Sales Enablement Starts Where Marketing Content Leaves Off - eMarketer
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Sales Enablement Starts Where Marketing Content Leaves Off

July 27, 2016 | Advertising & Marketing | B2B


Peter Mollins
Vice President, Marketing
Knowledge Tree

A significant portion of a typical business-to-business (B2B) marketing budget goes to content creation, but much of it isn’t ideal for sales scenarios. Sales enablement technology ensures that sales teams have access to the specific content they need while maintaining a consistent brand message that keeps marketers happy. Peter Mollins, vice president of marketing at sales enablement vendor Knowledge Tree, spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about why marketing content doesn’t always cut it, and how sales enablement tools can help.

eMarketer: What kind of sales enablement functionality does Knowledge Tree offer?

Peter Mollins: We’ve found that 95% of salespeople struggle to find the content they need. It takes too long and they’re not confident that what they find is actually the right material for a particular situation. Our technology ensures that salespeople can find and use more relevant content.

eMarketer: Are marketing and sales silos a problem in trying to align the two?

Mollins: That’s changing quite a bit. What we’re seeing is sophisticated marketing teams are not seeing a clear-cut lead handoff from marketing to sales because the funnel’s been turned upside down, or because the organization is taking a nonlinear approach. That means that marketing is more involved in the entire process, from identifying which accounts to focus on, to crafting messaging that generate awareness. In this case, content becomes even more important because now it’s part of the nurture track.

“Sophisticated marketing teams are not seeing a clear-cut lead handoff from marketing to sales because the funnel’s been turned upside down, or because the organization is taking a nonlinear approach.”

eMarketer: In what ways is the buyer journey changing and how can B2B sales enablement help organizations tackle changes?

Mollins: There’s more caution about making large purchases and there’s no longer one solitary decision champion within an organization. Approximately five people are directly involved in each purchasing decision, and 20 more are responsible for influencing it—this ties back to content being very important in the new buyer journey because you have to engage everyone involved in the process.

eMarketer: In what ways does sales enablement make the buyer journey more data-driven?

Mollins: If you look at the top 10% of sales reps, they’re usually doing something different to hit their numbers. Teams have to look at what activities, cadence, focus and messaging top salespeople are using for their field conversations so that they can replicate those best practices.

eMarketer: How does sales enablement improve content publishing and management processes?

Mollins: The No. 1 challenge is content usage. Organizations can produce great content, but if no one ever knows that it exists, then they never use it. Second, content needs to be relevant, because salespeople don’t want to look dumb. They want to make sure that they’re adding value to the prospect, and that requires being able to predict which content will be most relevant for a given sales situation.

eMarketer: Does sales enablement change how companies approach attribution?

Mollins: Right now, there’s great attribution at the top of the funnel where an ebook was downloaded or an email was clicked on. Where it gets even more valuable, however, is when organizations can tie it more closely to the sale. The closer it is to the contract, the more meaningful the attribution is. That requires that content be used by salespeople.

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