As sales and marketing technology develops at disruptive speed, B2B marketing agencies need to step up their game to stay relevant and empower their clients. Merely focussing on brand awareness, lead generation, and marketing campaigns doesn’t meet your customer’s expectations anymore. They’re realizing they need to work every stage of the funnel, including the bottom part that used to be ruled by the sales team only. This changed, however, because haven’t we all heard about the fact that content is king and context is queen by now? This leaves us with the real question: who’s ruling now?
Actually, your client’s customers are. Today’s B2B buyers are more empowered and more demanding than ever. They’re more informed, have higher expectations and don’t value conversations with sales anymore. Most sales teams are not ready for this transformation. In fact, they’re struggling to be successful, with over 50% of B2B salespeople not achieving their quota in 2016 (CSO insights).
Leading agencies are rapidly adapting to this revolution and are starting to look beyond campaign creation and lead generation. They are aiming to create impact on their clients’ sales conversations, rather than just generating leads with clickbait content. After all the efforts that the agency has done, they want to ensure every interaction between the salesperson and the prospect is on point, because a signed sales order is the only thing that will prove the actual ROI of their marketing campaign.
Why sales enablement is the logical next step after marketing automation
Think of it as follows – marketing automation helps agencies to generate maximum impact on the top part of their clients’ funnel: setting up campaigns, advertising relevant content, tracking engagement with this content, and basically taking their client’s prospects by the hand to guide them through the entire process. But when finally arriving at the crucial hand-off point between marketing and sales, they would let them go: “Here you go sales, I’ve brought you a hot, ideal customer profile lead. My job is done, now I trust you to follow up and close this deal.” No need to explain what a waste it is to let go at this critical point in the buyer’s journey – and this is exactly where sales enablement comes in.
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement empowers sales teams to sell efficiently, and at a higher velocity. Sales enablement is when you enable marketers to equip sales with great content. In order to achieve this, you need to have the right processes and content in place, complemented by a sales enablement platform.
A sales enablement platform distributes marketing content into branded environments, making it easier for reps to discover, present, share, and measure all content they use throughout the sales cycle. As a result, sales reps can be more productive, have better sales conversions with buyers and deliver more segmented marketing. The best sales enablement initiatives start with a great strategy, and enable that strategy with the right software.
Why should B2B marketing agencies care about sales enablement?
Companies feel that they aren’t in the driver seat like they used to be, but often can’t get to the nub. So they turn to their agency for advice, this is why you should welcome them with open arms:
1. Create a path of growth for your customers and secure more projects
By adding sales enablement to their service offering, agencies create a path of growth for their clients’ business. They shift their initiatives with the needs of their clients and grow their reputation as a trusted advisor. These agencies see an increase in the volume of projects with existing clients, experience expansion into new industries and are able to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
2. Proven ROI leads to larger contracts and longer engagements
“By looking at this through a sales enablement lens, agencies can create content and plan marketing initiatives that help reps have deeper, more informed conversations with potential customers. And when an agency can show its impact on actual revenue — when it can connect the dots — that’s when clients see the firm as a partner and invest in larger contracts and longer engagements.” – Hubspot, 2017
3. Proving campaign effectiveness through sales metrics
With collateral distribution, presentation, and analytics happening all in one place, agencies gain feedback on the customer journey and visibility into the bottom of the funnel, an area where they currently lack validation. A more complete story is told when campaign effectiveness is proven through metrics like lead to customer rate, average deal size, and the most frequently used collateral – we all know there is value beyond clicks.
4. Closing the loop – create content that helps close deals
Finding that value and using it to create better collateral for every selling situation is a perfect example of how leading agencies use sales enablement to increase bottom of the funnel results for their clients and increase the number of projects for themselves.
5. Align marketing and sales to build a customer journey that generates revenue
Consider this powerful statistic from Marketo: when sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies become 67 percent better at closing deals. Sales enablement simplifies the cross-department interactions it takes to build powerful customer journeys that deliver more deals. And bringing more value to the table can help agencies improve their value propositions.
But don’t just take our word for it: