The Four Forever Changes Transforming B2B Sales Enablement

Sales enablement leaders: You have a choice to make.

Today, analysts estimate that 80 percent of the sales cycle happens in digital or remote settings.

Buyers are searching for more information on their own—without talking to a sales rep. They’re engaging with your content further down the funnel. As a result, your content can’t just be a companion to a sales-led buyer conversation—it needs to be able to stand on its own, address your buyer’s big questions, showcase your unique value, and motivate action.

When buyers eventually do talk to your reps, those conversations will most often happen remotely. This makes all sellers inside sellers, which opens the door to improving their productivity, performance, and cost structure.

This article is about the four forever changes transforming marketing and sales enablement from here on out.

  1. Marketing is the Sales Development Team
  2. All Selling is Inside Selling
  3. Training and Enablement Must Adapt to the Speed of Business
  4. Customer Success is Customer Selling

You can choose to jump on these changes and charge toward the new reality of selling. Or, you can hold back and be told to address these issues to catch up with your competition.

Whatever choice you make, this article presents a glimpse into your future.

marketing is the sales development team

The B2B buying process isn’t as linear or predictable as most companies assume. Buyers are interacting with content much later in their buying journey. The buying process is more complex and more convoluted than ever, handoffs are less defined, and buyers are getting wrapped around the axle trying to understand and narrow down their options for themselves.

The companies that win will make it easier for people to self-serve and make buying decisions without talking to a salesperson. This will transform the messaging, content, and interactions driven by marketing and challenge companies to rethink the relationship between marketing and sales.

Find out how marketing can drive buying decisions.

all selling is inside selling

Before the pandemic, 70 percent of B2B selling was already happening via email, phone, and web conference. Then, in an instant, selling became 100 percent virtual, and it’s going to be a long time before customers go back to their buildings, let alone allow reps in for meetings.

As a result, every company is now taking a critical look at how to finally get the productivity out of their field sales team they’ve wanted for 20 years. Now that these sales reps are stationery, the feeling is they can be put on cadences that resemble inside sales processes and productivity targets, instead of “loosey-goosey” field behaviors.

See what it takes to master your virtual sales conversations.

training and enablement must adapt to the speed of business

Traditional learning paths with catalog-, competency-, and calendar-driven training models can’t keep up with the accelerating pace of business. When unplanned business needs arise, you need to launch dynamic, situational enablement that equips your team with the messaging, content, and skills they need to respond specifically and immediately.

Speed is the new premium, which means you must plan and execute like a shark is chasing you. Market changes, competitive threats, key product launches, price adjustments, and strategic business shifts are just a few examples of key initiatives that pop up during a year and need a complete messaging, content, and skills kit, as well as fluency coaching to make sure your reps are “fit for duty.”

Learn more about situational training and enablement.

customer success is customer selling

By some estimates, renewals and upsells from existing customers account for 70-80 percent of the average company’s annual revenue. But most marketing and sales organizations use the same disruptive messages with existing customers that they use for conversations with new prospects.

Recent research, however, shows this can actually backfire when it comes to keeping and growing existing business. Some of the biggest, best companies in the world are taking a “no handoff” approach to customer expansion. Meaning that sales and customer success teams are working together early in the initial sales cycle and continuing throughout the entire customer lifecycle. This requires a common framework for engaging the most crucial commercial moments. And, most importantly, raising the bar on documenting business impact.

Find out how to tailor your marketing and sales conversations for existing customers.

where to next?

This is just a quick overview of the four forever changes transforming marketing and sales enablement from here on out.

  1. Marketing is the Sales Development Team
  2. All Selling is Inside Selling
  3. Training and Enablement Must Adapt to the Speed of Business
  4. Customer Success is Customer Selling

Hopefully, you’re working on these changes and charging toward the new reality of selling. No one is still ducking, covering, and hoping this too shall pass. The only question remaining is: are you moving fast enough?

A version of this article originally appeared on salesandmarketing.com.

Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer

Chief Strategy Officer

Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books, “Customer Message Management”, “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale”, “Three Value Conversations”, and "The Expansion Sale", focus on improving market-ready messages and tools that marketers and salespeople can use to win more deals. As chief strategy and research officer for Corporate Visions, he sets the direction and develops products for this leading marketing and sales messaging, content and training company.