Perhaps sales enablement is spread across a number of roles in your business. But however you organize it, Gartner describes it as a strategy to “provide salespeople with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.”
Of course, sales enablement tools are also important, as are training and coaching.
But in this article, we’ll focus on one aspect of sales enablement – providing your reps with top-quality, relevant content to use at each point during the longer B2B sales funnel in order to close more sales, more efficiently.
Why is the B2B Funnel Special in Sales Enablement?
Unlike consumers in general, no B2B business wakes up with the goal of buying something expensive today! So you need to
- understand and appreciate the special nature of the business buyer’s journey through the funnel and
- have enough materials to keep them engaged at different stages as they research and come to a decision.
As someone said, it’s easier for business buyers to fall out of a funnel than into one!
The B2B sales funnel is special on account of three factors:
1 The Length of the Sales Cycle
B2B sales processes involve a lot of moving parts, decision makers, and touchpoints that create high stakes. It takes time to move the client from awareness through to closing a deal.
2 The Expense of Most Business Purchases
When businesses buy a new product or service, it’s normally
- in large quantities (to initiate or replace existing product or leverage volume pricing) or
- of advanced quality (to improve on an existing product/service they use).
This means a serious investment for most businesses.
3 The Need to Consider Your Solution
Multiple people make the decision to close a business deal. They compare your solution at length with all other options. This can devour months, and often more than a year.
So – for these factors to turn in your favor, you need to work on your sales enablement and tune up your B2B strategy in terms of the content and resources available to your sales people for a lengthy and personalized period of engagement. It’s equivalent to putting the right oil in your car to keep the engine tuned up for an inter-state journey.
The good news is, companies with sales enablement in place win 15% more sales. The resources include content that both
- preps your sales people (ask them what they need from you!) and
- speaks directly to your leads (hyper-targeted).
The overriding requirement to achieve this is to maintain single-value messaging!
Sales Enablement: One Message Rules the Funnel!
Customers rule your business! Marketing and selling is not about driving demand but about driving value – and the value is defined by your target customers.
That means providing value to your prospect based on your unique value proposition (UVP):
- You educate them on the value of your solution to them.
- You engage them by putting them in your story to see for themselves the value of using your solution.
- You stimulate their emotions about the valuable transformation you’ll bring to their business with your solution. Features and functions are important but often not the driver. They must “feel” your value first.
- You show you understand their values by empathizing with their problems, which you have the ability to solve.
To offer a single value message to your target B2B prospects, you need to understand what they really want and value, and then stay on point.
So – every conversation or touchpoint with a customer in the funnel should not only be intentional, but convey the single value message. This applies
- whichever kind of asset you’re using at any point and
- whichever aspect of that value you’re discussing.
Once you have your UVP, you must also communicate it explicitly to your prospects wherever they are in any of your communication/marketing channels. Brand consistency and recognizability lead to trust in the business world.
So let’s talk about the assets your people need to enable B2B sales in a long funnel.
High-Quality Assets to Enable Your Reps at Each Touchpoint
As indicated, all assets must be geared to how they help your customer move down the funnel, e.g. they must answer the prospect’s questions:
- What’s in it for me?
- Why should I buy from you?
However, to engage in relevant, individualized conversations and activities at any touchpoint, sales reps also need to know how and when to use the assets/content you make available to them. Each should be intended for use “just in time” i.e. relating to your prospect individually according to their interest or query that day.
For example, your prospect discovers you via a blog post and signs up for an e-book. They’re gathering information, not ready to buy. If you push, you lose them. If there’s silence, that’s odd. You need the right support material for the next stage. Conversational, friendly, still focused on your one value…
So – some sales enablement material will be for in-house use, educating your reps, some outward-facing and customizable. But content will include:
- Discovery call checklists to avoid missing crucial points
- Channel guidance to engage leads appropriately according to where they are
- FAQs that can then be customized according to your prospect and their journey progress
- Product comparison sheet showing both honesty and your value (and equivalent “battle cards” for your reps to absorb internally)
- Slide decks – tailored versions for both meetings and small screens
- Videos – captioned because many will watch with sound off
- Special reports showing more detailed or technical information or research
- White papers (thought leadership content) to show your authority – used as a lead gen and for follow-up
- Email welcome series – making sure they’re user friendly for the B2B inbox – and other emails for upselling in due course
- Email templates that can be customized for any use
- Case studies – potential buyers want the security of knowing who has benefited and how
- Call scripts geared to various prospect segments
- Objection handling scripts
- After-sales training materials, etc.
There will be many other items and resources we haven’t room to list here! But you must ensure each piece of content is tied into the buyer’s path so you can
- offer a unique perspective at the right time,
- to the right person in the business,
- to help them buy (not help you sell!).
You’ll obviously need a depository for your resources, and tools to keep records – which is where business technologies come in.
However, we’ve stressed sales enablement content here because your reps need to have enough high-quality content to stop your leads falling out of your B2B funnel over time!
We Can Help You!
We can help you oil your team’s sales engine with the right sales enablement content! Schedule your free consultation with one of our experts today!