Most successful companies understand that sales enablement improves sales productivity, increases customer alignment, and drives revenue. Equipping their sales representatives with the proper knowledge, tools, and processes to maximize every sales opportunity is, therefore, their biggest priority. However, many companies don’t know the meaning of sales enablement. Some confuse it with sales training. Others simply do not understand why they need it.
If these problems sound all too familiar, you’ve come to the right place.
This article will define sales enablement and explain why it has become critical in supporting the sales team to increase productivity, velocity, and improve revenue.
Sales enablement is a broad term that covers a lot of functions under one umbrella. Many activities like recruiting, coaching, content creation, analysis, sales strategy, etc., fall under sales enablement. In essence, sales enablement involves creating high-quality content and resources for your sales people so they have access to practically anything they could need to help a lead make a purchasing decision. In addition, it also includes the right processes, tools and practices that increase the productivity and efficiency of your sales team. When done correctly over time, sales enablement can reap massive benefits for both the sales department and the company as a whole (https://www.entrepreneur.com/topic/sales-enablement).
The answer to how to increase sales productivity seems to be simple: hire the right talent, give them all the necessary training and selling tools they need, set targets for them, monitor their performance, and enjoy increased revenue.
Unfortunately, the path to increased sales productivity is not that simple and straightforward. To ensure that your sales team meets their targets consistently, you need to empower them to sell better. Every part of the sales funnel, including lead generation, content, pitch and closing, should be on point and in line.
For instance, when sales and marketing departments work together, the sales process becomes like a race. The marketers run the first half of the race, attracting and nurturing leads until they are ready to engage. The baton is then given to the sales department in the second half, where they convert prospects into buying customers (https://www.forbes.com/sites/salesforce/2016/05/02/best-practices-in-sales-enablement-content-mapping-made-easy/).
In the past, sales and marketing departments were like distant relatives; aware of each other’s existence but not particularly interested in each other. Now, they are like conjoined twins, relying on each other to perform the functions that sustain them. For sales enablement to succeed, you need full collaboration from the sales and marketing departments. Both teams need to operate as a single unit. They need to share information and insights. They need to work together to nurture leads and close deals. They need to pull their efforts together to create the best possible content that will convert a prospect into a buyer.
Most companies realize they need a sales enablement when they start experiencing the pains of sales inefficiency. They take too long to acknowledge they have a problem because they are too used to performing random acts of sales support to keep up with sales demands. As a result, these organizations suffer sales and marketing misalignment and disengaged buyers. Their conversion rates and revenue suffer in the process.
But what if these organizations invested and implemented sales enablement before these pains emerged? For sales enablement to impact the bottom line, it needs to be implemented before things get worse. Sales enablement shouldn’t be something that is brought in once the organization suffers. It should be there to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place.
Recruit the right team: Recruiting the right people is the first and most important aspect of building a successful sales team. It affects how your sales enablement program will be executed. In addition to hiring the right people to join your organization, you also need the correct number of personnel to effectively carry out your end-to-end sales processes.
Training and Coaching: Now that you have a full team of sales professionals who will catapult your sales efforts to the next level, you need to invest in equipping them with the right skills and knowledge. Providing high quality sales training to your representatives will give them an edge over the sales reps who are working for your competitors. In essence, your sales reps need to learn how to promote your products, how to present them to prospects, and how to relay as much value as possible.
Equipping Reps with the Right Resources: So you’ve built your sales team from scratch. They are trained and have in-depth knowledge about your products. But are you there yet? Not quite. The next part of sales enablement is to equip them with the right tools and resources. Your reps need to have the right set of tools to enable them to increase sales efficiency. These tools include things like product datasheets, videos, white papers and any other relevant applications. Each tool is a vital resource in the sales process and enables reps to effectively engage their leads and show product value.
Measure results within the organization: Finally, your sales team is on the right path. The final set of activities is to measure results within the organization. With all the investments so far, you need to ensure you’re helping your sales people do their job well. This is an area where you find out if everyone in the team is performing his or her duty. Sales performance results will enable you to answers questions regarding whether each sales rep is performing as expected or not.
If you’re not satisfied with the results of your measurement, it’s a clear indication that you need to revisit the drawing board and optimize the sales process.
Effective sales enablement practices can significantly benefit your organization- here’s how.
1. Sales Enablement Increases Collaboration Between Departments
Sales enablement reduces the gap between departments and allows them to function as a team. When sales and marketing departments work as one team, they share data and intelligence, come up with consumer personas, create lead scoring metrics, and brainstorm the best possible information that will resonate with a prospect's needs. When all departments work towards one goal instead of working at odds, your company will benefit with increased sales and your customers will benefit from a better buying experience. Marketing efforts will be aligned with sales objectives, and you’ll get more engaged leads, higher conversion rates, and a shorter sales cycles (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/gartner-successful-sales_b_7974120.html).
2. Sales Enablement Provide Sales Rep with Invaluable Data
The more your sales reps know about your potential buyers, the more they can effectively tailor their pitch to address a prospect’s needs. By providing your sales people with the right information about customer behavior, motivations, and pain points, you essentially catapult them to success. Your sales people will know how to communicate with leads, how best to reach out to them, and when to reach out. They’ll understand what type of information they need to share and what value they can offer to the prospects. As such, they can cater their messages to appeal to the buyer’s unique needs and interests, ultimately increasing the likelihood of closing a deal.
3. Sales Enablement Provides a Practical Way to Stay In Touch With Buyers
Randomly calling to follow up with prospects who may or may not be interested in what your company is offering is ineffective and a waste of your team’s time. With effective sales enablement strategy, your representatives can distinguish themselves by nurturing qualified leads and providing them with information that caters to their specific needs. They’ll know how to be in sync with buyer needs. They’ll figure out the vital missing pieces in the buyer’s puzzle and then walk with them through the buying cycle. This enables your organization to be at the forefront of the lead’s mind up until the point where they’ll be ready to make a purchasing decision (https://www.forbes.com/sites/salesforce/2016/11/04/6-trailblazing-ways-around-sales-productivity-pitfalls/#79acb9604b27).
4. Sales Enablement Builds Meaningful Relationships
In sales, conversion rates shouldn’t be the only thing you care about. You should always make the relationship you have with your prospects and custsomers your number one priority. A sales rep who is familiar with a prospect’s needs, concerns, and pain points is in a better position to build a long term relationship with a prospect than a sales rep who is just trying to deliver a generic pitch to a random buyer on a list. Sales enablement ensures that your sales people are equipped with the right information and resources they need to create meaningful relationships with prospects over time. They’ll be able to spur and accelerate goodwill with your prospects. They’ll be fully equipped to build long lasting relationships with clients in order to cultivate more sales-ready leads and close more leads.
5. Sales Enablement Makes the Sales Process Customizable
Today’s customers can approach you at any point in the buyer’s journey. Perhaps, they are only generally aware of your company and its products (or services); or they could be ready to make a purchase today. Good sales enablement practices in your company allow your sales team to always have the ability to advance a prospect through the sales funnel. They’ll know what selling tactics to use and which selling tactics to avoid. They’ll know how to offer incredible value and delight customers. They’ll know how to prioritize customer experience in order to generate sales and long term clients (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbespr/2015/10/20/top-performing-organizations-prioritize-sales-enablement-says-forbes-insightsbrainshark-report/#e6cc463488e1).
6. Sales Enablement Guarantees Consistent Brand Messaging
Your sales operation may cover multiple locations, cities or even countries, but every last sales rep still needs to work from the same playbook. Sales enablement ensures that each representative has all the most up to date information on your product, your sales system, and on the needs of your target market. It enables them to make more sales by providing them with the right information to track buyer behavior, identify crucial prospects, and deliver content at the right time. The sales cycle becomes shorter because sales teams spend less time looking for information. Once they adopt their company’s sales enablement practices, the latest data is at their fingertips all the time. Real-time access to information can make all the difference at the point of purchase.
7. Sales Enablement Drives Revenue
Increased revenue is the leading benefit of sales enablement and the main reason companies of all sizes are adopting the practice. With streamlined sales processes, sales reps can now prioritize deals more efficiently. They can channel their efforts towards deals with higher potential for closing. This considerably reduces the length of the sales cycle and increases sales efficiency. Ultimately, the sales team can have a higher percentage of sales conversions. This drives increased revenue for your company and supports your organization’s big picture goals (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-carbary/how-to-involve-the-sales-_b_12455646.html).
Your sales team works hard to attract, nurture, and convert leads into customers. Don’t let your sales people efforts go to waste. Teach them how to become sales enablers by implementing sales enablement to ensure that the efforts put in by the entire company are not in vain.
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