Jesse Hopps, Founder and CEO of Demand Metric, said one of the key challenges for companies looking to improve their sales enablement process is a lack of a common definition. The strategy is defined by its functions rather than benefits, he explained during a keynote presentation at global marketing research and advisory firm’s inaugural Sales Enablement Summit.
Demand Metric defines sales enablement as “the practices, technologies and tools that improve the performance and productivity of the sales organization” and “sales enablement drives revenue by directly impacting the sales teams’ ability to close more deals,” Hopps noted.
According to the Sales Enablement Benchmark Study from Demand Metric, 61% of respondents agreed that sales enablement is an important component of a company’s overall strategy. Only 26% agreed that the sales enablement process helps to onboard sales staff.
Hopps also noted that only half of organizations currently have a sales enablement function. More than two thirds (68%) of companies larger than $500 million have a sales enablement function, compared to only 38% of companies smaller than $25 million.
John Follet, CMO of Demand Metric, held a keynote presentation discussing the drivers for sales enablement in addition to revealing the company’s Sales Enablement Maturity Model, which labels the process by which a company can achieve “world-class” sales enablement.
Why Marketing And Sales Alignment Matters
The alignment of marketing and sales is business critical to the future of sales enablement, according to Meagen Eisenberg, VP of Demand Generation at DocuSign. While this was a main theme throughout the summit, Eisenberg specifically described three basic steps to align the departments in any organization, which include building models and lead flow together, transparency in results and habitual communication.
“You can’t expect the sales team to land with you if you don’t take them with you on takeoff,” Eisenberg said. “It’s really important [sales and marketing] build these models together. The more buy-in everyone has, the more likely you’re going to be successful and have a higher chance that sales will adopt the solution.”
All three steps need to be supported by technology in order to align successfully and keep an organization ahead of the competition, Eisenberg said. Examples used at DocuSign included Salesforce for CRM, Oracle Eloqua for marketing automation, LinkedIn and Twitter for social selling, Mintigo and Lattice Engine for customer targeting and Influitive for advocate marketing.
“In sales and marketing, we have to be obsessed with what our customers need to solve their problems, and we have to adapt to their behaviors so we can be most effective in trying to work and sell them our solutions,” Eisenberg said.
Building A Sales Enablement System
The final keynote, perhaps the most important for salespeople and marketers attending the summit, revolved around building a sales enablement system that accelerates revenue growth. Craig Nelson, Principal of the Sales Enablement Group, discussed the steps necessary to properly prepare sellers for the buying process. Preparation was the ultimate key to sales success, and Nelson recommended sellers to take the time to interview three-to-five of their clients, to understand the buying experience and what could be done to better cater their needs.
For an organization to properly inform its salespeople how to prepare, execute and close the sales call, Nelson referenced a strict blueprint illustrating the requirements of an effective sales enablement system. Many of the requirements focused on addressing the needs of sellers and building the buyer-seller relationship.
“How do we provide live coaching as well as on-demand coaching so that coming off of a sales opportunity, somebody might be up against certain objections?” Nelson said. “Give the [sales person] a way of learning and understanding how to better that delivery of a message. Also, give them the ability to connect with other team members, and in doing so, be able to learn as they’re selling.”
In addition to the keynote and thought leader presentations, the summit featured five Customer Success Panels held by executives at Act-On Software, Demand Metric, DocuSign, LinkedIn and GlaxoSmithKline. The panels highlighted components of successful sales enablement initiatives and discussed the challenges faced during evaluation and implementation processes.