Marketing’s Challenge Supporting Sales Enablement
There are many studies that marketers find frustrating, including:
- The American Marketing Association, Sirius Decisions and Forbes report 60-90% of what marketing is producing for sales is not being used.
- The Content Marketing Institute points out that 28% of total marketing budgets are allocated toward sales and somewhere between 10-40% of that investment is wasted.
Although the sales/marketing disconnect has been written about for years, given the changes in the B2B selling space sales, most marketers we speak with feel their frustrations growing.
The New B2B Buyer
Buyers today are more empowered with access to much of the product information that used to be provided by sales, making content king.
We often like to say that marketing has been unfairly tasked with providing sales content that resonates with sellers and buyers. Marketers want their content to be used but are not fully prepared for the sort of granularity that is used in sales conversations, which points at the root of why marketing continues to struggle with their role in supporting sales teams.
Are You Charming or Convincing?
If we look at the traditional role of marketing as well as the consultants and agencies who support them, their role has been what Josh Ritchie (Forbes Agency Council) calls charm.” The primary role of marketers is to charm people into “liking” your company. Sales content, Josh points out, is designed to “convince.” Content that “convinces” is much more granular than content that “charms.”
In April of this year, the Harvard Business Review points out that the New Sales Imperative is for sellers to help buyers make decisions. With committee buying and nearly 7 buyers involved per sale, buyers are struggling to align their cross-functional organizational needs to sourcethe best overall solution for their organizations. This IS the emerging role for sellers and requires a level of content and insight that is well beyond traditional content.
What Do We Do?
Organizations have two choices:
- Expand the marketing charter: Without a doubt, the traditional role of marketing is still important. But some organizations are choosing to have marketing own the delivery of sales content. For marketing to be successful in adoption of this charter, they must be given the proper resources, engage differently with sales and think differently about the definition of sales content given the changing requirements.
- Build a sales enablement team: Many organizations have started to develop the sales enablement function to help them overcome these challenges. This too will be an investment in resources for success; the difference is that while content is king, the sales enablement charter also includes training and coaching plus technology. All areas working in concert and designed to bridge the current gap.
The Content Benchmark
Whether all content stays within the marketing team or organizations build a sales enablement function, we believe that solid content should meet the following four criteria:
- Sellers need to see it and say, “Wow, this is really going to help me sell!”
- Buyers need to experience it and say, “Thank you, this is really insightful!”
- Content needs to track with every stage of the sales process from qualifying to gaining access, understanding client needs, aligning your value to their needs and negotiating.
- Content needs to meet sales where they are with the customer; PowerPoint or white boards for presentations, telephone scripts or email formats.
Looking at your content today, does it meet these four criteria?