Let’s say you’re presented with an example of one Sales organization versus another. They are mostly identical in terms of the budget, resources, and personnel provided to their separate Sales and Marketing teams.
Imagine that you’re asked to determine why one of them has low Sales revenue and the other is doing reasonably well. Not exactly an easy matter to parse, at least not on the surface – but there’s a good chance the difference between good and bad is the effectiveness of their Sales enablement process.
Sales enablement best practices can be challenging to implement within Marketing and Sales, but it’s an obstacle that can ultimately be overcome. A combination of clever decision-making and agile Sales enablement software removes any guesswork from the process and creates a more efficient Sales funnel.
Clarity Regarding Sales Enablement
Here’s the thing about defining Sales enablement: There is no one-size-fits-all definition for the term, because it encompasses several different things, according to HR Daily Advisor.
As such, Sales enablement programs work in unique ways for every direct Sales organization. In fact, the best manner in which you could describe Sales enablement tools, best practices, or processes would be that they all significantly and substantially improve the Sales cycle. But that’s a bit vague, so let’s be a little more specific with our insights.
Customer relationship management software, for one, falls under the umbrella of Sales enablement technology, because it combines all of the essential functions a Sales rep or Marketing professional needs to manage their tasks. It makes their role in the Sales funnel that much simpler and more approachable.
Along similar lines, Marketing as a whole is another type of Sales enablement, and a very literal one at that: Marketing pros do everything they can to evangelize for your company’s brand, spread it further through social and content, and amass leads and prospects for the Sales staff to contact in the hope of getting deals closed.
Onboarding and training for new sellers – as well as ongoing coaching for Sales professionals of all experience levels – represent other facets of company operations that, by virtue of their positive influence on the Marketing and Sales processes, can also be thought of as additional kinds of Sales enablement.
So if there’s any real “mystery” to Sales enablement, it’s this: The “solution” can only be found through a process of trial and error, in which your organization strives to find the right balance of concrete tools and data and intuitive human process – an ideal blend of art and science. Now that you know there isn’t as much of a defined formula behind a Sales enablement program as you might have thought, let’s look at some of the key factors that can help you facilitate, achieve, and maintain this kind of genuinely effective system.
Charter and Strategy: Foundations of a Quality Sales Enablement Program
Getting everyone on the same page is key to making the most of any business process, and Sales is no exception to this rule. What better way to do this than to establish defined goals for Sales performance and procedures by which to move toward them, in the form of a Sales enablement charter?
Rather than limiting itself to hard and fast rules about quota attainment and other generalized ideas, a comprehensive and well-crafted enablement charter explores the complete “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of your organization’s revenue generation efforts:
Who are the personnel you hope to specifically uplift? (i.e., are you specifically focusing on the Sales team, or related pros as well, like members of the Marketing, account management, or customer service teams?)
What is your organization’s Sales strategy and the scope of your goals – are you hoping for a 15% uptick from last quarter’s totals, or something considerably more ambitious?
If you’re creating a charter for teams beyond Sales, how do you plan to keep everybody connected, and who will serve as the liaison from your department to any others you’ll be working with? Will a dedicated Sales enablement manager be overseeing the plan, or will it be split between that individual and the director of the Sales team?
Some of these questions have clear answers that can apply generally to most Sales organizations.
For example, it’s always good to have buy-in and support from the Sales director for your charter, especially if you end up including some less-than-conventional ideas that other C-suite personnel might initially be wary of.
Also, the scope of your revenue goals should always be realistic, even if that means it must be adjusted from time to time. But for the most part, the answers will vary a great deal from company to company, and you don’t necessarily need everything to be perfectly figured out when you devise the charting documents. Those insights will come, and when they do, they’ll form the spine of your Sales enablement strategy.
Sales Coaching and Sure-Handed Management Improve Sales Readiness
According to Forbes, there are certain situations where the Marketing team excels at lead generation, and Sales directors excitedly book times for meetings between reps and buyers … only for the sellers to flounder at the finish line and fail to close deals. This often stems from a lack of Sales readiness.
Why reps aren’t ready varies wildly on a case-by-case basis. In the instance described within Forbes’s post, they were not on the same page as the Marketing department, the staff of which had focused their account-based Marketing efforts toward reaching chief Marketing officers. The reps, meanwhile, had the most experience selling to chief information officers, who were the primary customer for the company’s software.
No matter what sellers happen to be offering, if they aren’t well-acquainted with the leads’ needs and priorities, they may not be able to adjust their ask and value props on the fly to suit unfamiliar prospective customers.
It goes without saying that sellers should be given appropriate data and insights ahead of time by Marketing personnel. But for lack of a better phrase, sometimes stuff happens in the selling environment, and reps who’ve gone beyond the novice level should be able to retool the specifics of their pitches in midstream, to at least some degree. Strong leadership and coaching from supervisory and directorial staff can help prepare sellers for both the best- and worst-case scenarios (and everything in between). Reps’ efforts may still fail, but if their levels of Sales readiness are high, their chances of success will be similarly elevated.
Enablement Software Brings it all Together
Coaching has immense value in Sales. Some might argue it has more value than training in the long run – because training is all about direct instruction, whereas coaching is a little bit less structured. Instead of helping a team of reps by telling them how to solve a particular Sales enablement problem, a coach imbues these sellers with the inspiration, advice, and contextual information that they, in turn, use to find Sales enablement solutions on their own. In a nutshell, it’s about helping reps help themselves.
However, neither training nor coaching can offer sellers the kinds of assistance the methods are designed to provide if they aren’t organized in their presentation, or have subpar support from outdated software. This is why it’s absolutely critical that your organization adopts a comprehensively functioning Sales enablement platform that includes numerous resources specifically intended to facilitate and improve the Sales coaching process.
The agile Sales enablement solution from Showpad includes the following features to significantly boost the efficacy of your organization’s Sales coaching:
- The Manager Hub interface allows reps’ supervisors to visualize key details for each member of their team: Progress, difficulties, and overall level of Sales readiness, all defined using appropriate key performance indicators
- Reps can work on their skills – everything from introductory interactions with prospects to the critical final asks – by using Pitch IQ to record practice pitches and compare their efforts to those of established Sales and Marketing personnel
- Compatibility of the Showpad Coach platform across both desktop and mobile devices means that managers can coach anywhere, at any time
- Have your reps encourage one another by sharing content (pitch recordings, assessments, scores, etc.) and offering tips for mutual improvement
- Easily integrate with existing CRM tools used by the Sales team, as well as Marketing and account managers, so that revenue-generation efforts are always acting in concert
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