You may notice more and more people with “sales enablement” in their job titles－in fact, that number has nearly doubled since 2016. These sales enablement professionals are given a tall order: implement change within the sales organization and prove value to leadership and reps.
Showpad’s Director of Sales, Colby Henard, sat down with Colin Campbell of Sales Hacker and Kira Greer, Head of Global Sales Enablement at Hired, in a recent webinar to discuss what it takes for sales enablement professionals to implement a successful program within their organizations.
What are the main challenges in sales enablement?
Sales enablement practitioners and teams are tasked with solving many challenges facing sales and marketing teams. Sales reps are given high revenue targets but don’t have enough time to sell. Additionally, they are talking to sophisticated buyers who take in a lot of information from different directions and have high expectations for their buying experiences. This creates the need for faster ramp-up times, and getting mid performers to a top-performing level by providing them the resources they need to articulate value in every buyer interaction.
Marketing has the challenge of proving the impact of both internal and customer-facing content they spend time and resources creating. To make it more complicated, sellers are using outdated content or perhaps don’t know the best context in which to use certain content pieces.
Sales enablement is a critical function to deliver on these challenges, creating alignment between sales, marketing, and other stakeholders to offer an exceptional selling experience.
Who owns sales enablement?
Depending on your organization, sales enablement “owners” can be sales or marketing leaders, or if your business is a bit more mature, there might be a designated sales enablement practitioner or team.
Regardless of who is at the helm of the program, various departments including ops, sales, marketing, product, and more will have involvement in the enablement strategy. The designated practitioners need to drive alignment between these teams from the initial sales enablement charter to the objectives you’re trying to achieve.
Rather than being a trainer or order-taker, sales enablement practitioners must become a partner and service for salespeople, taking a strategic approach to change processes and measuring the success of those changes. It’s not about giving salespeople more; it’s about distilling information down to the sales context to make the path clear for them to move forward.
How does a sales enablement practitioner prove value to leadership?
First, make sure your goals are in line with the success of the broader business. Take the perspective of individual contributions and how they scale up to departmental and organizational goals so you can validate the impact of sales enablement.
It’s also important to get top-down support for your sales enablement initiatives. Find an internal champion who will advocate for you and your cause. It’s true what they say, there’s strength in numbers, and getting some buy-in from other members of your organization will help to appeal to the executive-level.
Unfortunately, the support you want from leadership may not come so easily. Sales enablement practitioners have to advocate for themselves and push to be understood and appreciated; start with small wins and speak to them to get acknowledgement and recognition. Even if it’s piecemeal, smaller proof of success, it will still display the value of the work you are doing and the progress you’ve made.
What drives initial enablement?
When getting started with your sales enablement program, practitioners should gather feedback from members of the sales and marketing teams with an open forum. If this format isn’t possible, distribute surveys or sit in on seller calls and meetings to get a sense of motivations and behaviors to build profiles for top, middle, and low performing sellers. Getting insight from reps, the people who will benefit most from sales enablement, should help identify pain points and determine what actions will have the most significant return.
Next, it’s critical to assess the tools being used by salespeople. Many organizations are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars－if not more－in various technologies to support employees in their daily work. Many sales reps use customer relationship management (CRM), content management systems (CMS), marketing automation, and more, none of which is built for the seller. Often, businesses have too many tools, or the ones they are using aren’t living up to expectations. Think about how you can consolidate and find a platform that integrates all the solutions your team needs and scales as your organization and customer base grows.
How do you measure sales enablement outcomes?
The metrics you use to determine sales enablement success depend on larger business and departmental goals. Set benchmarks in advance, recording pre- and post-event data, to get a comprehensive view of change and progress. Data you choose to measure can be anything from ramp-up time, quarter-over-quarter wins, average selling price, average sales cycle, content usage, and more.
Due to outside pressure, sellers often aim to close deals and hit quotas as fast as possible, limiting them to think within the confines of their own agendas. Work with sales leadership to clarify the most effective processes and best practices, keeping the wider company goals in mind. At the end of the day, sales excellence is about people; both the seller and the buyer. With this at the heart of your strategy, results will speak for themselves.
Remember, the three A’s are your key to sales enablement success: alignment with executive and sales leadership, adoption across all sales and marketing stakeholders, and acceleration of the program to drive positive results.
Hear the full webinar recording here: https://cdn.www.showpad.com/webinars/the-three-as-of-sales-enablement-alignment-adoption-acceleration/?website_redirect_blog