The pandemic undoubtedly changed the way we sell forever. Buyers are more research-savvy than ever before, so with more of us focusing on social and virtual selling, having an enablement program is no longer an option. It’s a must-have, as sales enablement is a highly effective strategy for increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your sales team by equipping them with the tools and resources they need to close more deals. In fact, it’s reported that organisations that adopt a sales enablement strategy report a 15% increase in win rates for forecasted deals (according to Brainshark). You may be wondering what exactly Sales Enablement is, how you use it for maximum effect and how it differs from Sales Operations. Not to worry, we answer these questions and more in this comprehensive guide to Sales Enablement below:
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales Enablement is a strategic process and collaborative discipline intended to provide your sales team with all of the resources, tools, content, and training they need to close more deals quicker than ever.
Its main goal is to add value to the sales process by providing consistent, scalable enablement services that allow customer-facing professionals to do what they do best. However, Sales Enablement requires consistent, collaborative input, management, and motivation to be successful. But, it’s no surprise that businesses with seasoned enablement disciplines report better performance metrics than those lacking an enablement practice.
Why is Sales Enablement Important?
Sales Enablement is imperative to any business that wants to facilitate better use of its resources while achieving alignment between its sales and marketing teams.
The problem, however, in today’s competitive business environment is that sales organisations are increasingly chasing more aggressive goals with more significant pressure to reach sales success. Something sales teams are struggling to achieve -check out this study from CSO Insights where sales leaders said:
- 50% of revenue comes from the 20% of sales reps
- 50% of sales reps are average to low performers
- Only 30% – 50% of reps hit the quota
There is a big opportunity for improvement, and sales enablement helps to solve this issue by aligning teams and encouraging top seller behaviour, consistency and collaboration.
- 8 Ways To Align Sales & Customer Service
- Sales Methodologies: A Comparison of 15 Essential Approaches
- Sales Pipeline Management: How To Manage Your Pipeline And Shorten The Sales Process
Sales Operations Vs. Sales Enablement: What’s the difference?
Sales Operations are defined as technical activities associated with the business’s day-to-day sales process. Such as maintaining a CRM system, closely monitoring data in terms of opportunities, leads, and how many deals are closed, and, crucially, managing aspects of the company-wide technology stack.
Comparatively, Sales Enablement is a broad strategy designed to drive both Marketing and Sales to achieve closer alignment, overcome roadblocks, and ultimately close more deals.
Why You Need a Sales Enablement Strategy
Sales enablement isn’t just about making profits; it’s also essential to help salespeople be effective in sales. The right sales enablement strategy equips reps with the training, coaching, and content they need to be successful. Other benefits of implementing a solid sales enablement strategy include:
While it may seem obvious, sales teams work and operate more efficiently on a technical level with a sales enablement strategy.
Every process change or strategic realignment you make within your sales department can easily be scaled as needed with integrated data.
That way, you don’t have to worry about contrasting data sets or time spent manually updating various software.
Ultimately, you reduce overheads, manual administration and much more uptime.
Effective Sales Hiring
Finding the right sales candidate takes time and effort.
Yet, few professionals within your organization will better understand what to look for when hiring new salespeople than your sales enablement team.
They can define the candidate competencies and traits needed for success and provide helpful sales interview questions and prompts to assess this.
Better Sales Training
Unfortunately, most employees are likely to learn something new and immediately forget it.
According to research, learners forget approximately 50% of training within only one hour of training, with the figure increasing to 70% in a mere 24 hours! Within 30 days, the amount forgotten increases to 90%.
Developed by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 1880s, the Forgetting Curve below demonstrates how quickly memory retention drops after learning new information.
So no matter how good the training material is, sales reps probably don’t retain much information unless they revisit it regularly.
That’s why an effective sales enablement strategy is essential to negate the forgetting curve’s effects in your sales training.
By designing and implementing team-wide training initiatives to provide managers with materials and sales coaching, sales enablement can take an active role in training an organization’s sales reps.
As a result, there is a 29% improvement in sales training effectiveness for companies with a dedicated sales enablement strategy, according to data from TaskDrive.
Quality Sales Interactions
An effective sales enablement strategy will empower you to gain deeper customer insights fueled by data.
By doing so, sales teams can leave intuition-based selling behind to prioritise deals more likely to close – creating a low-maintenance but highly converting sales cycle.
Improved Customer Experience
In today’s digital age, where buyers are more autonomous than ever before, it’s more imperative than ever to get the customer experience right.
No one wants to feel like a name on a list or receive generic information in a way that’s inconvenient for them to use.
Before companies implemented an effective sales enablement strategy a few years ago, they struggled to deliver seamless and highly personalised outreach campaigns, especially at scale. Now, buyers are more satisfied than ever before.
Who is Responsible for Sales Enablement?
The ownership of sales enablement entirely depends on the structure of the business; however, it’s reported that around 50% of sales enablement is under the Head of Sales in most companies. Regardless of who takes responsibility, teams will need to be ensuring that they’re handling the following activities:
- Implementation of a Sales Coaching Strategy.
- Creation and distribution of sales training content.
- Measuring and reporting on the success of sales enablement program success.
- Management of sales tools and relevant best practices.
Sales: Commit to infusing sales enablement processes and technology in day-to-day business.
Sales Enablement: Drive success in content management, customer engagement, performance analytics, and sales training content.
Marketing: Develop effective content as measured by engagement and impact on revenue.
Obviously, metrics are everything. You, more than likely, measure the bottom-line value of your sales process, so there’s no reason you can’t apply the same principles for your Sales enablement.
What’s the Role of a Sales Enablement Professional?
With an increased focus on effective sales onboarding, coaching, and continuous learning, sales enablement functions enable sales reps to hone necessary skills. Which, in turn, increases valuable conversations in each sales process stage.
Training and Content Clarity
All of your teams, in some capacity, are enabling your salespeople to close deals, whether that’s by marketing, product management, sales operations, or even your legal team. However, the issue is that many businesses don’t have consistent support and communication between these teams, which often leads to confusion and, unfortunately, mistakes.
Ultimately, it’s essential to understand that effective Sales Enablement is a real collaborative effort to provide your salesforce with all of the resources they need. Whether that’s internal and external content, sales tools, value messaging, and market intelligence – It’s crucial to keep your sales team engaged.
Equipping Managers to Support Their Reps
A Sales Enablement strategy that hones in on a sales manager’s skill development will ensure that they’re adequately supporting your operation every day. However, a real passion, willingness, and vision for training and pushing sales reps to achieve their best are crucial.
To gain accurate insight and develop detailed assessments of your sales enablement process, you’ll need to gather a substantial amount of data. The minimum recommended amount is around a week’s worth; that way, you can determine how well your team performs. However, it’s worth noting that a more organized method is to conduct these monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
Increasing Sales Conversions
The ultimate goal of sales enablement is to increase your sales conversions. Therefore it’s imperative that sales and marketing work in close alignment to create valuable customer data, produce unique insights, and most importantly? Create meaningful, long-standing relationships with customers.
Recommended Sales Enablement Team Structure
Sales Enablement Manager
The Sales Enablement Manager is at the team’s helm, responsible for encompassing and setting the companies vision or mission. Their primary focus is to understand and communicate the bigger picture while also developing the Sales Enablement Teams strategy framework. However, it isn’t the Managers responsibility to implement these strategies, merely to answer the question of “What should we be doing?.” For instance, perhaps your team could benefit from having an E-learning platform, accessible all sales reps at all times for vital resources.
Sales Enablement Developer
Sales Enablement Developers’ primary focus is developing the software and user experience, whether for technology, video, brochures, E-Learning platforms or sales calls. They construct this development by conducting plenty of user research, asking questions to Sales Reps such as What do you need? What are you working on? What would help you achieve your job role?
Sales Enablement Analysis
Sales Enablement Analysts are responsible for measuring the success of the adoption outcomes. They achieve this by reviewing specific data insights to understand how it’s performing; however, they’re not seeking to know if it’s successful – but to know why it is.
Sales Enablement Marketing
Sales Enablement Marketers are responsible for developing target personas concerning their developed technology. Answering the questions of “Who is this technology for? How will they benefit and why?.” More so, they also focus on producing specific sales messaging to encourage their team internally to adopt said technology.
7 Sales Enablement Best Practices: Train, Coach, and Reinforce to Optimise
Sales training is a continuous, constant and collaborative process that requires content and tools for sales teams to sell effectively. However, they’re entirely redundant if salespeople don’t understand how to use them to the best of their ability.
Sales enablement services commonly fall into three categories: content, training and coaching.
Whether it’s quick tips embedded into sales team meetings or quarterly to annual live training sessions, sales training is a vital component of sales enablement that shouldn’t be kept to only the onboarding process.
Sales enablement content provides the sales team with the tools, data, and content they need to enhance their sales process and reinforce training.
Providing routine individual and group coaching is critical to strengthening your teams’ essential skills, as well as aiding them with solutions to the specific challenges they’re currently facing. Opportunities for Training and Coaching
A crucial moment for sales enablement training is when onboarding new hires; preparing comprehensive training that focuses on the vital role sales enablement performs in attaining quota will help familiarise them with existing content and tools. Therefore, the more familiar they are – the more likely they’ll continue embracing, utilising, and contributing to them.
Many companies like to use our sales training platform SOCO Academy to train their teams.
Send simple problem-solution-result success stories via newsletter emails to ensure salespeople digest and understand the information presented. Other useful forms include daily email tips or even asking salespeople to share short success stories quarterly.
By offering your sales reps, a platform to learn, share and chat with each other is crucial for dissecting internal issues or concerns and encourages immediate colleague feedback. For instance, an example of internal social media includes tools such as Slack, Google Workplace or even Facebook groups.
Check out our complete guide sales technology to get more ideas for tech tools your sales team can use.
Monthly or quarterly formal training is optimal because many experts agree that one-off or annual training isn’t effective for long-term results. Therefore, it’s vital to plan a consistent schedule to be continually upskilling your team.
Align Sales and Marketing
Sales Enablement Training Tools
Playbooks are your sales team’s holy grail; they encompass the best sales practices and how to use them in relevant situations. Although an excellent and valuable resource for sales and marketing teams to recall and implement in real-time, they’re ideal for gaining insights to aid the sales process’s refinement. Sales playbooks help teams to collaborate and determine where the best opportunities are, identify any roadblocks before they happen, and agree upon their message to prospects.
Creating a bank of email templates for prospects at every stage of interest and timing is invaluable for your sales team while also providing a concise, united message company-wide.
Collection of Best Practices
Ask your team to create a portfolio of best practices, you can even provide an outline for them, to avoid unnecessarily long, sales success stories.
Sales Presentation Scripts
Sales scripts culminate traditional marketing techniques and digital sales strategies used as a “prescribed set of talking points” in the later sales funnel stages. They crucially act as a streamlined reference tool for your sales team, aligning with the tone and message of your organizations brand. However, they shouldn’t be a word-for-word script; instead, sales teams should view them as prompts or starting points.
Provide your team with the opportunity to learn new skills whenever they want. E-learning is a cost effective and time saving way to allow staff the opportunity to learn skills at home, during their commute or when there’s downtime. While some companies create their own library of e-learning material, others use ready made solutions like our online sales training platform SOCO Academy.
Content for Sales Enablement
Here’s the type of content many sales enablement teams are incorporating into their system.
Blog posts are invaluable throughout every stage of the sales process and often have a long shelf life when constructed well. However, they’re not a replacement for your sales team’s expert advice and should only be utilized as an additional tool that can be accessed anywhere and anytime.
Long-form blog posts are necessary for educating prospects. They are often crafted in a collaborative process by salespeople, product specialists, and technical service experts.
White Papers are an excellent tool to use as gated content for very early prospects. They’re deeply rooted in research, analysis, and statistics that are useful and easy to understand. They’re instrumental in advancing the prospect through the sales cycle.
Case Studies are instrumental; salespeople need reputable references to share with prospects. Preferably in the format of video testimonials or written documents. They’re critical to outlining the benefits customers will gain from using your company’s products and services.
An ideal case study structure would be:
- Explain a challenge that a particular customer faced.
- Question how your team would have handled this situation.
- The positive result.
Social Media is a central communication tool for everyone around the globe. So it’s only natural that salespeople should share the right content with their connections: particularly long-form blog posts and videos, to engage and understand their market just that little bit more.
Do you record your sales expert’s speaking at industry events? If you don’t, you’re missing out on utilizing your ability to show expertise in the field and educate prospects – just keep it value focused instead of a sales pitch in disguise.
Tip-Sheets are one-page documents that educate your prospects in a particular area of your product or service. They aim to highlight benefits to the prospect and further persuade them that this is the solution to their problem. These sheets should be accessible to all of your sales team, so upload them to your company cloud service.
Competitor Research & Analysis
Persuading prospects that you’re the ideal solution to their problem involves demonstrating how you compare to your competitors, not just commenting on what they’re currently doing and offering. You’ll want to include how competitors connect and work – and why it’s inferior to your process.
Infographics are excellent tools for visual learners. You can display a variety of information using images including: benefits, competitive comparisons, research stats, and whitepaper highlights.
Another excellent tool for informing visual learners is video. It’s instrumental for explaining the processes behind your service or products. However, when hosted by experts, you can use anyone from your warehouse right up to your CEO. It’s worth considering that sales teams will probably prefer to present videos to prospects via social media or even included them in an email. So you’ll want to keep it short, informative, and concise.
Webinars are a great way to engage leads and customers and have conversations with them at scale. Value rich webinars can be shared by sales reps to educate their prospects on different aspects of your product or service.
Creating your own podcasts are an excellent way to showcase your top sales reps and allowing your audience to get to know them better. There’s also a wealth of Podcasts out there full of valuable information that will help keep your team at the top of their game. Here at SOCO we have our own podcast called Selling in Asia.
How SOCO Can Help You with Sales Enablement
SOCO/ is an expert-led, award-winning sales training company. We’ve spent decades working with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies across Asia and the world.
Have SOCO train your team in the top sales skills needed to take on 2021 through either Virtual Instructor Led Training through video conferencing software or let your team learn new skills in their spare time using our popular e-learning platform – SOCO Academy.
Not sure which of the top sales training programs is right for you? Book an appointment with one of our program advisors who will be happy to build the right training plan for you.
Don’t just take our word for it. See what others are saying!
“We recently had Tom conduct a virtual external Sales Training Program for our entire commercial organization at Carousell Group for our different brands in 5 countries.
Tom shared great insights on consultative selling and needs analysis to win new customers. He energized and fuelled our sales & trade marketing teams to apply the concepts they learned into their day to day interactions with customers. Throughout the session, all 200+ attendees were fully engaged and inspired to apply the concepts shared into their interactions with clients.
At the core of Carousell, we constantly raise the bar, growing and inspiring one another. Thank you Tom for helping us raise the bar. “– Vishal Salunkhe | Head of Sales Operations & Enablement Carousell