What’s Sales Enablement Got to Do with Demand Generation?

Modern B2B marketers like numbers. We want to know conversion rates, cost per lead, revenue generated and a host of other stats. In our mission to build demand generation that delivers real results, here are a couple to keep you up at night:

one plus oneB2B companies’ inability to align sales and marketing teams has cost them upwards of 10% or more of revenue per year, according to IDC.

76% of content marketers are forgetting sales enablement, according to a study by HubSpot.

Isn’t it painful to think that the transformation you’ve been neck deep in for months could all fall flat if you forget about the proverbial “last mile?” Handing off leads that go nowhere? Confused and frustrated sales teams? Poor customer experience with no continuity? Watching all that time, money and energy go down the drain hurts.

There are many reasons why sales management should be all too happy to get involved with and become champions for your demand generation program. It just so happens that in areas where sales effectiveness needs improvement, well-designed perpetual demand generation programs excel. A 2014 CSO Insights study on sales effectiveness showed that:

  • 55% need improvement nurturing leads
  • 50% need improvement in identifying trigger events
  • 40% need improvement in qualifying and prioritizing opportunities

If you can show sales management how your program is going to fill those gaps in early pipeline to augment the sales skill set, you should have a rapt audience ready to engage from the beginning and throughout the process.

And then when it comes time for the rubber to hit the road and you develop sales enablement for your program, keep the following in mind:

Time is money:
Successful sales people are obsessive about prioritizing their time, and rightly so. Your program is going to help them spend time with only the leads that are most worthy of their time, but you need to keep this concept in mind as you develop processes and training for sales as well. Do a little obsessing yourself about what it would take to complete your hand-off processes. Do they need to log into multiple systems? Are there steps you could combine or eliminate? Can you minimize the number of screens and clicks? Can you deliver training in bite-sized nuggets? Are there cheat sheets that could serve as job aids? Is what you’re training on relevant to their day-to-day job or in the “nice to know” category?

Work the system:
Inevitably you will need to change some processes and tools to have the most effective program. Whenever possible, look to see what existing frameworks might already be in place that you could leverage. Do they work from dashboards, list views, tasks? Are they using mobile apps? Are they already used to receiving training in team meetings? Is video their format of choice? Do they have a playbook? The more you can connect your new and improved processes with the things they already value, the better your chance for affecting real change.

Bring in reinforcement:
Adult learning theory tells us that adult learners retain more when the process is more experiential. For example, we retain 5% of what we hear, but up to 75% of what we practice. Plan for these realities by ensuring that there are some opportunities for the sales team to apply what they’ve learned. Make learning task-oriented and provide refreshers over time. Additionally, consider the WIIFM concept (what’s in it for me) to make sure sales understands that this isn’t marketing’s latest shiny object, but a way for them to earn more.

Author: LeeAnne Wimberly @lwimberly is Director, Strategy for ANNUITAS

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