Sales Enablement

How to Implement Successful Sales Enablement

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales Enablement is the mix of technology, processes and content that enables sales teams to sell efficiently to prospects.

When done correctly, it can improve the performance and productivity of a sales team and drive a higher rate of prospect & customer satisfaction.

A well-rounded Sales Enablement programme includes:

  • Technology: Useful tools that facilitate the sales process
  • Sales Training: Support around product, sales techniques or strategy
  • Sales Content: Relevant and up-to-date collateral to better guide the customer discussion
  • Coaching: Support around deal strategy, skillset, competitive intelligence and customer reference calls

sales enablement guide

Why Is It So Important?

The emerging function of sales enablement is finally gaining some much-needed momentum. Whereas a few years back, we had to clumsily assemble a bunch of cross-functional elements to help sellers progress deals through the cycle, we’re now starting to see organisations take a much more effective approach to supporting their sales force properly.

And this has a lot to do with the way in which the buyer journey has changed.

Undeniably, selling has of late become a much more sophisticated practice. Whilst aided by big data and savvy technology, sellers are challenged by a more competitive market and a better informed buyer.

Take as reference this stat from CEB:

The average B2B buyer is 57% through the purchase decision before engaging a supplier sales rep.

Let’s take a minute to appreciate that statement. Our prospect is already more than halfway through their decision-making process before even talking to us.

This puts our sales reps in a very interesting position…

We’re now dealing with very clued-up prospects that don’t need to be spoon-fed the standard elevator pitch. They’re ready for the compelling user case study, at a minimum.

And they don’t want our standard product either. They want a tailored solution that fits their particular challenge.

Out-of-the-box and one-size-fits-all no longer fits the bill.

It’s this new selling complexity that is making organisations stop seeing Sales Enablement as a mere nice-to-have but as a necessity waiting to be addressed.

Look at this quote from CSO Insights:

52.9% of companies now have a dedicated Sales Enablement function.

Successful sales organisations are getting serious about helping their salespeople tackle the new breed of buyer.

A strong and agile enablement programme can make a team more effective as it helps to:

  • Connect sales teams to the most relevant content for opportunities in the buying cycle
  • Provides flexible ways to present content to customers
  • Delivers real-time visibility into whether or not content is engaging
  • Gathers advanced analytics to support prospect pitches
  • Enables sellers to get the training they need

What Does Good Sales Enablement Look Like?

Good sales enablement is not just about the sales team. Within this practice, you must also think about all the other areas of the organisation that have a part in the selling process. Your sales team could not sign-offcontracts without your financial team, they also could not maintain the buyer’s interest without the help of marketing.

This last relationship is one of the most important bonds your business should uphold as it’s the cradle of the best and most useful lead capturing asset – content.

Basing sales enablement around content is a good place to start as your collection of blog posts, case studies and white papers can not only be used to woo prospects, but can also help educate the sales team.

The most successful content is produced when Sales and Marketing work together and should be seen as a continuous cycle, one that is constantly studied, reviewed and reshaped so that it remains current and relevant.

What Content Should I Provide For My Team?

Don’t let your sales team do without the assets listed below:

1. Sales Scripts
2. Product Sheets
3. Competitor Comparison 4. Email Templates
5. One-Pagers
6. Presentations
7. Case Studies
8. White Papers
9. Blog Posts
10. Social Messaging

*And don’t forget to get your Marketing team to help construct and manage all these assets!

The 5 Principles for Successful Sales Enablement:

Sales enablement success

1. Communication:

Does your organisation suffer from that common split between Sales and Marketing? This inability to communicate is debilitating the power of both sides of the house.

Inspiring, informative and captivating content can only be produced from the marriage of these two branches – Sales needs Marketing’s creative eye to capture the interest of prospects, whilst Marketing is completely blind without the knowledge and expertise of Sales.

Closing the loop between these two teams will create content that is always focussed and relevant to your target audience.

2. Organisation:

How much time do your sales reps waste looking for appropriate content to present to their prospects?

Your reps are way too busy to be scavenging the archives for suitable assets or, worse still, to start creating their own versions of the messaging…

Promote a system that will enable the team to find the right piece of content for the right contact, every time they need it.

Establish one centralised source and assign the administrative role to just one person (or small team) so they can be gatekeepers and promoters of new resources, updating as necessary and retiring old content.

3. Analysis:

It’s important to keep a close eye on which assets resonate best with our buyers and what tools are the most efficient for our teams.

If a certain message isn’t working, tweak it or ditch it. If a piece of technology is too complex, invest in apps and training that will make them work better.

Remember, this is an iterative process that needs to happen regularly and that, sadly, is never complete.

4. Training & Coaching:

Give your team the resources they need to be successful. No investment has a higher return than spending time and money on training and coaching your sales team.

As every individual is different, every training programme should be targeted, helping reps develop the skills most necessary for their role and coaching them around specific accounts that they may find troublesome.

5. Technology:

As we looked at earlier, the way in which the modern-day sales team works has changed. Therefore, the sales army needs an innovative set-up, so they can successfully perform their duties whenever and wherever.

Which is why it’s very important to give special attention to tools like the CRM system, after all, this is where the most important data and metrics resides, and ensure the system is set out with the sales team in mind.

IMPLEMENT A SUCCESSFUL ENABLEMENT PROGRAMME

In this guide you’ll find the steps necessary to support your team through the complex sales journey.

Sales Enablement

Sales Enablement Best Practices:

As an emerging practice, Enablement is still in the early days of evolution, shifting and changing as the need arises.

However, there are some must-have elements to keep in mind when reworking an enablement programme. Here are six to get you started…

1. Your sales process must always be tailored to the buyer’s journey:

Never, ever allow your sales team to bombard a prospect with the standard sales pitch they picked up when they first started working for your business. Nobody has time to sit through that. Always tailor your sales pitch to address the buyer’s needs.

Similarly, never let your sales process remain untouched and unstudied for a long period of time. Stagnation is the death of all progress.

Remember that the best way to sell is not to talk but to listen. How is your desired customer behaving? What are their needs and business pains? What channel do they prefer to use when debating a purchase?

Learn from your ideal customer so you can better arm your sales reps.

2. Always use data to understand what’s working and what’s not:

The effort required in crafting appropriate collateral for the sales team often leads us down a very dangerous path. That of believing that once we’ve created a few good pieces, we’re done.

Unfortunately, Sales Enablement only works if it meets the buyer’s needs. And those needs vary vastly between our prospects and through time.

Always analyse the tools, content and process you are asking your reps to use. Let them simmer out in the field for a while but always with the intention of analysing and tweaking regularly.

If a piece of content is not resonating, ditch it. If a piece of technology is too difficult to use, search for alternatives. Always trust the data.

3. Create different content for different funnel stages:

Not everybody who stumbles across your website is ready to buy. Neither is that prospect sure they even have a need for your solution yet. Feeding your prospects with information they’re not ready for is a good way to scare them away.

Work out what different funnel stages your prospects are in and then mould what you’re offering based on their requirements at that particular time.

ales enablement managers

4. Marry Sales and Marketing:

Sales and Marketing have been enjoying a flirtatious relationship for years. It’s time to make things official. As we move forwards, we’re witnessing a blurring of the lines between these two departments.

Sales can’t do without the ingenuity and creativity of Marketing. And at the same time, Marketing walks blindly without the astute guidance of the people out in the battlefield.

Uniting these two sectors is the most efficient way to ensure you’re creating truly captivating stories to hook your buyers with.

Always analyse the tools, content and process you are asking your reps to use. Let them simmer out in the field for a while but always with the intention of analysing and tweaking regularly.

If a piece of content is not resonating, ditch it. If a piece of technology is too difficult to use, search for alternatives. Always trust the data.

5. Always be results driven:

A common pitfall of Sales Enablement is a lack of clarity around targets and results, which can often lead to organisations kicking off their Sales Enablement initiatives half-heartedly.

And with no clear view of what we’re planning to achieve, it’s very difficult to quantify success.

Clearly, the main objective of enablement is to help reps sell more and for the business to make more money.

The measure should be focused on creating more successful reps that hit their target more often. If your enablement programme fails to deliver on this, stop, review and start again.

6. Designate a driver:

If you’re serious about making this work, designate a champion for the cause.

It can be difficult to put best practices to work so choosing a capable sales enablement owner – one who understands both your product and the buyer – is crucial to generating the desired sales momentum.

Sales Enablement should be on the radar of any organisation wishing to make its Sales team more profitable, efficient and agile. Investing time and resources in designing and implementing a strong enablement programme will have real return on investment for our business in the long run, as it has the power to increase the performance of the team and maximise revenue potential.

Good enablement is never complete. Work hard to maintain a process that is results-driven, steeped in data and resides at the heart of customer needs.