According to Salesforce, sales enablement is effectively “training your reps to sell. You coach them, educate them with content and certifications, and bring them together at events” (Salesforce).
Whereas, according to Seismic, sales enablement “focuses on the buyer and the experience that sales teams provide to prospects at every point of engagement”.
With such wide-ranging definitions, it can be hard to know where to start! To get your sales enablement engines firing, two Account Engagement (Pardot) Consultants have joined a Senior Solutions Engineer to share practical best practices.
We hope you find this valuable. Let’s jump in!
1. Content Creation & Sales Alignment
When we speak about sales enablement, transparency and communication is key.
From a marketers perspective, we need to make sales aware of the assets that we are creating. From a sales point of view, they need access and visibility on the assets, insight into the strategy behind them, and how they can help shorten the sales cycle.
Something as simple as adding the sales team to a product update email list shows them what their customers are reading, arming them with contextual knowledge to supplement their conversations. Alignment isn’t complex, but it needs to be intentional. Here are three key ways to strategically align sales & marketing with content creation.
- Landing Pages for key products / offerings
- Nurturing via Engagement Programs
- File Delivery via Custom Redirects
Landing pages are a crucial part of any content play or product launch. They are a simple and effective way to drive conversions and provide key information to the right people, aligning sales and marketing teams in real-time.
By leveraging data stored in Sales Cloud, prospects can receive a customized landing page experience. Account Engagement can access lead, contact, account, and opportunity data, which opens the door to personalizing landing pages with Dynamic Content. This ensures the prospect sees information relevant to their previous purchases (if they have any) or a standard fallback if they are new.
Personalized landing pages can work with one-to-many or one-to-one communications. When a salesperson has built a strong relationship with a prospect or client, they can send a personalized one to one email with a link to a landing page. Once the prospect completes the landing page form, we can use completion actions to create sales alerts, tasks, notifications, or create and assign leads.
One crucial completion action is to add interested prospects to a list, and use this list for automated nurturing using Engagement Studio.
Account Engagement’s Engagement Studio is hugely powerful, and gives marketers the ability to tailor and control prospect journeys depending on a) what they do, and b) what we know about them.
Adding prospects to an Engagement Program when they complete a landing page form is a great start, but we can leverage rules (and complex rules if required) to send each individual prospect on a journey tailored to their needs, or interests from a product perspective.
Tailoring the content we deliver in Engagement Programs provides prospects with the content most likely to engage them and push them towards purchase readiness. By leveraging completion actions to monitor PDF downloads or file access, we can follow up accordingly. Engagement Studio is an essential tool for aligning content creation and delivering an enriched experience for prospects and clients alike.
Sometimes we have externally hosted PDFs or assets that we direct people to, but we don’t always capture or leverage their engagement. An example might be directing people to a PDF from a LinkedIn post.
An often overlooked but incredibly useful tool in Account Engagement is the custom redirect. We create a link that looks like our website URL, and directs prospects to whatever destination we desire. Most powerful of all, we can fire completion actions once the prospect clicks on the link to add them to a list, notify their CRM owner, and much more!
Custom redirects are also useful for any external advertising we do (banner adverts for example). Plus, if you are facing a character limit, there is an inbuilt Bitly connector so we can create a shorter link.
Use custom redirects to monitor interaction with your files and take action whenever a prospect clicks. You close the loop in terms of reporting, and everything feeds back into Salesforce.
Alignment is key. Ensure you work collaboratively with your sales team, keep them involved and help each other to engage, nurture, and ultimately close opportunities together.
2. Sales & Marketing Handoff
The handoff from marketing to sales is crucial to effective sales enablement. The three pillars of a successful marketing-sales handoff are:
- Knowledge is power: Engagement data is the first pillar in handing off leads from marketing to sales. In Account Engagement, Engagement History Dashboards can be easily added to lead, contact, account, and person account records to share key data in real-time. No more cold leads! Leads are enriched with engagement data so you can create a customized follow up.
- Context is key: Data without context is wasted. To further enhance engagement data, it’s helpful to use a feature like scoring categories to give your sales team powerful context at a glance. Knowing a lead opened three emails and attended a webinar is useful. With effective scoring categories, you can categorize the engagement by topic, value driver, product line, and much more.
- Speed is critical: Lead response time matters hugely. A survey by Lead Connect showed that 78% of customers buy from the company that responds to their inquiry first. To be the first responder, setting up real-time notifications is essential. Account Engagement allows you to notify instantly via email when a known prospect visits a key page (page actions), opens an email (completion actions), or clicks on an important link / CTA (custom redirects). If your company uses Slack, you can even ping Slack channels with notifications using the Account Engagement Slack app. This uses completion actions which you can add to forms, list emails, page actions and custom redirects. Here is an excellent guide on setting this up! Empower your sales team to be the first past the post, and reap the benefits.
Effective sales enablement depends upon aligning sales and marketing across the funnel, but a smooth handoff is an essential tool in shortening your sales cycle.
To learn more about aligning marketing and sales with Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud Engagement, download a free eBook (ungated), here.
3. Leveraging Account Engagement for Sales Training & Education
Training and activating sales reps on Salesforce functionality is critical from an implementation success perspective, but we all know that change management is one of the most common blockers that companies face when it comes to adopting new technology.
According to a study conducted by Prosci, a leading research and advisory firm specializing in change management, organizations that apply effective change management are six times more likely to meet or exceed their project objectives when implementing new software or technology!
It’s no surprise that properly managing the human side of change – including communication, training, and addressing resistance – can lead to higher success rates and ultimately improve the return on investment for the organization. This is where some valuable Account Engagement functionality can be used to save the day from a change management perspective.
So, how can we leverage Account Engagement for sales enablement? It’s a three part answer:
- Choose relevant resources on Trailhead which are designed to teach reps how to navigate Sales Cloud for tracking prospective clients, managing accounts and opportunities, and much more! Here’s a great Trailmix that we found for this specific use case.
- Build out an Engagement Studio journey which is designed to drip feed sales employees relevant training modules on a weekly basis.
- Gamification. We all know that sales reps are highly competitive so why not turn it into a competition? Reps will be able to collect points as they progress through the journey and top performers can be rewarded.
Time is money, so we hope these three tips will allow for improved time to value for your sales enablement.
Are there any other tips which you use to help your reps? Let us know in the comments…