You don’t run into a battle without the necessary weapons unless you want to lose. The same can be said when dealing with your leads. If corporations don’t gear up their sales teams with the necessary resources to convince their prospects, then failure is inevitable. Enter sales enablement.
The need to constantly update your sales team’s knowledge of your company’s products and services through different means is what drives the importance of sales enablement initiatives.
This concept is a broad term that covers activities like recruitment, training, coaching, content creation, analysis, sales strategy, and other tools and practices. These processes provide salespeople with the information and means to help them engage with customers and manage sales leads more effectively.
Why Sales Enablement is Crucial
Simply hiring people with innate talent to sell and training them to be knowledgeable about your business’ products won’t cut it if you want them to operate to the best of their abilities. Targets change, but the need to meet them is constant, so you need to empower sales teams to sell better.
Effective sales enablement can yield other fruitful benefits for your brand:
- It provides salespeople with best practices, knowledge, tools, and resources to drive results. These help them conduct a thorough needs assessment, qualify customers, and recommend the right products for customers’ specific needs, all while educating themselves and their customers on their products’ specs, features, and value.
- It helps sales reps, especially new ones, become more competent faster, which reduces the time needed for them to become productive.
- Salespeople get to target scalable, predictable, and repeatable quotas. That way, you won’t have to depend on 20% of your sales team to make 80% of your sales.
- There are sales enablement tools that can recommend the right training at the right time to help sales reps close deals. This training reinforcement also helps boost sales efficiency.
- It may also help make marketing consistency a reality. Marketing advocates for message and brand consistency through the right product positioning, talking points, and value proposition, and giving access to high-caliber marketing content makes that possible.
- Uniformity assures that each customer receives the same customer experience regardless of the rep they are buying from, thereby improving process consistency.
- Sales enablement allows your team to effectively drive a prospect through the sales funnel because they know how to prioritize leads, the right selling tactics to use, and the right value proposition to focus on.
How to Optimize Sales Enablement
There are notable advantages to implementing sales enablement strategies, but you can only reap these benefits if you’re implementing it correctly over time.
1. It’s all about the buyer experience
Sales enablement may be all about empowering sales to engage with buyers, but it is the buyer’s journey that ultimately matters.
Make sure that the team knows who those buyers are and the journey they’re on. Then, map sales procedures and training to meet the process requirements of the buying experience.
2. Recruit the right people
When you hire the right salespeople, you’re confident that the enablement program will be properly executed. Getting the right employees means hiring professionals who are flexible and teamwork-oriented.
As mentioned before, it’s not always about finding the best salespeople. It’s about find the right salespeople with the potential to become great. That means focusing on learning capacity, flexibility, and adaptiveness to new concepts.
3. Provide the right tools
Having the right people undergo training should go hand-in-hand with having the right tools and resources. Tools like product data sheets, appropriate applications, user behavior history, and brand marketing content are essential data channels that should be provided to sales teams.
Make sure, though, that salespeople are using these tools correctly.
4. Training should be continuous
A 2016 Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey showed that 65% of practitioners want improvement in sales training as a priority for their organizations. Improving sales training entails doing it more than once a year. You want the training material to stick, so there’s a need for regular reviews.
Conduct training at least once per quarter, then use other tools like newsletters and collaboration platforms to keep the team up to date.
5. Create, use, and share high-quality content
Content allows salespeople to deliver value to buyers in a scalable, controllable way and can also be used as an aid to their sales pitch. However, 90% of content goes unused by sales, according to the American Marketing Association, because they can’t find it.
Find ways for other departments within the organization to access content that they need. Marketing automation platforms can help, as they allow for flexible content organization and recommendations based on performance. Automation streamlines the process by having a repository for all content and tools in an easily-accessible portal.
6. Integrate input from the entire organization
Effective sales enablement should also bring in voices from other departments and teams, not just from Sales. Bring in your marketing and customer service reps and managers to the table.
These three should deliver a consistent experience during the entire customer lifecycle to create lasting relationships with them, so it’s important that they meet regularly to discuss improvements. Try to have an alignment meeting at least once a month to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
7. Measure results
Some of most basic sales enablement metrics that should be tracked are average sales cycle length, the number of reps achieving quota, and average deal size, to name a few. Sales performance results will let you discover if each sales rep is performing as expected or not.
Naturally, if you’re not satisfied with the results, you may need to further optimize your strategy or simply find new sales employees.
Empower Your Sales Team to Sell Better
A solid sales enablement strategy empowers your salespeople with knowledge about who they’re selling to, which hugely supports account-based marketing or any other targeted sales strategy. It’ll help with drive growth and ultimately determine how well you understand your clientele.
Just keep in mind, the foundation of every sales enablement plan is a strong understanding of your target audience. Only once the necessary information is collected and analyzed can organizations begin to transform them into valuable insights for their sales teams.