What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is, in short, setting your sales team up for success with the resources they need to efficiently close deals. Tactics are aimed to decrease new rep ramp time and increase quota attainment of reps. With a combination of efforts from both the sales and marketing teams (a la Smarketing), effective sales enablement strategies include anything from implementing technology to creating case studies. Sales enablement is built in a seamless feedback loop to empower reps to best guide targeted prospects through your ideal buyer’s journey.
Examples of Sales Enablement
Sales enablement can’t be summed up into one action. It’s a holistic, comprehensive environment designed to empower your sales team. Examples include:
- Hosting a training seminar that provides your sales team with accurate information about new products/services.
- Putting together a weekend workshop that brings your sales team together to discuss and demonstrate the successful practices each member utilizes when they connect with customers.
- Weekly discussions about the buyer’s journey.
- Think-tank sessions that encourage your entire sales team to discuss ideas that will boost sales and increase sale team efficiency.
- Auditing old literature and replacing where necessary with engaging material that your target market quickly responds to.
Taking the time to learn a few sales enablement tricks does more than simply improve your bottom line, it also improves your sales team’s efficiency and employee satisfaction.
Do I need to Implement a Sales Enablement Strategy?
If you don’t have a sales enablement strategy, you’re likely leaving money on the table. Converting new clients is harder than ever before. A thorough review of your sales process and buyer’s journey can help you to be proactive in training reps, overcoming objections, and moving prospects through your sales funnel.
Secondly, don’t assume that a sales enablement strategy is unnecessary because of the strong marketing background of your sales team. According to HubSpot, 46% of current salespeople didn’t intend to make sales their profession and what you may deem as intuitive may be brand new to your leading reps. A good sales enablement program ensures that each member of your team has the tools and knowledge needed to successfully promote your business and products/services so they can do what they do best : sell.
Will a Sales Enablement Strategy Improve My Bottom Line?
Sales enablement strategies are customized to the needs of your sales team and your customer base with the goal of converting more opportunities, faster. Done correctly, your bottom line should absolutely improve.
According to HighSpot, incorporating a solid sales enablement plan into your marketing program has helped businesses improve their year-over-year growth by a solid 7 percentage points.
But that’s not all; during a 2018 webinar, the chairman of the Sales Management Association (SMA), Bob Kelly, revealed that companies that failed to quickly utilize sales enablement technology experienced a 12% decrease in their ability to meet their annual sales goal from one year to the next. Businesses who incorporated the technology into their program noticed that they not only met their annual sales goals but in most cases experienced an 11% increase.
“We were surprised at the gap in performance between companies slow to adopt technology in their sales organization and those that rate themselves on par, or even ahead of, other organizations,” Kelly said during the webinar.
Considering that sales enablement helps business owners meet and even exceed their sales goals, you really can’t afford to ignore any sales enablement techniques or ideas that could improve your bottom line.
How to Develop a Sales Enablement Strategy
Sales enablement strategies streamline your sales cycle. To build an effective program, the first thing you need to do is look for bottlenecks in your process. The three main buckets to examine are content, training, and technology.
- Content : Create a content strategy that reflects the needs of your buyer at every phase of their journey. Push to inform, educate, solve problems, and answer questions that frequently arise for your customers. From customer-facing sales content to thought leadership articles and guidebooks, content can be utilized to build trust and rapport with prospective clients.
- Training : Your sales pitch should operate more like a well oiled machine and less like an intuitive free-for-all. Put simply, a consistent, repeatable system will yield consistent, repeatable results. Both green and experienced reps need thorough training to clearly understand your offering and consumer.
- Technology : Technology is the hallmark of innovative companies. According to SalesForce, high-performing sales teams are prone to use 3 times more sales technology than underperforming teams. The right tech, properly implemented, can increase efficiency, organization, and confidence in your sales team.
Implementing your Sales Enablement Strategy
The HubSpot State of Inbound 2018 Global Report revealed that while 71% of business owners/managers had faith in their marketing program, only 67% of sales team members had faith in the same marketing programs. This is but one of the many issues that cause tension between your sales and marketing team and it comes back to feedback.
Creating a consistent feedback loop between sales and marketing is key to an effective sales enablement strategy. For marketing efforts to be effective, marketing needs insight into the front-line experience of sales.
Iterating your Strategy
Surely we’ve mentioned this in a blog before (at least 3 other times), but when it comes to improving your bottom line, you increase what you measure.
Once your program is off the ground, it’s vital that you track your progress, gauge success, and pivot where necessary. Even small tweaks can help you break free of a sales plateau. If you’re simply not seeing the sales results you expected or if your sales team is becoming discouraged or flat, return to the infrastructure of your sales enablement strategy for evaluation.
There are several methods you can use to determine the effectiveness of your sales enablement program. They include:
- Calculating your lead to conversion ratio
- Observing your content’s click-through rate (this is particularly useful if your content reflects the material your sales team uses)
- Analyze your product demos
- Make attribution reporting a regular part of your business practices
- Measure your current win/loss rate.
Take time to document your sales enablement strategies. Creating written reports and documenting your process over the course of the year is a remarkably simple way to determine what enablement techniques have generated positive results and which have fallen flat. Seeing the numbers right next to the methods used allows you to quickly identify both positive and negative trends and can serve as an inspiration when you’re trying to add new techniques to your program. Your documentation can be used as a resource to strategize goals and create accountability, but also to further refine your sales vision and marketing values.
Keep your Sales Enablement Program Fluid
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make with their sales enablement program is becoming complacent. Because they have a program that works, they stop analyzing and tweaking the program and fail to keep up with the constantly changing consumer trends. Over time, their numbers drop.
Committing yourself to constantly studying, editing, and modifying your sales enablement program is the best way to keep your sales team happy, your profit margin high, and your customer base loyal. To learn more about optimizing your outbound marketing campaign, click here.