Your Sales team is a group of smart, capable people who are expert at what they do. Personable, persuasive, and knowledgeable—you hired these people for a reason. But all good Sales teams still need help from the rest of the organization. As great as your salespeople are, their job focuses on a narrow portion of the process. The support of other teams, through sales enablement, will further enable them to consistently meet their goals and drive success.
In layman's terms, sales enablement refers to the materials, technology, and methods your company produces to set the sales team up for success. For instance, consider all the questions your sales team routinely fields about your product from potential customers. It's likely that there will be overlap in the kinds of questions they're being asked. If the content team were to produce a list of Frequently Asked Questions to which the Sales team could direct customers, thereby streamlining the sales process and showing customers that your team is knowledgeable and anticipates their needs—this is sales enablement in action.
Far from being a siloed task in which only sales or marketing has a hand, sales enablement is most effective when it's a joint effort between Sales and Marketing.
First and foremost, Sales most likely has the best idea of its own departmental needs. They're the ones in the trenches, answering questions and trying to win hearts and minds. Sales has a good insight on the particular parts of the sale where prospects start to stumble and become less confident—those moments of friction that can make or break the sale. Having technology, methods, and content to draw from in those situations can be a lifesaver that reignites a sale that may otherwise have fallen flat.
A sales enablement tool is essentially any software or technology that allows for a more smooth or efficient sales process. These tools can either be on a higher scale, solving the bigger overarching challenges of the sales process, or fine-tuned, dialing into a granular part of the process. One significant advantage that sales enablement tools can offer is a greater level of visibility into the performance of sales enablement efforts. By tracking performance and gaining a better understanding of why each is succeeding or failing, you’re better able to optimize your Marketing and Sales processes to take those new insights into account and double down on producing revenue.
A key component of sales enablement lies in keeping the buyer’s experience a top priority. It’s imperative that your team has a thorough understanding of who their buyers are. What kind of problem is the buyer hoping to solve, and what journey are they taking to solve it? By understanding your buyers’ problem-solving journey, you can have a better idea of how the product fits in with that journey, and where to meet customers to best nurture that relationship through marketing and the final sales process.
It’s also important that the content your Marketing team produces for sales enablement purposes is of the highest quality. White papers, blog posts, and webinars that provide real, tangible value to prospective customers are an excellent way to create educated customers that are ready to buy.
Be certain that sales training isn’t just a one-and-done event that will easily slip your team’s mind. Instill a culture of continuous learning, and provide regular training that quickly develops your greener employees’ skills and keeps everyone’s talents sharp for the long term.
As you continue to make training a more regular experience, make sure that the sales enablement materials that are produced for your Sales team are truly being used. If these resources aren’t used, it’s more difficult to ensure consistency in the care that prospective customers receive, and the sales team will be less organized and poorly informed of the product.
Sales enablement is surely a best practice for any organization that sells products or services, but some companies may have a more pressing need than others. One sure sign that you may need to institute sales enablement processes in your organization is if the Sales team is struggling to meet sales goals — this could speak to a lack of resources and training.
It’s also important to consider how “on-message” your sales reps are. If sales reps are less informed about the product and how to knowledgeably answer questions about it, there will be far less consistency in what customers are told. The quality of service will decline, resulting once again in poor sales numbers. If you find that your reps don’t have the training and content resources they need to properly sell the product consistently, it’s worth thinking about how sales enablement practices can get the whole team on board with the correct messaging.
Even if you find that you are satisfied with your company’s sales numbers, sales enablement is generally a smart investment for any organization, as it reinforces a more coordinated, company-wide approach at directing more customers toward the sales funnel. It also provides the sales team with better resources that allow them to more effectively serve the buyers and win a sale.
Bloomfire is a “knowledge sharing” sharing software. You and your sales team can compile any information needed to best serve your customers. This is a great place to store informational resources that help your sales team answer common customer questions, plus useful reference information such as sales techniques, scripts, client information, and more.
Through comprehensive win/loss analysis programs you can keep track of what works for your business and what doesn’t. Who better to tell you what you’re doing correctly or incorrectly than your customers? These insights, brought to you through the services of Clozd, allow you to see what factors cause you to win or lose a sale, and leverage that information to hone your sales and marketing strategies in the future. It can also pinpoint reasons your sales team specifically is influencing lost deals. This data can guide your sales coaching, training, and enablement resources to course-correct problem areas.
Highspot is a software solution that helps your team create custom-guided experiences for prospective customers. You can plug in your own marketing content and integrate your most commonly used sales tools and further streamline your organization’s sales enablement processes.
Showpad is an all-in-one sales enablement platform with a variety of technological and content solutions, from opportunity preparation tools such as sales training and content management, to opportunity execution tools that add value to your sales process and create the best possible buying experience for your customers.
The process of teaching newly hired salespeople as well as maintaining the skills of existing employees. This can instill new knowledge into the trainees, but it can also work to establish new sales skills, as well as reinforcing the most effective behaviors and techniques that will allow the trainee to win new sales and maintain relationships with customers.
More specific than training, coaching entails a more one-on-one experience where sales reps put their training into practice and role-play a sales scenario, receiving feedback from leaders on areas where they might improve.
A coaching assessment can take different forms. A sales rep can either prove their retention and comprehension of training through a quiz or another knowledge-check method like a graded role play, or they might receive an assessment on their actual work in the field. This method can help leaders discern whether the rep is merely a good tester, or if they can take what they’ve learned and put it into actual practice.
These are any technology or software that benefits the sales enablement process. These can take the form of knowledge bases, coaching and training tools, project trackers, and more.
Any content that your team has produced to aid in closing sales — whether it be customer-facing posts like blogs and videos, or internal content that reps can reference during the sales process — will qualify as sales content. These are crucial sales enablement resources.