Elton Mayfield, Partner, ER Marketing

As building products professionals, it’s amazing to think of the amount of time and energy we spend planning out the perfect sales and marketing tools and strategies. Sales enablement answers the need by “enabling” salespeople with the tools and strategies they need to close a sale, and it is becoming increasingly prevalent and effective. 

Did you know that a recent study of more than 400 business sales and marketing professionals found that 57% of respondents with a sales enablement function ranked their marketing efforts as either “effective” or “very effective?” That number is a full 22% higher than their counterparts who did not utilize sales enablement as part of their marketing strategy—a huge jump, comparatively.

What this should tell you is that, when done right, sales enablement can provide your team with the tools needed to generate and nurture more qualified leads and close more deals. But what can often go overlooked is what comes after sales enablement—the real, human-to-human contact that finalizes a sale.

It's not just sales enablement that can fall victim to this, either. A lot of business professionals spend time creating highly detailed, specific sales and marketing campaigns, lead scoring systems, special trade show events, and so on, but never develop follow-up plans to determine what will actually be done with the leads produced from their efforts. Put simply, you can collect all the form submissions you want on a landing page, post as much to social you want, or send out as many fax blasts as humanly possible, but if you're not doing anything with the leads gained other than handing them more marketing materials, you're not accomplishing much.

And yet, it's more common than you think. People fail to turn over qualified leads to sales, and salespeople fail to pick up the phone and call the leads they do get from marketing. It's an endless cycle of unproductivity if not addressed.

As business professionals, we cannot rely on digital-only tactics or even sales enablement alone. Face-to-face is still the best method of actually closing a sale. Just look at a few stats I found in a recent Marketing Daily article:

  • In-person meetings are 85% more effective than virtual meetings, and this is even true for existing customers (65%)
  • For complex products and services like in the building world, decisions are made more on the basis of organizational/personal relationships and trust than technical features and functions
  • Cognitive studies prove that, in sales, there needs to be an emotional connection beyond analytics
  • Overall outcomes of group purchases are far superior when there are face-to-face meetings with vendors, leading to both better efficiency and long-term satisfaction

Just because face-to-face is important in the building world doesn't absolve you of the responsibility to incorporate digital marketing and/or sales enablement. Instead, consider what marketing can do to prime a prospect for a face-to-face meeting. And consider what sales enablement tools you can provide that will make the biggest impact for your sales team when meeting face-to-face with a potential buyer.

Articles in Better Business, Marketing, Sales | December 01, 2015