Sales Enablement: Tools, Definition, and Strategies
The best way to ensure that an assigned project or task is successful is by ensuring your people have all the tools, resources, and information they require to get the job done. You want your teams to have all that they require to perform efficiently and get great results.
This is particularly true when it comes to sales, due to the challenge and potential complexity of the role. If you want your reps to close more deals and increase your revenue, it’s essential that you provide them with the right tools and procedures, and training on how to use them.
Each salesperson needs to have a thorough understanding of your customer journey, as well as the best practices for how to approach each stage.
But maybe that sounds complicated….so how do you actually do all of this?
A little thing called Sales Enablement.
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively. It’s all about providing salespeople with everything they need to engage target customer throughout the pipeline.
Fundamentally this involves giving salespeople two types of information: 1) the resources they themselves need to perform well and 2) information and resources that the buyer wants.
Internal sales resources examples: SOPs, best practices, sales tools, and sales training.
Buyer information examples: whitepapers, videos, webinars, or other information about the company and its products and services
Sales enablement is an iterative process, not a one-off. Over time, you build and refine the resources that help your business’s sales team to close more deals. These resources may include content, tools, and processes to effectively sell your product or service to customers. When implemented properly, sales enablement empowers your sales team to engage buyers throughout the buying process, while coming away with more closed deals.
Why is sales enablement important?
Many organizations make the mistake of relying on individual, high-performing sales talent to make sure the job gets done. The problem is that this approach is incredibly unreliable. Ideally, you want a sales enablement strategy that takes any average salesperson and ensures that they perform well, or at least acceptably, every time. Sales enablement is how you do this, by providing your sales team with the best practices, training, tools, and resources to achieve better results.
Align everyone with your overarching sales and marketing strategy
The best-performing companies have a clear alignment between the individual’s role and the overall strategy for the organization. Sales enablement is an excellent vehicle for doing this, and has the additional benefit of setting up a clear collaboration between the sales and marketing teams in your organization, as they work together to build content, track results, etc.
Ensure all your salespeople have core sales skills
Not every salesperson has every essential sales skill right out of the gate. Sales enablement helps ensure your entire sales team has high competency in all of the standard sales skills that are required to perform well. Things like prospecting, pre-call planning, call follow ups, consultative sales skill, etc., some of which might be new to them (or worthy of a refresher).
Sales enablement trains salespeople on specific processes
Beyond instilling all the core sales skills, sales enablement lets you train personnel on specific procedures, tools, and expectations that might be unique to your business, or your current sales strategy. This will create confidence and clarity for your salespeople on what they are supposed to do, and also create peace of mind for managers that people know what they are doing.
How to build a successful sales enablement program
3 fundamental principles behind a successful sales enablement strategy:
Define the entire buyer experience
Sales enablement is all about giving your salespeople everything they need to sell effectively, and one essential component of this is an intimate understanding of the value proposition, customer persona, and buyer experience. When they understand what each stage entails, they’ll be more likely to know exactly what to do next to move the deal through the pipeline.
Invest in ongoing sales training
Processes change, skills fade, people get rusty. When you invest in ongoing sales training, you are creating a process for ensuring your entire sales team is up to date on the skills and information that they need to get results.
Monitor and ensure compliance
The best sales enablement program will fail if no one follows it. The worst sales process is one that no one follows. The most useless sales tool is one that isn’t consistently used. Establish a way to verify that your sales enablement program is being followed.
What are the best practices for sales enablement?
Here are 4 best practices for any sales enablement strategy:
Scalable and usable
An important principle of effective sales enablement is that it works whether you have 5 salespeople or 500. It also needs to be clearly defined and easy to use, otherwise people won’t do it, and even if they do it will cost an inordinate amount of resources due to low efficiency. Make sure everyone is aware of sales enablement resources, knows where to find them, and how they are expected to be used.
Includes training and development
Every great sales enablement strategy requires some degree of training for the salespeople to know how to use the resources provided. This might involve training on specific tools (such as your CRM) or on specific sales processes (how to deliver a sales presentation). And since your sales enablement process should be iterative and ongoing, that’s why ongoing training is also important, so everyone is up to date on current tools, processes, and resources.
Consistent and enforceable
The best sales enablement programs ensure a consistent application across your workforce, by tracking and enforcing whether processes and resources are being used properly, across your organization. It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing sales process in the world if no one actually follows it (consistently).
Clearly measured (inputs and outputs)
It’s important to measure both the KPIs of the sales process, as well as the sales enablement process.
Measure sales metrics like:
- # of prospects vs. # of leads vs. # of booked sales
- conversion rate
- sales cycle length
- deal size
- cost of customer acquisition
Measure sales enablement metrics like:
- # of hours to onboard a new salesperson
- # hours of ongoing sales training
- % of reps achieving quota
- % of reps following best practices
What tools are needed for sales enablement?
CRM (customer relationship management)
This is the main way your sales team keeps track of deals in your pipeline, important details about prospects, and measuring performance, in a centralized system.
Chances are, your sales process involves some kind of sales call or presentation to close. A platform like Slidecast is an extremely effective p preThis means…
- Slidecast is the best presentation platform for sales enablement
- If you just need help designing prettier slides, Canva is a great option for that
How many leads are you getting in the door? How many are you converting? How are people responding to your marketing material? There’s only one way to know: having killer analytics.
- Some CRM tools track certain sales metrics, so it’s worth checking what yours can do
- For tracking of engagement analytics for your sales presentations, Slidecast (the presentation platform mentioned above) has built in analytics
There are many tools that can help facilitate the process for creating a sales training library, running staff through training programs, and monitoring and measuring results.
- 360 learning
Note to designer – please add links to all the tools mentioned in the example tools sections
Reliable and efficient sales enablement using Slidecast
As mentioned above, Slidecast is an excellent choice to include in your sales enablement toolset. If you are looking for a better way to deliver, track, and follow up with your sales presentations, there is one tool that stands out: Slidecast.
Slidecast is a powerful remote selling platform designed to help you streamline and scale your business presentations, pitches, and product demos. Easily and efficiently build, deliver, track, and create new touchpoints from any slide-based presentation. Sync your presentation analytics to Salesforce automatically. Share the presentation with any of your Salesforce contacts in a few clicks.
Key features of the platform include:
- Create beautiful, professional presentations in minutes instead of hours
- Deliver a pitch or presentation to your contacts instantly, from any device, to any device
- Deliver more pitches and close more deals with fully automated sales presentations (called Self-Guided)
- Understand your presentation’s performance with presentation analytics
- Identify when prospects are engaging with your content in real-time, and instantly reach out at the perfect moment when they are already engaged
More than 250,000 presentations have been delivered through the platform, with 41,000 hours spent on user presentations – that’s an average of 10 minutes of attention from each prospect on your presentations! Consider the value in being able to buy that much attention from your sales prospects!
What does a sales enablement team do?
A sales enablement team supports the sales team by establishing best practices, building sales content collateral, developing sales training, and managing the technology used in the sales processes (such as a CRM).
What are the differences between sales enablement and sales operations?
Sales enablement involves providing support and documentation for your sales teams, providing additional support for sellers, with tools and processes for content management, sales training, and aligning your sales and marketing departments.
Sales operations, by contrast, refers more specifically to do the day-to-day efforts of what your sales teams actually do to go about making sales (executing and refining a process).
What are the elements of a sales enablement strategy?
Some of the elements of a great sales enablement strategy include:
- Training on sales tools
- Training on value proposition, products and services, and buyer’s journey
- Sales process design and support
- Skill assessment and development
- Gathering of feedback to improve the sales enablement strategy over time
What is sales enablement collateral?
Sales enablement collateral refers to the content used to train sales reps on best practices of your sales process. This can involve training or other types of material on the company’s sales tools, SOPs, products and services, value proposition, etc. It can come in the form of webinars, videos, PDF guides, call scripts, FAQs, buyer personas, sales playbooks, and more.
How to measure sales enablement success?
The main way to measure sales enablement success is by keeping track of important related metrics. These metrics can include stats like:
- Conversion ratio
- Sales cycle length
- Average deal size
- Churn rate
- % of reps achieving quota
- % of reps following best practices
- The budget for ongoing sales training
- Knowledge retention
- Time to first deal for new reps
How does sales enablement help sellers?
Sales enablement is essential for consistent and optimal sales performance. It ensures your entire sales team has the skills, tools, and info to do their job well. Sales enablement also plays an important role when it comes to growing your sales team and scaling up your organization.
How can sales enablement be improved?
- Clearly define sales enablement goals
- Create a certain number of content pieces for a specific buyer persona
- Identify a common frustration or pain point of your sales team, then find a tool to help solve that challenge, then train your team on how to use the new tool
- Monitor compliance and track KPIs
- Collaborate, communicate, and solicit feedback
Who owns sales enablement?
Sales enablement is generally owned by both sales, and to a slightly lesser extent by marketing. Marketing typically takes more of the lead when it comes to creating content directly intended to share with potential customers (either directly or via the salesperson) and sales is certainly more the owner when it comes to creating training, processes, or other types of materials for the salespeople themselves. If this type of dual ownership creates confusion in your organization, then you can also simply assign this to be owned by sales, with marketing in a supporting role.
How is sales enablement different than marketing?
A good way to think about the difference is that while both are creating content, marketing is creating content for customers, and sales enablement is creating content for your salespeople.
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