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 Minute Read

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Enablement

Written by
David Scott

If you expect your sales team to deliver results, you need to set them up for success.

Your sales reps are there to bring in new business.

They don't want to be wasting time on unnecessary work that could easily be automated or systemised.

Sales enablement is the key to removing barriers and blockers that take your sales team away from selling.

If you want to improve your sales productivity, facilitate better communication, and grow your revenue, this article is for you.

I'm going to walk you through:

  • What is Sales Enablement?
  • Why Should You Care About Sales Enablement?
  • Who Should Own Sales Enablement In Your Company?
  • Sales Enablement Best Practices for Success
  • Best Tools and Software to Help With Sales Enablement

By the end, you'll have a clear action plan of what you need to do to help your sales team thrive.

Let's jump straight in.

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement involves all of the processes and workflows you use to provide your sales team with the resources, knowledge, and expertise they need to do their job and consistently close new business.

It's about removing unnecessary red tape and freeing up your sales reps to spend more time bringing in new revenue.

If your sales team isn't up to date on things like:

  • What your marketing team is working on
  • What new features are being rolled out in your product
  • New questions your customer support team are hearing

Your reps won't be able to work effectively.

They'll be constantly playing catch up to the rest of your business, and struggle to sell in a confident manner.

Your management need to provide your sales reps with the necessary training, tools, and information they need to succeed.

Why Should You Care About Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is crucial to any business that wants to be scale using sales to close new deals.

Whether your business is SaaS, service-based, or anything else, the same underlying truths remain the same.

Your future customers want your sales team to convey confidence when they pitch to them.

If your sales reps are missing vital information that your prospects care about, they won't be able to communicate effectively.

Here are some of the key benefits of having good sales enablement practices.

1. Ensure Sales Communications are Personalized

Personalisation is everything in B2B sales.

You're not talking to a company. You're talking to individuals who have a large amount of input over the final purchase decision, and 84% of buyers expect to be treated to a personalised, unique experience.

84% of customers expect a personalised buying experience

However, if your marketing team is working to ensure your inbound lead pipeline is good, it can be hard for your sales team to keep up with who the leads are and why they're coming to your business.

Your marketing team needs to be relaying information about whom they're targeting, the source of the inbound leads, as well as any other information they had.

For example, if leads are arriving from one particular blog post or ad, then your marketing team should tell your sales team that.

It's key because that acquisition source will hint at the pain points or problems your prospect is facing, and your sales team can then tailor their communication and strategy to match the buyer's expectations.

Your teams should collaborate on shared documentation where you contain information about customer pain points, preferences, as well as their firmographic criteria, to help your sales team easily identify qualified leads as they enter your sales funnel.

2. Increase Sales Velocity

If you want to scale, increasing sales velocity is vital.

The more quickly you can close new deals, the faster your revenue growth will be.

Over half of sales reps' time is spent on activities other than selling, on tasks like research, administrative tasks, or updating their CRM.

With robust sales enablement processes, your sales team will be able to reduce the time spent on non-revenue generating activities and focus on selling.

Your sales enablement practices will guarantee that your reps always have up-to-date on what messaging works, what doesn't work, and what the key benefits of your product or service are to your ideal customer.

Every conversation your team has with leads will be more productive, and they'll be confident that you're the right choice for them.

3. Close Sales and Marketing Alignment

This benefit goes without saying, but it's worth re-iterating.

Sales enablement will have two-way benefits, and your marketing team will be able to learn from your sales team too.

Working closely with each other allows information to be distilled throughout the company without barriers.

For example, if your sales reps discover that your prospects have a pain point that wasn't being mentioned in any marketing campaigns, your marketing team can incorporate that into their messaging.

Your company messaging will become more consistent, as everyone is aware of what works, and what your prospects want to hear.

4. Improve Conversions Across Sales and Marketing

Sales enablement will help you lift your conversion rates across all marketing and sales activities.

Due to the fact that sales enablement results in better cross-team communication and knowledge sharing, everyone will be on the same page.

Your sales team can apply messaging that has been proven in your marketing campaigns.

Your marketing team can create new campaigns based on your sales team's discoveries in customer conversations.

The end result?

Your communication with prospects and site visitors will become crystal clear as your sales and marketing messaging becomes unified across all channels.

Who Should Own Sales Enablement In Your Company?

It's a common question.

Sales enablement is such a broad topic that at first, no one really wants to champion it.

It's a lot of responsibility.

Luckily, the burden won't only fall to one person in your company.

Sales enablement works most effectively when your whole company buys into it.

Your marketing team needs to realise that communicating regularly with the sales team is vital.

Your management team needs to know that your sales reps' time is better spent selling than in unnecessary meetings, and be able to provide training materials that your sales reps need.

Your finance department needs to trust your sales team to make purchasing decisions about the essential tools they need.

Your sales team needs to be confident in chasing up the information they need.

Everyone needs to own sales enablement for it to succeed.

Sales Enablement Best Practices for Success

If you want to implement sales enablement in the most effective way, there are some best practices that can help.

1. Let Your Buyers Lead The Way

At the end of the day, sales enablement is all about generating new business.

Who knows what your customers care about most?

Your customers.

You need to ensure you're listening closely to what your customers (and leads) want, and translate those learnings into your sales and marketing processes.

Don't force leads into a buying journey they won't want. Let them make suggestions, and iterate your strategy to match expectations.

In fact, teams who listen and adjust their sales tactics to match individual buyer are 14% more likely to hit quota than those who don't

Sales teams that adjust based on their buyer's needs hit quota more than those who don't

Make suggestions based on data you have, and let them make the final decisions.

2. Measure What Works (And What Doesn't)

"What gets measured gets managed" Peter Drucker's words still ring true.

You need to track your sales enablement efforts across your company to see if they're working or not.

In practice, this can be tricky. There's not a single data point you can track as sales enablement encompasses the whole sales function.

However, you should see improvements across your whole company that will show whether your sales enablement is working.

Here are the key sales enablement metrics you can track to see how effective your efforts are:

  • Sales cycle length
  • Sales productivity
  • Sales training content consumption
  • Engagement with ABM touchpoints
  • Sales rep onboarding time

There are, of course, other metrics you can track. However, if the above metrics change (for the better), then you can assume that your sales reps are being provided with the training materials, customer information, and tools they need to get their jobs done.

3. Make Knowledge Sharing Central To Your Company

If you want to succeed with sales enablement, you need to encourage knowledge sharing.

19% of employees' week is spent searching for information they need, and your sales team are no different.

According to McKinsey, 19% of the workweek is spent purely on finding information

When your teams aren't sharing knowledge, best practices will be hard to implement, and your sales team won't adapt to customer needs as quickly.

Consider creating a shared knowledge base focused on sales enablement.

Let your teams add to it, edit it, and make relevant updates when they have new insights that will help your team sell more effectively.

Your knowledge base should contain information on sales training, information on your customer preferences, relevant product updates, and insights from marketing campaigns.

It should contain everything your sales team needs to engage with and close new deals successfully.

Best Tools and Software to Help With Sales Enablement

If you want your team to work to their potential, they'll need tools to facilitate their workflow.

Let's take a look at some of our tools to help with your sales enablement processes:

1. Leadiro

If your sales team wants to quickly identify and engage with sales-ready leads, Leadiro is a vital tool.

Our database contains 41+ million business contacts, with verified and up-to-date contact details.

All you need to do is filter by your chosen demographic, firmographic, and technographic criteria, and you'll have an instant list of sales-qualified leads ready to use.

Leadiro's contact data is sourced in a GDPR-compliant way, and ideal for teams wanting to scale their lead generation and speed up their sales process.

Click here to start your free trial here.

2. Drift

If you want to engage with qualified leads in real-time, a live chat system like Drift is essential.

Once you add it to your site, visitors can easily ask questions, and you can help them in their buying journey.

You can build in an automated FAQ system to answer common questions and have your customer support team ready to answer any new or edge-case questions.

Customer questions are a vital source of new insights. You'll be able to identify new pain points people have and make updates to messaging across your marketing and sales operations to address them.

3. Tettra

If you're new to sales enablement, it's easy to overlook how vital a shared knowledge base is.

Tools like Tettra can help. It enables you to create an internal wiki containing everything your existing team needs to know.

When you hire new sales reps, it'll streamline the onboarding process and help get them up to speed.

If your marketing team is regularly sending Slack messages to sales asking repetitive questions, those can be added to the knowledge base so that your sales team don't need to spend all day answering questions and can stick to selling.

Conclusion

Sales enablement is vital in today's fast-paced sales environment.

If your sales team is spending too much time on non-revenue generating activities, it's time to consider implementing a sales enablement program.

Once your systems are in place, your team will be able to work more efficiently and focus on closing new business.

Information will flow freely through your company, and critical tasks will happen faster as blockers are removed.

It's important to remember that sales enablement isn't something you can do without full buy-in.

Your whole team needs to be on board, and staff in every department will need to champion it.

Ensure you track how well your processes are working, as this will help you make updates and iterate accordingly to improve things further.

If your sales enablement is successful, you'll see increased productivity, better communication throughout your company, and, most importantly, an increase in sales and revenue.

This article was first published on
April 3, 2020
updated

David Scott

Senior Director - Projects, Marketing, Technology – With over 15 years’ experience in marketing, sales & lead generation David leads the strategic projects of the group.

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