Sales enablement is a holistic approach to improving Sales and Marketing’s alignment by effectively managing content, tracking content utilization & engagement analytics, personalizing content along every stage of the buyer’s journey, and providing both departments with the resources necessary to be as successful as possible. Many different tactics and disciplines are under the sales enablement umbrella and it is important to execute on those strategies as effectively as possible for the best results.
Sales communications is one of those disciplines that can become buried under competing projects and not receive the attention it deserves. However, the importance of regularly and clearly communicating with Sales cannot be understated. SiriusDecisions has found that 82 percent of decisions makers think sales reps are unprepared. When Sales can’t find the right materials or information they need, their chances of success are dramatically lowered. Within the purview of sales enablement, a poor sales communications strategy will prevent Sales from achieving a complete view of their buyers and thus speak directly to their needs with proper content.
Simply knowing how important sales communications is, and executing a successful sales communications strategy, are two different things. There are many ways to disseminate information to a global salesforce, but not every single one is effective or necessarily the best fit for every organization; each situation will be unique.
SiriusDecisions, in a piece on sales communications best practices, laid out some of the regularly seen delivery methods:
- Electronic Newsletter
- Web/Video-Conferencing Session
- Video and Audio Broadcast
- Internal Social Platform
- First-line Managers
Most large organizations will have a mix of these types of communications, but electronic newsletter is often the easiest and most prevalent way to quickly convey information to a sales team. These types of communications can quickly flood inboxes, however. The idea behind a successful sales communications strategy is not to bludgeon reps with information and hope they retain the important parts. Reps are less likely to invest time searching through their inbox for internal communications when they have emails coming in related to deals they are working to close. And so, the best chance to improve a sales communications strategy is to provide Sales with a solution that is designed to attract them to the information—like a moth to a flame.
To do so, it’s necessary to store the information where Sales spends their time and is likely to be receptive to digesting it. In their best practices piece, SiriusDecisions recommends “[Creating] a centralized sales communications function that acts as editor-in-chief and publisher, with guidelines and governance policies that make it clear that all communications to the field force must be channeled through this function.” The report goes on to state where they recommend this platform be housed. “In larger organizations (more than $500 million in annual revenue), we see this function residing with sales enablement.”
Ideally, a sales enablement platform facilitates all of the strategies mentioned in the opening paragraph. Both Sales and Marketing should be working in the system daily to manage content, access content, send materials to buyers, and collaborate on projects. The SiriusDecisions recommendation to house a sales communications tool within a sale enablement platform aligns with the idea of communicating with Sales where they are most likely to be spending their time.
The ability to communicate product changes, organizational news, industry trends, and competitor information within the sales enablement platform that individuals are utilizing on a daily basis is a huge boost for a sales communications strategy. Packaging the information in easily digestible formats with eye-catching design drives higher engagement rates and leads to a more informed sales force. Executing a well-designed sales communications strategy pays dividends down the road, and is part and parcel of any strong sales enablement function.