There’s a new buzzword on the minds of sales managers across the country: sales enablement.
It’s not a new concept, just a new name. The idea is to provide your sales teams with the resources they need to excel. Doesn’t sound too revolutionary, right?
Unfortunately, many offices are structured in such a way that a few top earners carry the entire office and the rest of the reps don’t get much attention.
In reality, some people are just naturally great at selling things. That doesn’t mean the other guys can’t perform at the same level, or even that they don’t perform at a high level themselves. They just need a little help to develop their skills, and that’s where sales enablement comes into play.
Read on or use these links to jump to a particular section:
- What is Sales Enablement?
- The Importance of Sales Enablement
- Four Benefits of Sales Enablement
- Sales Enablement Resources
- Importance of Better Content
What is Sales Enablement?
At its core, sales enablement is the process of providing sales training, coaching, enablement technology, and content to your sales and marketing teams to improve performance across the board.
It doesn’t matter how great your top-earning sales reps are, there’s almost always room for improvement. Sales enablement helps everyone on the team excel by teaching, motivating, and enabling them to exceed office quotas and expectations.
Sales enablement is sales empowerment, and it’s more important now than it’s ever been. Of course, we could repeat that statement every week because the competition is always on the rise, and buyers continue to become more informed than ever before.
The Importance of Sales Enablement
Consumers have more information and power at their fingertips than ever before. A study by Salesforce & Publicis.Sapient found that 87% of consumers begin their buying journey with online research. The study also found that 64% of shoppers say they feel that brands don’t truly understand their individual needs and desires.
Brands have to work hard to personalize their approach, and selling to informed customers has become a nightmare for many in the sales game.
There was a time when interruption ads stood a chance. Many buyers were naive, and if something popped up and caught their attention, they clicked. They didn’t know any better, but these days, they do. In order to break through and start a genuine conversation with potential buyers or clients, your sales and marketing teams need to be equipped with the most advanced resources available.
Four Benefits of Sales Enablement
The benefits of a sales enablement strategy are vast so long as the sales reps within the team are capable and the products or services being sold are valuable.
1. Better Teamwork
Sales enablement enhances the team as a whole, not just the best sellers and not just those that need help. By implementing sales enablement strategies, companies no longer have to rely on top earners to carry the sales team.
2. Better Data
Sales enablement provides a superior framework for the collection and organization of data from engagements between reps and consumers. Data relating to pain points, customer personas, buyer intent, historic behaviour, and more, all combine to help salespeople personalize each engagement.
3. More Efficiency
Better data and organization also increase team efficiency. With valuable resources at their disposal, salespeople are able to make faster data-driven decisions, decreasing the time it takes to go from prospect to client.
4. More Collaboration
Sales enablement increases collaboration between sales and marketing teams. Sales reps have to provide valuable, personalized content to prospects in order to persuade them to make the deal. The marketing team is often the source of that content. With that being said, marketing is invaluable and, in many cases, inseparable from the sales process.
Sales Enablement Resources
Sales enablement empowers sales and marketing teams to enhance their performance near the end of the cycle, where the actual sale takes place when it counts most.
Sales enablement is proven to increase sales efficiency. Booking.com for Business is the B2B division of the popular travel website. They used LeadBoxer to improve the quality of the leads being presented to the enterprise sales team.
After implementing a variety of sales enablement solutions, LeadBoxer helped Booking.com disqualify false-positives, qualify false-negatives, and even provide the enterprise sales team with invaluable behavioral data, allowing them to focus their efforts on consumer interests and buyer intent. Check out the case study here.
It seems like a no-brainer to want to give your sales and marketing teams better resources, but it’s not always the case for many companies. In most cases, when a sales rep fails to meet a quota, the blame falls squarely on their shoulders. They didn’t listen. They didn’t work hard enough.
While there are reps out there who simply don’t belong on a sales team, more often than not, better training, coaching, enablement technology, and content can improve the performance of almost anyone. These elements make up the foundation of sales enablement, but what do they truly entail?
What is “Better Training?”
A lot of companies are using the same onboarding process they’ve had for 25+ years. There’s no way the company is in the same position it was in two decades ago, but the onboarding and training materials still reflect that version of the company. The goals have likely evolved, the products and services have likely evolved, and the average customer has most certainly evolved.
In this context, “better training” means more relevant training. You could hire the most capable sales rep in your state, but if they’re not accustomed to your products, your services, and your culture, they won’t perform at the level you anticipate.
What is “Better Coaching?”
Sales coaching is essentially the process of putting proven leaders in front of your sales and marketing teams and allowing those leaders to guide your reps to better performance. For companies that offer no coaching at all, any type of coaching is an improvement.
When we talk about coaching, a lot of sales managers probably think of professional speakers who travel around the world giving live presentations. Of course, it’s valuable to have one of these sales and marketing gurus speak to your teams in-person, but this isn’t always an option – and it’s not always necessary.
You likely have one or two employees among your staff right now that are ready to step up and lead the pack. You likely have a manager that could take the initiative and coach your teams to more success.
What is “Enablement Technology?”
Most sales managers and marketing directors are familiar with the various types of sales enablement technology available today, even if they don’t make the connection right away.
The most common of these include Content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, lead nurturing software and learning management systems.
Content Management Systems
Buyers today want personalized content. They need education and entertainment. If you educate consumers about various problems they face, not only can you reveal problems they may not have known about, but they’ll trust you as an authoritative source of value.
The problem is that there’s a growing sea of content readily available and anyone with a keyboard, a monitor, and an internet connection can create and distribute with the click of a button. Consumers have come to ignore the majority of what they see online, so your content has to catch and hold their attention.
In order to stand out, companies need a lot of content. Sales and marketing teams must work together to create and curate personalized content that speaks directly to consumers. Without a good CMS, this process is nearly impossible.
You need to be able to provide relevant content at different steps in the buyer journey. If the buyer is just looking for information on a particular product, hitting them with sales copy is not the answer.
Customer Relationship Management
While a good CMS helps you identify the right types of content to use, a good CRM helps you identify the right time to use it.
The path a customer takes from learning about your brand to purchasing your products is called the customer journey.
As previously stated, a buyer who’s just looking for information about a product or who’s researching possible solutions to a problem is not ready to be hit with sales copy. They need informational copy that educates them about their problem and about your solutions, but they need content that does this in a way that’s not pushy or “salesy.”
The right CRM helps your team achieve this and much more.
A CRM helps your team organize customer or client relationships. Every interaction is a touchpoint, and every touchpoint must be documented. When an initial email goes out to a potential client, the team marks that interaction in the CRM. This keeps your sales and marketing teams from going overboard and pushing prospects and current customers away.
CRMs help with lead management, as well. When a new lead is entered into the CRM, the entire team has access to this data. This type of teamwork is key to the success of your company, and the right CRM allows and encourages this collaboration.
The sales process racks up a ton of data. Without a great CRM, the data alone will overwhelm your team and crush productivity and morale.
Learning Management Systems
All of the enablement tools in the world won’t make a bit of difference if your sales reps aren’t capable and well-informed. At the end of the day, the success of your company depends upon the expertise of your sales and marketing teams and their ability to persuade prospects to invest.
There are several roles played by the LMS. The role it plays for you will depend on your goals and objectives. Most LMS solutions allow you to create and deploy training initiatives for your teams and track the progress of individual employees.
You can also utilize training and coaching content from other professionals in your industry. These high-profile coaches bring a lot of energy and expertise. Names that come to mind include Brian Tracy, Grant Cardone, and others.
SalesHacker.com released a list of the best sales training programs and coaches of 2019. The top five included:
Importance of Better Content
One of the most important functions of sales enablement is ensuring that your teams have the right content and that they utilize that content at the right time.
There’s a wide variety of sales enablement content, but three of the most common types are:
- Case studies
- Blog posts
Case studies document real-life examples of a product or service in action. They’re essentially glorified testimonials, as they help identify the struggles faced by your customers as well as solutions you bring to the table.
They’re versatile as they can be distributed to customers to highlight the advantages of working with your products and services, but they can also be distributed to sales and marketing teams to highlight consumer behavior and customer pain points.
Although content marketing and sales enablement are two different fields of study, there are some obvious applications that are worth highlighting here. Blog posts provide value to readers without asking for anything in return. Not only can you build a wealth of trust and establish your brand as a source of authority in the industry, but you can also reveal to readers problems they didn’t even know they had.
For many brands, email is the first touch with potential customers. While this may be true, email marketing is an invaluable tool for the closing stages of a sale. It can be difficult to discern which types of emails to send and the best time to send them, but the combination of a great CRM and a great CMS will make the job much easier. There are several types of emails that are perfect for the closing stages of a sale. They include:
- Order confirmations
- Thank you emails
- Abandoned cart emails
Most people check their emails on a daily basis. There are several elements to a great email marketing strategy, and we won’t dive into them here, but emails are personal and you can personalize them in a number of ways.
Bringing it all together
Using a Lead & Customer Data Platform like LeadBoxer helps you to bring all this data together. Build rich customer profiles and track all behavioral events to get a complete picture of your audience.
Sales enablement is still a buzzword. But as the B2B and B2C landscape shifts in the coming years, it will become an indispensable element of the sales process.
Sales managers must deal with growing competition, a growing sea of content, and a new generation of sales reps.
LeadBoxer offers proven sales enablement solutions that can help your sales and marketing teams excel. By embracing smart sales enablement techniques, they can help their teams excel and perform at a higher level than ever before.