Whether you’ve just switched to an inbound marketing strategy, you’ve been using one for a while, or you’re still thinking about how best to implement inbound in your firm, you’re probably wondering how you can get the most out of it. After all, you’re investing a lot in this move—and you need it to pay off.
There are a number of steps you can take. One of the best ones is investing in sales enablement.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is, quite simply, the process of enabling your sales team to sell more. This encompasses everything from giving reps the best tools on the market to engaging them in ongoing training and sales development.
It is, of course, more than sales training. While training and learning are important aspects of sales enablement, the idea is broader than that—and it usually means your sales team gets more out of it than your typical workshop or training seminar.
What Does Sales Have to Do with Marketing?
Most people overlook sales enablement as an important part of their inbound marketing strategies for a simple reason: It’s associated with the sales team. Inbound marketing, most think, has to do with marketing. What does it matter if your sales team has the best tools then?
It’s an easy mistake to make, but what you need to realize is just how entwined your sales and marketing efforts are. Inbound marketing doesn’t work in isolation; your marketers need support from the sales team if they’re going to execute an effective inbound marketing strategy. Marketers, too, can help your sales reps succeed by offering lead intelligence, content, and other relevant information.
Inbound marketing is focused on lead generation, something typically considered the purview of the sales team. In the past, marketing focused on branding campaigns and product ads. They were less concerned with lead generation—and lead generation was often difficult to tie directly back to an ad campaign. There was a more direct connection to sales reps, who might be sending letters or making cold calls to potential customers.
That’s changed. Inbound marketing means drawing potential customers to you. In most cases, leads can be tied back to the marketing campaign, in some cases thanks to interactivity—people might land on your website thanks to a link posted on LinkedIn or Twitter. They might even contact you as a result of a call to action at the bottom of a blog post or article.
Since marketing is now generating leads and passing them along to sales, the sales process and the marketing process have become even further enmeshed with each other. Such entanglement is a good thing—it helps both teams be more productive and efficient, actually. Sales no longer needs to chase dead ends or make cold calls; they’re getting hot leads passed along to them by marketing.
Why You Need to Enable Sales Reps
Obviously, if marketers are now generating leads—and generating qualified leads—sales reps need to be equipped to handle this influx of potential customers. They also need to know how to handle these leads. When visitors hit your website, picking up the phone and calling them isn’t going to entice them to buy your product or service; it will likely scare them off. Similarly, sending an email with a template pitch isn’t good sales practice either.
In a changing market, your sales team needs to adapt to the new way people buy—which means they need ongoing support in the form of sales enablement. You can provide them with the tools they need to execute their jobs, and the training and development support they need to keep up with ever-shifting buying preferences. In that way, sales enablement is intimately tied to your inbound marketing strategy—you can’t have one without the other.