What is Sales Enablement?
If you work in sales or marketing, you have probably come across the term Sales Enablement – the iterative process of providing the sales department with the education, content, and tools that help them sell more effectively. It’s a hot topic, and it’s here to stay. We don’t see this as a “best practice”, rather a must have. In this blog post we will cover the basics: what it is, why you need it and where to start. If you don't have time to read, book a meeting with me and I can explain!
Sales Enablement is the modern way to run a sales organization. In short, it’s about providing your sales team with the resources they need to find - and close - more deals. These resources include content, tools and knowledge.
One important aspect in Sales Enablement is to align sales and marketing. Your sales and marketing departments should function as one department solving issues and setting goals together – rather than operating as two isolated departments. If these two are disconnected, we know it’s a recipe for failure.
The term might be a bit “loose”, and that’s because it’s more of a strategy and philosophy than a concrete step-by-step process. Also, Sales Enablement doesn’t have any global definition, which makes it even more unclear. But it all comes down to increased productivity by adopting an approach that drives revenue. Sounds great, right?
More specifically, Sales Enablement includes:
- Introducing and implementing the tools (CRM) the sales team need to do their job
- Explaining how to use content in various stages of the sales funnel
- Clarity in how marketing and sales work cooperatively
- Giving sales reps the coaching, education and support to convert more leads into clients
Why do you need it?
So now we know what it is, but what’s in it for you as sales manager?
As you know, B2B selling has become very complex. That’s why Sales Enablement has become more and more important over the last few years.
If you implement Sales Enablement as a natural part of your sales strategy, you will have a compelling benefit with a smoother sales process with happier staff and more satisfied customers. It will give your sales reps the possibility to achieve quota in a predictable way and it changes your sales organization so you are no longer dependent on a few super sales gurus to meet your sales goal.
Working with Sales Enablement, every sales rep will have access to the knowledge that can help them break free from average performance. They are able to connect with prospects and leads on a much deeper level.
This strategy will help provide all salespeople with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their every day job.
How do you create a Sales Enablement process?
You should always start with the end objective in mind. What would you like to accomplish with Sales Enablement? Be clear, and make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. You should also be sure to have dedicated roles to run this program.
Then it's time to start looking for the right systems and technology. Customer engagement solutions (as a CRM) is one example of tools you need in place (we like HubSpot and SharpSpring – but there are a variety of solutions).
When you have the structure in place, it’s time to start optimizing the content. Content is information about your services, and it should aim to solve your customers’ problems they face in each step of their buyers journey. Remember that your customers don’t have time to look for the content, so make sure it’s easy for them to find. Then you have to remember than sales reps need training on how to use this program.
Accessing content and data should be easy. The information you provide should be broken down into guided selling tools, like playbooks and pitch decks.
Remember, the overall goal with your program is ultimately to close more deals. But, it’s also about how your sales reps invest their time. Evaluate how much time they are spending on things like finding content and making presentations, then decide what can be improved. Finally, with time, you will have a functional and effective sales organization. Then you can start focus on more strategic plans.
What's also important is to continuously train and educate your sales reps. For example, you need to make sure that they understand the contents of your pitch deck or sales playbook, educate themselves on new ways of selling (such as social selling or inbound marketing) and become experts in doing exploratory client meetings.
When we advise our clients on how to work with Sales Enablement, we follow this process. If you want to get help, please let me know and we can book a time and chat.
- Identify your challenges
There’s no “one process fits all” solution. All companies and sales departments are different, so you need to start with an analysis of your own organization. Sometimes your challenges might be crystal clear, but most of the times they need to be identified and outlined. You can do this by doing in depth-interviews with key people in your organization.
- Analyze your current situation
After you have identified your challenges, it’s time to set the goals with your Sales Enablement initiative. The difference between your current status and your goal, is the gap that needs to be closed.
- Decide actions
From your diagnosis in step one, it’s time to set an overall plan on how to reach your goal. You should break down this plan into specific actions with suggestions on when, how and why the actions should be taken.
- Implementation of changes
The change management process is the most critical part of the process from problem to solution. Here you need to make your that your changes effects different roles, systems and routines. Communication is the most important tool in this step.
- Maintain current status
It’s never about finding a static solution to a problem. It’s rather about implementing new processes and routines that demands follow up and optimization, depending on how the implementation in the previous step went.
Would you like to learn more about Sales Enablement? Join our webinar about three real examples of why you need Sales Enablement to build a successful sales organization. We will share three real customer stories from large tech companies that failed due to the lack of Sales Enablement processes – and what they could have done to prevent it.