Data Dilemma: Don’t Let Your Sales Enablement Software Hold You Back

By Jodi Cachey | February 6, 2020

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Big data is everywhere. Think about it. 

This morning, I scrolled through my email as I waited for my first cup of tea to steep. I know, “don’t look at your phone first thing in the morning” and all that, but as a mom of two small children, time is in short supply. Among the calendar invites and work emails were a slew of promotions – 20% off at Pottery Barn, a discounted diaper bundle from Honest Co., free shipping at Target – all relevant and personalized because of data. Before closing my mail app, Google alerted me that I hadn’t opened any emails from Zillow in a while. Would I like to unsubscribe? Yes, please. We’re not looking to move any time soon, and I can do without the extra clutter in my inbox. Data hard at work.

My boys woke up around 6:30am, and we went about our morning routine. Our nanny arrived on time, but a toddler meltdown delayed me getting out the door. I have two different train stations I can commute out of, and a quick look at my GPS told me where I had a better chance of catching a train. Data to the rescue.

I made it to the train station with a few minutes to spare. Once aboard, it was time to determine how to spend the next 47 minutes. My Hulu app recommended a new original show based on my watch history, but my air pods were dead so I decided to see what Kindle had to offer. Amazon had a number of recommendations based on recent titles I’ve read and what’s trending this month. More data. I settled on a thriller and before I knew it, I was downtown. My Fitbit counted my steps on my 20-ish minute walk to the office and sent me some words of encouragement as I boarded the elevator. “Hooray! You’re halfway to your step-goal for the day.” (I can thank data and my kids for that one.)

It’s 9am, and data has already played an integral part in my day. But as a marketer, I know we’re just getting started. Sure, data can make my personal life easier, but data in business? That’s essential. According to a CIO Insights report, 40% of companies show that disseminated information and restricted visibility into data negatively impacts their sales organization. What’s more, 56% of sellers are dissatisfied with their ability to provide useful, data-driven insights. 

If you’re neglecting to capture and use data to improve your sales and marketing strategy, you’re doing your business a huge disservice – and likely missing out on a lot of revenue. But it’s not too late to fix the problem. Ensuring you’re using data to drive your sales enablement efforts can help. 

What is Data-Driven Sales Enablement?

Data-driven sales enablement ensures you have the information you need to understand and improve sales performance. 

According to Matthew Cook at Databox, “As data continues to power nearly every aspect of business functions, it’s also become an indispensable asset when it comes to sales. With data comes knowledge – knowledge that can be used to better inform sales reps, improve the sales process, and help sales managers better allocate their time…Companies that actively use data show 50% higher revenue growth than companies that don’t.”

But note that you need to collect the right data to ensure your sellers can lead more insightful sales discussions and support those interactions with proven and optimized sales and marketing collateral that help win deals.  

Here Are the 3 Types of Data You Need to Make an Impact:

 

According to SiriusDecisions, Enterprise organizations lose over $2.3M each year due to opportunities costs associated with unused or underused marketing content. That’s right, just because your marketing department is producing content does not mean your sellers are using that content. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you consider a fourth of the average company’s marketing budget is allocated to content production. Stop wasting critical marketing spend on content that never sees the light of day. Implement a sales enablement technology that allows you to track and measure what content is being used and whether or not it’s resonating with buyers so you can ensure you’re putting the right content in the hands of your salespeople. 

Understanding if and how sellers are using specific assets and how your prospects are interacting with those assets (down to time spent on each individual page) is invaluable information. But it’s not the most valuable information… 

As a marketer, how many times have you been asked to quantify the ROI of your content? How many times have you been able to confidently answer that question? If you’re like most marketers, you likely have no idea whether or not your content is directly contributing to revenue. Sure, you can guess. If you are already collecting the data outlined in my first point, you know what content is being put in front of buyers and whether or not they’re engaging with it. But do you know if that content is actually helping sellers move deals forward to close? 

Fortunately, you can use AI-powered sales enablement technology tightly integrated with CRM to do just that. Don’t just track vanity metrics like downloads, views and time spent on a particular piece of content. Quantify and improve the return on investment of your sales content by directly tying specific assets back to revenue and creating visual dashboards with actionable insights (e.g. archive, review, promote) into how your content is performing and how to strategically improve that performance. 

Data that helps inform your sales process and marketing strategy are key. But don’t forget about data that helps your buyers justify the purchase of your product or service. Today’s buyers don’t want to be sold products, they want to be sold solutions to their problems. If they can’t find a solution, they abandon a purchase altogether. Adopt a sales enablement technology that allows you to seamlessly incorporate 3rd party, customer-specific data from plausible providers like Neilsen into live sales interactions to build credibility and help influence buyers in real-time.

Leverage interactive value selling tools like ROI and TCO calculators to capture unique data from the buyer and use the output to tell a story around the cost of doing nothing, the benefits of using your product vs. a competing product, or the additional revenue your product can generate for their organization. When your sellers can effectively quantify and communicate the value of your product in the context of your buyer’s business, it makes it that much easier for your buyer to justify the purchase to increasingly cautious internal stakeholders. If you can empower your buyer to make a confident purchase decision, you can shorten sales cycles and close more deals. 

These 3 Examples of “Sales Enablement” Software Won’t Provide the Data You Need to Be Successful

While there are varying definitions of sales enablement, the following platforms will not provide the arguably more effective, data-driven sales enablement I’ve outlined here.

First things first, your website should not be used as a sales enablement tool. Is all of your content housed there? Maybe. But expecting your sellers to search your site for an article or download gated content every time they need to utilize a sales asset to prepare for a meeting is asking for trouble. If your reps are repeatedly downloading gated content, they’re creating inaccuracies in your data. And those inaccuracies make it more difficult for you to create an effective content strategy. What happens with that content once it has been downloaded? Did they share it with a prospect? Did your buyer even open it? Working this way prohibits you from understanding who is consuming your content, if it resonates with buyers, and whether or not it drives revenue. It also severely limits your visibility into the sales process, making it harder to duplicate successful sales efforts and establish best practices. 

I’m looking at you, SharePoint, Box, etc. A content repository is not the same thing as sales enablement. Yes, you’re putting all of your sales and marketing content in one place so your sellers can easily access it while preparing for presentations or to send follow-up materials to prospective buyers. But you’re lacking a crucial component of an effective sales enablement strategy – actionable analytics. Similar to a website, you’re missing out on critical information about who is interacting with your content at the different touchpoints along the customer journey. You have no idea if your message is resonating with buyers and whether or not your content is contributing to revenue. You’re likely wasting valuable marketing spend because you can’t differentiate a sales rep viewing an asset from a prospect. Your lack of insight into content performance makes it impossible to offer guidance or recommendations on what assets to use when, creating an “every rep for themselves” culture within your organization and severely hurting your reps’ abilities to meet quotas. 

While your website or a content repository won’t tick any of the three data “boxes” I outlined earlier, there are sales enablement solutions like Showpad and Highspot that do offer analytics on how your content is being leveraged by sales and consumed by prospects. Unfortunately, it often stops there. These platforms don’t provide an easy or automatic way to tie your content back to revenue. And didn’t we deem that the most important data you can collect? It’s critical information that you can use to justify additional budget, decrease marketing spend, and reallocate funds for increased marketing ROI. They also fail to incorporate the value selling tools required to provide the buyer-specific data insights the modern buyer needs to make a confident purchase decision. 

If you’re in the market for a sales enablement solution or wondering why your existing software isn’t producing the results you expected, data should be top of mind. Contact Mediafly to learn how we’re helping strategic sales and marketing leaders like you use data insights to increase revenue and decrease marketing spend.

Jodi Cachey is the Content Marketing Director at Mediafly, where she is responsible for all content marketing initiatives to drive traffic, engagement, and leads. With over a decade of experience in the tech space, her previous roles include sales, business development, sales enablement, and product marketing. Jodi attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies.

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