In the race to build a successful business, companies are anxious to find ways to encourage growth. A sales team that is effective and efficient is essential to company growth. It’s no wonder, then, that sales enablement has become a hot topic amongst sales managers, marketing teams, and top executives.
As the topic of sales enablement has grown, the software that helps accomplish it continues to rise in popularity. Companies have found the benefits of sales enablement to help them create a thorough, streamlined content and process for their sales team.
But exactly what is sales enablement software? And why is it necessary for your company?
We’re going to dive into what exactly sales enablement is and what software to get for your business needs. Read on to find out about sales enablement software, why you need it, and how to start using it today.
What is Sales Enablement?
First of all, let’s discuss what sales enablement actually means.
Sales enablement is a constant, thought-out process that gives your sales team the ability to consistently engage with the right potential customers at each stage of the customer journey to get the optimal return on investment.
It is all about giving your sales team what they need to successfully engage a buyer. This can be done through information, content, or tools. With sales enablement tools, reps can have active engagements with prospects throughout the customer journey.
Too often, when companies hear the term "sales enablement," they hear "training." Although that is an integral part of the enablement program, it encompasses far more than the initial onboarding process. Sales enablement means giving your sales team the tools that they need to engage potential buyers effectively.
What are Sales Enablement Tools?
Although sales enablement is beneficial for both your sales team and customers, it can be challenging to implement. It requires deep insights not only into your customers but also your marketing and sales. Sales enablement tools can help. They comprise of either a platform or system that helps provide visibility and insights across the entire sales lifecycle.
With sales enablement software, your entire team can manage and utilize the material and content at their disposal. Both sales and marketing can collaborate to create, share, edit, and manage suitable material for your customers. Tools can also help you personalize you’re your information, which is vital for sales. According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales report, 93% of decision-makers value customized communication.
Sales enablement tools also help you measure the effectiveness of your content. Without proper metrics, your content creation could be missing your target audience. However, only 35% of sales teams actually measure the effectiveness of their content. The right software can give helpful insights into how well your content is performing to help you create effective campaigns.
With the right tools, your team can be more productive and create the kind of content that your customers want. There is specific software to help your sales team on the road
Here are some of the essential elements of sales enablement software:
- The first and most important key element of a sales enablement tool is that it is customer-centric. A basic rule of sales enablement is that you provide your sales team with the information your buyer wants. This means that you first must have a deep understanding of your customers. What are their motivations, pain points, and ambitions? What is the kind of information they are looking for, and how can you provide value to their search? This understanding is crucial for success of any sales enablement software you choose to use.
- When it comes to sales, you cannot know what you do not measure. That is why measurement is a defining characteristic of sales enablement. The basic metrics you need to include are the average sales cycle length, the number of salespeople reaching quota, and the average deal cycle. Include metrics that help your sales and marketing get a basic understanding of the sales process. The right software will help you compare and measure KPIs to make sure that your sales team is on track to meet quota.
- Sales enablement tools requires information. It is key to provide valuable information to both buyers and your sales team. The content for buyers can take the form of written content, informational training, demos, etc. Content for your sales team typically includes best practices, customer personas, email templates, research, and tools that they can effectively use to connect with buyers.
- Training is another essential component of sales enablement. Your sales team needs to know both the information and content and how best to use them. This requires an onboarding experience, yes, but training also needs to be continuous. The buyer's needs, company standards, and educational material are continually changing. Training once a year is not enough to keep your sales team up to date, so training should continue throughout the year.
- The best sales enablement practices are useless if your sales team is not using them. Ease of use is a basic element for sales enablement. The content and information need to be streamlined and easy to access. It should also be easy to understand. This will both save time and help make the info scalable whether your sales are a team of one or 1000.
- The most effective sales enablement software is enforced by management. The worst sales enablement program is the one that is not being used. When the whole team is using it, leadership will be able to find out what is useful and what needs to be improved. Sales enablement is not a one-time endeavor. It requires constant improvement and evolves with the buyer and company.
By starting with the buyer and continue to explore the best practices, content, and information, sales enablement allows sales teams to have active engagements with buyers without sacrificing efficiency. Reps will have the information that they need to have positive interactions and make sales.
Why is Sales Enablement Software Important?
As mentioned above, sales enablement requires thoughtful and continuous engagement across departments to provide valuable information. Sales enablement software allows sales teams to keep in Why would a company put in so much work? Here are some of the top reasons you need to have it in your business.
Sales are Increasingly Competitive
The role and landscape of sales have dramatically changed within the past decade. The sales team has become one of the last stops, rather than first, in the customer journey. Customers are far more likely to do all the research themselves and only approach a salesperson once they have already made their decision. In B2B sales, for example, customers are typically 70% through the buying process before they address a rep. B2C sales are not much different: 67% of their buyer journey is online, according to a SiriusDecisions sales enablement report.
This changes how your sales team needs to approach a buyer. They need to come with information in hand to give them the edge in engaging and understanding what their needs are. Sales enablement allows your team to make meaningful interactions.
Buyers Expectations Have Changed
Now that buyers can do most of the research themselves quite easily, your sales team has to change what they bring to the table. Buyers no longer want a salesperson that can give them the necessary information. What they want is a rep that can add information and value that they may not necessarily be able to find on a cursory scan of Google.
That is why 74% of buyers move forward with the first person to show value and insight. Not only does that give them useful information, but it establishes your team and brand as an authority. It earns the buyer's trust, which naturally becomes sales. Sales enablement allows each member of your team to have the information that they need to meet buyer expectations.
Timing is Everything
Because buyers expect information and insight quickly, your sales team does not have time to search across multiple platforms or perform their own research each time to gain useful information to make sales. If they try to do so, a potential will quickly move on to the next company that can quickly provide the content they expect.
Streamlined content with sales enablement means speed. Not only will speed convert potentials into buying customers, but it will also allow your sales team to be more effective with their time and reach more people.
More Salespeople Reach Quota
No longer does your company need to rely on the few overachievers to make your quota. Sales enablement helps to create an equal playing field where every rep can make quota. Everyone receives what they need so that everyone can succeed, and the company can experience even better growth.
The sales enablement process allows your star salespeople to share their wealth of knowledge and experience to the new and moderately-performing members of your sales team. Sharing useful content means that each member can win.
Better Communication Between Marketing and Sales
A problem that many businesses run into is a lack of useful communication between marketing and sales. Marketing is often left out of what goes on with sales and does not know whether their content and outreaches are helping or hindering the sales team. Sales enablement allows marketing to receive useful feedback through performance data and collaboration.
This improved and meaningful communication allows marketing to produce more useful content. Sales enablement aligns sales and marketing on strategies and goals, which is essential for company growth.
Sales Enablement Software Best Practices
Implementing sales enablement software requires more than giving the tools to your sales team for them to add to their arsenal. Instead, it is necessary to create practices that encourage your sales and marketing team to utilize it as a resource.
To set up your sales enablement software for success, leadership needs to implement sales enablement practices. Practices that help your company and sales team succeed include:
Review Sales Process
The first essential step in creating effective sales enablement is understanding where your sales practices are and how effective they are. You can target your sales enablement based on what needs improvement in your company. This is a process that never truly ends. Within every company, there are ways to improve, streamline, and produce newer and better content. By continuously reviewing your sales process, you can help to keep your business growing.
Too often, a rep wastes their time chasing a lead that is not right for them and reaching a better fit too late. Organizing the leads that your sales team receives allows them to be more effective with their time reaching the best fits for your company. A lead scoring system will enable sales to know who to reach out to first.
Whether your sales is targeting a specific geographical location, business size, business type, etc., you can score each lead that comes through. Once the sales team reaches out to the most critical first, they can then make their way through the lower scoring leads in their extra time. Utilizing a CRM and scoring system will allow your sales team to be more effective with their time.
Organize a Content Library
An organized and streamlined content library allows you to share the best content across your sales team. Your content library can include:
- White papers and ebooks
- Pricing information
- Articles and brochures
- Customer success stories
There are several options for sharing a content library, including a Google Doc, internal wiki, and even your CRM. Information is constantly changing and growing. Your information and content library need to keep up-to-date with these changes. Incorrect or outdated information can potentially lose customers, so be sure to review the content for accuracy continually.
Create Email Templates and Sequencing
Reps spend much of their time writing emails (33% of their day), and they have a good reason to: email is the second-best way to reach out to prospects, after the phone. However, it will both save time and be more successful if your sales team utilizes email templates. It allows salespeople to have a certain amount of flexibility and personalization, but they do not have to start from scratch with each email.
Email sequencing also allows your sales team to follow up with customers in the most efficient way possible. By setting up automatic emails to send at set intervals, your sales team will be able to keep in touch without wasting their time. Instead, they can spend their time giving personal contact to those who respond.
Types of Sales Enablement Software
Every business is different and the needs for their software are diverse as well. Depending on your sales goals, company structure, and the type of sales you need, you may need your tools to accomplish different tasks.
Thankfully, there are various types of sales enablement software based on the needs of your sales team. Some of these types of tools include:
Mobile Sales Enablement
The most powerful sales tool could just be your phone. For sales reps that are out on the road, mobile sales enablement is crucial. It allows them to be available to all of their customers, whether through email, text message, applications, or phone calls. Field reps can increase their productivity and receive instant access to relevant information for their customers. Plus, they no longer have to wait to access Wi-Fi on their laptop to give potential customers the right information, increasing engagement.
Mobile sales enablement software also helps to increase personalization and the sales-customer relationship. With the right tools, customers can reach their specific sales rep for information and help. Their rep becomes a trusted partner; they can always reach out to for help. This deeper relationship can help accelerate the sales process.
Useful mobile sales enablement software includes:
DocSend. Security can be a concern for some industries, but mobile sales enablement doesn’t need to suffer. DocSend allows users to securely send documents that can be set to auto-expire or turn off access whenever you choose. You can also track where your file is shared with in-depth analytics.
Accent Connect. Accent offers analytics to help sales find the right resources at the right time. It easily integrates with other technologies so that there is no need to reenter CRM information or data from another source. In addition, it can be accessed entirely through your phone so that nothing is lost on the road.
Field Sales Enablement
Sales enablement is both deliberate and challenging. Field sales add another layer of complexity when it comes to using sales enablement tools. Sales reps need software that can travel with them and is easily accessed by their target customers.
Field sales reps do not have the luxury to wander down the hall to ask any question that they run into. They must have the information they need at their fingertips so that they can find it quickly.
Mobile sales enablement is useful for field sales teams because they can access all the information wherever they are. While many sales enablement software offer mobile components, some lack the complete functionality from the phone. The more functionality from the phone, the more flexibility and knowledge that sales reps can access from anywhere.
Some popular sales enablement software for field sales include:
Brainshark. The software includes onboarding, training, and skills development on the go. Sales teams can learn from everywhere with Brainshark sales enablement. With video and text-based coaching assessment, field reps can quickly keep up on the most recent information. In fact, it even won “Best Sales Enablement Solution” at the 2019 Stevie Awards.
Showpad. Content can be difficult to access out in the field. Showpad helps make content mobile to optimize marketing’s impact and create better content management, training, and coaching.
Map My Customers. From charts and reports that allow you to get better visualization of key performance indicators (KPI) to data visualization and team management to route optimization and lead generators, Map My Customers provides you with all the information you need on your mobile device.
Inside Sales Enablement
Inside sales have more flexibility to reach their customers from any device, whether desktop, tablet or phone. They offer a more automated approach, which is why inside sales have quickly grown over the years. Currently, 47.2% of sales reps work in inside sales.
While they offer a potentially lucrative set-up as a sales structure, they also lack much of the face-to-face personalization of field sales. It is vital, then, that they have the personalized content that helps them build a relationship with your target customer. Sales enablement tools can allow reps to keep communication personalized while still reaching a wide number of potential customers.
Popular inside sales enablement software include:
Seismic. With the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Seismic allows your sales team to have all the information that they need at their fingertips. Whether for scaling a business or as an enterprise solution, Seismic will enable bigger deal sizes and more time selling.
MarcomCentral Enterprise. Marcom offers everything for sales enablement all in one place. From contact management, content management, document management, and beyond, Marcom provides everything businesses need for their enablement. Because it is in the cloud, businesses can access the information from anywhere.
For more sales enablement tools, check out our piece on the 15 best tools on the market.
Empower Your Sales Team with Enablement Tools
A sales team that is equipped with the right tools, content, and resources can work much more efficiently and effectively. Sales enablement tools give each sales rep the software they need to succeed. Companies that need to scale their sales team to reach a growing number of customers can also utilize enablement software to work with a widening group of sales reps effectively.
Sales enablement tools can also improve communication between marketing and sales to make sure that content and resources can more closely mirror the buyer's journey. Give your marketing and sales teams the software that they need to succeed and reach new customers with the right sales enablement tools for your company.