Scott Brinker’s massive new version of the Marketing Technology Landscape is so vast – comprising more than 1,800 companies – that it easily earns its moniker as a “supergraphic” (Before viewing, raise browser zoom to maximum and don a pair of telescopic eyeglasses).
Squeezed between the many no-brainer categorical segments such as Marketing Automation and Social Media is one category that, to the uninitiated, might seem curious as first glance: “Sales Enablement.” While that’s the category term favored by Forrester and other analysts, note that it also goes by the name Sales Acceleration and to some, Sales Force Automation.
So what’s that doing here, anyhow? What does a company like RingDNA and other sales automation companies have to do with marketing tech?
First, let’s start with how inside sales teams are organized. You might be surprised to learn that 24% of inbound sales reps are now managed by marketing executives. Adding to that are more than a few crossover executives, heading both sales and marketing.
One of the reasons marketing is increasingly involved in sales, of course, is because of the change in B2B buyer behavior in recent years. B2B buyers go through about 57% percent of the purchasing process before contacting sales reps. The methodologies of inbound marketing have changed accordingly, with an emphasis on making it much easier for prospects to find and evaluate B2B products without any contact with sales.
The best inside sales reps are changing accordingly, shifting their emphasis from being purely “sellers” and qualifiers and to educators and experts. Great sales reps are curious about their prospects in an attempt to quickly understand whether there’s a fit and if possible, offer them great value.
With B2B sales and marketing increasingly aligned on approach and process, we’re seeing the technology used by marketers gradually adapt to making sales reps more successful. As an example, RingDNA’s call tracking software traces the origins of every inbound phone call, making it possible for marketers to truly measure the value of their marketing investments in terms of inbound phone leads and eventual ROI. But that process is also extended to sales reps, who are able to see information about callers – including buyer intent and valuable contextual CRM data – during inbound calls.
This adds up to sales enablement being a core piece of every B2B marketer’s role. Our job as marketers is then to ensure that every piece of our marketing stack – be it marketing automation, business intelligence software or inbound call tracking – is chosen with sales enablement in mind.