Enablement is a crucial aspect that goes beyond sales — it encompasses various facets across marketing, customer success, revenue generation and overall business growth. By focusing on enablement strategies, organizations can unlock their full potential, drive customer satisfaction and achieve sustainable success in today's competitive landscape.
During the opening keynote at the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange (#B2BSMX), Roderick Jefferson, author of "Sales Enablement 3.0" and an industry thought leader, shared the best practices to enable sales and marketing teams to work together effectively. He highlighted the importance of turning the concept of enablement into a constant evaluation and re-evaluation of the buyer's journey.
"It all begins and ends with the buyer journey," Jefferson said. "Processes, stages, methodology and motions should all tie to the buying journey."
He continued that while the buyer’s journey is the backbone of any successful go-to-market (GTM) strategy, this journey can only be effectively navigated and fully activated through clear and consistent communication. And that communication is not simply between the sales and marketing teams; it also extends to every level of the organization from leadership to customer support.
Clear communication ensures that teams are aligned to the same end goal: Understanding the buyer, anticipating their needs and providing valuable solutions. It fosters collaboration across departments, minimizes confusion and misalignment and helps formulate a GTM strategy. Specifically, Jefferson shared that there are five “P’s” practitioners should consider when building campaigns:
Purpose, which is the reason or objective behind an initiative that provides clarity and direction to guide individuals and organizations toward their goals and aspirations;
People, which is the driving force behind innovation, collaboration and progress that bring diverse skills, experiences and perspectives;
Programs, which provide a framework for organizing resources, activities and stakeholders toward a common purpose;
The performance — or the measurable results or achievements — of an individual, team or organization that is influenced by various factors such as skills, knowledge, motivation and resources; and
Platforms, which encompass technological or digital infrastructures that enable exchanging of information, services or products and serve as a space for individuals, businesses or communities to connect, collaborate and interact.
The Growing Role Of AI
Leveraging the power of AI to increase sales efficiency and productivity is a game-changer for businesses worldwide, and the topic was discussed at length throughout #B2BSMX. When organizations harness advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques, they can streamline their sales processes, optimize customer interactions and drive revenue growth.
For example, during the global pandemic, Kognitos’s CMO Ajay Manglani and his team achieved remarkable outcomes by employing a custom playbook to drive their business forward.
Throughout “Walking A Mile In Customers' Shoes: How To Build A Customer-Centric Marketing Engine,” Manglani highlighted how the efforts led to a twofold year-over-year (YoY) increase in pipeline generation, with MQL conversions rising from 19% to an impressive 30%. These exceptional results showcase the company’s ability to adapt and thrive in challenging times by aligning the organization with their GTM strategy.
"Bringing stakeholders to the table takes a lot of effort without getting distracted by the symptoms of growth," said Manglani. "People are emotional; we get distracted by the symptoms. You must help unite the people, uncover what causes those symptoms and address the problems from there."
Embedding a GTM mindset, focusing on enablement strategies and harnessing the power of AI are essential to any organization's success in the current competitive landscape. As businesses continue to evolve, the ability to adapt and align every aspect of their operations with these principles will not be an option but a necessity.
"In the end, we must break down the complexity of the buying and selling process into practical ideas for scalable and measurable success," Jefferson concluded.
Forrester Details New 'Growth Engine’; Spotlights Value Of Customer Obsession
To thrive in a changing business landscape, B2B organizations must go beyond just improving their revenue engine. John Arnold, a Principal Analyst at Forrester, shared that 83% of buyers in 2022 were dissatisfied with the winning provider in one or more areas.
During his session, “How B2B Organizations Can Turbocharge Their Growth Engines In Today’s Economy,” Arnold revealed research-backed insights into ways B2B organizations can fuel growth in an economic downturn. Additionally, he highlighted the analyst firm's latest "customer-obsessed growth engine," which emphasizes the power of a customer-first focus to drive sustainable business growth.
Arnold suggested that alignment is easier to achieve with a customer-obsession model, specifically between leaders and mainline employees in business units. He shared more Forrester research that found more than two-thirds (67%) of business leaders said their company can effectively meet buyer needs, while only 46% of sales and marketing teams agreed.
"Shifting to a customer-focused model includes bridging the value realization gap, aligning teams around buyer value and adopting relevant emerging technology to reach that goal,” Arnold continued. "By doing so, B2B organizations can fuel growth even in uncertain circumstances."
For example, IBM experienced a 3X increase in new accounts YoY and a 2X increase in engagement with "top" target accounts when it placed those accounts at the center of its strategies. During “C Is Not A Bad Grade — When It Stands For The Customer!”, Sophia Agustina, IBM's Head of Global Brand-To-Demand Strategy, emphasized the company’s successful approach of targeting consumer media to reach business users and leveraging intent data in collaboration with sales to foster stronger prospect relationships and expand their market reach.
"At companies like IBM, where there are diverse employees and various titles, it's important to continue learning about customers' buying preferences," Agustina explained. "By leveraging different strategies and tools, we can enhance customer engagement. This will improve our average deal size without relying solely on outside vendors."
The business landscape's constant evolution and growing complexity necessitate a shift in how organizations operate and perceive growth. A move from a revenue-focused approach to a strategy centered around customer obsession and value realization is desirable and essential..
As Arnold stated, bridging the value realization gap and adopting relevant technology are critical steps toward achieving this goal. Businesses that master these elements will be equipped to exceed customer needs and thrive despite economic downturns consistently.
For more insights from #B2BSMX 2023, check out our blog post and a recap from day two!