One of the key functions of B2B marketing lies beyond just marketing, and that is sales enablement. Scott Albro, an author of the TOPO blog, defines sales enablement as “the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively. The foundation of sales enablement is to provide salespeople with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.”
As a B2B marketer at a SaaS-based enterprise software company, aligning strategically and tactically with the sales team is a key objective and an ongoing effort. And while some might say that seeking sales-marketing alignment is akin to looking for unicorns, I can vouch for the fact that a majority of the time there is a good handoff, mutual understanding as well as clear communication between marketing and sales. Being part of a small, nimble team plays an important role; discussions can be had and necessary changes can be made much more easily than in larger organizations with more complex and layered sales and marketing functions.
As such, sales enablement is truly one of my favorite aspects of my role. There is one important factor, though, that has been key to sales enablement – access to artificial intelligence (AI) technology. At Mintigo, we naturally use our own AI for marketing platform for a plethora of use cases (and we love it!). But, let’s stick with sales enablement – how does AI help with this particular use case? Here is how Sales can be equipped to close bigger and better deals faster:
The right accounts
Account-based marketing (ABM) has gone from a nice-to-have to a core component of a marketing strategy. The success of ABM is largely determined by the quality of the target account list. Using the current customer list as the foundation, an AI platform can score accounts in a company’s database based on the likelihood to close.
At Mintigo, once we had each account in our database scored, we proceeded to rank them from A-D depending on the scores. Additionally, we were also able to discover net new accounts ranking A and B to expand our database. Our sales reps were then asked to select their Tier 1 and Tier 2 accounts for ABM. We layered the quantitative and objective methodology of account selection facilitated by AI with a subjective assessment by the reps; they took into consideration factors such as existing relationships with an account to make their final selections.
Providing reps with a pool of accounts that they could select from has been truly successful. Without AI, sales reps would rely on inconsistent, incomplete and superficial data such as industry, company size, and location to make their selections. Enabling them with a data-driven approach is the right way to start ABM.
The right data
Having a list of target accounts is only the first step of ABM. Effective selling also requires a good amount of relevant data on each account. At Mintigo, we do not believe in a black box approach. Our platform provides visibility into why a certain account was ranked what it was ranked. Is it because that account is displaying favorable hiring patterns? Or because of certain compatible technology installs that account has?
These are insights that not only fuel our platform’s robust scoring process but our sales strategy as well. Our reps are able to glean key pieces of information and use them to inform many aspects of the sales process, such as:
- Messaging to use
- Timing of outreach
- People in the account to outreach to
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of how to craft a sales pitch. The way to make sure your email stands out in an inbox full of sales emails is by nailing timing, content and relevance.
The right content
With powerful data in hand, content marketing no longer needs to be based on guesswork. Before AI, the decisions around what content to create were often determined by things such as available demographic or firmographic data, “hot and popular” topics, or vanity metrics. Now, we are equipped with insights and indicators that reveal important information from purchase intent to technologies used.
With these insights, marketers are able to segment their database and create relevant content pieces tailored to those insights. If a significant number of top accounts are showing intent for a partner’s solution, then a good plan of action can be to launch a campaign featuring a datasheet showcasing your product integrations with that solution. If many top accounts are researching a particular trending topic, a nifty ebook might be the way to go. Aside from being used in marketing campaigns, these content assets can be also leveraged by the sales team to continually nurture their prospects. Whether it be opportunity creation or acceleration, relevant content goes a long way in keeping a prospect engaged throughout the process.
These are just some of the ways AI can be used to better enable your sales force. In today’s competitive landscape, businesses that deliver intelligent customer engagement are the ones that will excel.