When it comes to sales enablement and content marketing, many B2B businesses believe that you need to choose one specific strategy to get the most out of your lead generation efforts. However, we’re here to tell you that’s not the case. Actually, your sales efforts are most effective when you take advantage of both inbound and outbound strategies.
Throughout this blog, we’ll focus on the following topics:
Sales enablement refers to the various tools, technologies, salespeople, and content used to convert leads into customers. In the early years of the sales profession, account executives were responsible for prospecting, contacting, building, and managing sales pipelines. Due to sales evolvement over the years, there are many other key components in the sales enablement process.
For an effective sales process, a sales enablement team should consist of the following roles:
- Business Development Representatives (BDRs): BDRs are responsible for prospecting and qualifying leads. BDRs are typically the first point of contact between a prospect and your company.
- Sales Development Representatives (SDRs): SDRs are tasked with setting up B2B appointments between a prospect and account executives. They take the leads provided by BDRs and bring them one step closer to getting a sale.
- Account Executives (AEs): AEs attend and lead the appointments set by SDRs. AEs are responsible for turning business opportunities into deals.
Sales enablement efforts should also involve content teams of marketing professionals who focus on inbound lead generation. These team members are experts in digital strategy and know how to write engaging website copy, blog posts, social media content calendars, and other forms of digital media.
Every B2B company has its own approach to business development. However, when businesses use sales enablement content, they traditionally follow these two outbound lead generation strategies:
While cold calling gets a bad rap, it’s still one of the most effective lead generation strategies that sales enablement teams use to find prospects and build relationships with other businesses. It’s a great opportunity to contact companies that meet your ideal customer criteria and reach them when the timing makes the most sense for them.
In addition to reaching your ideal customer, cold calling is excellent for learning more about your target market to understand what products or services are most and least important to them. This allows BDRs and SDRs to adjust their sales scripts and emphasize industry trends to increase their number of appointments.
After your sales team gets off the phone with leads, they can follow up with prospects via email. Rather than a “thank you for your time” email, they can include information that is relevant to the conversation they just had. This email can consist of key talking points and additional sales enablement content such as a company brochure, sell sheet, or promotional video. This allows the prospect to review content on their own time and keep your company on top of mind.
Email marketing is a crucial component of your sales enablement and content marketing strategy, especially when paired with cold calling efforts. After a BDR or SDR speaks with a prospect on the phone, they can follow up with an email about your company’s product or service.
Email marketing is easier when using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform because it allows your BDRs and SDRs to send emails, see when a prospect reads the email, and review how they interact with it. This allows your sales team to contact prospects when the content is fresh on their minds. In addition, a CRM platform also houses email templates so they can send leads more customized content.
Content marketing is the process of developing and distributing materials to enhance your lead generation efforts. These assets can be distributed across a variety of platforms, including your website and social media profiles.
Content marketing is designed to generate inbound leads and support outbound sales efforts. Sales enablement content material is a valuable lead generation asset because it can be used at every stage in the buyer’s journey. However, it’s crucial to create sales enablement assets designed to meet prospects where they are in the sales cycle. If you don’t create content that aligns with prospects at their stage in the purchasing funnel, you risk losing high-quality leads.
A company website is one of the most impactful pieces of sales enablement content. A user’s experience with your website is one of the first impressions they have of your business. When developing and designing a website, it’s important to keep the user in mind.
If your website isn’t easily navigable, you risk turning prospects away because they don’t want to spend a significant amount of time trying to find what they want on your website. A user-friendly website is crucial to catch the interest of prospective businesses and brings you one step closer to converting them into customers.
With a website, you can use analytical tools (like Google Analytics) to view user navigation throughout the site. This allows you to see where they’re resonating with your content and where they’re dropping off the site.
Do you want to be seen as a thought leader in your industry? Writing and publishing informative and engaging blog posts is an excellent way to gain the trust of prospects. By regularly posting blogs with SEO-focused content, you show readers that you’re up to date with all the latest trends in the industry. This also shows that you’re actively taking measures to implement these practices into your business.
For example, if you’re a managed service provider, consider posting blog content about the newest network security measures. This shows readers that you’re knowledgeable about recent trends in IT management. It also makes you much more of a thought leader compared to an MSP that has been practicing the same network security techniques for the last five years.
One of the most significant benefits of posting blogs is that they can be shared across a variety of other content marketing platforms. While they are originally posted on your company website, they can also be shared on various industry forums, reputable websites, and other high-quality sources across the internet. This will boost company credibility and SEO value in search engine rankings.
Over 4.48 billion people actively use social media, so why wouldn’t it be a part of your content marketing strategy? Integrating social media into your lead generation strategy allows you to increase company awareness and drive more traffic to your website.
Remember to keep the platform and your target market in mind when implementing social media into your content marketing strategy. For example, LinkedIn and Facebook have different personas, meaning your content and how you share it should vary. It’s also important to remember the “quality over quantity” rule—just because there are many social media platforms out there, you don’t have to have a presence on every single one. Keep your target market in mind and pick a social media platform they engage with most frequently to get the most out of your content marketing efforts.
Marketing collateral is a vital component of any sales enablement or content marketing strategy. These assets enable your sales team to reach your target market, build better relationships with prospects, and increase your ROI. Many companies struggle to highlight how important their company, product, or service is, and marketing collateral can explain it all in a well-designed package.
Marketing collateral varies from industry to industry and buyer’s stage to buyer’s stage. The best thing about marketing collateral is that it can be used to meet prospects right where they are in the purchasing funnel, whether it’s during the awareness or decision-making stage. Marketing collateral involves a variety of sales enablement assets, including brochures, case studies, white papers, infographics, and more. These materials are a great supplement to your sales team’s email marketing efforts.
The most effective sales enablement teams use marketing collateral to enhance their efforts. Learn about the best types of marketing collateral and how sales reps take advantage of them here.
You might hate this answer, but it’s the best we can give you—both. Sure, it sounds like an easy answer, but hear us out. When it comes to sales enablement and content marketing, it’s the same as asking if the chicken or the egg came first because they correlate with each other. Allow us to explain.
To have an effective sales enablement program, sales and marketing teams must work in tandem. Marketing supports sales because content teams can create compelling content that piques the interest and catches the eye of prospects who are on the fence.
For example, if your business wants to recruit new loan officers or real estate agents, a corporate video highlighting an employee’s personal and professional growth may be their turning point. A sizzle reel, also known as a promotional video, is a great way to capture the emotions of prospects. This enables them to start visualizing themselves as one of your employees. If they are hesitant to meet with your business, sending this video in an email could convince them to at least open up the conversation for different career opportunities.
Outbound sales can help marketing efforts because BDRs and SDRs are talking to prospects firsthand. By asking leads open-ended questions, they have the opportunity to learn about the wants and needs of key decision-makers (KDMs) in your target market.
For example, if your HVAC company’s sales reps are consistently asked about the long-term benefits and process of preventative maintenance, create a blog post or sell sheet to highlight these points. Not only will the sales reps be able to provide in-depth answers for leads, but online users will also be able to find the information they need. Then, when users are looking for a preventative maintenance provider, your HVAC company will be the one they turn to.
A lot goes into creating a content strategy for sales enablement. While it may not be successful immediately, there are some steps that your sales enablement and marketing content teams can take to start on the right track. When planning your sales content strategy, remember the following:
When developing a sales content strategy, remember to keep sales as the top priority. Creating content without a purpose wastes valuable time, money, and resources and leaves you with nothing in return.
Various types of content support sales efforts, including sharing relevant blogs and case studies with prospective businesses. This information helps prospects advance their way through the buyer’s journey.
Each piece of marketing content should be multipurpose and shareable for various platforms. One of the most significant benefits of marketing collateral pieces like brochures, sell sheets, and promotional videos is that they can be shared via email and social media or embedded into your website.
No matter how you decide to share these assets, they can be optimized for various uses. This allows prospects to access materials quickly and effectively for their convenience.
As mentioned previously, each piece of sales enablement content should serve a purpose. In addition, there should be a time and a place where it is most effective. For example, if you’re a roofing company and a prospect wants to learn more about the types of roofs you install, send them a sell sheet about the roof types you offer.
Sending collateral that focuses on specific needs is a great way to transition a prospect from the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey into the consideration stage. After giving them time to look over their roofing options, have a sales rep follow up to schedule an appointment and talk more about the solution your company has for them.
The only way to know if your sales content strategy is working is to measure its effectiveness in your program. After a few months of integrating content marketing into your sales enablement program, perform a complete website and social media analysis to see what kind of traction your platforms are getting.
If the results are better than they were before combining inbound and outbound strategies, you’re exactly where you need to be. However, if you do not see a difference in engagement or sales, identify areas of improvement and where you could incorporate more content marketing practices into your sales enablement process.
While many businesses believe they need to choose either an appointment setting or a digital lead generation strategy, we’re here to tell you that sales enablement and content marketing are most effective when used together.
Not sure if you have the resources to take advantage of both sales enablement and content marketing strategies? Contact the sales reps at Abstrakt Marketing Group today to learn how we help B2B companies integrate both strategies into their sales efforts.