The divide between sales and marketing is nothing new. The grievances of each department have been blogged about, tweeted, panel discussed and podcasted to death. It’s even given way to a number of terms like, “Smarketing” and “Sales Enablement.” Some organizations are going beyond the buzzwords and creating intermediary functions within the organization to serve as a bridge between the two departments. No matter how you slice it, the fact of the matter is that sales and marketing both have critical functions within the organization that must work in tandem to achieve business, marketing and sales goals. While sales enablement is a relatively new concept, it’s a critical component for cloud service providers that depend on the channel to drive revenue.
So, what is sales enablement anyway?
At its core, sales enablement is a strategic approach to equipping your in-house sales team, as well as channel partners and value-added resellers (VARs), with the resources (education, content, process and tools) they need to maximize every engagement opportunity with buyers. And while it sounds easy enough, sales enablement goes beyond simply passing off content and marketing brochures to your sales reps and channel partners.
In order for sales enablement to work, both teams must be strategically aligned to manage a consistent and open flow of information, analytics, and content. Each department has valuable information that is vital to the success of the other. Yet, many businesses still seem to operate sales and marketing functions in silos, causing a fragmented and inconsistent message to potential buyers, existing customers, and even channel sales reps.
The right tools for the job
If you’re like most service providers, your CRM is the lifeblood of your sales department. Your sales team spends hours each day logging sales calls, emails, and notes on leads and customers. On the other side of the fence, your marketing department is hard at work tracking website analytics, blog activity, social media messages and other buyer behavior. Some service providers have even instituted a marketing automation platform like HubSpot, Marketo or Pardot to assist in generating more leads for the sales team.
Each of these tools have a critical function in the sales and marketing world. Sales enablement focuses on integrating the technology your teams use so that information is freely shared across the organization. This information is used by the marketing department to craft content that helps move potential buyers all the way through the sales funnel, giving the sales teams the content tools they need to turn sales qualified leads into customers.
Bringing it all together
So, you have the data. It’s shared across the organization. Sales has more insight on potential buyers, and marketing is creating top-notch content to support sales efforts. All is right with the world… Or so you think. But what about your sales teams outside of the organization? How are you empowering those VARs, channel partners and MSPs with the content, knowledge and tools they need to effectively get your solutions into the market?
Last month, I got the opportunity to spend some time with Broadvoice and some of their partners during the Broadvoice President’s Club retreat in Mexico. And while it was a welcome break from the Denver cold, I came back with more than just a tan.
Broadvoice Channel Portal
Broadvoice, a leading provider of high-quality, feature-rich broadband phone service to consumers and businesses, is a prime example of channel sales enablement at it’s finest. In order to best equip their VAR partners, they designed and built a VAR portal that serves as the central location for partners to access sales tools. In addition to product sales sheets, the portal gives VARs the ability to quickly build customized quotes for opportunities. This technology allows partners to be more self-sufficient as they are not constantly waiting on channel managers to provide the information they need to close deals quickly.
Additionally, the portal serves as a tracking mechanism for both the VAR and Broadvoice and easily integrates with their sales CRM, Salesforce.com (SFDC), ensuring all prospect and opportunity data is captured. In doing so, the marketing team is able to identify the types of content most used by the sales teams and provide additional information that further assists the VARs in closing deals. Leveraging technology, data, and a solid sales enablement strategy, Broadvoice is setting the standard for cloud service providers. Their customized sales enablement tool is helping their partners thrive and supports them in doing what they do best: selling
Every organization is unique. But one thing remains constant. Sales and marketing departments can only be successful if they work together to provide sales teams, both in-house and in the channel, with the right tools, in the right place at the right time. Broadvoice is just one example of how service providers are powering the channel with sales enablement tools. The question is – how are you supporting your channel partners?
Need assistance in developing sales enablement tools for your partner community? We can help. Give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.