All eyes are on Sales Enablement, and rightfully so. Companies experience a significant impact on sales as a result of Sales Enablement; 76% of organizations see an increase in sales between 6% to 20%. It can be defined as a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.
However, Sales Enablement does not come overnight. To be truly successful, a detailed strategy must be carefully developed to fit a company’s specific situation. In this article, we will quickly go through the common characteristics of every winning Sales Enablement strategy.
1. Defined goals, roles and metrics
In any successful Sales Enablement strategy three main aspects must be defined beforehand :
Sales Enablement is specific to each company and so are its goals. Its advantages can positively impact every aspect of sales operations, but it is advised to define an organization’s main pain points beforehand as the strategy will be structured around them.
A few examples of goals a company can set in terms of Sales Enablement are :
- Improve sales engagement
- Improve sales productivity
- Scale up sales operations
- Organize and optimize content strategy
- Improve marketing and sales alignment
- Reduce sales cycle length and costs
- Build consumer insight around data
A second key point to consider is defining and assigning clear roles to execute your Sales Enablement strategy. This can sometimes seem tricky as Sales Enablement is at the crossroad of both Sales and Marketing, but it is crucial to think about it.
Roles and responsibilities may vary depending on the strategy’s main goal. For example, if the idea is to develop a content-based Sales Enablement, most responsibilities will be held by Marketing. On the other hand, if the idea is to work on Sales training and coaching, your Sales department is more likely to be handling the matter.
Finally, keep in mind that organizations are also choosing to create a dedicated role more and more. This role would be a bridge between Marketing and Sales to guarantee that the strategy serves the needs of both.
The smart use of Data is a crucial way to direct your Sales Enablement strategy as it will help you pinpoint what you are doing right as well as what you can improve. A data-driven sales enablement strategy can go as far as giving you a competitive edge as it is able to innovate, compete and capture value.
The performance indicators that you should track and improve depending on your company’s industry, size, or strategic goals for example.
2. Aligned Sales & Marketing
Smarketing, or sales and marketing alignment, is when both teams work with more transparency, better communication, and collaboration for greater efficiency. The end goal is to convert more leads and, in the long run, enhance profitability and revenue altogether.
Sales and Marketing alignment is therefore crucial for any successful Sales Enablement strategy, as it contributes to its goal: increased sales efficiency.
Historically, Sales and Marketing teams are closely related. However, they have developed independently: working in different spaces, reporting with different metrics, or using different tools. To leverage a Sales Enablement strategy implies breaking down these barriers to create synergies and allow both teams to collaborate.
3. Strong Content Management
Content is so essential to Sales Enablement, that it deserves its category within the strategy. Miller Heiman Group’s CEO, Byron Matthews says that “the modern buyer has become better at buying faster than the seller has gotten better at selling”.
In other words, sales need to adapt their approach so they can meet a prospect’s needs at any given point of the process. Customers are eager for content and will try and find it on their own before you even knew they might be needing it. To stay a step ahead relies heavily on the type and the quality of the content a company has.
For content to be truly relevant, it needs to be adapted to the customer’s journey. For example, you would not show the same type of content to a prospect who has never heard of your company as you would to a prospect who is practically ready to sign a deal.
To visualize the buyer’s journey, you can use a funnel model. Engaging a prospect at the top, the middle or the bottom of the funnel requires different types and usage of the content.
4. Good Sales Training & Coaching
Properly preparing your sales representatives is a key part of any performing Sales Enablement strategy. This should be done through sales training as well as sales coaching on a regular basis.
Sales training is a structured and focused teaching method that focuses on specific concepts or skills. The main goal is to provide high-level knowledge to sales representatives to help them understand their environment, their customers, and the products they are working with. Because it is structured, it can be provided to a group.
Sales training is the best fit for onboarding new employees or presenting new technologies to your sales team. During training, sales representatives work on best practices and techniques that can be applied regardless of the sales environment
Sales coaching is a less structured teaching method for sales performance improvement. The main goal is equipping individuals with the right tools to continually improve their sales performance by working on their weakest points. Logically, it is provided one-on-one as every sales representative is different.
Sales coaching is the best fit to boost performance for sales representatives that are already well integrated in the organization. The one-on-one environment is most appropriate to discover a sales representative’s weakness by observing them in action.
5.Use of a Sales Enablement tool
Sales Enablement strategies and initiatives today are often powered by technological tools that come in different forms and address different needs. Some solutions automate customer experience to impact engagement, others automate certain functions allowing both sales and marketing teams to focus their efforts on revenue-growing activities, provide key sales intelligence or qualify leads for example.
Many of these tools are powered by AI and machine learning to properly leverage data and generate sales-boosting content or insights. The most wholesome products, which aim to be end-to-end solutions are referred to as Sales Enablement platforms.
A key thing to remember is that any tool does not suit any company. In fact, a company’s context as well as the particular pain point they are addressing is critical when it comes to the choice of a smart selling tool. In this context it is key to lead a technology assessment before investing in this type of technology.