Defining Sales Enablement: What It Is, Why It Is Important, and How To Do It Properly

A good sales enablement strategy will provide your reps with the right tools and content to help them succeed. Sales enablement is focused on what customers need, not just a paycheck.

In my time in the Sales Training, Productivity and Enablement space I have learned that there is a clear definition of success.

Sales Enablement is centered around Getting the right people in the right conversations with the right decisions makers in the right way. We break the complexity of Sales Enablement into practical ideas through scalable and repeatable practices that will lead to increased revenue.

If you want to increase productivity, it is important that your approach be systematic and supportive of content. You should also track metrics so that the ROI can be substantiated.

Pay is not the only thing that motivates employees. If you believe its simple, I have a bridge in San Francisco to sell you.

There is no universal definition of Sales Enablement.


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LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following:Ā 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. šŸ˜€

Sales Enablement refers to a collection of distinct sales functions.

Ive found that there is no consensus on what sales enablement actually means. Some people say it’s training, others will tell you its about how to onboard new employees and building a solid foundation for success.

Another group will say that its important to give salespeople access to the tools and templates they need for their jobs.

It is important to find a good balance between these four factors because each one plays an integral role in company success.

Recognize the significance of Sales Enablement

As Sales Enablement professionals, we often complain that senior leaders dont understand the importance of our craft and don’t appreciate what we do. It turns out it’s not always their fault–sometimes they’re just never told about how important this work is.

  • We often dont speak the language of business, and we can’t always figure out how to do our jobs well.
  • Communication is a vital component of any team. It’s difficult to get people on the same page when they don’t know what everyone else will be doing.
  • What I found most surprising was that we didn’t tie our success to metrics around how much revenue increased after the salesperson joined.

The primary goal of any salesperson should be to help guide their customers through the process and show them how they can transition from being viewed as a trainer, to becoming an integral part of the company.

Framework for Sales Enablement

One might think that sales enablement is just a bridge between marketing and sales, but its much more than that. The key sales enablement functions of the team are to build out processes so they can ensure alignment in both departments with revenue objectives.

For a successful sales enablement framework, there needs to be constant communication between marketing and the rest of the company. Marketing will need insight from both leads, prospects, and customers in order to create better content that is easier for sales teams to use.

In this section, we will discuss the key sales enablement functions and team sales enablement structure of a sales enablement framework. Then well dive into how to use these processes and tools.

Who is mainly accountable for sales enablement?

There are a lot of different ways to set up sales enablement teams. In some companies, the head of sales leads them while in others they may report to either marketing or other departments.

What constitutes a sales enablement strategy?

The goal of sales enablement is to align the intersecting elements of sales, marketing, customer care, productbrand management and human resources. This includes: Sales training that helps sellers understand what they are selling Marketing programs that help companies get their products in front of customers where they shop or look for solutions online Customer service staff who work closely with buyers before a purchase decision has been made so buyer questions can be answered quickly and accurately

  • One of the most important aspects in sales management is technology. CRMs are a great example, because they help to orchestrate sales activity by centralizing data and providing visibility into performance.
  • Sales communication is an important part of the sales process.
  • I also need to be on the lookout for talent management. I can’t just assume that someone will do a good job without coaching them, so every few months I meet with my employees and review their performance.
  • I found that customer happiness is crucial to the success of my business.
  • Ongoing process efficiencies and better communication between sales teams has helped me create a more successful company.

A lot of sales are about more than just getting a quick sale. It’s important to have the right tools, systems and methodologies that create engagement between buyer and seller so they both get what they want out of it in the long run.

In order to get the most out of a salesperson, it is necessary for them to be on board with an organization’s journey. Sales Enablement helps organizations understand how they can help their prospects and customers along this process by fine-tuning processes that align with what these people are looking for.

Once I have aligned the company with my prospects and customers, they are more invested in it. This will lead to better win rates, repeat business, referrals, sales cycles

What should the organizational structure of your sales enablement team look like?

The Sales Enablement structure of a team varies dramatically across organizations, unlike the well-established departments of Finance and Human Resources.

The idea of sales enablement emerged from the broader field of Sales Operations or as a sales enablement function performed singularly by other business units. They were seen more often in support roles for revenue-oriented goals.

As Sales development enablement becomes more mature, its becoming a separate unit. Some companies that originally had the two departments work together now run them as equals within their sales department.

TOPO recommends that the sales and marketing departments work together to create Sales Enablement.

Marketing departments are responsible for creating content that is then given to sales teams who will use it in order to better engage with customers.

Sales enablement examples

Sales Enablement is a term that describes the way in which salespeople can be made more efficient and profitable. Here are some of the ways it has been shown to have an impact:1) The tools for coaching employees on how they should handle objections, as well as providing them with information about their productservice so that customers will want to buy from them.2) Creating structure around interactions between different teams within a company- this includes things like creating schedules for follow up calls or setting up meetings.

1. As a company, you need to have a long-term strategy for the sales team that includes roles and responsibilities specific tools, processes and best practices. This can be done by partnering with your sales team on goals, deliverables milestones

In order to better engage with potential customers, I need access to the latest and most relevant information about their needs.

3. To be more efficient, it is important to get rid of any conflicting messages among prospective buyers by breaking down departmental silos in your company and unifying communications tools that automatically sync everyone on new available resources or workflow updates.

The best way to improve bottom lines and scale growth is by systematizing the process of training salespeople. This includes both formal training as well as coaching, which will help them deliver a higher quality product or service.

Use cloud-based technology to keep track of customer engagement and look for areas where they might be able to better engage with your company’s content.

6. Optimize sales pitches with sophisticated data analytics software that helps to identify the most promising prospects and using the right content for each of them.

When I first began hiring salespeople, the business was just not set up for them to succeed. There were very few clear expectations and constant changes made without any real communication between Sales Enablement and other departments in the company. It took a lot of time before we could get everyone on board with what our goals are.

Here are the 5 steps to improving sales enablement.

The Five-Step Sales Enablement Process

The process of sales enablement is still evolving. It focuses on the early to middle parts of the sale, including discovery and mapping out custom solutions that are then presented by Sales Operations teams for negotiation or closing deals later in the cycle. Marketing needs to be closely aligned with both sales operations and selling so that every part of a deal can work.

1. Recognize robust buyer personas that your sales representative will actually use.

There are many ways to advertise your product, but it is likely that you have already created a few buyer personas for email campaigns or SEO. But do these personas work in sales?

One of the biggest challenges for a marketing team is to understand what type of person they are targeting. Sales reps can be very helpful in this area because they actually talk with prospects and customers, which gives them valuable insights into their motivations.

  • Identify the right buyers
  • There are many strategies for marketing, but one of the most effective is to create campaigns that have a specific goal. It’s not enough just to post something on social media and hope it goes viral.
  • Improve the sales cycle

What’s important is that my sales reps use these personas to have more productive conversations with buyers, create a better connection and in turn drive up revenue for the company.

2. Adhere to the buyer journey’s sales process.

In order to make the most of buyer personas, marketing and sales teams need to pay attention not only on how their product is marketed but also what customer experience they provide.

  • The decision-making process for buyers is a complicated one.
  • Hiring managers are looking for people who have experience in the field, a certain level of education and training, someone with ambition to succeed.
  • The article’s author found this information by interviewing people who work in sales.
  • What is the best way to present this information?
  • How do they decide which solution is best?
  • What do customers base their purchase decisions on?
  • Some of the most common objections to be addressed are:”How much does it cost?” – The price is not important. We’re only talking about what you’ll get in return for your investment, so don’t worry about how much money you spend now because I’m giving away valuable information that will save time and make life easier later on.

To create a more efficient sales process, you should put on your buyer personas hat and think like them. This way when you are writing up offers or pitching to potential buyers, the offer will line up with their needs.

Furthermore, you could ask your salespeople to be the ones who inform themselves about what motivates customers. They can do this by talking with prospects and getting their feedback.

For more information on this topic, please refer to our webinar where we discuss how the sales process can be connected with buyer’s journey.

3. Align marketing content with the buyer personas and stages of the sales cycle for each buyer.

If you want to capture your customers attention, it is important that the content on each of their screens align with what they are currently experiencing in terms of stages and journey.

The first step in closing a sale is to break the process down into three steps.

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

The next step is to develop a content strategy that answers your prospects’ most common questions. This will include distribution plans for where you can find and share this information with them.

Awareness

Content for the awareness stage is typically more about explaining what a problem is and why it’s important. This content would be easy to read, with shorter paragraphs that are focused on information rather than persuasion.

  • Blog articles
  • Explainer videos
  • Webinars or podcasts
  • Social media content
  • Infographics

Consideration

With these prospects, their purchase intent is rising and they are more solution-aware. At this point, the prospect needs content that goes into depth to provide them with a better understanding of what your product can do for them.

  • White papers
  • Guides
  • Datasheets
  • Comparisons
  • Ebooks

Decision

In the decision or purchase stage, buyers are about ready to buy but they need reassurance that their choice is a good one. Content typically includes these types of messages:

  •  
  • Industry reports
  • Tools
  • Demos or audits
  • High-conversion landing pages

4. Personalize sales communication tools to increase buyer engagement.

In 2021, buyers will be communicating with companies via mobile more than ever before.

Nowadays, sales teams need to be using social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. They also should have a mobile app for potential buyers on their Android or iPhone.

Sales teams need to be able to use the latest social media tools in order for them to maximize productivity. These new technologies should be used with chatbots, video conferencing and calendar scheduling.

If you’re looking for some ways to improve your sales enablement process, we have a list of tools that can help.

5. Construct a feedback loop between prospects, customers, marketing departments, sales departments, and product development departments.

It is important to remember that salespeople are not the only ones who need training and education. Sales enablement teams will be a cross-discipline group with one goal: meeting customer needs.

Even the most experienced sales reps can’t do their job well without input from marketing and product teams. Customer success managers may also have valuable insights to share.

Marketing should look at these insights and use them to create or refine better sales enablement content, which will help the company make more money.

It is not enough to have qualified sellers; we need top talent. Top talent needs ongoing coaching and enablement in order to grow knowledge, hone skills, and utilize resources for the sake of customer conversions.

When recruiting salespeople, it is important to provide them with a robust and dynamic knowledge base as well as seminars that can help keep their skills up-to-date.

Tools and Software for Sales Enablement

It is a common misconception that just hiring talented salespeople will be enough to guarantee success. However, in the highly competitive world of business it takes more than just good people- you need powerful tools as well.

CRMs, content libraries and engagement workflows are what is needed to make the most of every sales opportunity.

A centralized content library or platform for sales is a valuable tool because it can be used to send relevant information and data that will help the prospect at different stages of their customer journey.

The best way to be successful in sales is by using the latest technology. That includes BI analytics platforms, content management tools, CRMs like Hubspot or Salesforce and lead generation software. It also means investing in some type of training for your employees.

Here are a few popular sales enablement tools and what they primarily do:

  • Accent Accelerate is a software that will allow you to track and monitor your company’s opportunities, selling activities, and customer behavior.
  • Highspot’s software has the ability to create content for each unique scenario, all with the help of AI and machine learning.
  • Klyck is a platform that allows sales reps to create interactive presentations without having to use an outside program.
  • Seismic is a new enterprise content management system that helps sales reps know which type of content to post on social media.
  • Showpad is a platform that helps sales teams find and share content relevant to their current situation.
  • Veelo is a new AI-based tool that provides insights into how to maximize sales reps’ performance.

There are many options for sales tools, but it is important to find the ones that fit your company and buyers journey.

In search of the perfect sales tech stack, it’s been found that there are two different types: those who prioritize an automated process and those who want to be involved in every step.

Common Sales Enablement Metrics & Key Performance Indicators

When it comes to evaluating the success of a sales enablement team, there are many different metrics that could be used. For example, if you want your organization’s focus to be on customer retention and profitability then one metric might not work as well for this goal than another.

Here are ten of the most common measurements that salespeople track:

1. Time to Revenue (Sales Cycle Length)

One of the most important metrics for any salesperson is how long it takes to close a sale. The start and end points depend on what you define as success, but whichever point you choose needs to be consistent.

2. Quota Attainment

Setting quotas for your sales team can be helpful in tracking performance over time, but should not be the only factor considered when hiring new employees.

3. Lead Conversion Rate

This is a measure of how many leads are converted into clients or customers. This percentage typically ranges from 10% to 25%.

In the event that a sales cycle is longer, you can break down your KPI into sub-KPIs including how many of them became leads and then opportunities.

  • A conversion rate is the percentage of people who have visited your website and are willing to convert on an offer.
  • The conversion rate is the percentage of SQLs that are converted into opportunities.

The conversion rates between marketing qualified leads and closed deals are two metrics that can show how well your sales development team is doing at qualifying prospects. If these numbers stay low, it could mean the company has a lot of false positives in their pipeline.

4. Time Spent Actively Selling

One of the most important factors to measure is how long your salespeople are spending with prospects. This could be a sign for both their productivity and future success in reaching targets. When you know who’s doing well, as well as those who need more help, it can lead to better training opportunities.

5. Content Usage

You want to measure the effectiveness of your content by calculating how many unique visitors it has, time spent on each piece and other metrics.

6. Sales Funnel Transition Rates

The funnel is a model that helps us see how customers are moving through the various stages of being contacted, qualified and then converted into an opportunity.

7. Average Win Rate

The CLV is the ratio of closed deals to total won and lost deals.

8. Average Purchase Value

Each sale will bring in a different amount of revenue, depending on the pricing of your products or services and how long customers stay with you. The average purchase value is what each sale brings in over time.

9. Number of Closed Deals

A sales pipeline is a simple measure of the number of closed deals and what stage they are in, whether you have won or lost them.

10. Product Mix

The product mix is the percentage of products or solutions that a salesperson sold in one closed deal.

You can measure how your sales enablement team is doing by looking at metrics like the amount of time they spend on each task, and what content moves potential buyers along in their customer journey.

Best Practices of Sales Enablement

Implementing Sales Enablement is not only about the businesss success, but also in implementing best practices for this field.

Here are the ways that you can make sure your effective Sales Enablement program is one of the best:

1. Set clear objectives for your effective Sales Enablement program

A sales force is not just one entity but an entire system. The goals of the organization should be to make specific changes in order for performance and productivity to improve.

2. Make Sales Enablement accessible to all stakeholders

If an effective sales enablement program is going to deliver its promise, it needs to be implemented by the sellers.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to Sales Enablement is that there should be uniformity across the organization. You need effective communication and training in order for your resources, like playbooks or engagement material, to work best.

3. Use Sales Enablement to make salespeople more buyer-centric

With the digital economy, it’s become crucial to keep your customers happy. To do this you need to create a customer-centric sales enablement program that maps out their journey and then tailor each interaction with them for an even better experience.

4. Adopt Sales Enablement as a corporate mindset

Develop a culture where every employee is invested in the sales enablement success of your sales team. Offer ongoing training for members of the sales force.

5. Make Sales Enablement transparent, integrated, and measurable

Sales organizations should be able to measure the effectiveness of their sales enablement efforts and sync them with other systems.

6. Improve and evolve Sales Enablement processes periodically

The way to motivate salespeople is not always clear, and the industry evolves. Stakeholders should remain open to new technologies that can improve how we work.

You must be prepared to change the way you support your customers. They are not looking for an expert, they want a friend who understands them and their needs.

Main takeaways: Getting Started with Sales Enablement

In order to have a successful sales team, you need the support of your colleagues and managers.

I now use assessment tools to make sure that my salespeople are in top shape and I am not wasting time or money. For example, feedback mechanisms help me identify the areas where an employee is struggling.

With the new customer behaviors, especially in business-to-business transactions, sales enablement becomes even more important because it is a necessity.

With the competition getting more intense, it has become necessary to have sales enablement as a part of company culture.

Its important to understand that sales enablement is not just a band-aid for the problems of underperforming employees. Sales Enablement should be seen as an opportunity to engage and empower your staff.

It is never too late to improve sales, and it always pays off.

The key to having sales enablement be seen as a revenue generator is by collaborating closely with first-line managers and executive sales leaders in order to align the metrics of success for your sale enablement department.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following:Ā 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. šŸ˜€
Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? Iā€™d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.