Did you know that up to seven individuals participate in a single B2B purchasing decision? That’s just one of the many challenges faced by marketing and sales teams working to accelerate growth at manufacturing and industrial companies.
Today’s B2B buyers have more control than ever when it comes to purchasing complex products and services. Long before your customers meet your company’s sales representative, the buyer has amassed a pile of product research to help them make a well-informed decision. In fact, 70 percent of your buyers conduct their research before they contact your sales team.
To address these changing buyer behaviors, B2B marketing and sales teams harness marketing automation technologies plus the right mix of sales enablement processes and tools to present prospects with relevant content throughout every step of the buyer’s journey.
Marketing Automation Helps You Engage Prospects Throughout the Buyer’s Journey
Marketing automation software is the nexus of your company’s sales and marketing functions—following how your prospects engage your digital assets like your website, landing pages or PPC advertising. For example, if a user reads a blog and downloads an associated white paper, the action becomes a lead and is sent to sales. Conversely, you can assign values to various prospect actions while they engage your content (e.g., did they click a link in your email marketing; how many service pages did they view?). These leads (prospects) are relayed to sales only after reaching a predetermined lead score.
If the prospect is still in the awareness or consideration stages of their journey, then you could use your automation platform to trigger a lead-nurturing email drip campaign, whereby your lead receives staged content over a prescribed period.
The crux of sales enablement is cutting-edge technology in the form of software applications and tools. A few of the industry’s top marketing automation packages include HubSpot, ActiveCampaign and Pardot. And when it comes to CRM applications, Salesforce is the industry leader, followed by HubSpot’s CRM and a legion of others. All of these applications optimize complex interactions between marketing and sales as your prospects move through the sales funnel.
Content alignment is also key. In some organizations, there’s a disconnect between the content that marketing creates and the information that sales uses to actually close deals. When you align content, processes and technology, you’ll increase your sales velocity to close more qualified leads and improve your success rates over time.
Windmill Strategy works with your sales and marketing teams to align your content, processes and technology with proven and sustainable sales enablement strategies in addition to helping you choose and integrate the best marketing automation and CRM applications to fit your needs. Even though we’re a HubSpot partner, we’re also vendor neutral, which means we always recommend technology with the ideal mix of features and performance for your budget.
Sales Enablement — Helping Your Sales Team Succeed
For B2B marketing and sales teams that haven’t adopted a CRM yet, or don’t operate in a culture of information sharing, the quickest way to address issues like longer decision-making processes and connecting with target audiences is to align your sales and marketing organizations with easy to implement tools and processes.
According to Entrepreneur, aligned sales and marketing teams experience higher win rates and an average 200 percent increases in marketing-generated revenue.
To keep your marketing activities focused on delivering the right quantity and quality of leads month-over-month, plan regular meetings to discuss lead quality and what questions your sales team is hearing from prospects. Additionally, discuss shared goals, define what makes an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), and what steps you’re taking to follow-up every lead.
Sales enablement is much more than bridging the gap between sales and marketing. If one of its cornerstones is sales and marketing alignment, the other three are technology, processes and content strategy.
We’ll help you create and execute a sales enablement strategy that will ultimately close more deals and increase your company’s revenue. Explore the elements below:
Essential Tools & Processes
Beginning with a marketing automation platform, Windmill Strategy helps you build a sales enablement infrastructure from elements we fuse together to invigorate your marketing and sales functions. When completed, you’ll discover how to identify and qualify your best leads, engage them, and close more business at a higher velocity. Explore these sales enablement essentials:
Buyer Personas — Identifying Your Top Audience Segments
With up to seven people influencing B2B purchases it’s vital to identify and prioritize decision makers by job title and role. We’ll work with your sales team to create unique messages that address each persona’s needs and “pain points.” A specifying engineer’s information needs, for instance, will differ from the issues that concern purchasing managers. Engagement rates skyrocket when you employ targeted content for each persona.
Pipeline Management Strategy — Understanding the Buyer’s Journey, Documenting Sales Process Steps
The typical B2B buyer traverses a journey that moves them along a path of three stages—awareness, consideration and decision. Clear feedback from sales about lead quality gives marketing the data it needs to drive more qualified leads, and fewer unqualified leads. If you’re using a CRM, these interactions are more than simple email threads. Your pipeline is a reflection of your company’s sales process, which helps you track every step, follow-up stalled deals and predict revenue.
Systems Integration — Optimizing Legacy Applications
You’ll want your sales enablement platforms to seamlessly integrate with your company’s website, CRM, ERP systems and applications such as Salesforce, Eloqua and others. Windmill Strategy can work with your internal teams to help integrate your disparate systems. You’ll experience immediate results in the form of improved efficiencies. Even the simple step of connecting your contact form to your CRM can eliminate unnecessary administrative time to determine who should screen and reach out to the lead, not to mention re-keying information.
Create Content Your Prospects Crave
With more of your prospects conducting research well before they contact your sales team, the production of educational and high-quality content is essential to helping you stand apart from your competition. Your content should be educating customers around topics that intersect with how you can help them. The more open and transparent you are, the more they’ll return.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, successful manufacturing marketers use content to:
- Create brand awareness
- Educate audiences
- Generate demand—leads
- Build credibility and trust
- Build loyalty with existing customers
- Support a new product launch
We’ll help you create a marketing content strategy that will transform your company into a credible and trusted resource in your niche. No matter where your prospects are in the buyer’s journey — awareness, consideration or decision stages — you can create content to meet them where they’re at.
Blog posts, white papers, e-books, videos, e-newsletters and social media are tactics successful technical companies use. We’ll help you make your content better at attracting your target buyers.
If you’re like many companies, chances are good your sales people don’t have time to write blog posts because they’re busy. We help by talking with your sales team to learn more about the questions they’re hearing from customers. We ghostwrite the blog posts that answer these questions for your engineers and sales team.
Tools That Continuously Improve Your Sales & Marketing
When your company harnesses the power of sales enablement, marketing automation and CRM tools, you’ll sell at a higher velocity — identifying and targeting the most qualified leads. In the process, you’ll waste less time chasing low-probability business. Moreover, by employing agile execution concepts, you can prioritize your actions by focusing first on the tasks that create the largest impact on your business. With closed-loop reporting, fueled by a wealth of data, you’ll know the status of every lead in the pipeline while continuously improving the quality of those leads over time. Spark Growth, Optimize Processes.