Sales Enablement: Explained
Sales enablement is a term most sales professionals have heard by now. It’s a hot topic but there’s still a ton of confusion related to exactly what sales enablement is. Oftentimes new buzzwords rise to outpace their formal definitions. We deconstruct sales enablement in the following sections to ensure you understand exactly what it is and how you can benefit from it.
Key questions worth answering:
What exactly is sales enablement?
Why does it matter to you?
How do organizations implement sales enablement?
Who is responsible for sales enablement?
What exactly is sales enablement?
At its core, sales enablement is a formally adopted process to ensure the sales organization has easy access to all of the content and tools that help them sell effectively and efficiently. Sales enablement processes ensure sales professionals have the right information, at the right time, for each individual buyer. A key component of this process is providing a vehicle for sales staff to access and distribute information that guides and move buyers down their journey at various points of the sales funnel. Additionally, this information must be easy to find and disseminate.
Several key attributes ensure sales enablement is successful:
- At its core, sales enablement ensures sales teams have the resources they need to sell effectively and efficiently
- This process centers around the buyer more than the sales organization. Foundationally, sales reps need the resources that buyers require to make a purchase decision. It is important to remember to serve up to sales, exactly what the buyer needs.
- Timing is important too. The process needs to ensure sellers get what each buyer needs, exactly when they need it.
- Determining exactly what your process will deliver to sales is essential to your success. As stated above, what you provide is information.
- There are two types of information: that which sales will provide the buyer (sales decks, demonstrations, testimonials, etc) and that which sales will consume internally (best practices, research, etc)
- Training is tantamount to the success of your organization. Sales training on your enablement tools and resources is critical for you to ensure the success of your program.
- Sales enablement is beneficial to any size organization. Whether you have 1 or 100 reps, the process makes your sales organization more effective.
- Accountability is the number one indicator of success for managers. Tracking the use and engagement of your sales enablement program is a must.
- Metrics you should track and optimize with your program include average sales cycle length, deal size, close rate, and ability to reach quota.
A key best practice is to start with your buyer(s). Make your program center around your customers, specifically noting what moves your customers through the buying process. This process will help your sales reps communicate more effectively with each potential customer.
Importance of Sales Enablement to Your Success
The benefits of sales enablement are real and proven in both research and practice. A greater number of sales reps reaching the quota, scalable sales processes to generate and reach more leads, and higher closing rates with shorter sales cycles, are all by-products of an effective sales enablement process.
Sales enablement helps you raise the average impact of your ‘B and C’ reps. Your A reps will make a quota on raw talent alone. The challenge for any organization is how do we raise the level of Bs and Cs to math the As.
Sales enablement plays a key role in helping you scale the management of your sales organization. Working directly with each rep, 100% of the time is impossible. This is where sales enablement processes help you. Your sales enablement system guides your reps through an effective and efficient sales process.
Implementing Sales Enablement
Here are a few key steps when designing your sales enablement process:
- Define your objectives: Typically this centers around ensuring that your sales reps have access and guidance to the right content to share with their prospects.
- Content Organization: What content is important to your prospects? Which stage or industry? What value propositions are important to reinforce? How do sales reps quickly locate this information?
- Buyer Experience is the primary objective: The entire point of your sales enablement process is to create a situation where sales representatives are delivering the right content to the prospective buyer and engaging that audience in a meaningful way. It’s critical to select the right tool that engages buyers in a digital sales experience.
- Train your sellers on how to leverage sales enablement tools: Training your sales reps thoroughly on your buyers, your enablement process, and how to ensure an interactive and collaborative buying experience will keep your sales team sharp and effective.
- Track and Analyze Content Effectiveness: Understanding the relationship between content and sales is historically a black box. Knowing exactly what content sales is using, which content prospects engage the most, and how effective that content is at closing deals helps organizations continuously improve their metrics.
- Content Streams: Now that you have a one-stop location for all sales and marketing content, make it a living and breathing library of content. Use your analytics to better understand what additional content will be effective at closing prospective buyers.
Who Is Responsible for Sales Enablement
Your best foot forward is when sales and marketing jointly participate in your sales enablement process. To make this partnership successful, sales and marketing need to come together and determine what existing content is needed for the sales enablement program. Next, determine what content would be beneficial to add that will enable your sales team.
Marketing typically handles the coordination of the content gathering and creation process. Sales support marketing in these efforts. It is critical for the sales organization to feed marketing all relevant insights they get from working with both customers and prospective buyers. Sales operations will work with marketing on setting up the process and tools needed to support the sales organizations. This migration ultimately is managed by the sales operations team and handles the back and forth coordination between the sales organization and marketing. Finally, sales managers are responsible for holding everyone accountable for the process. Sales enablement should be a primary driver of the sales process and understood throughout the sales and marketing teams.