How to Use Sales Enablement Software to Better Engage Buyers
“You can’t really know where you’re going until you know where you have been.” Though this quote likely wasn’t uttered with marketing in mind, it quite succinctly encapsulates the importance of analytics for marketing and sales.
Not that long ago, brands and businesses distributed marketing content to the masses, but they didn’t have the ability — or didn’t care to implement the tracking methods — to effectively measure engagement with the intended audiences. The resulting spaghetti-at-the-wall approach to content marketing quickly became endangered as companies entered the age of data. Soon enough, those antiquated methods will officially go extinct.
Think about it: Wouldn’t you rather know exactly where to invest your marketing dollars, to understand what is working well and what should be improved? Much the way teachers need a grading system to properly prioritize individual curricula for their schoolchildren, brands should rely on engagement-based analytics to inform and shape a brand’s marketing content. Data doesn’t entirely eliminate the guesswork, but analyzing the data correctly via sales enablement software certainly narrows the focus.
Analyzing the Data
An often-overlooked aspect of the analytics provided by sales enablement software is the impact they can have on a company’s sales proposals. Anyone who’s ever been in charge of building these proposals knows how boilerplate a process it can be — painfully impersonal and devoid of the nuance that connects with customers. Now that remote work is so prevalent because of COVID-19, a personalized, well-branded, beautiful, and organized proposal is your new “sales call.” Everything is digital now; you want to put your best foot forward and then understand exactly how you did.
Analytics can function as the GPS system that guides marketing efforts to become more personalized and impactful. To that end, the right sales enablement software — powered and optimized by artificial intelligence — can do all of the grunt work for you. Sales and marketing teams can use the aforementioned software (sometimes called sales intelligence software) to track content in myriad ways: to confirm that the customer opened the material, to learn how much time a lead spent on particular pages or sections, to see what links are clicked on, and much more. With this information in hand, your sales team’s follow-up efforts can be markedly smarter.
Over time, sales enablement software can start to recommend content that works for specific sets of people. Patterns begin to emerge while software gathers and analyzes data for each piece of content, and eventually, you can suggest what types of content may be best for those in particular roles (e.g., salespeople who are closing deals) to share with customers. Data analysis that’s performed with sales enablement software provides insight on what moves the needle and generates engagement.
Maximizing Content’s Value
The world is on content overload: An absurd amount of content is produced but never even used because it doesn’t have a clear purpose. Therefore, you want to be clear on what value your content adds to the customer or sales process. To do that, you have to have a connection to the end user and understand what works best so you can double down on creating the content that works.
Ultimately, your content has to speak to the buying journey, which covers everything from discovery to purchase and beyond. Here are a few characteristics to consider as you aim to produce content that answers questions at the different stages a buyer passes through:
- Embrace an analytical mindset. Being genuinely interested in what’s happening with your content is key to effectively answering buyers’ questions. Tracking your content thoroughly and vigilantly checking back with the data — versus just producing more and more content without any real direction or guidance — allows brands to create truly beautiful material. You have to care about the end result to make a difference.
- Align the team’s view of the customer. Feedback between teams is obviously important. You don’t want marketing and sales teams to operate in silos; the same goes for customer success teams. Everything trickles down to the customer, so be coordinated among your teams and take the time to understand everyone’s view of the customer. HubSpot has found that misalignment between departments can cost B2B companies in excess of 10% of revenue annually, so work to find synchronization. Teams with strong, clear alignment experience 36% higher customer-retention rates, according to the same source.
- Go granular for better insights. The more granular you get with your analytics, the more knowledge you’ll glean from them. Track win rates on proposals, analyze what types of phrasing is most effective, and examine what content topics resonate with customers. Are you completely answering all the questions being asked along the buyer’s journey? Have you created a nice template and not repackaged copy from another proposal? The right sales enablement software can capture these details and move people through these processes. It helps folks collaborate on documents and work together to get the best minds in the room.
- Keep collaborating to find best practices. Sharing best practices is a best practice in itself. Teams are better equipped for sales success when they understand what went wrong and what went right. Particularly with proposals and RFPs, so many cooks can be in the kitchen that it can become a frustratingly drawn-out process. Effective collaboration greases the skids and allows teams to speak more effectively to external customers, as well as meet internal company deadlines more easily
You need to understand the past — both those of your buyers along their journeys and your own in your efforts to engage them — in order to perfect your future practices. The best way is to immerse yourself in metrics that together paint the picture of whether your content aligns with and advances your ultimate purpose: connecting with customers.
As executive vice president of marketing at Qorus Software, Jennifer Tomlinson works to identify business needs and help clients generate revenue more effectively and efficiently. She spearheads efforts to increase brand awareness to help Qorus thrive in a crowded marketplace, provide an outstanding customer experience and build strong marketing practices.