What You Need to Know When Hiring an Inbound Marketing Consultant

What You Need to Know When Hiring an Inbound Marketing Consultant

Deciding what inbound marketing consultant to work with is an important decision that has a lot of potential consequences for your company. Choosing the right marketing consultant can mean a well-thought-out, strategic plan that’s tailored to your company and its goals. Choosing the wrong inbound marketing consultant can mean a lot of time, effort, and money spent for little to no concrete return. So, with such an important decision, where do you start? What can you do to help ensure your consultant is as beneficial to your business as possible?


How to Select the Right Inbound Marketing Consultant

1. Your Inbound Marketing Consultant Should Be Strategic

One of the most important characteristics you’re looking for with this kind of consultant is a strategic approach. Why is that so pivotal?

Inbound marketing results, by their very nature, grow over time. That is, so long as your inbound strategies are effective, the results compound the longer those strategies are in place. Because it’s already a time-intensive process, you don’t want anything to needlessly slow down those results.

Putting out content that hasn’t been thought through from a strategic marketing perspective could potentially gain you some more site visits and maybe even a few leads. However, if you want the best chance at success, it’s not about merely publishing any content. It’s about putting out the right content, and you only know what that is after the groundwork of strategic planning has informed what kind of content you need to create.

The SLA serves two primary purposes:

2. Your Inbound Marketing Consultant Should Be Interested in Your Business

Every business is different, and that means every inbound marketing strategy needs to be different. If your consultant is offering a cookie-cutter approach to your inbound marketing efforts, that’s a big red flag.

A consultant should spend adequate time to deeply understand the following:

  • You.
  • Your business.
  • Your overall business goals and objectives (current and future).
  • Your revenue projections (current and desired).
  • Your particular challenges and barriers to success (areas where you’d like to grow to your business but haven’t had success).

Make sure the consultant is asking, not just a lot of questions, but the right questions. Say, for example, you want to release a new product in the next six months. If that means targeting a new segment of your market, your marketing strategy needs to be implemented with enough time for that campaign to be effective. Your consultant, therefore, needs to be forward thinking. He or she shouldn’t just be thinking about your immediate circumstances but how to continuously plan for what’s coming next for your company, and his or her questions should reflect that.

Being successful with your inbound marketing efforts also means knowing your competition well. Be wary of an inbound marketing consultant who doesn’t research or even consider your competitors. Thorough, strategic competitor analysis involves: 

  • Determining competitors’ weaknesses and strengths.
  • Assessing competitors’ websites.
  • Comparing prices (so long as the service or product is actually comparable).

If a consultant doesn’t gather this detailed information, he or she is not properly armed to know how best to help your business thrive.

3. Your Inbound Marketing Consultant Should Aim to Align Marketing and Sales

Aligning marketing and sales is absolutely crucial to the success of any inbound marketing campaign. If your sales and marketing teams aren’t integrated and cooperative in this process, you’re simply less likely to reach your revenue goals and objectives.

The right inbound marketing consultant—from day one—will be interested in your company from both a marketing and sales perspective. Being too heavily focused on the marketing side exclusively is a cause for concern.

The consultant should have the knowledge base and ability to implement effective sales enablement techniques that not only generate strong leads for your company but establish a system for when to effectively hand leads off to the sales team.

A consultant should particularly emphasize the importance of this collaboration between marketing and sales when:

  • Creating detailed buyer personas.
  • Creating content that’s targeted to those personas.
  • Creating the system (or content catalogue) that organizes—or maps—that content for specific personas at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

This collaboration ensures you’re incorporating the collective wisdom and knowledge base of both your marketing and sales teams, and it ensures that everyone who needs access to this content catalogue understands how and why the content was created, when it’s appropriate to use a particular piece of content, and the technological logistics of how to use that online catalogue.

Note that an effective, reputable inbound marketing consultant might not be willing to work with your company if you’re not equally invested in aligning your marketing and sales teams.

4. Your Inbound Marketing Consultant Should Provide Training

Especially if your sales team has traditionally done outbound selling, inbound marketing can seem foreign. However, all the techniques that make salespeople effective carry over to inbound marketing. It’s just a matter of learning the new principles and specific tactics that make inbound marketing effective, and your consultant should be able to provide that training and coaching to your sales team.

A consultant should be able to provide coaching, training, or workshops on a number of topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Principles of inbound marketing.
  • Importance and logistics of sales enablement.
  • Logistics of using inbound marketing technologies, such as a CRM.

5. Your Inbound Marketing Consultant Should Provide Technological Value 

You always want to work with forward-thinking consultants who view your company holistically, and part of that is providing value based on your technology solutions.

A consultant should determine if you have:

  • A sales CRM.
  • Potential sales enablement tools.
  • A content database.

That consultant should then determine if those tools and technologies can integrate and work together. If they can’t, your chance of success diminishes. So, a consultant needs to assess your current technology stack, integrate those systems as fully as possible, and then ensure the systems are effectively managed (by sales and marketing).


Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through inbound marketing and sales enablement.

Marketing and Sales Alignment Is Crucial to Inbound Marketing Success

Marketing and Sales Alignment Is Crucial to Inbound Marketing Success

The leads generated by inbound marketing are, by their very nature, often in the early stages of the sales cycle. Rather than immediately looking to buy, a lead is interested in research. Perhaps that person has a problem he or she is looking to solve and is investigating whether your solution can address that problem.

Because these leads are often (though, not always) in the early information-gathering stage of the buyer’s journey, you must ensure you have an effective way to manage your leads generated through inbound marketing. Without an effective system in place, you’re likely to hand off leads to sales before they are ready to be sold to. This can scare off people who, given a bit more information and time, could have otherwise turned into customers.

To avoid churn—burning through what could be valuable, high-quality leads—it’s pivotal you ensure you have proper alignment between marketing and sales.

Crucial to Inbound Marketing Success -Aligning Marketing and Sales

1. Establish Shared Goals with a Service-Level Agreement (SLA)

There can be no alignment between marketing and sales if the two teams don’t effectively communicate. That’s why an SLA is so crucial to put in place.

This document helps make explicit what each team is ultimately trying to accomplish—and then puts those goals in writing. Once everybody knows and is clear on the individual team goals, then it’s possible to establish shared goals. These goals help ensure each team accomplishes what it needs to accomplish while also contributing to the other team’s goals.

The SLA serves two primary purposes:

  • It ensures effective, clear communication so that both marketing and sales understand any given challenge, barrier to success, and potential available solution.
  • It puts the goals in writing, which helps contribute to accountability and dedication to those established goals.

2. Create Buyer Personas Using Input from Marketing and Sales

When you start to think about the content you’re going to create for your inbound marketing campaign, the first important thing to establish is who you’re creating that content for.

If not targeted to people who are interested in your business, service, or product, even the most high-quality content will not be effective for you.

Therefore, your marketing and sales teams should sit down and collaboratively create your buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your ideal customer types, and to create the most detailed, accurate, and effective versions, you need to pull from the collective wisdom of your marketing and sales teams.

Traditionally, this process is done solely by marketing, but don’t forget that sales is the front-facing side of your business. They have unique insight into your customers’ problems, challenges, and desired solutions—all of which is invaluable information when creating these personas.

When both sales and marketing deeply understand these personas, everyone within your company will know what prospects are looking for and what problems those prospects are experiencing. They can then use targeted content to help them address these concerns and close deals.

Remember, sales is a valuable asset to marketing. Make sure to capitalize on that when developing buyer personas.

3. Create Content Strategically—for Marketing and Sales

Once you’ve established your personas, it’s time to create the content that will target those individuals. 

As with personas, sales and marketing should work together to decide what content to create. They should also work together to establish the system that organizes that content. Seeing as both teams will need regular access to these documents, making sure marketing and sales are both familiar with the system helps cut down on frustration, wasted time, and the potential for needlessly underutilized content.

An important part of that organization process is segmenting the articles into different stages of the buyer’s journey for each persona.

Both marketing and sales should:

  • Have access to all content.
  • Know where the content is and how it’s organized.
  • Understand the premise behind the content creation (including buyer personas and the different stages of the buyer’s journey).

4. Ensure You Have a Closed-Loop System between Marketing and Sales

Once you get a lead, there must continue to be open communication between marketing and sales. This fluid exchange of information gives you the best chance to hand off leads at the right time—either from marketing to sales or from sales back to marketing.

That’s why it’s so important that both teams know what constitutes a sales-qualified lead (SQL) and the hallmarks of the appropriate time to hand that lead off to sales.

While it differs from business to business, some CRM-trackable indications might include:

  • Viewing case studies.
  • Downloading content further down the sales funnel.
  • Frequently visiting your site, or certain pages of the site (such as pricing pages).

Benefits of recognizing SQLs include:

Improved response times. If sales knows the leads are qualified, they are simply more likely to get back to them as soon as possible.

  • Better communication between sales and marketing and between sales and the lead.
  • Fewer lost opportunities because the leads handed to sales will be higher quality.
  • Improved productivity of sales, due to higher-quality leads.
  • Improved content, due to sales feedback.

These sales enablement measures (collaboratively creating personas and content, mapping that content through the buyer’s journey, and implementing a content catalogue) helps ensure the leads are the right kind (targeting the right people) and that they are appropriately handled, nurtured, and ultimately converted to customers.

Why Does Marketing and Sales Alignment Matter to Inbound Marketing?

If you ignore the important steps necessary to ensure alignment between your marketing and sales teams, you’re simply more likely to experience churn with the leads you generate. When those leads aren’t correctly nurtured, the overall productivity (of both marketing and sales) suffers, and your inbound marketing campaign becomes much less likely to succeed initially or in any sustainable way.


Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through inbound marketing and sales enablement.

5 Questions to Ask before Starting an Inbound Marketing Program

5 Questions to Ask before Starting an Inbound Marketing Program

If your company is thinking about implementing an inbound marketing program, one of the most important factors is realizing how big of a maneuver this actually is. A full inbound marketing campaign shifts the entire focus of your marketing and sales teams and reorients their mind-sets to new tactics. Because this is such a major choice with holistic consequences for your company, you need to arm yourself with the necessary information regarding inbound marketing in order to know if it’s a good fit or not. With that in mind, the following are five questions to ask before you jump into any inbound marketing campaign.

Is Inbound Marketing Right for Your Business? Here are Important Questions to Ask – Before You Proceed With an Inbound Markeitng Program.

1. What are the business goals and objectives you’re looking to achieve through inbound marketing?

What are you actually trying to achieve? For example, are you looking to generate more leads to your site, or are you trying to promote a new product offering? If you can’t pinpoint what you want to accomplish through inbound marketing, your chances of succeeding with it are greatly diminished.

If you know what you’re looking to do, however, you’re in a much better position to determine if your goals and objectives align with what inbound marketing can provide.

Remember, your goals should always be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive). If your goals aren’t SMART, it doesn’t matter how great of an inbound marketing strategy you implement—you’ll never get to where you want to go.

At the end of the day, goals should also ultimately be about increasing your revenue and growing your business. 

2. Do you have organizational buy-in to help ensure an inbound marketing program will work?

If you don’t have understanding and buy-in from every group in your company affected by your inbound marketing campaign, you’re far less likely to succeed. From C-level management down, the individuals within your company must understand the principles of inbound marketing and believe that those principles, when applied diligently, strategically, and consistently, will work.

When you’re looking to inbound marketing agencies or inbound marketing consultants (whichever is the better fit for your company), you want people who will provide that necessary training and the educational value regarding inbound marketing. The right people will take the time to teach your company what inbound marketing is and the theory behind the strategy of your campaign.

If your marketing and sales teams truly understand why inbound marketing can be so effective, they are in the best positions to succeed with it. That means selecting a consultant or agency that puts a high premium on educating its clients rather than just implementing the program.

3. What is your budget for an inbound marketing campaign?

This is largely a logistical question, but it’s an important one. Do you have the necessary resources to implement an inbound marketing campaign? Assess your available resources early on. After all, no resources means no campaign.

There are two major things you need to consider with this.

Can you implement an inbound marketing campaign internally?

If you want to do the work in house, you must have the infrastructure that supports it. Namely, this means having employees who have both the knowledge base and ability to craft your blogs, social media updates, e-mail campaigns, and more.

Can you hire an inbound marketing agency?

If you determine you don’t have the necessary resources to do this work in house, it will be necessary to hire an inbound marketing agency to complete that work for you. This means budgeting for these services and determining if your company is in a position to afford this. 

Whether you tackle this internally or externally, make sure your goals are realistic in light of your available resources. If you don’t have the budget to hire out two blog posts a week, you might have to start smaller and realign your goals.

4.How much time can you allocate to your inbound marketing program?

As with budget, if you don’t have the necessary resources (in this case, time), you won’t have success with inbound marketing.

Realize going in that an in-house effort is going to take a significant amount of time. It involves:

  • Marketing and sales alignment facilitation.
  • Content and SEO strategy development.
  • Buyer persona creation.
  • Content creation.
  • Content publishing.
  • Marketing automation and CRM integration.
  • Mapping the content to the buyer’s journey.
  • Content catalogue creation.
  • Lead-scoring system implementation (to know when to best hand off leads).

You must realistically assess if you have the time, expertise, and technical abilities within your internal staff to successfully complete this process.

If you choose an external program, it’s still going to be a time investment, but you will have access to the agency or consultant’s resources and expertise.

You’ll still be involved in the management process, but you can potentially save a lot of time and effort by allowing the expert to guide your content creation strategy and system set up rather than attempting this through costly trial and error.

An external marketer or consultant can also provide educational value, so you can learn the inbound marketing process and expertise yourself over time. Then, in the future, you can decide to take the process in house if desired.

5. Are your marketing and sales teams aligned?

Without effective alignment of marketing and sales, your inbound campaign is at a huge disadvantage.

To help align these teams, make sure they have shared goals and common objectives. The easiest way to ensure that is by putting a service-level agreement (SLA) in writing.

An SLA can also stipulate how effective communication throughout the sales cycle—from buyer persona creation to content mapping to lead nurturing—will be achieved.

An SLA is just one effective way to promote sales enablement in your inbound marketing efforts.


Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through inbound marketing and sales enablement.

Benefits of a Marketing Agency Offering Sales Enablement Services

Benefits of a Marketing Agency Offering Sales Enablement Services


If you’re looking to reduce churn with your clients, your agency should focus on client digital marketing strategies that align sales, and one crucial part of that can be offering inbound strategies in conjunction with a sales enablement program.

This is not to say that agencies aren’t embracing sales enablement at all, but there is a tendency of agencies to focus on marketing and only include sales in a peripheral way. However, if you can truly bring sales and marketing together and be heavily involved in both sides with an effective sales enablement strategy, you are setting up your clients for greater success. At that point, you’re showing them how to implement a closed-loop system where leads and content are effectively managed between marketing and sales, which increases conversion, productivity of the sales team, and ultimately revenue—all of which helps you retain your clients.

Inbound Marketing Strategy and Sales Enablement: Why an Agency Should Offer Sales Enablement Services

For agencies looking to offer sales enablement to their clients, starting early is one of the biggest keys and the best pieces of advice you can offer. Again, it’s not that agencies ignore sales teams altogether when implementing inbound marketing strategies. It’s just that there can be a disproportionate emphasis on the marketing side.

However, if your agency can work equally with marketing and sales from the very beginning of your strategy and process planning, you are setting up your clients (and yourself) for greater success.

Bringing sales into the marketing strategy early is crucial for three big reasons:

  1. You’ll achieve better inbound marketing buy-in from the sales members because they helped inform and shape the processes that affect them as well as marketing. Achieving this buy-in is essential! If sales members understand the process and the concrete value it provides to them, they are going to be excited and proactive about contributing to and using this system.
  2. Your strategies and processes will be stronger and more effective because you’re utilizing the wisdom, knowledge, and insight of the sales members, who are always talking to and getting to know the clients and prospective clients.
  3. Building detailed content strategies and processes for sales within context to their buyers at different stages of the buyer journey.

Without this alignment between marketing and sales from day one, sales enablement simply won’t be effective. Implementing systems that promote ongoing, open communication and collaboration between marketing and sales will give your sales enablement efforts a much greater chance at succes.

1. Achieving Alignment between Marketing and Sales with Sales Enablement

OK. So, you know alignment is essential and that you cannot effectively implement sales enablement without that alignment. Now, how do you go about achieving that?

One of the easiest and most common ways is with a service-level agreement (SLA). This document is created collaboratively between marketing and sales, and it establishes common goals and objectives. It can cover anything from quantitative goals (e.g., lead quotas) to establishing best practices (e.g., who will hand off a lead at what time).

An SLA promotes that healthy ongoing communication between marketing and sales, it lays out some of the processes for achieving that, and it allows each party to hold the other accountable to the terms of the SLA. Without an SLA, sales enablement efforts are simply more likely to be unsuccessful.

2. How Alignment Can Help You Better Understand Your Clients (or Prospective Clients)

Sales is the front-facing side of any business. Sales team members are the ones always talking to prospects and learning valuable information about them. That includes prospects’

  • paint points,
  • challenges,
  • problems (at the individual or company level),
  • roles in their companies,
  • and potential solutions to address those challenges and problems or achieve those goals.

If you don’t include sales in your inbound marketing strategies and buyer persona development, you don’t get the benefit of all that incredibly rich and relevant information that sales can bring to the table—information that can help your inbound marketing efforts be more effective.


3. Create Buyer Personas—and Targeted Content—with Marketing and Sales Involved

Once you’ve emphasized the importance of alignment to your clients and put SLAs in place, the next step is for you to walk those clients through buyer persona creation.

When creating these detailed buyer personas, your clients want to use the most accurate information available to them—and that means pulling from the collective knowledge of their marketing and sales teams. Each side can bring something unique and valuable to this process, and when those sides work together, the result is a more effective set of buyer personas.

Personas provide a more detailed knowledge of potential clients, and you can use that understanding of those clients’ problems, challenges, and goals to create highly targeted, relevant, and valuable content for each of those personas. 

As an agency, you can help your clients build and implement systems and processes that create both the personas and the structured content for those personas, helping ensure the process is successful by including input from both sales and marketing.


4. Map the Content to Benefit Marketing and Sales

Once your clients have these detailed buyer personas and all the valuable content that targets those personas, the next crucial step is ensuring the content is properly mapped.

Mapping content helps accomplish three big goals:

  1. It ensures sales is aware the content even exists.
  2. It provides quick access to that content (for both marketing and sales).
  3. It makes it clear for sales whom the content is for and the appropriate time within the buyer’s journey to use that particular piece of content.

Lead-related challenges between marketing and sales are nothing new. For example, sales might assume the leads are no good, but perhaps marketing handed them off too early in the sales cycle. Effective content mapping systems for marketing and sales can alleviate some of these common challenges.

One 2015 study by Sirius Decisions found that 65 percent of generated content is wasted, with 37 percent of content not being relevant and 28 percent not even being found.

Irrelevant content often stems from improper or incomplete buyer persona creation, and unfound content can result from improper content mapping system. That is to say, sales:

  • Didn’t even know the content existed and was available to them.
  • Didn’t know where to go to access the content. 
  • Found there was simply too much content to sift through to easily and efficiently find the necessary document.

As with all other steps in this process, it’s crucial for both sales and marketing to be involved in creating the content and the strategies for how to organize that content. 

If both marketing and sales understand the buyer’s journey, they can effectively map the content to reflect that sales cycle. Then, everyone who needs access to the content will understand how it was created, why it was created that way, and where to go to quickly and easily access the necessary content.

Offer the following tips to your clients to more strategically and effectively map their content:

  • Use spreadsheets that organize the content based on title or other features.
  • Create a content catalog—essentially an online filing system. Software such as HubSpot allows you to segment that content library into specific folders for easier, quicker, more intuitive access.
  • Remember, enlist sales and marketing to collaboratively build this sales library. 

5. Provide Coaching, Training, and Workshops on the Inbound Marketing Process

Sales teams are traditionally used to outbound selling. In order to make inbound marketing and social selling successful, though, your agency should underscore that the principles of selling are the same. The sales team just needs to apply their expertise to these new systems and processes.

That’s why coaching, training, and workshops are so important for your agency to provide to your clients. These trainings cover two main areas:

  1. The value of inbound marketing and social selling. This helps everyone understand how powerful of a tool this can be and helps ensure buy-in from everyone involved.
  2. The logistics of how to implement inbound marketing systems and use specific technological tools that make those systems more effective.

Specifically, trainings can cover topics such as:

  • How to deal with leads, including the proper time to hand a lead from marketing to sales. (This, in particular, helps the sales team be more productive, effective, and successful.)
  • When to use specific pieces of content (based on a potential client’s progress through the buyer’s journey).
  • The tools needed to research a prospect before contacting.
  • How to use marketing automation tools, CRM tools (including how to implement content into a CRM), and third-party sales enablement tools (e.g., HubSpot’s Sidekick).
  • Inbound selling techniques, including how to provide value and engage potential clients through content and education.

Final Thoughts

To meet clients demand, agencies must consider aligning  their digital marketing services with sales enablement services. Providing clients a systematic approach to increase marketing and sales productivity through content creation strategies, lead nurturing, sales conversion and training services. This will alleviate customer churn and increasing agency revenues


Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through inbound marketing and sales enablement.

How Do You Know if Inbound Marketing Is Working for Your Business?

How Do You Know if Inbound Marketing Is Working for Your Business?

You put a huge amount of time and effort into your inbound marketing campaign, but how do you know if all those blogs, social media postings, and videos are actually paying off? With a process like inbound marketing, concrete, consistent, and profitable results take time. To avoid a lot of wasted effort, it’s crucial to have a plan and strategy in place to track your progress and adjust your campaign over time (as necessary). Only by doing that can you ensure your business gets on the right path as soon as possible.


Is Inbound Effective for Your Business: How to Track Your Inbound Marketing Progress 

1. Set Goals for Your Inbound Marketing Efforts

The only way you can effectively track your progress is if you have a benchmark from which to judge success. A given number of people visiting your site per day is great, but to know whether that means positive progress for your business requires you to set goals. Those goals should include both concrete numbers (of site visits, leads, and customers) and time frames (six months out, a year out, etc.). They should be closely aligned with your overall  business objectives and revenue goals.

Goals help you know where you want to go, and this, in turn, helps you tailor your inbound marketing plan to arrive at your destination in the most efficient way possible. Just remember to be patient as your inbound marketing campaign grows and develops—especially if you’re starting from scratch. When setting goals, be ambitious, but also be realistic.


2. Use Software to Easily Track Your Inbound Marketing Progress

If you’re new to the inbound marketing game, it probably won’t be long before you start hearing a lot about HubSpot. Among many other features, this software allows you to track the progress and effectiveness of every piece of content you publish and lead generation.

This includes

  • blog posts
  • landing pages
  • e-mails
  • leads

Effectively tracking progress is all about hard numbers and data. How many site visits did you earn this month? What was your open rate on an e-mail campaign? 

While HubSpot certainly isn’t the only inbound marketing software that generates reports, automates content, and integrates with CRMs, it is one of the best known. But the important thing is not that you’re using HubSpot; it’s that you’re using some piece of software or program that allows you to effective and easily track your progress through objective data.

If you don’t, you’ll never accurately gauge what’s working and not working, and you won’t know how best to tweak your efforts or replicate success.


3. Target the Right Customer with Your Inbound Marketing Campaign

There’s nothing more disheartening than generating a ton of leads but failing to convert those leads into new customers. If you follow the data and notice you are getting site visits and leads but failing to close, it might be because your content is targeting the wrong customer.

Before you start any serious marketing efforts, you should sit down and carefully create buyer personas for your product or service. This helps you determine what kind of person will be interested in your company. Think about gender, age, income level, geographic location, and many other distinguishing factors. Then create your content to specifically target those buyer personas.

If your content only attracts people who can’t afford your product, for example, that means you’ve spent all that time, energy, and money creating content that isn’t going to ultimately yield financial rewards. The only way to realize this problem—and correct it—is to analyze the data.

Whatever your business, the goal of any inbound marketing campaign is increased revenue. Remember, a huge influx of visits to your site doesn’t do you any good if those visitors don’t become customers. So, how will you know when your inbound marketing efforts are paying off? The easy answer is that you’ll see it in an increased customer base and generated revenue. But those results don’t happen magically. Success requires strategic marketing efforts that you then implement with consistency, dedication, enthusiasm, and innovation.

Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through inbound marketing and sales enablement.

Should Agencies Provide – Agency Sales Enablement Services?

Should Agencies Provide – Agency Sales Enablement Services?


As more agencies learn about and implement sales enablement processes, it’s important for those agencies to realize that success with this strategy is contingent on several important factors. Most notably, you must have streamlined and well-thought-out strategies and processes in place to implement your sales enablement plans; otherwise, all the time, effort, and money you spend can result in little to no positive results.

Why You Agency Should Be Providing –  Agency Sales Enablement Services 


What Is Sales Enablement?

Sales Enablement is a systematic approach and process to increase sales organizations productivity through content, training, tools and analytics. This is achieved by marketing providing sales reps the resources and structure they need to effectively engage the buyer throughout the buyers journey. Increasing sales conversion and revenue.

To do this, sales enablement uses

  • content
  • training
  • tools
  • analytics 

When done correctly, the process helps nurture a lead through the buyer’s journey, ultimately creating a customer, increasing conversion, and maximizing revenue. 


Why Should Agencies Care about Sales Enablement?

If an agency wants to retain and grow clients’ retainers, that agency must understand the importance of both sales enablement and the alignment of sales and marketing—and then have the know-how to implement these strategic plans for its client. For the agency, not doing so could mean lost clients, and that means lost revenue.

Few agencies today are providing these services to their clients, but when done correctly, it can have a huge impact on clients’ revenue growth. That directly correlates to you keeping or increasing your client base.

The budget assigned to sales enablement has drastically increased in recent years because agencies are starting to recognize the value of this process. But throwing money at the issue isn’t the answer; properly funding a thoroughly and strategically created sales enablement program is.


Benefits of Sales Enablement

Sales enablement:

  • Increases effective communication between sales and marketing.
  • Establishes and facilitates common goals between sales and marketing.
  • Provides a framework for creating, mapping, and using strategic content in the sales cycle.
  • Increases productivity and efficacy of sales, thereby increasing the team’s ability to close deals and increase revenue.

Where many agencies fall down is thinking their jobs are done after they generate and nurture leads through marketing, but leads alone don’t prove the return on investment (ROI). Agencies can only truly showcase their worth (in dollars and cents) with sales enablement. When this important lead handoff is handled well, more leads are taken through the pipeline to closed sales, which leads to more generated revenue.


Avoid Client Churn for Your Agency

“Churn” is a dreaded word in the marketing world, and if it’s not feared in your agency yet, it should be!

Churn is what happens when you’re generating leads, but those leads are then managed improperly and eventually fall by the wayside. It’s often the direct result of not having a proper system in place to hand off leads at the right time.

Some common causes include:

  • Not having an effective lead-scoring system.
  • Not implementing a lead-handoff process.
  • Handing leads from marketing to sales when they’re not ready to have conversations with sales.
  • Failing to hand leads from marketing to sales when they are ready to buy.
  • Failing to interact (effectively or at all) with the lead after the initial contact.
  • Not training sales how to provide value and education through content.

Your agency can help mitigate churn for your clients with a proper understanding of sales enablement and the importance of aligning marketing and sales in the process.

After all, your goal is not to generate more leads for your clients; it’s to help them drive revenue by converting those leads into customers. Sales enablement can stem the damage of churn by facilitating that conversion.


Why Sales Enablement Is Important in an Evolving Buyer’s Landscape

More than ever, the buyer is in control of the buyer’s journey. Studies show a buyer is nearly 70 percent through the initial phase of the purchasing-decision process before even contacting or opening a dialogue with a business. This is drastically different than even five years ago, and the shift has changed the way sales needs to interact with and think about leads.

For one, it’s increasingly important for sales representatives to maximize every customer interaction. However, because the buyer’s journey is relatively new and different, salespeople can feel as if this strategy of communication through content is confusing or too time-consuming.

For example, salespeople might assume it will not be intuitive to know which piece of content to use when interacting with a lead, or they might fear it will simply take too long to sort through and find that relevant blog, testimonial, or case study.

That’s where sales enablement comes in. Proper enablement between marketing and sales can take the guesswork out of any lead communication. After the initial training and onboarding process, sales will find it actually saves time and produces results.

Increase Effective Communication between Sales and Marketing

All your sales enablement efforts will be ineffective if you don’t have proper communication between sales and marketing, and you can’t have communication without proper alignment. 

This alignment is becoming more common, but a divide still exists. Only when true alignment is achieved can online leads be seamlessly transitioned through the buyer’s journey to paying customers.

How can you help you clients establish this all-important alignment?

  • Recommend a sales-level agreement (SLA)

An SLA is essentially a contract between sales and marketing. It establishes and puts into writing the shared goals and objectives of both parties. Sales enablement can only be effectively implemented after this agreement has been reached and agreed upon.

Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive (SMART), they should promote regular communication between the groups, and they should utilize performance metrics to assess how the teams (individually and together) are doing.

  • Advise sales and marketing to collectively provide input when developing buyer personas

Sales and marketing should both be involved in this step because sales is the front-facing side of the business. Salespeople are the ones talking to prospects and clients and getting valuable feedback about their challenges and problems. This information greatly enhances the creation of detailed, accurate, and effective buyer personas—without which you cannot create targeted, effective content.

Develop personas for: primary people (decision-makers), secondary people (decision influencers), and people you wouldn’t reach out to.

The insight of the sales team into how to identify these personas and solve their stated problems is invaluable, so sales should never be excluded from this step.

 Map Content through the Buyer’s Journey

More often than not, the buyer’s journey is more problem-specific than product-specific. It’s an active research process the buyers go through when they’re looking for potential solutions to solve their problems or challenges, and it might lead to purchase decisions.

The buyer’s journey takes a lead through three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. You should advise your clients to create content for every buyer persona at every one of these stages. That content should always address the specific persona’s needs or challenges.

If you don’t have the structure or system in place to determine where a lead is in the buyer’s journey or to have that specific, targeted content created and organized, you simply won’t be able to achieve conversion as effectively and efficiently.

Mapping your content involves several important factors:

  • The content must be properly cataloged so everyone (sales and marketing) can find it easily and intuitively.
  • The sales funnel must be tracked and analyzed, and everyone must know how to identify a sales-qualified lead versus a marketing-qualified lead.
  • The mapping strategy should identify key characteristics of that content: Is the content for the top, middle, or bottom of the sales funnel? What persona is it targeting? What’s the content title, description, etc.?

 Create a Content Library to Enhance Sales Enablement

There are two important things to remember when it comes to a content library. One, it must be created and organized strategically, and two, everybody in the company must know about it and how to use it.

After all, you can have the most effective, time-saving e-mail templates imaginable, but if your sales team doesn’t realize those are available in a database, those templates aren’t contributing to anything.

A content library should:

  • Be easily accessible by all employees within the context of the buyer’s journey.
  • Be filled with content that’s relevant to the created buyer personas. 
  • Include a variety of content types (sales presentations, competitor comparisons, product update e-mails, testimonials, case studies, blogs, video-based content, etc.).

A 2015 Sirius Decisions study found a staggering 65 percent of content is wasted. Not being relevant for sales accounted for 37 percent, and not being found accounted for 28 percent. That’s a huge investment of time and manpower your clients are putting into content creation that’s not doing anything for them. Strategic content creation and organized content libraries for sales reps can help knock that percentage down.

When it comes to content libraries, the most common barriers for sales include:

  • They aren’t aware a library even exists.
  • There’s too much disorganized content to sift through.
  • They don’t have the time to look for relevant content in the library.

What’s the solution? Be organized and consistent!

Whatever content management system you’re using (whether it’s HubSpot, another CRM, a sales enablement tool, or an Excel spreadsheet), just make sure it’s accessible, easy to use, accurate, and sufficiently detailed. Then provide training to ensure everyone can navigate the system.

The effectiveness of the database should also be tracked. Are marketing and sales both using the database? Are they using it effectively? Do sales or marketing have any suggestions for how to improve the database?

 Provide Sales Enablement Coaching and Training

This approach to lead management can generate pushback from sales teams. However, it’s important to emphasize to your clients that sales teams don’t need to change their actual approach to selling. They just need to apply their expertise and tactics to an altered system, which will actually provide strong value in the sales process.

That’s why effective onboarding of sales and getting their total buy-in to the system is so important. A company must demonstrate through this training that the system can provide real value to the sales teams with time-saving elements, such as e-mail templates.

Because salespeople are always so busy, and time is their number one commodity, you must prove the system is simplistic, easy to use, and efficient.

Training should:

  • Demonstrate how to use content in the sales cycle, how to identify where a lead is in the buyer’s journey, and what kinds of content to provide and questions to ask at that stage.
  • Teach them how to effectively use analytics in the sales process.
  • Establish where content is in the database, how to access it, and how to navigate the system.
  • Underscore that this process ultimately leads to increased revenue for the company.

 Align Marketing and Sales from a Technology Standpoint

Philosophical alignment between sales and marketing is important, but just as important is technological and logistical alignment.

The company’s marketing automation tool, CRM, and any sales enablement tools (such as HubSpot’s Sidekick) must integrate. It’s also easiest to have shared databases. That way, everybody knows where to find content or can track a particular client’s progress through the buyer’s journey, and nobody is working from competing or conflicting information.

Sales enablement is incredibly powerful, but it’s not something to jump into and throw money at until you’ve done your strategic planning and research. Helping your clients achieve successful sales enablement means helping them understand it’s a process that involves buy-in from the entire company. It means aligning marketing and sales, and it means executing the right steps by the right people in the right order.


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