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“Buyers have come to expect highly-personalized, valuable interactions with brands, and B2B companies that haven’t yet woken up to this are jeopardizing revenue.” The State of Enterprise Sales Enablement, 2019
According to Seismic’s newly-released report, entitled The State of Enterprise Sales Enablement, 2019, providing a personalized customer experience is both the biggest challenge – and the biggest opportunity – for effective sales enablement. Currently, just one in five organizations effectively personalize their content at scale.
The Seismic-commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting, surveyed more than 380 director-level and above sales, marketing, and enablement professionals from companies with more than 500 employees.
Unsurprisingly, 88% of respondents agree that buyers nowadays expect more relevant and personalized content than they did a mere five years ago.
The B2B sales cycle has become longer (with the majority of new customers taking more than four months to convert) and more complex. For instance, the Harvard Business Review reported back in 2017 that the number of people involved in a B2B decision-making unit (the team in charge of a buying decision) had climbed to just under seven.
The problem is, all of these potential buyers expect personalized content that addresses pain points unique to both their role and their company. But if you get this right, the pay-off is large.
When done well, sales enablement content can supercharge an organization’s revenue. By providing insightful content to potential buyers, you can educate them on a subject matter, show that you’re aware of their particular challenges, and build trust with your brand by demonstrating how exactly you can help.
But too often this isn’t the case. Generic content is peddled by salespeople who are none the wiser, leaving buyers feeling alienated and misunderstood. For example, there’s no point in sharing a piece of content on improving your SEO strategy to an agency which outsources this.
Sure, you might think, this is a small faux-pas, but it doesn’t actually make that much of a difference. This isn’t the case – in fact, 85% of the respondents in Seismic’s survey indicated that they’d be more likely to dismiss a potential seller or company if they didn’t receive personalized content during the first interaction.
There’s no room to slip up: Personalize, or else. Personalized content isn’t a luxury afforded to potential buyers further down the tunnel, it needs to be a core part of the sales process as early as possible.
However, personalization is easier said than done, and many organizations struggle to achieve this level of customer service.
Not all salespeople fall into the trap of offering generic content – in fact, the sellers surveyed spend on average just under four hours per week on customizing assets. But this isn’t without its own problems.
Firstly, all this time spent modifying content detracts from what they should be doing, which is selling. Secondly, rogue customization means that salespeople often communicate out-of-date messages or accidentally contravening brand (or even regulatory) compliance.
In order to prevent this, marketing teams have to step in – 70% of respondents said their marketing teams spend significant time policing sellers’ asset-use.
The remedy? Let the data unite sales and marketing teams
Sales enablement content should be a great source of actionable data. You can work out what works and what doesn’t, whether sellers prefer long-form or short-form content, what the key messages to drive home are etc.
However, it’s almost impossible to glean any actual data insights from misaligned content that doesn’t convert into sales. Without this data, you’re left without any sales, and without any clue as to what should be improved upon.
Learning from sales enablement content, and adapting where necessary, is critical in creating an effective sales strategy. The State of Enterprise Sales Enablement, 2019 states, “There is a direct correlation between sales enablement maturity and a company’s ability to meet and exceed revenue goals”.
How can you do this? By ensuring regular cross-collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Whether this is via sales enablement automation tools or regular catch-up meetings, it’s imperative to get everyone on board. You need to ensure that marketers who are creating this personalized content understand the buyers’ specific pain points. And, you also have to make sure that sales teams fully understand the assets they’re provided with.
So, want to gain clients more quickly and easily, transform your customer experience, and supercharge your revenue goals? Make sure you personalize your content: Period.