer profiles
  • Deepen relationships. Be sure your CRM offers:
    • Appointment and meeting scheduling
    • Sales automation
    • Live chat
  • Manage your pipeline. Your sales teams need tools such as:
    • Sales management playbooks
    • Quotes
    • Sales analytics and reporting
  • Connect from anywhere. 
    • Does your CRM have a mobile app for sales reps on the go?

5. Establish KPIs to measure success

Marketing and sales teams both deserve to have clearly articulated key performance indicators (KPIs) established and documented. Establishing and tracking KPIs helps Marketing and Sales evaluate productivity and effectiveness on a regular basis, providing visibility to the activities that have the greatest impact on sales success. If sales aren’t on target, those KPIs can point you in the right direction to improve results.

Standardized reporting is also vital to streamline the data, reduce information overload, and deliver only the information that helps teams learn and improve. Comparing data on sales rep activities related to deals won versus lost, for example, may provide insights into what activities more often support a successful sale. And if your sales reps don’t know how to build the reports they want, helping them create the structures for the data will show support for the team to strengthen rapport and collaboration.

Next Steps

This five-point approach provides a solid base to enable your sales team for inbound selling success — and once you dive in, you’ll soon see it’s just the start. When Marketing and Sales share closely aligned objectives, sales enablement becomes a foundational standard for marketers, and collaboration and knowledge sharing become second nature for sales reps.

You’ll promote a higher caliber of communication and collaboration between teams when you establish, document, and uphold an SLA. Our eBook, Sales & Marketing Service Level Agreements: A Guided Tour, shows you how to set and align goals, build consensus, choose the right CRM, and more. Just click the link below to get started.

A Guided Tour of Marketing & Sales Service Level Agreements

#Sales #Enablement #Tools #Inbound #Marketing #Sales #Teams

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