With 2017 in sight, we’re reflecting on what’s worked and what hasn’t when it comes to sales and marketing collaboration.

This week we gathered a group of marketing leaders who have made it an initiative in the past year to work well with sales.

Tamara Schenk, top analyst with CSO Insights, kicked off the evening with some key findings from the 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization study. The numbers validate what our room of experts are seeing in the field: collaboration between sales and marketing, with an integrated sales enablement strategy, is a critical priority.

Tamara’s research and the experience of fellow sales enablers gives us six tips to get there:

Set up your enablement charter
It seems obvious, but essential to your success is defining your mission and establishing your KPIs. Without clear objectives and enablement metrics to evaluate them, you will be hard pressed to maintain faith across the organization that sales enablement is a worthwhile investment.

We can’t stress this step enough – surprisingly, most people skip it. That’s why you’ll hear sales enablement experts repeat it over and over. It’s hard to get executive buy in on sales enablement when you’re building it willy nilly from the ground up with no clear metrics for success.

Clean up your content basement
Low quality content is linked to 14% lower quota attainment, compared with organizations that supply their salespeople with high-caliber content. The biggest tenet of success for quality content? Solve a problem that reader has.

So, go through all your content and purge. Start by assessing the content you have based on purpose, customer challenges, buyers’ role, and quality. Then, throw away the bad, and set up a content production process that includes collaboration with sales, where you garner feedback on the biggest problems prospects are dealing with and gear your content toward solving them. 

Create a contenty strategy
Speaking of processes for creating new content, you’ll want to clearly map out your content strategy, considering not only the customer journey but also sales goals.

Research from CSO Insights gives a model to follow, highlighting the key components quality content will contain along the customer journey:

Screen Shot 2016-12-15 at 10.55.38 AM.png

Source: Tamara Schenk, CSO Insights

Align content and training services
Companies that have high adoption of sales enablement software and strategies have 11% higher deal win rates, and 27% more in revenue, according to CSO Insights. Creating high quality content and training your salespeople to use it with confidence is critical to sales enablement success.

Integrate with your CRM
If you have sales enablement software, integrating it with your CRM (customer relationship management software) allows sales content recommendations to be made directly on the opportunity. By that, we mean your software will intelligently tell your salespeople which content is best to use with any given customer. Aligning content criteria with selling scenarios within your CRM means your salespeople will sell faster and smarter. Plus, you’ll be able to better measure against your objectives and continue improving your strategy.

Keep it going   
Now that you’ve done all the above, you can efficiently provide salespeople with the right content at the right time. But don’t forget to measure and adjust regularly. Your sales enablement mission doesn’t end when you’ve implemented your solution; rather, objectives should continuously evolve for improved use of your strategy.

Follow these steps to better align your sales and marketing organizations, so your salespeople can be more productive and close more deals in 2017.


Last update: December 20, 2016

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