Monday, 4 November 2019

Creating Value With B2B Sales Enablement

Sales is changing rapidly, with a new focus on providing value for buyers. Sales reps of old focused on hitting daily quotas for outreach. They didn’t seek to truly connect with their prospects or providing individualized value. And they didn’t try and understand their prospect’s needs and challenges, because the number of cold emails took precedence over having a quality encounter with any one individual prospect. The standard operation was to get as fast as you could to BANT, pushing through to a sales meeting and on to the next.
Workflow automation for B2B sales funnels
But with insightful new data-driven practices, customers began to expect more. Now they see targeted marketing, advertising, and email campaigns online. And generic, untailored messages have lost their touch. As old sales methods have slipped in efficacy, reps scramble to keep up with their quotas. Now they turn to gimmicky tactics in their cold email outreach, with cliffhanger subject lines like “Meeting?” or “Have a minute?”, attempting to impersonate a colleague. They send multiple follow-ups pleading and irritating their recipients — “I noticed you haven’t responded yet. I’ll take that to mean you aren’t ready to talk, but please respond and let me know…”.
These outreaches are spammy and hurt a business’s image. (Not to mention that they’re highly ineffective.) But there’s a new way of selling that truly connects sales teams with buyers. It involves relying on marketing data and cross-channel strategies to attract and educate leads.

73% of sales teams say cross-functional collaboration is very important to their overall sales process. –Salesforce

Smart sales reps are developing playbooks for value-driven sales enablement. Effective sales teams are engaging their leads with helpful content and sincere questions. They’re seeking to educate prospects before suggesting a sales meeting. And quality is finding a place next to quantity. In fact:
66% of sales teams track customer satisfaction as their top KPI this year, edging out “team quota met” (65%) by a small margin. –Salesforce
How can sales teams create value with their B2B sales enablement? With good nurturing you can increase engagement rates and SQL-to-opportunity rates. Follow these strategies to collect and utilize good data for more value-driven sales emails.

Progressive profiling + lead data

First thing is first — to do sales enablement well, you need effective lead data. Good data gives you information about a lead so you can speak to their specific pain points, goals, and challenges. It lets you glimpse into their previous journey with your business, so you can be effective and strike at the right tone. And on a larger scale, data tells you if the leads you’re converting are a good fit for your business — how many of them have identified a relevant pain point?
[Pullquote] Sales teams are twice as likely (33%) to prioritize leads based on data analysis of “propensity to buy” rather than on intuition (16%). –Salesforce
Collecting good lead data starts with B2B marketing. Here are best practices:
  • In all of your campaigns, establish a baseline set of questions to gather. These are often name, email, job title, company name or more.
  • Utilize progressive profiling to require these answers over time, with subsequent conversions.
  • Some examples for progressive questions may include: pain point, challenge, goal, job function, and more.
  • Ask well-structured questions so you can build out your data on a lead for both content marketing and sales follow-up.

Unify marketing + sales tactics

For a truly good lead experience, minimize overlap between marketing and sales. You do not want to over-communicate or oversell with any one lead. With a CRM like HubSpot, both teams can share one real-time contact record for each prospect. Every action, from website visits to emails to content downloads, will populate this unified record.
With this record, you can:
  • See which engaging actions the lead has taken
  • Identify the lead’s place in the funnel
  • See if there is any drop off in engagement where you may need more content (like videos, guides, and eBooks) to solve problems your leads have
  • Understand which sales rep is assigned to this lead
  • Demonstrate to marketing the ROI of their campaign efforts as a lead progresses
  • Monitor which lead nurturing you’re doing — like email drip campaigns or ad campaigns
  • Check how your emails are performing with this person
For a macro view, use your CRM to create lists or filtered views of your target leads. Ensure that each lead has a designated contact owner — usually a sales rep — who is tracking and pushing the progression of that deal through the pipeline.
Every lead should have a follow-up action set, with either a one-to-one sales email, or a marketing email drip campaign depending on the person’s level of interest. You will avoid leads from slipping through the cracks, and close more sales.

Add value in your 1-to-1 outreach

Successful emails contain something of value to a prospect. Do away with low-quality, spammy “just checking in” emails. Instead, send short videos where you explain your company’s methodology and put a face to your name. There are many tools (like Soapbox) which integrate with popular CRMs, so you can see how a prospect engages with your videos and get real-time analytics on which topics/formats are the most captivating.
In other emails, include snippets from content offers with useful information. Instead of asking outright for a meeting, provide further reading, like a company overview or a case study. Ask meaningful questions and connect to specifics in that content offer, like images, charts, or stats. Always restate the value of the content piece in the simplest terms.
Here are more value-added alternatives:
  • Speak about problems that a lead (or leads like them) have identified
  • Identify a point of interest, like a compelling statistic
  • Connect to specifics in a content offer, and include simple screenshots from content pieces to add visual value
  • Restate value in the simplest terms
  • When pitching a “next step” like a demo, put a clear plan in place for what will be accomplished, and discuss the methodology you’ll be using on the call
  • Seek the help of marketing to craft sales emails, to learn from their messaging tests
  • Create genuine questions to put a plan in place for a sales conversation
  • Test your subject lines to see what’s resonating, and be clear and not gimmicky
With better lead data, a marketing + sales alignment, and value added to your sales enablement, you will see a huge advantage to your sales pipeline. And you can say goodbye to the days of hitting quotas with low-quality outreach.
Salesforce, “State of Sales” 2019


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