You've probably heard the term Sales Enablement. The term has been trending over the last few years but what is sales enablement and why is it so important to your growth? According to CSO Insights, Sales Enablement is “A strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training and coaching services for salespeople and front-line sales managers along the entire customer’s buying journey, powered by technology.”Hmmm... that's a lot to unpack . We believe Sales Enablement should be a fairly easy concept to understand, so let's see if we can break this down into more simple terms.
What is Sales Enablement?
The practice of Sales Enablement literally "enables" your sales team to sell more, sell it more effectively, and more efficiently by providing the sales team with information, content, and tools they need. Information, content, and tools like well defined processes, relevant sales content for every stage of the sale, combined with the training, coaching, and technology to make it all seamless to the buyer.
Sales Enablement helps your salespeople meet the buyers where they are and engage the buyer throughout the buyer's journey. It aligns the salesperson with the needs of the buyer at every step along their path.
Sales Enablement makes it easier for your sales teams and salespeople to achieve their quotas in a scalable, predictable and repeatable fashion while creating a consistently exceptional customer experience that customers want to talk about.
65% of salespeople can't find content to send to buyers, while 95% of buyers say they buy from someone who gave then relevant content at each stage of the buying process - Gartner
6 Key Components of Sales Enablement
Defining the Sales Processes.
A recent article in Forbes magazine stated that 72% of companies that exceed their revenue targets have a defined Sales Enablement process. Does your sales team have a documented process mapping the steps or milestones needed to complete a sale?
These are the individual steps that your salespeople need to complete with the prospect to qualify the lead, schedule and conduct a demo or presentation, collect any necessary documentation, gather signatures, accept payment, and trigger the delivery of the product or service. Most CRM software platforms like HubSpot and SalesForce allow you to map these in the software as Deal Stages.
Documenting the Buyer's Journey.
Every buyer has a path that they take from the awareness stage to the consideration stage, the decision stage, and the Delight Stage. Understanding what questions or concerns the buyer has at each stage is critical to removing objections. The better job your sales team does removing these objections early will result in higher conversions to sales and more revenue. If you've already gone through the process of Sales and Marketing Alignment, your marketing team should already have this mapped out and the content developed to share with the sales team.
The Awareness StageThis stage is where the buyer first becomes "aware" that they have a problem they need to solve, a challenge they need to overcome, or a goal they want to achieve. Let's pretend the buyer isn't feeling well. They might be thinking, "I'm not feeling well. I have a sore throat, fever, and I'm achy all over. I wonder what's wrong with me?". When they search for terms like "sore throat", you want to provide information about what a sore throat is, what might cause it, other related symptoms, in order to drive them to the consideration stage.
The Consideration Stage.This is where the buyer starts to consider which possible solutions can help them solve the problem, overcome the challenge, or achieve their goal. Using the analogy above, the buyer might discover they have strep throat. The next question may be, "I have strep throat, what can I do to cure this and relieve the discomfort?". Here, you'll want to provide information about the options available to them. The may be options you sell and options you don't sell. It's better to be transparent about all of the options. This pushes them towards the decision stage.
The Decision Stage.This is where the buyer will decide what the best option is to solve their problem, overcome their challenge, or achieve their goal. You'll want to be able to provide the information that makes the case for why your solution and your company is the best choice for the buyer and move towards the close.
The Delight Stage.Once the buyer has purchased your product or service, this is your chance to really shine. What information or outreach can you provide that will help the buyer get the most from their purchase? The better job your team does in the stage, more customers will return to buy again as well as refer you to their friends, family, and coworkers who might have the same problems, challenges, or goals.
Creating Relevant Sales Content.
Content is king. Content empowers the buyer by allowing them to self-educate and move at a pace that's comfortable for them. Having relevant sales content for that answers the questions and provides helpful information each for stage of the buyer's journey and sales process can make or break your sales teams ability to convert leads and close deals.
For each stage in the buyer's journey and steps in the sales process, make a list of what questions the buyer might ask, what information you'll need to deliver, and how you set up expectations for the next step. Since 42% of salespeople feel that they don't have the right information before making a sales call (CSO Insights), having the relevant content and information at their fingertips at the very second they need it, is a game changer.
Implementing Sales Technology Tools.
Having the right sales technology will turn Sales Enablement from a "good idea" into a constant practice for your sales team. Good CRM software (Customer Relationship Management), like HubSpot and SalesForce, not only become a great place to house and quickly access prospect, customer, or company data but are usually couple with powerful sales tools.
Beyond accessing the contact history of a prospect or customer, you can build sales email templates, build sales playbooks with scripts and qualifying questions, map your sales processes, and automate communications and tasks, as well as quickly access all of the great sales content housed in the document library.
Setting Up Reporting and Analytics.
Your new sales processes and content are only as good as your ability to analyze how effective they are for growing your sales revenue. To truly enable your sales team, you need to let them know how they're doing and what you're measuring them on. Individual and team report dashboards help keep your sales teams on point. Armed with relevant KPIs (key performance indicators) that align with the steps in your sales process not only let the salesperson know how they're doing, it helps sales managers identify a salesperson's weaknesses or a breakdown in the process.
Training and Coaching.
Most sales technology implementations or process improvements fail because they never get properly adopted across the organization. As a result, only 37% of a salespersons time is actually spent selling according to a recent study by Inside Sales. To get the most out of the investments you made in new sales processes and technology, your sales team will need to be properly trained on how to use the tools.
Try not to overwhelm them by feeding them with a shovel, instead take it a bite-sized step at a time. More importantly, reinforcing why they should use the tools through regular coaching, will help drive the adoption your company needs for success.
Why is Sale Enablement So Important?
Sales Enablement is important for businesses that want to do more than just survive but really thrive and grow. For these businesses Sales Enablement isn't a choice, it's a necessity. It helps businesses develop the internal business culture that focuses on the success of their customer's before their own.
84% of salespeople at businesses that have adopted professional sales enablement strategies achieve their sales quotas, whereas only 55% at companies with average strategies and 15% for companies with weak strategies achieve their goals. - Research conducted by Aberdeen
3 Key Benefits of Sales Enablement
Increased Sales Revenue.
With a consistent, streamlined sales processes, sales reps can prioritize deals more efficiently. They can now channel their efforts towards deals with a higher potential for closing. This considerably reduces the length of the sales cycle, increases the sales velocity, and improves conversion rates. This not only increases your revenue but improves your margins because of the ROI improvement on your marketing spend.
Shorter Sales Cycles.
The average sales rep typically spends nearly ⅔ of their time on non-sales-related activities. A well-executed Sales Enablement strategy helps them to get that time back. Doubling their active selling time could very well double their sales results.
Sales enablement best practices also help your sales reps to share the right content with the right prospects more quickly. Sales reps that have access to the knowledge at the moment they need it are better prepared to deliver messaging that sells your value and moves sales forward, faster. If your reps don’t know something they’ll be able to learn it in the moment, remember it for future use, and be fully prepared for the opportunity at hand.
Consistent Customer Experience.
If a customer senses a disconnect between what a company says in their marketing promises and the experience that they actually deliver, it can damage the customer’s perception of the brand. If a customer has a bad brand experience they are likely to go online and share their experience with anyone researching your brand. Conversely, when a company has a clearly-defined brand promise and delivers on it consistently, the positive goodwill generated with customers is very powerful.
Those customers can deliver strong testimonials to their friends and family about your company and drive a healthy referral pipeline for new business. To sum it up, consistency brings loyalty and loyalty drives revenue.