sales

10 Tips to Implement a Sales Enablement Program

December 22, 2016

Sales enablement is the process of providing your sales team with information, training, coaching, content and tools to help them sell more efficiently. A big part of sales enablement involves furnishing salespeople with the information they need in the sales process to make more sales. This information may be in the form of content, tools and system processes.

Regardless of the size of your organization or your objectives, it’s important to provide salespeople with the tools and technologies they need to be successful. Any sales enablement efforts that are approached with this kind of mindset leads to increased sales. Sales enablement is a multifaceted concept that helps B2B companies create a linkage between their business strategies and how they implement in the field.

However, we still see business owners and sales managers who look at sales enablement as a tool to help them manage sales reps or get better insight into data. For instance, dashboards and reports that update them on what’s happening on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this isn’t the right path to take with sales enablement.

According to a report by CSO Insights, companies with a structured sales enablement program recorded 23% growth in lead conversion rate and 10.2% higher revenue performance. View a sales enablement program as a means to empower your sales team--not monitor them (https://bloomfire.com/news/657164-huffington-post-three-strategies-to-help-start-ups-survive-the-age-of-content-m/).

Here are 10 tips that will move your sales enablement efforts in the right direction:

 

1. Start With The End Objectives In Mind: From the beginning, determine what measurable objectives you want to accomplish with the sales enablement program. Begin by assessing what may be causing your sales department to lose sales they should be making. Then create objectives from these challenges. Be very clear on the objectives; for instance, increase sales growth by 10% in 6-months, or increase lead to sale conversion rates by 8% within 4 months.

2. Create Dedicated Sales Enablement Roles: Once your objectives are clearly spelled out, and an actionable strategy drawn out, come up with roles to run the program. Understand the scope of sales enablement and develop roles around the four core functions. These functions are content, training, tools and technology, and strategy and execution. Around these functions, you can have roles such as those of a content developer, head of training, systems development and maintenance and team leader. A successful sales enablement program needs teams that can deliver tactics to overcome sales challenges. To ensure these challenges are handled well, it’s important to clearly define who’s handling what sales enablement roles (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239338).

3. Look for the Right tools and technology: Once you have nailed the basics, make a decision on the right tools and technology to go with your program. Your objectives will guide you on how to select the right tools and technology for the job. Remember, sales enablement is a highly hands-on process. Do not just go for new or shiny, look for tools and technology to help the sales team consume content, execute strategy and increase the efficiency of sales. Customer engagement tools such as CRM, CPQ or SPM, and content mapping and management are some of the technologies you need in place.

4. Hold someone accountable: It is true that sales enablement involves teamwork built around the roles you have created for each team player. It is important that there is an overall boss to bring coordination to these roles. More importantly, you need someone who is liable for tying all the objectives together. A smooth flow is ensured when there is one person working on the vision. It will also prevent the team from viewing isolated issues through departmental or parochial lens (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217178).

5. Establish a committee: A sales enablement program brings together several departments. There is collaboration of sales, marketing, IT, product marketing, training, operations, plus learning and development. To ensure synergy in these departments, you need to form a secretariat or a committee with members from each cross-functional team. This way, the interest of every team player and department is well represented. It also streamlines the process of giving feedback.

6. Optimize The Content: Once you have put all the internal structures in place, project your activities to your target market. Content is information about your products, their development and ability to solve customer’s problems or add value. Sellers should not be the ones to look for your content. Actually, they won’t even be able to search when they are supposed to be engaging buyers and convincing them to buy their products or services. Your content should be visible in CRM, tablets, websites and mobile devices. Simplify the content to ensure it’s ready for consumption. The seller does not have time to look for content- make it readily available for them (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239338).

7. Reinforcement In Context: During sales cycle training, place more emphasis on reinforcement in context. Sales team requires training on how to use this program such as access to data, presentation and retrieving content. To reinforce in context simply means to incorporate training in each aspect of the seller’s daily workflow. The environment with which sellers work today does not allow them to carry all the skills they acquired from training for a long duration. In fact, 87 percent of new skills acquired by sellers are lost within 40 days if they are not systematically reinforced and coached. For training to be operational, it needs to be readily available in seller’s everyday tasks.

8. Streamline And Make Content Accessible: The main idea behind developing sales enablement program is to create more selling time for sales reps. As such; the process of accessing data and content should be seamless, integrated and simplified. Every time a seller has to go through large pieces of data, they consume more selling time. The information needs to be simplified and broken down into straightforward playbooks or guided selling tools. Instead of expecting your reps to sift through huge chunks of content, package your content and CRM activity in a way that increases the accessibility and consumption of both sales content and tools (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-wong/simplifying-sales-how-ins_b_8976476.html.)

9. Position, Pursue And Expand Goals: The goal behind sales enablement is to enhance sales efficiency. However, it’s not only about efficiency or saving time--it’s also about what the sellers are doing with the extra time and how they can be more effective when meeting with prospects. Assess how much time they spend searching for content and creating presentations. Then, periodically evaluate what’s working and what’s not. With time, you will create a seamless and functional sales operation. Once you achieve maximum efficiency within the sales function, you can now expand your focus into more strategic initiatives like bigger deals and higher seller performance.

10. One Step At A Time: Honestly speaking, sales enablement is not an easy task. It is even worse if you want to wrap your hands and brain all around it. Sales enablement involves constant measuring of the results of your CRM activity, impact of the latest content uploaded on the program and effectiveness of the sales team in using the program. So allow yourself to draw a lot of lessons from the measurements. Begin with the content you have, implement it, review and then analyze. From this process, you can tell what is useful and what is not (https://bloomfire.com/news/657164-huffington-post-three-strategies-to-help-start-ups-survive-the-age-of-content-m/).

Takeaway

It is easy to conclude that sales process has changed in the last decade. However, the reality is that the buyer has changed. B2B sales have become more complicated, and sales reps have to add value to drive sales growth. Proper implementation of sales enablement will help you grow sales even when the market environment is getting more complex, dynamic and competitive.

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