Data from SiriusDecisions points to a 63% increase in spending in this area. Plus, the four B2B selling trends I highlight below point to 2015 being the year of sales enablement.
Distributing Content Via Social Media
90% of buyers want more content, and social media can be that additional avenue for prospects to find information (Edelman). Indeed, 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers, and social media users were 23% more successful at exceeding their sales quota (Forbes).
78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers
As your marketing team develops fresh content, consider not only how you can utilize it in your direct communications with prospects but also potential channels where they may be seeking information. This strategy offers credibility for both the business and the sales representatives by establishing the sales team as authorities in the field rather than just transaction-focused product peddlers.
An added benefit: maintaining that top-of-mind awareness for potential buyers.
Adapting to Buyer Needs Throughout the Sales Cycle
By this point, most businesses have realized that having content is instrumental to the buying process. However, the value of content comes from its distribution. In a recent survey of B2B buyers, 70% of the content that they engaged with prior to making a purchase decision was self-discovered, as opposed to being provided by a sales representative (Forrester). Sales people need to guide the selling process.
Strategically presenting prospects with relevant and targeted content from an early point in the sales process is a powerful way to educate and persuade those potential customers, helping them progress further through the sales funnel.
Data-Driven Content Sharing
Many companies do not have data on the performance of their content, i.e. which pieces are the most viewed, downloaded, engaging, etc. Therefore, it comes at no surprise that over one-third of buyers say the content they see is neither relevant nor useful (Content Marketing Institute).
Over 1/3 of buyers say the content they see is not relevant or useful
The best way for companies to increase their bottom line is to work smarter; use metrics to determine which pieces of content are most effective in extending the reach of your message and have the greatest success in helping to close deals. Perhaps most importantly, Sales and Marketing need to maintain a continuous feedback loop. This ‘shareconomy’ of knowledge depends on sharing rather than hoarding both content and feedback.
With regards to efficiency and productivity, Sales can offer insight into what works and where there are gaps in the content library, while Marketing will be able to better focus their time and optimize efforts. The result is a win-win situation: your sales team will be more likely to use the content in their sales process if they provided some input, and marketing can make informed decisions about creating effective content.
Leveraging Technology In the Sales Process
According to a 2014 CSO Insights study on sales performance optimization, salespeople spend a majority of their day performing administrative and account management duties and only 37% of their time actually selling. The most effective way to improve sales performance is to free-up time spent on non-sales activities and instead focus more on engaging with prospects.
Sales enablement tools can automate and streamline the sales process and empower sales reps with the right message at the right time, increasing effectiveness and driving sales. By making it as easy as possible to access the content, sales reps are far more likely to use it.
Ultimately, sales people need to add value to the conversation and engage buyers early on in the sales process with the most relevant content possible. Marketing can help by arming the salesforce with insight-driven collateral. The final piece in the puzzle is sales enablement technology, which can be used to establish best practices, help businesses better understand their customer, provide insight into buyer needs and behaviors, and improve sales effectiveness.
The outcome? A collaborative environment where marketing and sales share insights and have aligned goals, resulting in increased productivity, efficiency, and revenue.
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