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You might think you know what sales enablement is, but the truth is it means vastly different things to different companies.

Sales enablement encompasses several interrelated tasks, including sales coaching, onboarding, performance analysis, content generation, systems and support, and strategic development.

It’s multi-faceted—and no single definition truly covers all that sales enablement is as a whole.

Sales enablement is a customer-centric, strategic approach to improving and updating the technology, processes, knowledge, and content that empower sales teams—which is exactly what your reps need to sell efficiently at a higher velocity.

Gone are the days of cold calling and aggressive sales techniques. It’s time to put old-school sales tactics to bed and embrace inbound sales.

71% of sales reps say they spend too much time on data entry.

(Toutapp)

Companies with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate.

(CSO Insights)

55% of top-performing companies are investing in sales enablement technology to drive sales productivity.

(Forbes Insights)

1. What Is Sales Enablement and Why Does the Success of Your Business Depend on It?

Today’s marketplace has drastically changed. The old interruptive sales and marketing tactics, like door-to-door sales, cold calling, mailed brochures, and TV and radio commercials, aren’t working anymore, especially with the new millennial generation.

If you want to stay relevant and profitable, and really see a great ROI on your marketing and sales budget in today’s market, then take this advice: introduce inbound marketing coupled with ongoing sales enablement in your organization.

“The salesperson’s role has changed and you need sales enablement tools to help you adapt to the new way customers buy.”

The internet has significantly changed the way people buy, and that means your sales reps need to adapt their selling techniques to appeal to today’s buyers. Salespeople are no longer in control; buyers are in control. The salesperson’s role has changed and you need sales enablement tools to help you adapt to the new way customers buy. Outbound sales tactics are no longer effective. It’s time to embrace inbound sales and marketing—but is your sales team ready?

“The truth is that most salespeople simply don’t know HOW to create a viable sales plan. Instead, they make substitutes.” — Kelly Riggs

If you want your inbound marketing strategy to be successful, you need to involve your sales team from the get-go. You need to invest in ongoing inbound sales training and coaching for your sales team to facilitate this transition and amplify the results of your inbound efforts. Once your sales reps understand and embrace the inbound methodology, their lives will be much, much easier and you will be on track to see a better return on your investment.

Understanding the Benefits of Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is an absolute must in business today. The buyer’s cycle has changed, putting the customer in the driver’s seat. The best way to thrive now and in the future is to adapt to the new sales process, which is exactly what inbound marketing allows you to do.

Inbound is about utilizing the web to reach qualified leads, nurture prospects, eventually turn them into paying customers, and then delight them long after the sale.

“The more your way of selling mirrors how your buyers’ brains naturally form buying decisions, the more successful you will be.” — David Hoffeld

Inbound relies heavily on the use of quality content to spread brand awareness, to reach your audience, to entice online visitors to check out your company, and eventually, to convince them to buy from you. It’s about pulling leads toward your company and products—instead of having your salespeople chase them down. This means each lead will be more qualified. Plus, nurturing your leads will allow for a shorter sales cycle.

In addition, because you can track all of your efforts online, and have metrics in place to evaluate your campaigns and strategies, you’ll be able to see exactly where your dollars are being spent, how and when your investment has been realized, and how much you’re profiting, which makes your investment more tangible.

Plus, you’ll drive ROI because your efforts will continue to pay off for a long time to come—your content from years ago will continue to be read and generate leads. And this has a lot more value than say, a billboard ad that will only provide results for 30 days, and even then, you can’t even track any direct results.

What is Sales Enablement and Why Does the Success of Your Business Depend on It?

Understanding the Benefits of Sales Enablement

The most successful companies know that sales enablement will increase efficiencies and increase profits. Preparing their salespeople to perform their jobs better is top priority because they know it offers high ROI. But many other business owners aren’t even sure of its meaning. Some confuse it with sales training. Others can’t find a proper definition and don’t fully understand why they need it.

Sales enablement is becoming more popular due to the rise of inbound marketing. Companies with tightly aligned sales and marketing departments achieve faster revenue growth, but a harmonious team atmosphere isn’t always so easy to achieve. It can be hard to mesh these two departments together into one cohesive team when they often have competing objectives.

Sales enablement helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing in order to generate more business. It’s a strategic and ongoing process that enables your sales and marketing employees to consistently have valuable conversations with the right type of consumer at the right stage of the sales process to optimize ROI.

By giving these employees the tools and knowledge they need to have more meaningful and relevant conversations with the right clients, revenue and relationships can both improve. After all, inbound marketing is about building relationships.

“Sales enablement helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing in order to generate more business.”

The best models will adequately prepare your reps for interactions with inbound customers and help them engage with them effectively, increase sales and marketing communication, offer valuable tools and information to improve sales, and make everyone an extension of the brand in order to close sales and drive revenue. It will give your salespeople insights into buyer behaviours, motivations, and activity in order to boost their results. It will help ensure your salespeople are always ready to respond to complex customer needs at any time.

Benefits of Partnering with an Inbound Marketing Agency That Understands Sales

Overhauling your sales organization to focus on inbound marketing rather than unsuccessful interruptive, outbound sales and marketing is a smart choice. If done properly, it will allow you to sustainably grow your business and allow you to close more sales, leading to higher profits. But implementing inbound can also take its toll on your sales team.

You spend so much time and money on your marketing strategy and your marketers that you might forget about your most critical department. This can have a negative effect on your salespeople.

To get the help you need with your inbound marketing strategy as well as your sales team, you should partner with an inbound agency that understands sales.

1. Generating Leads Isn’t Enough: You Need to Create Closers

You may have trained your marketing team to effectively generate leads using inbound marketing, but this isn’t enough. A full pipeline of leads isn’t going to result in increased sales if you can’t close them into customers. And that’s why your salespeople are even more important to your company now.

If your reps aren’t good inbound sellers or closers—if they don’t know the right inbound selling best practices, approaches, and strategies—they might have a tough time closing inbound customers. They might use aggressive outbound selling techniques in order to try to make sales. But with inbound, this isn’t effective. It’ll only drive away potential customers and hurt your business through a bad reputation.

Your sales reps are still a critical part of your strategy, even though you’ve switched to inbound marketing. And you need to be able to provide them the guidance and support they need to become inbound superstars. An inbound agency that understands sales can put the focus back on your reps and give them the knowledge and tools they need to succeed. You’ll be able to maximize your sales team’s potential and accelerate you reps’ performance.

“Sales enablement must support leaders’ change initiatives by creating a win-win outcome for individual contributors and the company.” — Peter Ostrow

2. Don’t Lose Your Top Reps: Reducing Sales Turnover

If your salespeople don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing—if they don’t get the proper training to switch their selling style to inbound—they’re going to get demoralized, frustrated, and angry. The same is true if they don’t understand that inbound marketing is a long game; it doesn’t come with quick and easy wins.

They’re going to feel ineffective in their new roles as inbound sellers. And they’re going to quit if they can’t make sales. As you know, high turnover leads to loss of knowledge, increased costs, wasted time, and other consequences.

By partnering with an inbound marketing agency that understands sales, you can set your salespeople up for success. The agency will offer ongoing sales enablement to empower your reps to make more sales, and, thus, feel more confident as inbound sellers. Once they start making sales and realizing how much easier and efficient it is to do so with inbound marketing, they’ll stick around for the long run. They’ll see the potential for increased sales in the future, and they won’t want to jump ship once they realize how many sales they can end up making down the line.

3. Investing in Your Reps: A Recipe for Company Success

When your salespeople are properly trained, have the support they need, and have the confidence they require to boost performance, you benefit from better results. Investing in your reps is the same thing as investing in your organization. You’ll reap the benefits. You’ll enjoy higher revenue and increased profitability. You’ll enjoy a higher ROI. You’ll benefit from cost savings through reduced turnover.

When you invest in your reps, you win, too. Partnering with the right inbound marketing agency, one that understands sales, can not only strengthen your new inbound strategy but also ensure you get the best results possible from it through sales coaching.

“When you invest in your reps, you win, too.”

Wondering how you can get help with your newfound inbound strategy as well as offer your sales team the help it needs? It’s simple: just partner with an inbound agency that offers sales coaching. You’ll get the best of both worlds. When sales and marketing are so intertwined, it makes sense to work with a marketing agency that focuses on sales.

How Sales Coaching Can Drive Results

Sales coaching is an interactive process between a sales leader and your sales team. It can help your reps develop more rapidly and produce more effective results by improving their ability to set goals, take action, and make better decisions. It focuses on your salespeople’s individual strengths and weaknesses and gives them the knowledge and tools they need to become better sellers.

When you introduce inbound marketing into your organization, sales coaching can go a long way to helping you maximize your results. Your salespeople need to fully understand the new buyer’s cycle, buyer expectations, and today’s market. They need to know how to measure inbound lead quality, how to effectively use social selling, and how to write quality blog posts. They need to know how to sell to inbound leads.

If your salespeople continue to use outbound selling techniques on inbound customers, you’re going to have trouble closing deals–and without closing deals, there’s really no reason to bring in leads to begin with. A sound inbound marketing strategy should include some form of sales coaching for your reps. Give your salespeople the advice, the guidance, and the help they need to become better inbound sellers by investing in sales coaching.

Benefits of Partnering with an Inbound Marketing Agency That Provides Sales Enablement

When you implement inbound marketing, you overhaul your entire sales and marketing departments. It can be difficult for your salespeople and marketers to get accustomed to the new way of doing things. Two separate teams now become intertwined. Old strategies go out the window and new methods need to be learned and utilized. It can be a shock to your team.

It’s important to offer your salespeople and marketers the support they need to get off on the right foot. The best way to do so is to partner with an inbound marketing agency that provides sales enablement.

Here’s how you’ll benefit from such a partnership.

1. Help with Your Inbound Strategy

Creating and implementing an inbound strategy can be a bumpy road. You’re not yet familiar with the trends, concepts, best practices, and do’s and don’ts. You’re not really sure what works and what doesn’t.

When you partner with an inbound agency, you’ll get the help you need to ensure your strategy is working effectively. You’ll get the advice you need to build a strategy that works for your industry, your unique company, your products or services, and your audience. This will help you realize ROI much quicker.

2. Get Your Salespeople on Board

Though an inbound agency can help with strategy, partnering with one that specifically provides sales enablement as well can go one step further by helping your salespeople too. Your sales team might push back against the change. Your reps might feel like they’re being replaced.

An agency that offers sales enablement can make the transition smoother for your sales team, getting all of your reps on board. Your sales coach will be able to explain exactly how inbound marketing will benefit your salespeople—that they won’t have to chase down leads or cold call anymore, that they’ll get higher quality leads that will lead to higher sales, that the sales cycle will be shortened, and that they’ll get sustainable lead flow.

“An agency that offers sales enablement can make the transition smoother for your sales team.”

Getting your sales team on board from the beginning can ensure everyone is happy with the changes you make, and, thus, are more productive.

3. Better Alignment between Sales and Marketing

Your salespeople are used to being lone wolves. By implementing inbound marketing, you’re forcing them to now collaborate with marketing, which can be a huge change for them. Both teams must work together for you to see the best results. An inbound agency that offers sales enablement can help make sure the alignment between sales and marketing is more effective. A sales coach can offer tips about how to properly communicate with marketing to get results and make your salespeople see how helping the marketers will, in turn, help them through better lead generation and conversion.

“Thought it may be difficult, refuse to attach a negative meaning to the word ‘no.’ View it as feedback. ‘No’ tells you to change your approach, create more value, or try again later. ‘No’ is not a failure. It is information.” — Anthony Iannarino

4. CRM Help

As part of your new strategy, you likely adopted HubSpot CRM for your sales team. Though easy to use, it can be difficult to understand exactly what all the features do and how they can be used. Your salespeople might not want to use your new system due to this.

An inbound marketing agency that is a certified HubSpot partner, in particular, can offer you the help and support your salespeople need to get used to using CRM.

5. Inbound Selling Techniques

If your salespeople are only used to using outbound selling techniques, inbound can be difficult to grasp. They might not understand social selling. They might not know what thought leadership is. They might not know how to be customer-centric. They might still use aggressive techniques rather than focusing on the customers’ needs.

“If your salespeople are only used to using outbound selling techniques, inbound can be difficult to grasp.”

An inbound agency that offers sales enablement can provide ongoing coaching and provide inbound selling techniques and best practices, so your salespeople can make more sales.

Why the Success of Your Business Depends on Sales Enablement

Implementing inbound marketing in your company is a drastic change. And it can be hard to get all of your employees on board. Your marketers and salespeople will likely be at odds, unwilling to work together. Your salespeople might have a lot of trouble completely changing their selling style to match the sales process. They might not understand inbound selling. They might resist it. They might get overwhelmed with inbound. They might end up doing more harm than good if you don’t invest in sales enablement to get them ready and able to sell to inbound customers and work with marketing.

When you enable your salespeople, you’ll be able to spur and accelerate revenue with inbound marketing in order to grow as a business. Your teams will be fully equipped to build strong, long-lasting relationships with your clients in order to bring in more sales-ready leads and close more deals.

If you’ve recently implemented inbound marketing and your salespeople are having trouble closing sales, are taking too long to achieve quota, are resistant to your changes, or are at odds with your marketers, then working with an inbound marketing agency that offers sales enablement is critical.

2. Sales Enablement Statistics You Can’t Ignore

Is it coaching? Content creation? Training? A new slew of sales tools? Sales enablement is a multitasker just like you. It’s been refining and elevating the sales process for a while now, and the evolution of sales enablement is ongoing.

But as sales enablement grows and changes, one thing remains consistent—sales teams need to get on board quickly. It’s crucial for the growth, development, and sustainability of your business. Sales enablement is the adaptive response to the swift changes in the way customers buy in the 21st century. The sales cycle has been completely overhauled. You must equip your team with the right tools to thrive within the new framework.

Here’s a short breakdown of only a few of the myriad ways sales enablement will benefit your business.

Use Tools for Specific Needs

Sales enablement can help businesses be more strategic about which tools are relevant to their specific goals. Making assessments and designing solutions is easy when sales teams have access to measurable data.

Create a Culture of Learning

Sales enablement prioritizes the growth and development of your sales team. By fostering a culture of constant learning and streamlined training, reps feel empowered and ready to sell in today’s new selling environment.

Personalize Development

A culture of learning does not equal generic, one-size-fits-all sales training. Sales enablement allows for more sophisticated, personalized, and highly tailored training thanks to data analytics.

Communicate Value

Through thoughtful content generation and strategic social media use, sales reps can become thought leaders in their industries and effectively communicate their value to customers.

Connect Sales and Marketing

The days of sales and marketing operating in separate silos are over. For your business to thrive in the 21st century, these two key departments must work in synchronicity. Sales enablement principles and tools are facilitating this process.

“The days of sales and marketing operating in separate silos are over.”

Boost Efficiency

Sales enablement tools improve the way sales teams operate. Reps can make better use of their time and prioritize customer engagement instead of wasting time on time-consuming administrative activities and searching for disorganized information in several different locations.

Still not convinced?

Since sales enablement is all about using concrete data to measure success, it’s only natural you’d need to evaluate some compelling statistics to be completely sold. We’re here to deliver the goods. Read on to discover current sales enablement statistics that simply cannot be ignored.

1. Businesses That Take Part in Strategic Lead Nurturing Generate 50% More Qualified Leads (Source: Smart Insights)

Lead nurturing can be an art form. You must respond to leads in an organized and timely fashion. However, if you get the timing wrong or provide irrelevant information, you may very well turn off a lead for good. Your reps are busy, and without a proper system in place, some leads might fall through the cracks. Your loss will be another business’ gain.

Lead nurturing starts with generating relevant, high-value content such as engaging blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, case studies, infographics, and more. After interest is piqued and brand trust is built, your reps can strategically use their CRM to organized and target leads in a more informed way.

2. The #1 Thing That Makes Content Effective Is Relevance (Source: LinkedIn)

What exactly constitutes “high-value content”? It’s content that adds value, enriches lives, and establishes your business as a thought leader. In other words, it’s content that is relevant to what your buyers want and need.

For example, you don’t want to squander precious resources by continuing to blog about topics that are not resonating or converting leads. It’s also important to remember that certain beats go stale eventually. Your business needs versatility, variety, and an eye for current industry trends to consistently generate top-notch content. Unfortunately, without sales enablement, many businesses are operating in a vacuum—they don’t know what’s working and what’s not.

With sales enablement you can track which content offers are high performing and which topics have lost their relevance, and adjust your content creation accordingly.

3. Nearly 70% of Buyers Have Increased the Amount of Content They Use to Research Purchases (Source: DemandGen Report)

Old selling techniques are not effective anymore because customers are buying in new ways. In the old days of cold calling, flyers, and other dated outbound sales methods, customers relied heavily on sales reps directly for the information they needed. Not anymore.

Today, customers are in the driver’s seat. They have more agency than ever before. In fact, before they’ve even spoken to a salesperson, potential buyers have likely done their own research by visiting your business’ website, reading reviews, checking out social media, and reading blogs.

“Customers are in the driver’s seat. They have more agency than ever before.”

It makes sense these well-informed customers are devouring nearly 70% more content than they used to before even speaking to a sales rep. Your business needs to be creating a wealth of informative and valuable blogs, whitepapers, case studies, and more to keep up.

4. The Average Sales Enablement Budget Doubled Between 2012 and 2014 to $2.4 Million (Source: SiriusDecisions)

Some business leaders stubbornly stick to the idea that sales enablement is a new fad or buzzword—this mentality is how they rationalize their reluctance to adapt. What’s more, smaller companies that do want to improve sales performance still often don’t budget anything towards sales enablement, which is problematic.

However, consider this statistic: Organizations were doubling their sales enablement budgets between 2012 and 2014—that’s four or five years ago!

Given the pace of the sales industry and the frequency of technological innovations in the 21st century, industries can experience monumental changes in even a single year. The fact that your competitors were potentially increasing their sales enablement efforts years ago means you need to invest in your future before it’s too late.

8-sales-enablement-statistics-you-cant-ignore

5. Companies with a Sales Enablement Tool See a 13% Revenue Growth Rate (Source: Aberdeen Group)

One of the great things about sales enablement is the high ROI. Businesses that invest in sales enablement have a proven upper hand against the competition. Companies using sales enablement tools experience a 13% revenue growth rate—which is 3x higher than companies that haven’t gotten on board.

Sales enablement doesn’t leave anything to guesswork—especially results.

6. Employees Spend 11% of Their Time Seeking Information across Enterprise Systems (Source: HubSpot)

Time is money, and, ideally, sales enablement should save your business on both. Improving the sales process means ensuring your sales reps can spend their time doing more productive things than searching for the information they need to do their jobs effectively.

Sales enablement tools that can be seamlessly integrated with the CRM (customer relationship management software) your team already uses can make a huge difference.

Having quick access to important data should be a priority for businesses looking to max out productivity.

7. Ineffective Sales Processes Can Cost Businesses Millions of Dollars in Lost Revenue Each Year (Source: Adobe)

Just how detrimental can inefficiencies be to your business? It’s a question worth a million dollars. Disorganization, lack of technological advancements, and not tracking data analytics can lead to some seriously convoluted sales processes. And ineffective sales processes are costly—big time.

A common mistake is following a sales process that’s too focused on the sales team, not the customer. Another is using generic training methods that are stale and forgettable. Cutting corners can actually add additional roadblocks for your team—and cost your business dearly.

8. Reps Who Receive Just 3 Hours of Coaching a Month Exceed Their Goals by 7%, Boosting Revenue by 25% and Increasing the Average Close Rate by 70% (Source: Business2Community)

Promoting an environment of constant learning within your sales department can positively influence every aspect of your business. Gone are the days of training as a one-time isolated event. For one, the industry is growing and changing too fast for that to be effective. Two, it’s not a sustainable way for your sales reps to develop and thrive.

“Never allow failure to enter your vocabulary. Redefine everything as a "learning experience" and then focus on figuring out how to get different results.” — Jill Konrath

Sales enablement makes it easier than ever to empower your sales reps to own their learning trajectories. Personalizing training, sustaining an ongoing dialogue about development, and providing easy access to online learning tools will all contribute to your reps’ success.

Even investing as little as three hours of coaching a month can make a world of difference. If you expect your salespeople to make meaningful connections with customers, don’t forget to make meaningful connections with them too.

3. Sales Enablement Tools

For your salespeople to succeed in the 21st century, you must equip them with the right tools to grow and thrive.

That’s where sales enablement comes in.

Sales enablement tools will give your team a competitive edge, refine the sales process, and help customize your strategies to fit your business.

Sales enablement tools can do the following for your team:

  • Save time
  • Allow for continuous learning
  • Add value through the right content
  • Align the sales team with other departments
  • Track, measure, and analyze data

Arguably the best marketing platform in the digital marketing industry, HubSpot is a must-have sales enablement tool for small and mid-sized businesses.

These two HubSpot tools will help your team succeed:

HubSpot CRM

Your salespeople are going to love HubSpot CRM. This inbound tool eliminates the tedious manual work that disrupts selling and wastes everyone’s time. HubSpot CRM will actually help them sell. Stop wasting valuable time and resources logging emails and calls. HubSpot CRM is easy to implement and use, works in the background with your existing tools, and allows your team to stay focused on selling.

HubSpot Sales

With HubSpot Sales, your sales reps can monitor and track exactly who has opened their emails, when and where they opened them, and how many times. The tool collects and stores relevant information about email recipients. Use the handy sales email templates to send personalized messages quickly and easily. Find out which emails are the most effective and share the best-performing templates with the rest of your team. Your sales team will be able to better connect with the right people, at the right time, with the right message.

7-Step Checklist for Choosing the Right Sales Enablement Tools

1. Is It Easy & Intuitive?

For sales enablement to work, your whole team needs to get on board. If you’re implementing a tool that is difficult to use or time consuming to learn, you’ll likely feel pushback from your busy reps.

Select a tool that is streamlined, intuitive, simple to use, and includes top-notch training. Be strategic about implementation so your team members won’t reject new tools.

2. How Well Does It Integrate?

It’s likely that your team already uses certain sales tools and has a framework in place. Just because you need sales enablement doesn’t mean you should bulldoze over everything that’s already been established.

The right sales enablement tool will integrate with the CRM, tools, and processes your reps already use on a daily basis.

3. Is It Scalable?

Sales teams should foster a culture of constant learning and development. As such, you need tools that will grow with you to keep ahead of the competition. Make sure to select a tool that is agile enough to offer scalable support.

4. Does It Provide Customer Insights?

You need to see real-time reporting and results if you’re going to adapt your approach for maximum sales success. What’s resonating with customers? Are they engaging? What’s working and what needs adjusting?

Give leads what they want and you’ll convert them to loyal customers. Plus, your sales reps will never feel like they’re working in a void—they’ll be able to measure their efforts.

7-Step-Checklist-for-Choosing-the-Right-Sales-Enablement-Tools

5. How about Internal Results?

Your salespeople will not only feel empowered with more insights into leads and customers, they’ll want to measure their own performance as well. How will they challenge themselves otherwise? Quantifiable results will improve the entire sales process.

Additionally, tracking internal results means top performers’ successes can be replicated across the board to benefit the entire team. Sharing is caring.

6. Does It Improve Content Management?

We’ve said it before—content is king. Valuable, enriching content will drive your business and your sales team. Without an effective content management system in place, however, you might be squandering prime opportunities for growth.

Select sales enablement tools that improve on content management through organization, automation, scheduling, analytics, and multimedia support.

7. Is It Mobile?

It’s no secret customers love their mobile devices. If your website and content aren’t optimized for a smartphone or tablet, they might get completely passed by. Your on-the-go sales reps will surely appreciate sales enablement tools that can be used on their mobile devices, too.

Delivering sales communication seamlessly across devices and platforms can keep your team in the loop no matter the situation.

4. How to Evaluate Your Sales Compensation Plan

Does your sales compensation plan encourage the right outcomes for your company?

The way your salespeople work largely depends on how they’re paid. As a business owner, you’ve likely wondered, “Am I paying my salespeople right?”

Since your salespeople have a direct impact on your revenue, it’s crucial that your plan properly rewards them and maximizes your company’s profits.

A good plan will help you drive sales objectives and attract and retain top talent. But designing and implementing your sales compensation plan is only the beginning.

To ensure your plan remains effective as your business evolves, you need to perform ongoing evaluation.

Make sure your plan benefits both your employees and your organization. Choosing the best plan will motivate your salespeople to work toward your business’ overall goals, while still offering a profitable margin.

sales-process-audit

10-Step Process to Evaluating Your Sales Compensation Plan

1. Do Your Employees’ Interests Align with Your Business Objectives?

Clearly define your business objectives and ensure your sales compensation plan communicates these goals to your team. Salespeople are often motivated by money. Want to develop new business? Then properly compensate your reps when they acquire new accounts. Want your team to focus on upselling or retaining accounts? Design your plan accordingly to reward these behaviours.

2. Is It Market-Competitive?

Give some thought to how your potential employees will view your sales compensation plan. How does your plan compare to companies you compete with? To attract and retain top talent, build a plan that will set your company apart from the competition. But be realistic about the market—use competitive information as a starting point, and adjust your expectations according to what you’re able to offer.

3. Does It Appropriately Reward Salespeople?

Too often, companies severely underpay or overpay their sales reps. If you aren’t paying them enough, your employees will leave and go where the money is. Overpaying reps can cost your company millions of dollars in the long run. And your employees will have little incentive to drive sales. Fairly reward your employees in a way that benefits both parties.

4. Does It Accurately Reward Sales Performance?

Clearly define your performance expectations and the associated commissions or bonuses. Since there’s a direct link between the goals you set for your employees and the final outcomes, addressing employee performance in your plan should be straightforward.

5. Does It Drive Desired Behaviours?

If you focus on driving the right behaviours, the outcomes will take care of themselves. Ask yourself which behaviours are important to your company—they should ultimately help you reach your specific business objectives. Then structure your plan to encourage these behaviours.

6. Are Your Targets Challenging and Achievable?

If you set your targets too low, every salesperson will easily be able to reach them. You’ll blow out your compensation budget and hurt your company’s overall performance. Targets that are too high, however, will lower morale. Setting unrealistic expectations won’t incentivize your sales reps. It’s good to be ambitious, but remember to stay balanced.

7. Does It Motivate All Your Salespeople?

Your salespeople have a direct impact on your revenue and a major influence on how the marketplace perceives your company. Your compensation plan needs to motivate these frontline champions. Make sure your plan is fair and works for all salespeople.

8. Are You Tracking the Right Performance Metrics?

How do you evaluate your employees’ success in their roles? Develop metrics to determine how your employees are performing and how they can improve. Activity sales metrics, for example, show what employees are doing on a daily basis. Real-time visibility into your reps’ activities will help you coach your sales reps to meet and exceed their goals.

9. Has It Evolved with Your Business Strategy?

As you look toward next year, how are your sales strategies changing? Adjust your sales compensation plan when you update your business strategy. A good plan evolves as your company grows and ensures both the company and employees benefit. If your plan needs updating, don’t wait to fix it. The success of your company is on the line.

10. Is It Well-Communicated?

Review your sales compensation plan at least once a year and clearly communicate any changes to your team. When you change your compensation plan with no explanation, your employees are at a high risk of leaving. To avoid upsetting or confusing your reps, communicate the changes well in advance and explain how both them and the company will benefit.

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5. How a Sales and Marketing Agency Can Boost Your Sagging Sales

Sales and marketing don’t only coexist—they’re codependent and must work in tandem. Businesses that recognize this are the businesses likely adapting and thriving in the new 21st-century economy. Aligning sales and marketing just makes sense. Combined, they contribute to a well-rounded cycle of sustenance for your organization.

How?

Think of marketing as a gathering process. Your business is collecting information to learn more about what makes your ideal customers tick. With enough familiarity and insight, you can go forward confidently and connect your products and services to the right prospects. That’s where sales comes in.

Sales can be viewed more in terms of hunting. After marketing has played its role, your reps go out and engage with prospects and customers and help them move through the sales funnel. This engagement is multi-tiered and can be conducted in person, over the phone, through email, via social media, or by some hybrid combination based on your prospect’s preferred platform for communication.

Your business needs to be skilled at both hunting and gathering.

Sales and marketing processes cannot operate in silos—instead, they require cohesion, harmony, and integration at all levels and in all departments.

If you don’t feed both equally, your whole business will starve. Your sales will suffer and revenue will drop.

The right sales and marketing agency can turn things around for your organization and begin the essential process of alignment, taking “sales” and “marketing” and unifying them into a single integrated unit: “sales and marketing.”

“Ideas are worthless without execution, and execution is pointless without ideas.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

There are many ways a sales and marketing agency can transform the buyer’s journey, give your business a competitive edge and positively impact your bottom line, especially if you’re currently struggling with sagging sales and catering to the new way customers buy.

Give your sagging sales a facelift with the help of a sales and marketing agency.

Here are 6 ways a sales and marketing agency can boost your sagging sales.

1. Align Sales and Marketing

Fifty-six percent of aligned organizations met their revenue goals and 19 percent beat them. What’s the point of having goals if you’re not going to meet (and surpass!) them. You must begin aligning today if you want to save your sagging sales.

“Nothing is more dangerous for enablement leaders than following each idea and requirement without having a clear strategy and a solid plan for what to achieve. The risk is that many things will be done, but no goals will be achieved.” — Tamara Schenk

If you don’t know where to start, it’s time to call up a sales and marketing agency to get things started.

2. The Power of Clarity

A sales and marketing agency can unite all parts of your business and get everyone on the same page. One of the first steps is to clarify your mission, your goals, and your brand. Then you must ensure your messaging, mandate, and vision are consistent across teams and departments.

A sales and marketing agency can provide the proper infrastructure to accomplish these aims. The power of clarity and transparency across your entire business will bolster your sales team. Progress will be easier to measure and track. And the rest of the business can support the collective mission.

3. Close More Leads

Seems simple, right? In order to increase sales, your reps need to close. Yet this narrow but well-intentioned focus can reinforce a rift between sales and marketing departments. Your reps want to always be selling (hunting) and are uninterested in what they perceive to be a waste of time and resources (gathering).

However, single-minded selling might be one of the reasons your reps can’t close—directly leading to sagging sales. Studies show salespeople are able to close 25 percent of leads that have been nurtured through marketing efforts. Without any marketing priming, your sales team will only be able to close a meager 1.5 percent of leads.

Generating positive attention, creating valuable content, and cultivating an engaging social media presence are not simply marketing “frills” or distractions. The right sales and marketing agency can facilitate the sharing of information between departments and increase accountability and collaboration.

Most importantly, a sales and marketing agency can help your sales reps successfully close leads at a higher rate after they’ve been properly nurtured via inbound marketing.

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4. Refine Your Sales Process

Sales and marketing reinforce one another. But if your business does not have a clearly articulated, repeatable, and scalable process in place, your sales infrastructure will be shaky at best. Your whole endeavour will risk toppling over at any time.

Enlisting the help of a sales and marketing agency can help lock down a high-functioning inbound selling process that everyone can get behind. Inbound selling tailors the sales process to the needs of your prospects, is buyer-centric, is based on hard data, and can thus be measured and adapted for maximum success.

According to HubSpot, more than half of B2B businesses are missing a clearly defined sales process. Don’t be part of the 60 percent. Improve sales processes by clearly communicating your selling strategies, creating a playbook, and including marketing in the mix. You’ll see sales soar.

5. Ongoing Learning & Mentorship

Here’s a shocking statistic for you: According to Marketing Donut, 8 percent of reps are getting 80 percent of all sales for your entire business. Is this truly sustainable? Don’t you want to cultivate an entire team of sales stars? You must populate your team with professional equals pushing and challenging each other to do better instead of treasuring a single unicorn.

You’ve likely encountered (or sought out) “rainmakers”—sales giants who have consistently high success rates and outperform the rest of the sales team without fail. However, instead of a single rare unicorn, wouldn’t you like that je ne sais quoi to trickle down and help your entire team sell more?

A sales and marketing agency can help keep it raining for all your sales reps. Inbound agencies that also offer sales enablement are especially coveted because they give your reps the tools they need to sell after adapting to the new ways customers buy. Such a multi-faceted agency can also help you foster a culture of learning, empowerment, and development.

6. Start Social Selling

If you want to boost sagging sales, you need to adapt to the new way customers buy. And it’s increasingly mobile. With 21st-century advances in technology and the prevalence of smartphones and social media, the way businesses communicate with customers has drastically changed. One reason your sales might be sinking is that of a failure to incorporate social selling into your strategy.

Social selling leverages online social tools and platforms to engage and build brand loyalty with your customers. It is a first point of contact and is quickly becoming part of the foundation of what most sales teams do. Yet it’s not simply about creating different social media accounts—it’s an art form.

A sales and marketing agency can set up your business for social selling success by making sure you’re using platforms that are most relevant to your business, remain consistent to your brand, add value, and measure success analytically. Building relationships and driving business to your site will drive sales.

6. How to Ensure Your Company’s Success in the Future and Beyond

The world of B2B sales has changed. The sales and marketing strategies that worked 10 years ago are no longer applicable.

To keep up in the world of digital marketing, your business will need to adapt.

New approaches like inbound marketing are highlighting the importance of being a leader in your field and gaining buyers’ trust. Sales enablement strategies are educating and preparing sales departments for all kinds of buyers. Lastly, more companies are asking for expert advisory help to ensure long-term success.

Read on to learn three strategies you can adopt to improve the outlook of your business.

INBOUND MARKETING

The inbound marketing method brings your potential customers right to you. You become the expert, sought after by buyers to solve their problems. Interruptive marketing tactics like direct mailers, TV ads, and billboards are no longer effective. Ads bombard buyers all day, every day—we’ve learned to tune them out.

If your business is invisible online, you’re missing out on potential customers—plain and simple. Most buyers begin the product-researching phase online. A strong online presence introduces your company to buyers right at the beginning of their search. You can gain brand awareness and trust by giving expert advice, answering common questions, and suggesting solutions.

“Honest and transparent content is the best sales tool...in the world. Period.” — Marcus Sheridan

With inbound marketing, you are targeting buyers who are already looking for your solution. They’re halfway there! By understanding how your ideal customers research and buy, you can attract, engage, and convert leads faster.

Ensuring your marketing plan is a success takes more than just planning and organization. An inbound marketing strategy encompasses many digital marketing tactics like web design, branding, social media, content creation, SEO, and data analysis. It’s important to understand the level of time and effort that goes into building and maintaining a successful inbound strategy. Consider involving an inbound marketing agency if the workload is overwhelming.

There are many steps to make sure you’re ready for inbound success.

Create a Unique Inbound Strategy

Take the time to conduct an evaluation of your business. What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses? Who is your target audience? What pains do they have? What problems do you help solve?

Think about your organization’s marketing goals. Defining what success means to you makes analysis and reporting more focused.

Build It and They Will Come

Whether you’re using in-house marketing staff or hiring an inbound marketing agency, this is where they get down to work. Updating your website, creating and optimizing web content, and improving your social media presence are all early tasks to complete.

This is where all the work goes on behind the scenes. In this stage, you’re getting everything set up and ready for launch.

Blast Off!

It’s time to go live and thrust your brand into the digital world!

Consider using marketing automation software like HubSpot. This can ease the stress of maintaining your inbound campaign. This software can schedule your campaigns and posts, analyze their reach, and keep the long-term plan in focus.

Stay Consistent

To stay relevant and start your inbound campaign on the right foot, you need to be consistent. To maintain your web presence, publish content frequently and consistently, and stay engaged on social media.

Report and Adapt

You can’t push a bunch of content out into the online world and expect immediate results. You will need to analyze and re-evaluate regularly to figure out what is working and what isn’t.

Where are your customers successfully finding you? What kinds of content are they enjoying most? Based on your analysis, the marketing plan will adapt and change.

Prepare to Sell

This leads us to the second way your company can ensure success: training your salespeople to engage with and sell to inbound leads.

How-to-Ensure-Your-Companys-Success-in-the-Future-and-Beyond

SALES ENABLEMENT

The way customers are buying has changed. Salespeople today need a new strategic approach to selling. No more scripted pitches; buyers are well-informed and need a customized selling strategy to fit their individual needs.

An inbound marketing strategy will not be successful without sales enablement. Your salespeople need to understand the inbound methodology and have the tools they need to succeed. Sales enablement strategies help evolve seasoned salespeople into invigorated and educated inbound sales specialists.

To stay competitive in a buyer-focused market means changing how your business sells. Sales enablement arms your sales reps with the right technology and education they need. Find new prospects and nurture more leads by assessing your current sales processes and selling strategy today.

There are two main ways sales-enablement experts can empower your sales reps:

Sales Training and Coaching

Changing your sales tactics from an outward approach to a more customer-centric method is a massive culture change. Don’t underestimate how much this change may affect some of your sales staff.

Ongoing training and coaching of your sales reps provides them with knowledge of the inbound methodology and confidence to convert leads efficiently.

CRM Software Implementation

Your salespeople need a way to track and organize their prospects and leads. Customized CRM software gives insight into how your salespeople are doing on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.

Sales enablement experts help analyze your sales numbers using CRM software. Tools like HubSpot not only provide a CRM system but also a marketing automation component. Combining these in one system brings transparency to your sales and marketing departments, leading to increased sales success.

ADVISORY SERVICES

Are your sales and marketing departments engaged in a civil war? Are you a start-up in need of advice? Do you need help pinpointing your target market? Or do you need to update your sales and marketing infrastructure to adapt to changing consumer needs?

If you’re stuck in a state of indecisiveness, it might be time to ask for some expert advice. Asking for help from sales and marketing experts is not a sign of weakness. It’s a way to show your commitment to the future of your business and your dedication to your employees.

Professional advisors should take the time to listen to the struggles of your business. A business advisor will work to understand your company’s unique needs and create a customized plan to get your business back on track. A good consultant will analyze your company’s processes while watching for departmental and company-wide bottlenecks. Inviting a third party to look at your business will give you an unbiased understanding of where your company can improve.

Once a strategy is in place, an advisor’s job is to make sure you implement it and adjust it as needed. A great advisor will offer ideas and policies that aim to bring focus and improvements to your organization.

Consider an expert business advisor if you need advice in the following areas:

Proof of Concept & Product Launches

Do you have a great idea or innovative new product? Need to test the waters to see if it’s a viable undertaking? Get an expert to run a pilot project to test the market, conduct market research, and establish a pricing strategy.

Once you’ve proven there’s a market for your product, you need a concrete plan to promote your idea to the world. Expert advisors create comprehensive plans to make sure your product or service gets in front of the right people.

Brand Strategy

Whether you’ve been in business for 50 years or 5 years, understanding how you differ from your competition is vital. Professional advisors help define where you are, where you want to go, and how to get there.

Customer Experience

How customers find your business has evolved. Buyers begin almost every product search online, and most first interactions happen via the web. Make sure you’re making a good impression. An advisor can help you clarify your company’s message, improve your website, and make sure it’s easy for customers to use.

Sales Department Optimization

The sales department is the heart and soul of any business. A professional consultant will analyze your sales process and provide sales training and support to help push your sales team to the next level.

Having trouble finding new leads or losing leads along the way? Find out why! Expert consultants can suggest and put in place sales processes to increase sales success and boost revenue.

If your sales reps need a cheerleader, a sales advisor can be extra support. If you don’t have the infrastructure or time to micromanage your sales team, an advisor can help coach and motivate your team.

Conclusion

With the way today’s marketplace is changing, there’s no denying the need for sales enablement. The most successful companies know how vital sales enablement is to increase efficiencies and boost profits. Businesses that invest in sales enablement truly have the upper hand against the competition.

”The reality is, your sales teams are no longer in control of how customers explore or evaluate you as a provider, and sales needs to step up.” — Tiffani Bova

When you enable your salespeople, you’ll be able to spur and accelerate revenue with inbound marketing to grow your business.

And when you partner with an inbound agency that understands sales, you’ll get the help you need to implement a successful inbound marketing strategy and empower your entire team.

So what are you waiting for? Get started with sales enablement.

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