It’s clear for everyone: if you provide reps with the right materials, tools, and resources they need to convert leads, they'll close more deals and drive revenue for a business. But deriving valuable insights from business data, client cases, or market trends for sales enablement can be a tricky task. However, all the resources are right there, in your company.
In an ideal world, the sales team works alongside the product, marketing, and support teams to ensure the buying process is a smooth, continuous path.
The foundation of this path is the customer journey, which reveals the customer’s experience with sales, marketing, and support. But very often, the reality is that separate teams are working on the same goal but without a common strategy.
Marketing focuses on attracting leads; sales are responsible for winning clients; customer support tends to the needs of current clients in order to build and maintain a relationship; the product team works on improving the customer’s satisfaction with the product. Can you relate to it?
The trickiest part is that the process of attracting, supporting, and retaining a client is complex. But when there is a path that clients perceive as a single whole, why should a company see it differently? Moreover, the sales enablement role is cross-functional — you can’t create and deliver an efficient sales enablement strategy alone inside your sales team.
Here are some working tips on how you can work closely with the marketing, support, and product teams, and don’t lose your cool.
Sales enablement is owned by both marketing and sales, still there is one story that never ends: the struggle between sales and marketing. Admit it: at least once in your professional life, you’ve claimed that your marketing team doesn’t bring you quality leads, and they argued that you can’t even win warm leads. Has this happened to you? Of course, it has — and nobody is surprised.
Alignment between sales and marketing starts with defining what a quality lead is for the company, rather than for the teams separately.
A buyer persona is a holy grail that gives everyone a clear picture of how your ideal customer behaves and communicates. Based on the buyer persona, teams communicate to set common goals and create a plan for how each of them will make an impact.
How marketing team can help you
Marketers work closely with the product team on positioning, messaging, and the launch of the product. They produce and develop content that helps clients make a decision. This content includes blogs, eBooks, case studies, brochures, videos, and much more. It helps to be consistent with what you sell as a sales representative and what the company offers in reality. There is no place for misunderstanding between teams.
How to assist marketers
You can help marketers by providing them with sales tips that help to win a client. Without a doubt, the sales team is the first point of communication with customers. Marketers create hypotheses based on data and behaviour patterns, but only sales know the real cases. Don’t hesitate to share your in-depth industry knowledge with them to improve marketing and sales materials. Give them your advice and opinions on how content should be presented — only you know why customers choose your company over your competitors.
Why do sales and support teams struggle to work together? The answer is another common quarrel: sales blames support for customer churn, support holds sales responsible for selling bad deals to customers that drop out after a couple of months.
How the support team can help you
The support team is the closest team to the clients. They know the client’s problems and expectations when it comes to the company and its products. Their insights are crucial for the sales team, as they help to improve the quality of the sale.
Ask for a list of pain points and essential features — you might be surprised to find out that a client has fallen in love with a specific feature or product that you have tried to sell for a long time without success. Moreover, having had closer ties with the support team, the clients are eager to share the good and bad experiences they’ve had with your competitors. These insights are indispensable for future pitches.
How to assist the support team
The sales team should make a client’s transition from the sale to the customer as smooth as possible, from the introduction of their customer manager or team to mapping a client’s pain points, requests, and expectations. If the support team is also responsible for upsales, make sure you have shared your insights and ideas. As you are in the frontline of the process, you can control offers and other methods for getting sales throughout the company, but you should always keep the support team in the loop.
Again, conflicts between these two teams bring chaos to the company, where sales claim that the product team creates an unsustainable product roadmap and produces products and features that the real clients don’t need. At the same time, the product team blames sales for selling unfeasible and even non-existent products or promising unrealistic deadlines.
Both teams should correspond with the primary strategy, and it is better when they are working on a quality product that fits market needs. Then, there is no place for producing features for the sake of features or selling “whatever to whoever” to meet the KPIs.
How the product team can help you
To be aware of all upcoming products, features, and any other changes in products, make sure you have access to a product roadmap and backlog. Whereas the roadmap helps the product team capture, organise, and communicate their product’s goals in the following months and years, the backlog contains a useful list of tasks in priority order.
Keeping your sales plans and KPIs in sync with the product roadmap and backlog helps you to organise your work and keep your team members motivated towards your goals. It also helps you keep track of when and how your sale proposal should be updated.
How to assist the product team
At the same time, everyone would benefit if the sales team contributes to the product’s roadmap and backlog. Again, you know what the customer is looking for, how your products or solutions are going to be of value, and when they’ll need them. Help yourself and motivate the product team to implement the feature as soon as possible. This gives you the best chance of winning the client.
All you need is to remember that sales can’t reach your goals alone — only by receiving support from other teams and giving back will you make progress.
The change in consumer perception and behaviour makes it obvious for companies that there are no more separate departments, but rather teams ready to look beyond their own interests to provide cross-functional expertise to the clients.