Understanding Sales Enablement

September 18, 2019

Do you fully understand Sales enablement and what it entails? We’ve got the answers for you to ensure you optimize Sales reps’ success and see long-lasting results in your Sales process.

What is Sales enablement?

Sales enablement is an organizational strategy that equips Sales reps with the training, tools, content, and leadership necessary to build their pipelines, engage buyers at every level, and ultimately, close more deals. This Sales process requires buy-in and participation from the Sales team, Marketing teams, customer success, and upper management to be planned and executed effectively.

Ultimately, the practice of Sales enablement provides sales people the resources needed to boost their skills, and a better understanding of your customers that allows your Sales force to develop more personal relationships with them.

Your Sales enablement program should be:

  • Strategic – Understanding your clients’ problems and how they are trying to solve them
  • Ongoing – Keeping information current and providing continuous training to make sure your Sales reps have greater effectiveness leading to higher win rates
  • Consistent and systematic – Driving uniformity across messaging, content, and coaching to the go-to-market organization
  • Valuable – Transitioning from transactional Sales conversations to consultative Sales conversations

Ensuring your Sales process has these traits will determine the level of Sales enablement importance across the organization.

Top Sales enablement strategies

Prior to communicating your Sales enablement plan and implementing it across your organization, C-level executives and Sales managers must put a formal Sales enablement strategy together. Your Sales enablement strategy requires various key elements, including:

  • Purpose and goals: What results are you looking for at both the individual and team level?
  • Ideal Sales process: How should the day-to-day look on the Sales floor?
  • Audience throughout the Sales funnel: Who are your target customers, and what information do they need at each step in the buying journey?
  • Sales enablement software and other Sales enablement tools: What resources and technology will best support your efforts?
  • Roles for Sales vs. Marketing: What are your expectations for each person on the Sales team throughout the Sales enablement process?
  • Metrics for success: How will you determine whether the strategy is working?

Establishing all of the above first will ensure the program runs as smoothly as possible, and that expectations are consistent across your organization. Now that we know what should be included in your Sales enablement strategy, there are a few items that should be avoided when integrating Sales enablement into your sales process:

  1. Not Establishing KPIs – Your sales enablement solution will suddenly provide insights across all of your sales and marketing collateral in the field. Prior to launching the program, make sure that your KPIs are established and weighted to understand the overall effect of the program.
  2. Misalignment between sales and marketing – Sales enablement solutions are only effective if the Sales and Marketing teams are aligned on its goals and how to best utilize the tool. Without aligning performance goals across both Sales and Marketing, the sales enablement platform will not be fully utilized.
  3. Focusing solely on the content platform – Sales enablement solutions typically provide a content management system, however, this isn’t the only solution your Sales team can use. Make sure the coaching, training, and educational components of the technology are fully utilized to improve the growth of your Sales team.
  4. Technology reliance – Sales enablement is a process that improves the performance of your Sales reps, not a technology solution. Once you are onboarded with your Sales enablement technology, customize the tool to make sure it’s easy for your Sales reps to use regularly and identify opportunities to integrate the technology into Sales conversations. It’s important not to over-rely on technology or assume the Sales enablement platform will do the selling for you.
  5. Not tagging materials – Organizing your content within the Sales enablement platform is essential for Sales reps to easily locate key Marketing and Sales materials. Without tagging, the tool cannot be relied on.

 

Benefits and importance of Sales enablement

While all departments within your organization play a role in its prosperity, the Sales team is what drives revenue and overall success. The more customers and business they generate, the more lucrative your business becomes increasing their market share. Therefore, it’s vital to provide Sales reps with the support needed to focus on selling activities, improve Sales effectiveness, and provide meaningful buyer conversations to move and convert leads.

Sales enablement tools address common Sales challenges, encouraging improved alignment between Sales and Marketing, a relationship that tends to be fraught across businesses. Working together, Sales provides Marketing with the important firsthand information about customers they need to then create compelling content for the sales force to use in future correspondence.

With this insight, members of the Marketing team can create more relevant and timely copy for buyers. Rather than general Sales decks and one-pagers, an account-based marketing approach views every prospect as its own market. The marketing team thus creates hyper-personalized content materials for each account or lead. The more specific the Sales team can be when presenting to prospects, the more engaged those prospects will be in return during the Sales cycle.

Additionally, this strategy improves the efficiency of certain tedious tasks that prevent reps from focusing their energy on valuable activities. Sales professionals often get bogged down in administrative tasks like finding and recording lead information or hunting down Marketing content. With a Sales enablement solution, everything lives in one place, and Sales enablement software does a lot of heavy lifting by automating certain parts of the Sales process.

Tools and resources for Sales enablement

There are many Sales enablement tools available to streamline Sales enablement activities and help your Sales and Marketing teams work better and smarter. These tools generally integrate all the Marketing and Sales functionalities both teams need to carry out their respective responsibilities effectively.

A Sales enablement solution props up the overall strategy with tools for training, coaching, and content. First and foremost, in order to truly maximize Sales professionals’ performance, they need proper Sales training to understand your industry, products, buyers, methodologies, and so on. While in-person Sales kickoffs and other training days are helpful, it’s bite-sized, digital learning materials that make the information stick over time. As the market changes, it’s far easier and more convenient for you to update materials, and therefore for your Sales team to review on-the-go, whenever and wherever they choose.

Additionally, the essential Sales enablement content your Marketing team puts together becomes far easier to manage, update, and access at any time, through any device. Your Sales force needs this content to have an impact in buyer conversations, showing they understand their unique needs and can provide a solution to address those needs. With an integrated Sales enablement platform, Sales gets the right information, at the right time, through the most convenient means.

Finally, a Sales enablement solution provides Sales and Marketing leaders with insights into how the broader strategy is working, as well as how every individual member of the team is performing. You can see who has reviewed and completed training content, along with which Sales people have used certain Marketing materials in buyer communications and whether those materials have any impact across the Sales cycle. In the end, you can set more realistic goals for reps while encouraging them to keep improving.

Ready to get your Sales enablement strategy in place? Turn your Sales and Marketing up a notch with a well-rounded strategy that includes a Sales enablement solution to support you along the way. Contact Showpad today for more information about Sales enablement.