Any company operating within the modern business landscape, whether it’s in the B2B realm or strictly retail, needs to sell its product or service to survive. But selling is easier said than done.
You need skilled reps and sound processes, plus analytics and tools to support them – and that is exactly what successful Sales enablement is all about.
Developing a Sales enablement program that truly serves the bottom line of your Sales organization in a meaningful way requires the creation and implementation of a multifaceted process.
For one, you will need a Sales enablement platform capable of analytics tracking and seamless integration with every existing CRM in the department – as well as those in related units like Marketing and Account Management – to support sellers’ efforts and craft engaging Sales enablement content.
It will also be necessary to have strong coaching in place not only for the onboarding and training of new Sales reps, but also to periodically refresh and bolster the skills of veteran sellers.
Tracking Relevant Analytics with Your Sales Enablement Platform
A CRM’s ultimate purpose is technical and utilitarian.
What you really need to be doing with the CRM you’d use as a Sales enablement manager – in this case, a type of Sales enablement software – is tracking activities across all members of the department.
Every action throughout the Sales cycle that is involved in closing a deal with a customer should be quantified via data analytics: cold calls for lead generation, Marketing outreach efforts, initial calls from Sales reps to prospects, follow-up communications, final deal-closing conversations, emails, meetings, and Marketing campaigns.
It may be of further value to break down how much each step of that life cycle (for successful transactions) is worth; specifically costs incurred by the company during each phase vis-a-vis how valuable every one of those steps was to ultimately close the deal.
Not only does your Sales enablement platform need to calculate those basic A-to-Z steps of the process, but ideally, you should be even more granular in your analytics collection.
Durations of both unsuccessful and successful Sales calls can be measured, for example. While call length itself may not tell you something in every single call, it is worth documenting and storing in your CRM for the instances in which it becomes situationally relevant.
Since you’re almost certainly recording all of the calls made by your Sales reps, you can measure the length of conversations during different phases of the cycle, and find relevant analytics within them: Maybe you end up learning that your top Sales rep from last month was finding success by taking their time with the intro phase of the call when speaking with prospects within the senior-citizen demographic, while also keeping things short and sweet when speaking with millennials, high-powered professionals, or other customers whom the rep assumed (correctly) would be appreciative of brevity.
Using agile Sales enablement technology, this information can ultimately be incorporated within the training and coaching processes that are themselves pivotal to meaningful Sales enablement, and provide actionable insights into all aspects of the overall Sales engagement cycle.
Keeping track of just the analytics for situations detailed above – let alone all of the other metrics that might come up in the quantification of your Sales cycle – is no small amount of work. So it’s a good thing you won’t be doing it manually.
Your CRM and related Sales enablement tools aren’t bound by much in terms of their possibilities for improving teamwide processes for Sales and Marketing, as long as you’re tracking the data that is necessary for their successful operation. If Sales enablement tools aren’t data-driven, their utility in the long run will be limited.
The Role of Coaching: As Important As Sales Enablement Technology
Arguably, coaching is the most literal version of Sales enablement in that it involves helping both new and established Sales reps determine how best to close deals. No matter where you list it in terms of specific importance to the process, though, it’s impossible to deny the status of coaching as one of the key Sales enablement tools alongside analytics, support from Marketing, and a versatile CRM platform.
A good way to view Sales coaching is as something that enables sellers to be the best versions of their professional selves.
Whether it’s conducted through group sessions, one-on-one talks with a Sales enablement manager, training visualizations contained within Sales enablement software, or some combination of all three (which is probably the best way to go), proper coaching should always be structured to emphasize the key skills of each Sales rep while improving upon any weaknesses they may have.
Use your CRM and any other Sales enablement technology at your disposal as key tools for Sales coaching tasks. Doin so will aid you greatly in developing customized skill development curricula for every seller, powered by relevant performance-related analytics. A Sales enablement program that deploys the full arsenal of internal and external resources may be the best setup for success.
There is one thing about training and onboarding that some may forget but will be absolutely essential for you to remember if you hope to achieve meaningful success with your Sales enablement strategy: Coaching is not about telling Sales reps what to do and not to do (That’s more the role of mentoring, which has its value when employees are first onboarding but will turn into hand-holding if it goes on for too long.).
Instead, as Forbes pointed out, effective coaching helps sellers solve their own problems. In its best form, it allows reps to find their paths to individual success, though they’ll have reliable backup from strong CRM tools and analytics within a versatile Sales enablement solution. In this way, Sales enablement is also a form of Sales engagement, empowering and energizing your team to do more with what they have.
Sales does not operate independently of other departments within your organization. In fact, it may be more reliant on support from its fellow teams than any other business unit or Sales enablement tool.
As previously stated, Marketing and Account Management/Customer Success are inextricably bound to Sales. The three of them form a chain that links together the full Sales enablement process:
- Marketing holds the lead position, due to its role in laying groundwork for prospective customers. It entails everything from making cold calls and encouraging email sign-ups to visiting trade shows and networking face to face. The department creates social posts, blogs, brochures, and other collateral for this purpose – work that will ultimately serve as Sales enablement content.
- Sales reps get the deals done, a task that varies wildly between companies. They are the revenue centers of your organization and they convert leads into cash, making every prospect engagement matter.
- Account managers or customer service personnel work hard to keep buyers engaged with the organization long after those initial transactions are completed.
All will likely use individual CRM tools, in addition to systems shared throughout the entire organization.
If these departments don’t work together in various ways, Sales enablement can’t be fully realized, which puts your business’s bottom line in jeopardy. Marketing and Sales will collaborate most closely, because their cooperation is essential to creating Sales enablement content, ranging from augmented-reality experiences to case studies relevant to customers’ key industries. But there must be a symbiotic unity of purpose among all involved in these company segments, with good Marketing creating fertile ground for Sales opportunities that blossom into long-lasting bonds between business and customer.
The unified Sales enablement platform from Showpad helps better unite marketing, Sales, and Customer or Account Management by providing easy integration between disparate CRM platforms. Additionally, it allows for the creation and distribution of all essential Sales enablement materials, ranging from consumer-facing content to customizable coaching exercises that help sellers realize the breadth of their potential. You can codify and implement Sales enablement best practices at the ground level, straight from point-of-hire, so your team fires on all cylinders from the start.
With the right tools, every organization becomes a bona fide Sales organization.