Today’s sales and marketing teams are operating in the age of the customer. To be successful, these teams must focus their strategies and actions on the buyers’ problems and opportunities. Marketers are tasked with generating high-quality leads for the sales team. While marketing looks to improve the lead conversion process, sales looks to accelerate the sales cycle. Despite these two teams sharing a common goal of winning business, responsibilities can blur together. Below are tips for connecting, accelerating and converting leads in the modern sales cycle.

1. Align sales and marketing teams

Sales and marketing alignment is critical for connecting to buyers and accelerating opportunities in the pipeline. Marketing provides content to sellers that ultimately help close deals faster. Sales reps share their findings from won and lost deals, so marketing can continue to create content that converts. This strategic alignment boosts efficiency and productivity across the entire organization and increases bottom-line results.

2. Prioritize the right leads

When leads come through your funnel, it’s likely because they have found your content useful and are interested in learning more. All leads are not created equal. Sellers don’t benefit from random leads that marketing throws over the fence. Unless leads are qualified, sellers waste precious time following up. A lead scoring system jointly developed by marketing and sales helps enforce a cadence around the highest priority leads and accelerate them in the sales cycle.

3. Embrace data and maintain a consistent sales process

Dashboards offer insight into real-time behaviors into what prospects are looking for so that sales can engage each individual with relevant resources. Maintaining a workflow enables you to collect data and gather important insights that can guide further improvements and successes. For example, how many touchpoints does it take to set a meeting? What messaging is most effective at advancing prospects to each consecutive stage of the sales cycle? What type of content accelerates deals and generates the highest ROI? Having a consistent workflow will drive productivity and give reps more time to focus on core selling activities that ultimately close.

4. Centralize your content management

Content often goes to waste simply because sales reps can’t find it or don’t know it exists in the first place. Your salespeople don’t have a lot of time and do not want to use multiple tools to find critical content. Your teams need a centralized content management system acting as a “single source of truth” for all content, messaging, and subject matter experts to help sellers accelerate opportunities through the sales cycle. When marketers makes it easy for sellers to provide buyers with the right sales collateral, companies are better positioned to improve lead conversion rates.

5. Meet buyers where they are in their journey

Buyers embark on 60% of the buyer’s journey before speaking to a sales rep. Buyers now obtain product knowledge, read reviews, and seek pricing without ever engaging with sales. As a result, buyers don’t want sellers to spout the features of their product or software. When buyers come to salespeople, they expect them to build off the research they’ve done and provide them new information they need to make a purchase decision.

By pushing content to where sellers work, you’re much more likely to see an increase in adoption of sales content. Sales enablement platforms integrate and push recommended content wherever your sellers work, such as the CRM, email, and even with internal collaboration tools like Slack or Teams. These integrations can streamline sellers’ workflow, so they can focus on essential selling activities and provide value for their buyers. Relevant materials are automatically surfaced to increase buyer engagement with the right information at the right time.

7. Become a trusted advisor and provide a consultative selling experience

Sales reps are not merely helping people buy software. Buyers are looking to partner with vendors who understand their particular pain points and can solve their problems — both during the buying process and later as a customer. According to a study by McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Salespeople should ask critical questions and actively listen to their buyers before recommending a solution that fully addresses their needs. As sellers become trusted advisors they build stronger relationships that close deals faster and drive revenue to your business.

8. Personalize sales content at scale

Your buyers get presentations, sales documents, marketing materials, offers, and proposals from many vendors everyday. If that content isn’t relevant to the buyer and their specific needs, it will get ignored or even set a deal backwards. Personalization is a necessity to survive and thrive in the era of the empowered customer, but building out a presentation can be a time consuming task for sales reps. Sales enablement automation platforms give sellers the ability personalize content at scale by linking presentations, and the slides within those presentations, to specific sales contexts. Sellers then get a tailored presentation with compelling content that resonates with their audience on a deeper level that enables buyers to envision future state with your solution / product.

9. Invest in sales enablement

Sales enablement is about people and technology, and strategically aligning them both behind a common goal: sales successes. Sales enablement helps organizations convert leads and shorten sales cycles by improving buyer interactions with relevant sales content that is tailored and personalized. Sales enablement, by nature, empowers and enables sales reps to work more efficiently. When executed properly, sales enablement has a measured impact on time spent selling, win rates, and revenue.