A successful business is not just the sum of all its parts, each organ of the organization has to be primed to effectively deliver a meaningful contribution towards the achievement of business goals. The company’s leadership has to provide an enabling environment for that for every department. A particularly critical area of operations where this must be done is through sales – arguably the lifeblood of any business – with the help of sales enablement.
What is Sales Enablement?
Ultimately, for any company, it all comes down to sales. The success of the sales department is the culmination of all the efforts of the business. Therefore, it is only logical that sales team members are given all the tools they need to be able to carry out their jobs properly. This is what sales enablement is.
Companies devise a sales enablement strategy that gives their staff the tools and resources necessary to be able to effectively do their jobs and close more deals. This could be through effective training, better organization of processes, or providing equipment, technology and information to give company’s sales reps the edge.
At the end of the day, the aim is to equip your sales team with everything they need to improve their productivity and effectiveness. This can be achieved by applying a few principles.
The Principles of Sales Enablement
Set Up A Framework
To start with, business leaders and management need to actually acknowledge just how important sales enablement is, and that it is necessary to set up a formalized process dedicated to its implementation. It is implicitly understood by all businesses that the success of the sales department is of prime importance to the survival of any business. There’s a difference, however, between knowing this and actually putting measures in place to achieve continuous improvement.
A business must therefore make an active effort to set up an effective sales enablement program. This might require extensive consultation with different members of the team. You can set realistic goals and discuss practical ways in which these targets can be met, and what resources they will require. This should be a process of continuous improvement that will give your company the agility to evolve and adapt to changes.
Approach With A Holistic Strategy
The second principle that is important to keep in mind is that companies should adopt a broad-based, comprehensive approach to sales enablement. A company’s sales team operates within the wider organism that is the business entity. It is not an isolated, autonomous entity. Usually, a marketing department will be responsible for acquiring a healthy number of leads that the sales team can then engage with. There will be a set of tools and personnel for that part of the process. Things like marketing automation may be implemented in those stages.
As the buyer continues their journey from the awareness stage, there has to be a smooth transition from the aspects of the journey managed by marketing, to sales reps who have all the relevant information and history to continue the engagement and eventually close the deal in a way that leaves the client satisfied and hopefully turns them into a loyal repeat customer. In these stages it is also important to equip the sales team with the technology, information, and skills they need to enhance those processes. Invest in tools that will give your staff the best chances of providing better service, adapt quickly in different client-related scenarios, and when all is said and done, give them the tools to produce reports and statistics to help you keep improving.
Another principle to keep in mind as you go about implementing sales enablement is to ensure that your entire department understands the importance of meaningful engagement with the client. Your sales team needs to be able to provide consistently high-quality engagement with your customers. Sales reps must be precise, have the relevant data at their fingertips and must present it in a way that is compelling for their target audience. The entire framework of the effort is meant to provide engagement that is persuasive enough to result in successful sales.
Sales Enablement Ownership
In building an effective framework, it is important to clearly set out responsibilities and determine who is responsible for what. Whether it is gathering the business intelligence necessary to inform your approach, collating and analyzing reports and analytics, managing content, or managing engagement, there must be team members directly accountable for performance in those areas. This constant development of best practices, training, and content will be the catalyst for continuous growth and improvement.
Why Is Sales Enablement Important?
As marketing techniques improve and companies, as well as buyers, become more savvy, it is getting harder and harder to build a competitive advantage. Only the most well-equipped sales reps are likely to stay ahead of competitors. Sales enablement plays a critical role in providing that competitive edge by keeping businesses in tune with their clients’ needs and ensuring they are providing quality service.
Customers have a wider array of choices to pick from, so the smallest nuances can make the difference between losing a sale and gaining a customer. Your company must therefore be well-positioned to offer what the client needs, but also be able to add value that will set you apart from the competition in the customer’s eyes, as this study clearly shows. This could mean giving them additional insight or information that builds their confidence in your brand, or how knowledgeable your sales rep is. Sales reps’ confidence is crucial. According to Spotio, nearly half of sales reps have doubts about whether or not the data they have is adequate before making a call. Well-implemented sales enablement is critical to that confidence.
By providing relevant information to your sales teams, you can also help them focus on the leads that are most likely to yield results. Hubspot reports that half of sales time goes to prospecting that is unproductive.
Sales Operations vs. Sales Enablement
For the proper functioning of the business, there has to be clarity around the separation of duties between different teams. Sales operations are the actual activities that relate to making sales. This could be things like territory management, route planning, reporting, customer relationship management, and the like.
Sales enablement is everything that goes into directly supporting and preparing for those operations. Staff training, providing customer engagement tools, feedback and analysis, and providing the technology to improve the efficiency of field operations.
Sales Enablement Tools: Choosing the Best Software
There are several tools that can help you achieve effective sales enablement. For one thing, you can have centralized repositories of data that can be accessed by relevant team members. Next there is an array of tools for managing and producing content to help the sales effort, as well as reporting and integration with other sales and marketing platforms to provide one unified view. Other available features are machine learning and AI-powered capabilities that can be used to make predictions and gather more insights from data.
Sales Enablement Strategy: Tips to Implementing Sales Enablement Effectively
Every company has its own particular set of needs, aims, and challenges, so there is no real one-size-fits-all guide. Any framework must be adjusted to conform to the requirements of the circumstances the business is operating under.
When choosing the right platform for you, you will first want to identify the needs of your own teams. They must be involved in the formulation of your strategy, as they are the ones who are most closely in touch with your clientele, and will ultimately actualize the plan.
Secondly, you must be in sync with what your clients need. Remember, the point is to help your reps serve your clients better. So any gaps you fill must be to the benefit of your customers in the end. Once you have determined what you need from the platform you choose and matched your requirements to the options available, you can look for reviews from businesses that are similar to your own profile.
Pay attention to integration options to your current setup, look at how easy it is to grow with your expected solution, and ensure that its benefits will be enjoyed across the different departments that are involved in the sales effort in one way or another.
Just as marketing automation and other techniques help you enhance certain aspects of your business operations, sales enablement is a crucial element that should not be overlooked if you want to successfully serve your customer base and set your company apart from the competition. There should be a deliberate strategy for its implementation and constant improvement, with the active participation of all relevant staff.