SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform

There’s a secret to scaling a fast-paced growth technology company; messaging alignment across every customer-facing employee and every employee, partner and customer at a company. Many marketers believe the heavy lift to create and launch a new brand and messaging platform is where the work ends for Marketing. That’s not the case. How do companies ensure that employees understand the brand value and messaging and are conversationally competent in their conversations with potential customers?

 

Sales and Marketing Partnership

 

A healthy sales and marketing partnership is strengthened with sales enablement goals and metrics that are transparent and aligned. Sales enablement done right improves sales knowledge, tracks effectiveness, and boosts productivity. Sales enablement done right also informs marketing about what’s working and what needs to be improved. Sales enablement is the last mile of a company’s go-to-market strategy bridging marketing planning and sales execution.

 

Companies today that are building high performing sales teams are realizing huge improvements in attainment, win rates, deal sizes, and time to ramp when marketers prioritize sales enablement. I’m inspired by many marketing leaders who regularly sit on calls with sales teams, build playbooks , crowdsource battle-cards reps love, direct new hire training, and run sales training calls. They are committed to the success of their sellers and their sellers know it.

 

Message alignment with sales enablement is the key.  Since presentation slides are so core to sales enablement and messaging alignment, we’re going to dive deep into how to use new presentation slides and corporate messaging will drive sales and marketing alignment.

 

Below is a checklist for activating content and scaling that content out to the entire organization.  It’s the secret sauce of sales and marketing. Getting CROs and CMOs to work together on these strategies will increase the likelihood that your teams will become conversationally competent. Sales and marketing alignment will result in improvement in sales efficiency and content effectiveness.

 

Get Aligned On Messaging and Presentation Slides

 

It’s important to remember that slides are for discovery as much as they are for presenting. Put yourself in the shoes of your sales and customer teams when creating slides, training, and coaching aids.

Please ask questions like:

 

  • How would you use the slides? 
  • How can the slides be used to drive a conversation? 
  • How can the slides be used to drive meeting momentum? 

 

Slides are an important tool for communicating a company’s corporate messaging to a potential customer, so they need to be concise, clear, and easy to understand. Here are a few tips to improve sales and marketing alignment by maximizing the impact of your sales presentation slides.

 

Step #1 Consider the Buyer’s Journey

 

Create core messaging slides for different conversations across the buyer journey. It’s a good idea to create micro-pitches that map to each step in your funnel and/or each conversation.

 

Here are some examples of how to align messaging to a buyer’s journey.

 

    1. Elevator Pitch – what do you do?
    2. Customer Story – tell me a story of company like me that solved problem ABC
    3. Product Demonstration – how do you do it?
    4. Custom Presentation – how will is solve my problem?
    5. Objection Handling – answer my specific objections 
    6. Business Case – how will I justify the solution?
    7. Mutual Success Plan – what does success look like?

 

Step #2: Create Relevant and Useful Presentation Aids

 

Add speaker notes and slide transition questions for each slide, asset and pitch to drive an engaging conversation. Make sure the questions are open-ended and not closed ended. They should engage the audience. Create a Strong Closing Slide. Include a “next steps” last slide for deal momentum and action. Be clear and prescriptive on ideal next steps in the process. 

 

Utilize slides as a resource. Put all slides in one deck including customer stories, product slides, proposal slide templates and any other supporting slides so that you can toggle between them easily in one presentation, depending on what questions arise.

 

Step #3: Roll-Out A Formalized Messaging Certification

 

The foundation of every sales training and onboarding program is grounded in pitch practice and messaging certification. Updated messaging, including corporate presentations should systematically be rolled out to all customer-facing employees. Technology is available to help companies scale a messaging certification program. Tech tools include using video role-playing, assessment, peer accelerated learning and dynamic content sharing internally and with customers. 

 

The process for rolling out a messaging certification starts with publishing the new messaging content, assessing knowledge, practicing communicating the updated messaging, having managers and peers provide feedback, applying to real customer scenarios and measuring the impact of the conversation effectiveness. The ultimate measures are improved customer satisfaction, more engaged buyers and new business revenue growth.

 

Anecdotally, when listening to calls and talking to customers, feedback will be positive and you’ll hear the same words and messages being shared resulting in positive and consistent customer experiences. The lifecycle of messaging alignment starts by launching a new brand message and is considered successful when your employees, partners and customers are echoing the same brand message.

 

Step #4: Measure Leading Indicators Sooner Than Later

 

The next step to aligning your teams is to measure the effectiveness. It’s important to look for leading indicators that are early on in the ramping or sales cycle. We don’t want to wait until it’s too late to effect change. Looking to measure the impact on new business closed and quota attainment will not yield the right outcome-focused coaching and development teams need to be successful. The leading sales performance indicators will vary by role. Here are some examples of how to measure the effectiveness of your messaging with role-based activity metrics:

 

Sales Development

    1. Certification
    2. Pitch Proficiency
    3. Emails Sent
    4. Calls Made
    5. Meetings Scheduled

 

Account Executives

    1. Certification
    2. Pitch Proficiency
    3. Call Recap Summary Emails
    4. Pipeline Created
    5. Deal Progression

 

Read more about ways to improve sales performance by measuring leading and lagging indicators here.

 

 

 

Step #5: Verify Buyer Engagement and Feedback

 

Another great way to align teams on messaging is to focus on the buyer experience. Look for buyer signals—such as content engagement or frequency of communication—to integrate data insights with content reporting, deal scoring and forecasting. Sharing content with buyers and competently pitching products is important data to track. The holy grail of effectiveness is capturing insights from buyers before, during and after their sales presentations and sales calls in order to refine your approach. 

 

It’s hard to close the loop on messaging alignment without data on buyer feedback. The companies that integrate sales enablement data with revenue intelligence data will win the deals. 

 

Aligning sales enablement with messaging is something every company struggles with. Look for gaps in your process.

 

Are you making messaging content accessible and digestible?

 

Are you certifying your teams on your new messaging?

 

Are you measuring the impact of the conversation on the deal progression?

 

Don’t forget to utilize managers to coach teams over video, one on one training, and practice pitch delivery.

 

 

Tips For Marketers To Embrace Sales Enablement

 

Talk (And Listen) To Salespeople And Sales Leaders Often

Set up regular calls with salespeople and front line sales managers. Join sales manager weekly calls. Share your priorities and get feedback from sales teams and sales leaders. Don’t work in a vacuum. Find out what’s working and what they need and create materials that will move the revenue for your sales people. They should be perceived as the ultimate customer. 

 

Sit In On Customer Sales Calls

As a general rule of thumb, marketers should try to spend at least one hour a day on calls with sales teams, talking to live customers. The benefits are huge. I’m always inspired by what customers say and also how salespeople position and sell value. There is so much to learn from customer sales calls. There should be targets and goals for the amount of hours a weak marketers should spend on customer sales calls.

 

Crowdsource Sales Tools And Battle-Cards

Set up a regular cadence to collect presentations and tools from winning deals including emails sent during the sales process. Get sales teams to share their winning presentations and have them share feedback on the tools and playbooks you’re building. Crowdsource competitive battle-cards too by having reps share the objections their hearing from their customers and prospects.

 

Create Just-In-Time Sales Playbooks

Create sales playbooks that map out buyer profiles, presentations, qualification criteria, discovery questions, compelling events, value drivers, common objections, and competitive traps. Turn content into playbooks that are dynamic, easily accessible and in context. Map the playbook content and tools to the sales process with clear to do’s. Learn more about what just-in-time Guided Selling looks like.

 

Make Content Short And Personable

 

Marketers are great at creating sales tools and a lot of them. Sometimes less is more. I’d like to encourage marketers to create less tools and create tools that are short and very personalized with video storytelling. Also answer the question what’s in it for me? (WIFM) for your reps too.

 

Map Tools And Training To The Sales Process

 

Create tools that are mapped to the sales process and sales methodology. As marketers, we should understand what the sales process is and be able to translate customers stories, product training, and corporate presentations to the buyer’s journey.

 

Measure The Effectiveness of Content and Tools Created

 

Know which tools are being used and how effective they are in helping salespeople close business. Track views, downloads and pipeline influence by asset. Share scorecards highlighting the return on all sales tools created.

 

Be Open To Constructive Feedback

Marketers should have think skin. Ask for feedback and be grateful. Be ready to rethink assumptions. The reality is salespeople and sales leaders are the feet on the street and are at the pulse of what’s working and what needs to be improved.

 

 

Summary

 

The best marketers understand these tips and embrace them. The best CMOs share these guiding principles with sales and holds their teams accountable. The fastest growing, high performing organizations align sales and marketing by creating shared sales enablement goals and metrics.

 

Do all of this well, and not only will your sales team be on its way to closing more deals, but your sales & marketing organization will be better aligned, better informed, and more productive than ever before.

About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $500M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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