November 26, 2018
Updated: December 18, 2020

Sales Enablement 101

Although it might seem obvious that sales enablement strategy is a critical business function, for many sales teams, the importance of a structured sales enablement program has only very recently gained traction. For those in sales operations still in the early stages of planning their customer journey toward improved sales enablement, here’s a primer on what enablement services are, where you should focus, and how you can measure success.

How is Sales Enablement Defined?

At its core, sales enablement is the strategic process of equipping sales departments with the skills, knowledge and training, tools, and collateral they need to drive buyer interactions and improve your sales effectiveness. It’s an ongoing practice that puts your sales force in your customers’ shoes and empowers them to be in control of sales conversations. Truly effective sales enablement helps all sellers — not just top performers — become more efficient and better consultative partners.

Prepping Your Sales Team with the Right Training and Coaching

A successful sales enablement strategy should start with proper training surrounding the sales methodologies and processes, programs, demos, and any other important skills in which you want your sales team to become experts.

Traditional training and coaching methods are tempting but reps sitting down for a full day (or days) of training is rarely effective. However, training for global sales enablement is most effective when you provide learning materials as sales tools in a simple format that sales teams can review at their convenience. This is not only easier for sales leadership in that they can distribute important training as soon as it’s ready, but also for reps, who are more likely to study when they can do it on their own time. Digital, video and mobile content makes the learning easier to access and more enjoyable for your sales team. Play up the competition and incentivize training with sales gamification and online leaderboards, offering a prize for the final “winner.”

Arming Salespeople with the Right Content at the Right Time

Buyers have little time on their hands and can lose interest quickly, so content must be compelling and relevant. Content like case studies, white papers, webinars, and more can do a lot of the talking for salespeople and be quite effective in the sales process, as long as appropriate content is shared in a palatable way at the right time. Supplying buyers with relevant information shows you understand their needs and challenges. As a result, you’ll be positioned as a consultative partner and they’ll move forward in their customer journey with your business.

Having a breadth of content available for salespeople takes cross-functional collaboration across both marketing and sales enablement teams. The content should be updated regularly to properly reflect changes in your business, product or service, target audience or targeted industries.

Measuring Results

One of the most important elements of a sales enablement plan includes creating key performance measurement indicators (KPIs) and analyzing data, otherwise you won’t know if the efforts put into the strategy, training, and content creation are paying off. By measuring metrics and success of specific sales enablement content pieces, marketing can regularly monitor how they are performing, making alterations and updates to your master content strategy needed. You can also track what content is being used the most, who is using it, and what customers have or have not seen it to ensure an optimal customer experience.

The success of your sales enablement content may also depend on the knowledge and skills your sales reps have. Evaluate whether sellers are completing the training materials you’ve provided, as well as how well they score on your sales enablement platform quizzes and tests. Use this data to identify knowledge gaps amongst the team and inform your individual management of every potential customer.

With sales and marketing alignment, your sales enablement strategy can have a significant impact on the overall sales effectiveness and sales performance of your sales organization. Training, content, and sales productivity analysis should happen continuously and be used to encourage ongoing learning and shortening of your sales cycle.

Showpad’s sales enablement platform allows you to automate training and content processes, giving your sales force more time to actually sell for increasing your sales revenue. Contact us to learn more or request a demo.

Learn more about the basics of creating a successful sales enablement program by reading our in-depth guide, “what is sales enablement?”

Need help building your sales enablement blueprint? Download our sales enablement planning guide and learn critical steps to a successful sales enablement strategy.

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