Matt Heinz is a prolific author and nationally recognized award-winning blogger. As president and founder of Heinz Marketing, and with fifteen years of experience behind him in marketing, business development, and sales, his speaking engagements are highlighted by keen insight, humor, and motivating takeaways. His insight into sales enablement best practices for B2B marketing is something everyone should have the privilege of tapping into, especially those in marketing.
Matt recently sat down to talk about sales enablement and what that looks like for marketers in the B2B world.
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is best defined by how it is measured. It is focused on:
- Increasing the efficiency of the sales organization
- Helping organizations spend more time actively selling
- Increasing the conversion rate of opportunities to close deals
If a marketing team can help to convert sales more quickly, that is the ultimate measure of the value of sales engagement.
Historically, sales enablement has come out of sales operations, but oftentimes it is in more of a reactive and administrative role. This area offers a great opportunity for marketing to embrace something beyond the traditional role and more actively support the sales funnel. Sales enablement is content, stories, and ensuring a marketer has the right message for the right prospect at the right stage of the buying journey.
How Can Marketing Help Sales?
Marketing has the perfect opportunity to own the customer persona and to understand the target organization and what the buying committee looks like. On average among B2B buyers, there are 6.8 individuals actively involved in making a purchase decision. It becomes more than just understanding the buyer (singular), but understanding the buyers (plural).
Each individual involved in the buying process has his or her own goal, their own perspective, and they each need their own set of messaging.
How Do Marketers Use Buyer Information?
After a marketer has done his or her homework and understands their audience, the next step is to understand how and where to use the information they have gained.
- The messages coming from sales should reflect the personas.
- Sales content experts should have access to personas so that good content is created.
- Sales and marketing must find common ground with common objectives.
How Can Sales and Marketing “Hold Hands”?
Communication between sales and marketing goes beyond a typical sales or marketing meeting and into something more aligned. As an addressable market starts to seek out a solution to their need, it’s because they are being provided value in some way. Content marketing helps sales by creating and curating content around a central theme so that the buyers begin to associate a name with a theme.
How Can a Smaller Company Create Brand Awareness?
Matt started his marketing company with nothing more than a laptop, a bus pass, and a Twitter account. Armed with a Constant Contact list and no budget, he began to ask himself some questions:
- What kind of content do I want to be known for?
- What kind of content will attract the people I am looking for?
For some people, writing comes easier, and for others, content creation is their gift. Others excel in time management. It may prove difficult to be consistent on a regular basis, but with some time and effort, you can create an audience for yourself.
The key: get the message out about how you can be helpful, what you want to be known for, what you want to help people with, and then do it consistently on a quality level. Respond and be generous while creating a path for good communication.
How Can Marketing Departments Help Create Name Recognition?
Build relationships: The seller is not a building. People want to follow other people, they don’t want to follow a logo. A marketing team has the opportunity to empower every sales rep with content that they can follow.
Create a bond between prospect and seller: Curate content into their social channels, send a birthday card, and do what it takes to create a bond that is personal.
Why is Lead Nurturing Important?
According to Matt, between ten and fifteen percent of inbound leads are qualified and ready to buy, while 60 to 65 percent of inbound leads are qualified and not ready to buy. Without lead nurturing, you hope they will come around eventually. By following through, you put more valuable information in front of them, hopefully grabbing their attention and building their understanding of the connection between you and your brand.
A nurturing campaign can be as easy as an email newsletter, which gets content in front of people on a regular basis with your name on it, or a sales rep reaching out to share an article. The question becomes, as Matt put it, what are you doing to keep the attention of your prospects?
What Is Marketing’s Role After Sales is Engaged?
The answer to this goes back to sales enablement. While content can help the lead get to the sales team, where it goes from there is important. Whatever helps to make a sales team more efficient and convert more deals should be a part of the plan, whether that is automated marketing or custom communication tailored for each customer.
Can Marketing Help Secure a Sale?
While it remains the job of sales to cement the final part with the decision-maker, marketing has the chance during this stage to arm a sales team with the right messages and supporting points to help them cross the finish line. This requires a bit of thinking ahead of time and creation of something compelling for the sales team to add to their arsenal. It’s all about the balance between anticipating the needs of a customer in the buying journey and being innovative and agile at the end to customize content.
“Don’t give people a reason to leave-give them every reason to believe in you, to continue to favor you, and to stay with you.” Matt Heinz