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How to Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams with Sales Enablement

Written by: Neima Chowdhury
September 25, 2019 • 10-minute read

Manila HUG 2019: Aligning Sales and Marketing Teams with Sales Enablemen

It’s vital that marketing and sales teams are aligned in order to gain more customers and prevent losing the ones you already have. This may feel like an impossible mission considering that these two departments often don’t get along.

For instance, there's the classic back-and-forth argument about whether Marketing isn't bringing enough leads or whether Sales aren't putting in much effort to close.

As marketers, how then do we align and empower our sales teams to efficiently sell at a higher velocity?

This can be made possible with Sales Enablement⁠—the topic for 2019’s second Manila HubSpot User Group (HUG) gathering held last August 28 at Acceler8 by UnionSPACE - Rockwell.

The event hosted by StraightArrow Corporation, GetCre8tive, and Acceler8 by UnionSPACE was attended by HubSpot users and marketers from various companies in the Philippines.

Case Studies on Sales Enablement

Sales Enablement on a Small Scale

The event opened with a warm welcome from StraightArrow’s Head of Digital Marketing and Manila HUG Leader, Chloe Villanueva.

She started off by giving a quick overview of what HUGs are all about and explained a little about the flywheel, one of the main points of discussion during the first 2019 Manila HUG.

Manila HUG 2 - Chloe Villanueva
Chloe Villanueva, StraightArrow’s Head of Digital Marketing, welcomes the attendees of the second Manila HUG gathering for 2019. Photo by Ica Felipe.

After that, Chloe proceeded to give a brief background on how sales enablement works on a small scale sharing the case of one of StraightArrow’s clients, an Australian company providing LED solutions.

The lighting company started without a marketing team and only a sales team composed of three people. At the time, the client had a newly-launched website and they expressed wanting to explore other marketing activities such as blogging to boost awareness and push sales.

Because of this, they decided to engage with StraightArrow for outsourced marketing support.

To start, the team used HubSpot’s free marketing tools. As the client’s outsourced marketing partner, we aligned with their sales manager about the customer journey. We also collaborated with them to identify how to reflect the buyer’s journey in the marketing campaigns, which products to feature, and how to make their sales tools harmonize with the current marketing tools.

Thanks to the tools and processes that our team set up to enable sales, the client saw an increase in website traffic and a steady pipeline of more qualified leads. 

Using tools to simplify sales processes

After Chloe finished giving a picture of how sales enablement can work for a small team, Bianca Cruz, Acceler8 by UnionSpace’s General Manager, took the floor to share their own story of using separate tools to maximize HubSpot and how this made their sales process more efficient.

Bianca shared that before they started using HubSpot, everyone in the team was expected to handle sales and assist inquiries—manually.

Their process included documenting all the leads they received in a day on a shared Google sheet. From there, an assigned person would distribute the leads among the team.

But Acceler8’s old process didn’t end here: the team had to go back and forth using multiple apps to check the assigned lead in order to respond to inquiries, before finally notifying the team that they’d answered the said inquiry.

While all these apps are very much helpful and useful, it [isn’t] an airtight solution if we want to be effective with our sales. There are so many things that get lost along the way.

Bianca went on to share that a lot of their sales team’s questions were left unanswered such as the number of deals they closed, reasons why they weren’t able to close other leads, and other necessary data needed to improve their sales processes and strategies.

Bianca Cruz of Acceler8 by UnionSpace explains how HubSpot helped them streamline their sales processes.
Bianca Cruz of Acceler8 by UnionSpace explains how HubSpot helped them streamline their sales processes.
Photo by Ica Felipe.

And so, they decided to use HubSpot which proved to be helpful in improving sales enablement, simplifying processes and adding value.

Now, the Acceler8 team gets more visibility on the progress of their leads and follow-ups are done automatically.

On the marketing’s end, they learned to make their approach more personal, intentional, and value-adding for clients—more than just merely selling.

What is sales enablement?

Chloe and Bianca’s case studies are among the examples of sales enablement—but what exactly is sales enablement and how can other marketers apply this to their respective businesses?

To bring more clarity on this matter, Prasana William, Marketing Manager at HubSpot South East Asia discussed the whats and hows of sales enablement.

Prasana started off by giving the basic definition of sales enablement from HubSpot:

Sales enablement is the processes, content, and technology that empower sales teams to sell more efficiently at a higher velocity.

She went on to simplify this definition by sharing that at the end of the day, it’s important that the marketing and sales teams communicate with each other.

According to Prasana, it’s crucial that both teams speak the same language; especially when concerning leads, sales processes, and customers.

At HubSpot, they call this Smarketing—which simply means sales and marketing put together.

How to enable sales effectively

After defining what sales enablement is, Prasana went on to give practical tips and insights on how to enable sales effectively.

Create an ideal customer profile

It all starts with this one thing called the ideal customer profile.

An ideal customer profile provides a clear picture of a perfect customer for your business. It outlines the qualities that would make a good fit for the solution or service that your business can solve.

Prasana shared that you can get started by creating your own ideal customer profile with a HubSpot tool called Make My Persona.

It’s ideal that you get your marketing and sales team to sit in a room together to discuss your product and the characteristics of people who might benefit from it or want to buy it. 

Prasana William from HubSpot shares insights and practical tips on sales enablementPrasana William from HubSpot shares insights and practical tips on sales enablement.
Photo by Ica Felipe.

When creating this profile, Prasana added that it’s good to go more granular. This makes it possible for you to collect and provide more data so you can better outline your ideal customer.

It’s a checklist that includes your ideal customer’s age, where they hang out online, what they read, or who else they associate with.

The information you gather helps the marketing team target people better and gain more qualified leads.

“So whenever I’m doing anything in marketing if I’m not marketing [for] this person, it’s just like a complete waste of time and money,” Prasana said.

Develop a lead qualification matrix

When the marketing team gets a lead, the sales team wants to ensure that the person they’re talking to is ready to buy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and not all leads are qualified to talk to the sales team.

So, how do we know when which leads should be passed on to sales and which should be nurtured by the marketing team?

Having an ideal customer profile can serve as a basis. But to further simplify the process, Prasana recommends setting up a lead qualification matrix to define exactly what sales-ready leads look like.

An example of a lead qualification matrix.
An example of a lead qualification matrix. Photo from HubSpot.

Basically, the matrix has 6 categories:

  1. Good fit and sales-ready
  2. Good fit and unready
  3. Poor fit and sales-ready
  4. Poor fit and unready
  5. Good fit hand raisers
  6. Poor fit hand raisers

Leads that qualify under “good fit” are those who meet your criteria in your ideal customer profile.

For example, if you’re in the housing or real estate industry, you might consider someone who has a good credit score with an interest to buy a house as a good fit. These leads can be further qualified whether they are sales-ready or not.

If they fall into the first description—or have signified interest in talking to you—they can be passed on to your sales team.

If they’re not ready, however, Prasana reminds us that it’s “marketing’s job to help nurture and get someone ready to talk to sales. That’s our job; sales just go in to close the deal.”

Leads who count as a poor fit, meanwhile, fall short and are unqualified from the checklist you’ve set. You can still keep them in your database, but Prasana recommends putting them under the “poor fit” section for nurturing. This is because they could meet your criteria in the future.

Lastly, the remaining categories belong to the hand raisers—or those who explicitly said that they want to talk to your sales team. These include individuals who have requested a demo or a quote.

While this may sound exciting, remember: not all of them will be a good fit.

Again, those who fall short of your criteria should still undergo nurturing. The right strategy to make the most of these leads would be to educate them further so that they eventually become interested to speak with your sales team.

You can also try tweaking your targeting and messaging.

Utilize a content matrix

When tweaking your messaging, Prasana shared another helpful tool that marketers can develop to enable sales: the content matrix.

This contains the persona, the problem they are trying to address, and the features of your product or service that can help them solve their pain point.

With a content matrix, you can formulate content that helps them learn more about your product.

An example of a content matrix.
An example of a content matrix. Photo from HubSpot.

In addition to this matrix, Prasana forwarded the following questions that your content needs to answer in order to educate your leads before you pass them on sales:

  • What is your product?
  • How much does your product cost?
  • What are the common problems or objections with your product?
  • How does your product compare to your competitors?
  • How can customers maximize your product?

Create a Service Level Agreement

Now that we know what marketing and sales should do, there’s one final thing that Prasana recommends to keep the teams aligned—creating a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This agreement states what the two teams promise to deliver to each other. 

Here is a sample SLA from HubSpot:

“every month, marketing will deliver 1,000 qualified leads to sales, and sales will contact each of those leads within 24 hours of receiving it.”

To create an SLA for your team, it’s imperative that the two teams know the revenue goal.

This means that the sales team should figure out how many deals they need to close to achieve those goals so that the marketing team can plot the number of leads they need to deliver to achieve the required number of sales. 

Closing the deal

Although the gathering lasted only for a few hours, the attendees were able to take away valuable insights that would make a lasting impact on their marketing and sales efforts.

The lessons on customer profiles, lead qualification, the content matrix, and SLAs definitely go a long way in aligning marketing and sales teams to achieve a common goal⁠—to grow better.

Want to learn how to use HubSpot?

Do you need assistance in creating content or strategy to enable sales?

We can help.

HubSpot Consultation

Neima Chowdhury
Neima Chowdhury
StraightArrow Alum Neima Chowdhury enjoys creating written and verbal content for various media platforms, for all stages of inbound marketing, and helping clients deliver their brand messages. When she’s not working on new content, you’ll find her either reading, listening to music, or watching the latest Korean drama.



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