January 27, 2020
Updated: December 19, 2020

5 Top Challenges for Sales Enablement Professionals

The advantages of an effective Sales enablement program are hard to argue against. Improved Sales productivity, more wins, better training – these are just a couple of the benefits that a Sales enablement strategy generates.

However, despite the potential for these gains, there are several Sales enablement challenges professionals like Sales managers and leaders may encounter. Such is the nature of doing business in dynamic markets. Sales enablement professionals should be prepared for risks to Sales productivity, Marketing alignment, Sales onboarding efficiency, and other key operational areas. 

The best way to stay ahead of those challenges is simply to know what they are and how they might manifest in the day to day of a Sales organization. 

Another ideal way to navigate around challenges? Having the best Sales enablement software to drive collaboration, automate workflows, and deliver data insights. Your enablement software will lie at the heart of your Sales enablement strategy, so leverage it to solve obstacles and mitigate risks as they appear.

Here are the top five Sales enablement challenges to be aware of and how to tackle them head on.

1. Sales Content isn’t Optimized

Customers crave content, which is why collateral plays such an important role in the Sales process. With a robust library of content for every Sales cycle touchpoint, you’re well-prepared to meet customer expectations and needs. However, if there are gaps in your content assets, it may negatively impact the Sales process. 

Today, every business needs a diverse array of content: blogs, social media posts, white papers, eBooks, case studies, one-pagers, client presentations, product spec guides, buyer personas, etc. The list could go on, and not only do you need different forms of Sales enablement content, but also materials for different purposes, like customer education versus brand awareness. The more content you have, the more effective your Sales reps will be in selling to pain points and influencing buying decisions.

Sales enablement technology is important to content in three vital ways:

  1. A unified platform for content saves reps from wasting hours on fruitless searches for Marketing materials.
  2. A Sales enablement solution  prevents oversight into where the gaps may exist in your content library.
  3. Enablement software means better collaboration between Marketing and Sales.

With the right Sales enablement tools, Sales managers and other stakeholders can solve those top-line concerns by giving Marketing and Sales a single, digital environment for accessing, updating, and sharing content. The time saved can be returned to value-add efforts like personalization or future content creation.

2. New Hires Are Underperforming After Ramping

Sales onboarding is critically important. Once you’ve made the investment in a new hire, you need them to sell and contribute once fully ramped, if not sooner. However, this pressure to condense training may end up having a negative effect on comprehension and learning retention of onboarding materials. So when new hires aren’t meeting numbers, onboarding should be the first place to look before turnover and other costs mount.

While each candidate you hire may show promise, some might need a little extra polishing. An onboarding program that’s rigid and doesn’t emphasize person-to-person interaction can get the job done, but just barely. To truly foster an engaging and educational environment for new hires, a Sales enablement strategy is needed. 

A rep who is immersed in a culture of Sales enablement from the very beginning can focus on building skills and expertise instead of mastering bureaucratic processes. Reps with instant and unfiltered access to Marketing materials are more capable and motivated to explore the collateral in depth. 

When in possession of the best Sales enablement tools, these ramping hires can become the self-starters they need to be. The time-savings are also a boon to new hire and Sales enablement manager alike: The former can focus on core tasks and duties, while the latter can devote their time to one-on-one and mentoring sessions with ramping hires.

3.  Marketing and Sales Remain Out of Sync

Any daylight between Marketing and Sales could have a negative effect on operations or the customer experience. Yet the eternal question Marketing and Sales leaders face is how to get these two separate departments to work as one. It’s not an easy quandry to solve, but if left unaddressed can devolve and become an entrenched issue.

In the absence of collaboration and coordination, Marketing content may be updated without feedback and then pushed live without sufficient communication or training (if a new asset). Avoiding such situations entirely is possible when leveraging Sales enablement software to unify the two departments and achieve alignment.

Sales enablement software allows Marketing and Sales to work together in a shared environment. Providing reps and Marketing stakeholders with direct channels for interaction can help facilitate meaningful collaboration that produces higher quality content.

4. Account Retention is Falling Behind

There is a misconception that Sales enablement applies only in the time between when the lead enters the pipeline and when the contract is signed. While a Sales enablement strategy has clear benefits for customer acquisition or new market expansion, it also has a large part to play in account retention. Neglecting to apply Sales enablement best practices in client retention efforts can be a significant opportunity missed — as well as potential revenue out the door if those accounts churn.

Acquisition does not need to come at the expense of retention; and with a top-performing Sales enablement platform at your disposal, that never has to be the case. Sales enablement tools can automate processes across the scope of the client relationship, returning time and resources at key touchpoints that can be used to provide more value to the customer. A rep who has to search for content doesn’t have the bandwidth that an enabled Sales professional does to personalize client presentations or share an asset with notes that the rep thinks the client might find helpful.

5. Reps Aren’t Effectively Selling to New Pain Points

Customer needs change; such is life in Sales. It’s up to you, however, to ensure your business is responsive to those changes in preferences or wants. Part in parcel to that is having an agile Sales staff that is quick on the uptake for any new business or opportunity. That can become a particularly large obstacle to scale without the help of an established Sales enablement program.

When new client needs or pain points emerge, there’s a potential that the regular materials reps work with won’t suffice. A script may no longer be relevant, or an asset that used to be a home run with prospects loses its effectiveness because it lacks direct acknowledgement of a new market need. 

If this happens, organizations need to be quick to pivot. A Sales enablement platform is invaluable at such junctures. Leaders can leverage these tools to:

  • Align Marketing and Sales on what information new or re-optimized content needs to contain.
  • Create coaching modules that address the new assets or pain points and equip reps with tools and skills to effectively sell.
  • Track data to ensure the new strategy is working, and course-correct further if the new campaign is missing the mark.

Talk to Showpad to Learn More About Enablement Software

The pathway to success will have its fair share of hurdles. The difference will lie in how you meet those Sales enablement challenges, and what technology you rely on to drive results and desired outcomes. Whether Marketing and Sales dissonance is the root issue or an ineffective onboarding program, Sales enablement can be used to solve your challenges.

When building out or scaling up a Sales enablement program, consider the tools you invest in. Taking advantage of the benefits Sales enablement delivers hinges on the software you acquire. To increase productivity, shorten the Sales cycle, or drive continuous improvement, you need an all-in-one solution that makes content sharing and coaching seamless.

For more information on what that solution looks like, contact Showpad today.

7 Steps to Building a Winning Sales Enablement Program

7 Steps to Building a Winning Sales Enablement Program

Finally seeing the light and making the leap to implement a formal Sales Enablement program at your organization? Don’t just wing it; follow the right steps to make sure your strategy delivers. This eBook explores why a formal Enablement program is needed, where to begin, and how to ensure its ongoing success.