Episode 121: Aimee Dunn on Collaborating with Marketing to Enhance the Buyer Experience

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Shawnna Sumaoang: Hi, and welcome to the Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I am Shawnna Sumaoang. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so that they can be more effective in their jobs. Today, I’m extremely excited to have Aimee Dunn, the director of sales enablement at TechnologyAdvice join us. Aimee, I would love for you to introduce yourself, your role, and your organization to our audience.

Aimee Dunn: Thanks, Shawnna. As you mentioned, I’m Aimee Dunn and I’m the director of sales enablement at TechnologyAdvice headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m working remotely in North Carolina. We’re a full-service B2B media company. And so, what that means is we do marketing for technology companies and we help them find their ideal customers. We do it by engaging with technology buyers through our websites, through our email newsletters and through our phone conversations.

SS: Aimee, I’m so excited that you’re able to join us. Now, one of the things that we do prior to every podcast is just got to know each of our guests a little bit better. And on LinkedIn, you mentioned that one of the core responsibilities of sales enablement at your organization is to help sales successfully collaborate with marketing. And I think that’s something that a lot of our audience can relate with within their own organizations. So, how can sales enablement be the unifying factor between sales and marketing organizations?

AD: Sure. So, as you mentioned, my role within the organization as indicated is to unite stakeholders in sales, and marketing, and operations around the common goal of really providing salespeople with the right resources, the right processes and technology that they need to have better and deeper conversations with their prospects and customers and to meet their marketing needs. So, in my eyes, having a multi-disciplinary team, including sales enablement is an important key to the overall success. Sales enablement really brings together multiple perspectives and skillsets, including analytics and market understanding, problem-solving capabilities, product knowledge, industry knowledge and background, and really close knowledge of the customer’s history and current situation. So, the ability to communicate that upward and outward is essential.

SS: Absolutely, I agree. And having a bit of a marketing background myself, I can relate. So how can sales enablement help identify some of the characteristics of an ideal buyer? And then, how can they work with marketing to ensure that the messaging and the content and all of the engagement tactics that are necessary to go after that buyer, how can they work with marketing to really make sure that they land that in the field with the sales teams?

AD: Well, it’s a good question because if you ask that to most other sales enablement leaders, you’re probably going to get a lot of different answers. I’m in a unique situation where I align with a sales team who’s selling marketing programs to marketers. So, demand gen professionals, that’s our ideal buyer. So, with our ideal customers, being marketers at almost any size technology company, this means we have to be experts in helping our marketers identify their ideal buyers and help them create demand and drive revenue for their technology products. So, a bit different from if you’re talking to someone who’s only geared towards one area, whereas we’re geared towards just marketers.

SS: That makes a ton of sense. It’s almost looking through a double mirror. I love that. You also shared an article that was on the technology advice blog, and it was talking about how enablement can help overcome this notion of content overload that we’re bombarding salespeople with so much noise. So, I’d love to hear kind of your opinion on how sales enablement can help salespeople cut through that clutter and get to the right material that they need at the right time.

AD: Sure. So, technology companies span thousands of different tech segments, and that means that the sales team has to be extremely selective in the content that they share with their marketer clients to ensure that it resonates with them. So, sales enablement aligns with marketing and content and within our organization to ensure we have a regular stream of marketing facing content published on our sites pushed out via social media, broadcast on our B2B Nation podcast, and shared in our virtual events that speaks to marketers and how to address their particular marketing challenges.

So, in doing so, we really become that trusted advisor and help them identify their ideal customers but ensuring that they have content on their specific technology that resonates with their ideal customers in specific situations versus just personas. So, for example, in our organization, we have a sales team that specifically works with agencies. We have one that specifically works directly with clients and customers. We have a sales team that only sells a specific offering. And then we have a sales team that works with our partners. Their message to those customers differs from one another and it’s critical to do so. So, the same should hold true for sales enablement and all organizations to cut through that noise. There needs to be content geared towards different situations.

SS: I love that. I think you’re right, I think we need to kind of move past just persona-based things. There’s a whole vector that we need to take into consider as we engage with the people that we want to connect with. So, I’d love to hear from you, how does collaboration, between sales and marketing help improve the buyer experience? And I’d love to tack onto this a little bit as well, what are some of the inherent risks if they don’t collaborate well within an organization?

AD: Well, I would say as most companies probably have experienced, it does happen. It does happen that marketing and sales is not aligned, but you know, there’s so many things that are new in technology now. And so even if I take off my hat of who my ideal customers are, or who our target customers are, knowing that there are resources out there to gain customer feedback and learn the voice of the customer, has been a huge change and a huge positive shift for companies like us. So, with marketing behind personalizing and customizing that message to the situations I outlined previously, sales is really able to take and make their entire conversation about how they can help that client specifically, not broadly.

So, solutions are crafted to address needs, not to sell products. That’s the biggest change that I’ve seen in the last two years. And I’ve been in this business for 15 years. So, it’s something that’s very new and I see a lot more adapting it. So, separate from that we as a service company are really tasked with improving customer experience, and so we’ve adopted those processes that collect customer satisfaction about the sales team, customer satisfaction with the client success team, the delivery team and the products and services. So, we’re compiling all of that. Marketing’s involvement in creating and deploying those tactics help us identify what’s working, it helps us identify what’s not working. It also helps us really determine what new products or product enhancements we need to address our client’s needs. So, with that critical piece from marketing, sales and the rest of the support team would have no idea where they stood.

SS: Yes. I’d love that you guys have such a buyer-centric mentality, which is obviously critical right now. So, as the buyer landscape has been changing, and as I alluded to this year, it’s been probably changing quite rapidly and radically, how can sales enablement help spearhead some of the change management to help sales reps adjust and continue to engage with buyers in a really effective manner?

AD: Well, we really continued to identify new ways to engage with our customers. Really speaking to what you said, the buyer-centric mentality, and so some of the ways we do that and have moved towards is the conversational marketing. We have that involved in a lot of areas of our marketing. We also use video a lot, our sales team uses video. I use video just to send a quick snippet of training to our sales team or tip of the day, tip of the week. We’re always exploring marketing technology to support the growing need for ad hoc personalized content. It’s something that every sales enablement and marketing team should be doing.

We’re implementing learning management system, specific to sales. That’s something completely new to us as our team has been growing. We’ve more than doubled in size in the last nine months. We continue to put our learnings from our customer feedback into use encouraging deeper conversations between sales and client success and our customers so that we, and they, can learn from every service and tactic we perform. So, technology stack is key. It’s what I can say. And since we don’t actually offer the technology, but we help the advice, we kind of drink our own Kool-Aid in that regard.

SS: I love that. Well, Aimee, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. I’ve enjoyed the conversation.

AD: Me too. Thank you so much.

SS: To our audience, thanks for listening. For more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders, visit salesenablement.pro. If there’s something you’d like to share or a topic you’d like to learn more about, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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