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.
But what exactly is sales enablement? And why is necessary for your company?
Here is all that you need to know about sales enablement, why you need it and how to start using it today.
What is Sales Enablement?
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 in order to get the optimal return on investment.
Sales enablement is all about giving your sales team what they need in order to successfully engage a buyer. This can be done through information, content or tools. Sales enablement allows reps to have effective engagements with prospects throughout the customer journey.
Too often, when companies hear the term “sales enablement” they hear “training”. Although that is an important 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 effectively engage potential buyers.
Sales enablement boosts two crucial factors in sales: efficiency and effectiveness. Although they are sometimes used interchangeably, efficiency and effectiveness are distinct:
- Efficiency in sales is about the proper allocation of resources. By far the most precious resource that your sales team has is time. Efficiency is all about maximizing productivity.
- Effectiveness, on the other hand, is more concerned with how well your sales team uses the resources given to them. If your salespeople each make 20 calls, for example, a more effective salesperson will get 10 opportunities, while a less effective salesperson might get 5.
Sales enablement allows a sales team to be both efficient and effective. It will both allow your team to knock on as many doors as possible (effectiveness) and know what to do when the door opens (efficiency).
Here are some of the essential elements of sales enablement:
- The first and most important key element of sales enablement 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 customer. 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 successful sales enablement.
- 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 average sales cycle length, the number of salespeople reaching quota and average deal cycle. Include metrics that help your sales and marketing get a basic understanding of the sales process.
- Sales enablement 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 for 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. Buyer’s needs, company standards, and educational material are constantly 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 information scalable whether your sales is a team of one or 1000.
- The most effective sales enablement programs are 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 effective engagements with buyers without sacrificing efficiency. Reps will have the information that they need in order to have positive interactions and make sales.
Why is Sales Enablement Important?
As mentioned above, sales enablement requires thoughtful and continuous engagement across departments in order to provide valuable information. 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 dramatically 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 SiriusDecisions.
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 basic 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 have the information that they need in order 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 in order 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 in order to make your quota. Sales enablement helps to create a more equal playing field where every rep has the ability to 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.
Effective Sales Enablement Practices
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 allows sales to know who to reach out to first.
Whether your sales is targeting a certain geographical location, business size, business type, etc., you can score each lead that comes through. Once the sales team reaches out to the most important 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 constantly review the content for accuracy.
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.
Sales Enablement for Company Growth
Sales enablement is not simply a tactic to try once to see whether or not it might work. Sales enablement will help to increase sales, but it is a continuous process that requires the right mindset and needs to be incorporated into the company culture.
It is also non-negotiable: sales enablement is essential for growing your sales team and company. If you want your team to reach their full potential, you need to give them the tools they need to thrive.
Want to learn how Map My Customers can help you do this? You can watch a video demo, attend an upcoming webinar, or book a live 1-on-1 demo here, or jump straight into a free trial to explore it yourself.