Sales enablement continues to move from being a competitive advantage to a must-have asset for organizations that want to shorten the sales cycle, convert more customers and generate revenue.
Developing and executing a lucrative strategy requires involvement from sales leadership, reps, enablement professionals and marketing — not to mention sales enablement software that drives and supports your efforts.
In this blog, we will discuss practices for conceiving and implementing a powerful strategy, complete with the right sales enablement platform, that improves the sales process and stimulates growth.
Define Sales Enablement for Your Organization
Before establishing your strategy, it’s important to define what sales enablement will mean for your organization and what you want it to accomplish. This won’t be the same from one company to the next; your strategy will depend on the strengths of your sales teams and your goals.
Generally speaking, sales enablement means providing the resources reps need to improve the sales process and shorten the sales cycle. These sales enablement tools range from sales force training and coaching, marketing content, performance analytics and more — we’ll cover these later in this blog.
The inherent centralization of a sales enablement platform means sales and marketing teams are achieving cross-functional collaboration, working within the same program to create, revise and distribute content. Historically, the relationship between the two departments has been fraught, with minimal collaboration and communication. As a result, customer-facing content inadequately focuses on every buyer’s individual needs. Within sales enablement software, marketing can develop and update content, reps can provide feedback, and leadership can measure effectiveness of various materials to continue improving.
Planning, implementing, executing, measuring and optimizing an effective sales enablement program means your team is well-equipped to develop meaningful relationships with today’s sophisticated and skeptical buyer. Your prospective customers aren’t looking for another generic sales presentation; they want to partner with organizations that are able to recognize their unique business challenges and offer solutions. Sales enablement positions a rep to become a trusted advisor to buyers, rather than “just another salesperson.”
Strategic Sales Enablement Tips
Once you’ve established your sales enablement strategy, created your charter and communicated expectations for all stakeholders, it’s critical you follow best practices to ensure the program’s success.
As with any initiative you introduce in your organization, sales enablement cannot thrive in an environment where it’s not accepted. Before taking any steps toward planning your strategy, rally all stakeholders — leadership, managers, sales reps, marketing — around the program and its mission, getting their sign-off on what’s expected throughout the sales process. The best way to encourage your team to get on board with sales enablement is to demonstrate its value. Show what’s in it for everyone by committing to the program; reps are more likely to attain quota, some pressure will be taken off managers and your organization will generate more revenue as a result.
It will be difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether your strategy is producing positive results if you don’t establish specific goals and KPIs. Consider the ultimate business goal you’re trying to accomplish with sales enablement and drill down to how every individual member of the team contributes to that goal. If you have a target revenue number to hit, break it down into how much must be generated by each sales team (if you have more than one) and the reps within those teams – then set the KPIs that will help you reach the target (e.g., sales velocity, close rate, lead-to-conversion rate, content usage, etc.). Finally, use sales forecasts to assign specific numeric goals to each person.
The goals you set are arbitrary if you fail to measure them on an ongoing basis. What’s the performance on a team level? Individual rep level? How are people performing on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis? What content is being used most and having the biggest impact? Your sales enablement platform should provide insight into all of this, allowing you to make changes to your strategy and continue getting better.
Establishing a Workable Sales Enablement Plan
Just as you need buy-in from all involved in sales enablement, you need to establish roles and responsibilities to set expectations for how the program will operate. All members of your sales team, including managers, reps and sales development representatives, along with others involved in the sales process like marketing and product, should understand their roles moving forward.
Sales managers will be responsible for measuring performance to ensure their teams are properly using the tools at their disposal, and coaching them through challenges and customer objections. Ongoing guidance is crucial for guaranteeing no rep gets far behind in terms of knowledge, skills and performance.
Marketing is tasked with developing two different types of content for sales enhancement, the first being blogs, white papers, videos, case studies and infographics that are then distributed through email, social media or your website. The second type of content is collateral for sellers to present to prospective buyers across the buying journey: demos, presentation decks, product pages, flyers, etc.
The role for salespeople is to leverage the tools, content and support provided from management and other departments to improve their own sales process and meet their performance goals. Reps should be held accountable for reviewing training materials, gathering feedback on sales enablement content from buyers to take back to marketing and following the guidance provided from coaching.
Once everyone understands their role and the program is in place, your job with enablement isn’t done; your strategy must be agile. As mentioned, you should be measuring the impact of sales enablement tools to determine whether they are making a positive change to day-to-day sales operations and overall performance.
Best Sales Enablement Tools
Your people are what keep the sales enablement strategy moving forward, but you need the right sales enablement tools that support their hard work and remove barriers in the sales process.
These tools include:
- Ongoing salesforce training: Initial onboarding and bite-size learning throughout a seller’s tenure to ensure they understand and retain information about your products, competitors, sales methodologies, etc.
- Sales coaching: Reinforces what is learned in training and guides salespeople through challenges.
- Marketing materials: Demos, product pages and other sales enablement content for leads at different phases of the buying journey allow sales reps to address specific needs and provide a better experience.
- Reporting: Offers insight into performance on an individual and team level to help sales leaders identify and address knowledge gaps.
- Sales enablement software: Centralizes tools to improve sales productivity and ultimately help reps convert leads into customers.
While these are cornerstone features of a successful sales enablement strategy, there are other tools you will want to consider in order to effectively reach leads while making the sales process more efficient:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) platform
- Marketing automation platform
- Inbound marketing platform
- Social media channels
The volume of different tools can be hard to digest. Fortunately, sales enablement software integrates many of these tools into one platform to streamline workflows.
Showpad for Sales Enablement
Ready to get your sales enablement strategy off the ground? Sales reps, marketing teams and managers are limited by the hours in the day — boost productivity and achieve desired outcomes with the right technology.
Showpad’s sales enablement solution shortens the sales cycle, promotes sales and marketing alignment, enhances the buyer experience and allows for growth. If you want to learn more, contact Showpad today.