Recently I had a conversation with a Sales Enablement leader. He mentioned the obstacles he faces in creating compelling sales training for new products. One of his biggest hurdles was the lack of alignment between training and marketing. He shared a story about a new product launch that failed. Sales was telling one story while the marketing content said something else. The message confused the buyer and the unique value proposition was unclear.
Unfortunately this situation is common in many organizations. There is a solution. The Sales Enablement leader can bridge the gap between sales training and marketing. An important question to ask is: “Can marketing help my sales enablement efforts?” This is especially important for a new product launch. The answer to the question is unequivocally yes, if the two functions are aligned.
Download the Sales Enablement and Marketing Collaborator for tips to increase your marketing alignment. And improve your ability to train salespeople on new products.
Sales enablement needs to align with marketing to be more successful. Forrester Research reports that only 8% of B2B companies have sales and marketing alignment. As the Sales Enablement leader, you are in a position to bridge the gap. It begins as a dialog with your marketing colleagues. Invite them to brainstorm together. Discuss what “story” works in the field and how marketing can reinforce it. Then let marketing share their buyer research. Blend the learnings from both groups into a better “story”. That is the one you teach your salespeople during training. This is also the one that they tell their buyers. With this alignment, marketing collateral supports the sales efforts with one consistent message.
Alignment involves many things – like common goals, processes and investments in technology. Yet communication is probably the most important component. You and the marketing team need to get on the same page. Involve them early in the sales training content development discussions. If not, then all the best technology and processes won’t make a difference. If you do, you increase the chance that your training is aligned with marketing’s communications. Consistently sending the same messages to your buyers is powerful!
Work together to improve your ability to understand the buyer
Marketing is known as the face of the customer. Good marketing departments continually research marketplace buyers. Understanding how, why and when your buyers make purchases are differentiators to your salespeople. Your ability to leverage this knowledge will strengthen the content of your sales training.
Jointly build a plan to better understand your buyer. Answers to these questions will give you the insights you need to start:
- What questions does the buyer ask before they buy?
- What sources of information do they use to research their potential purchase?
- What are their trigger events that stimulate them into action?
- How can you monitor their activities to gauge their stage in the buying process?
- What are their objectives and obstacles?
- How do they measure success?
After these questions are answered, profile the buyers in your target market. Build a buyer persona by giving the profile a name and picture. Your persona now has a personality with a name that everyone recognizes and understands. This helps you effectively communicate to your target and facilitate their buying process. Using this approach means you understand the buying tendencies of your target audience. Thus increasing their propensity to purchase.
Teach salespeople to sell benefits and use marketing as support
When you were collaborating you learned a great deal about your buyer. You identified events that cause them to take action – trigger events. And your sales training content aligned with marketing. You now:
- Know the factors that influence their purchase decisions.
- Understand that they rank some benefits higher than others.
- Have skilled salespeople who sell benefits that resonate with your buyers.
Now is the time to solidify your cooperative sales training approach. For instance, portability is a benefit of mobile devices. However, your collaboration with marketing revealed that your buyer prefers a high coverage area. Your salespeople now ask the right questions to confirm this preference. They communicate the high coverage area benefits directly to your customer. At the same time, marketing collateral communicates the same benefits to this buyer audience. The deal closes without complications.
You have now achieved a milestone. Your sales enablement efforts have resulted in consistent messaging, buyer knowledge and benefits selling. This is a formula for success.
“Can marketing help my sales enablement efforts – especially with new product launches?” To find out, download the Sales Enablement and Marketing Collaborator.