Sales enablement is not just a buzzword. It’s the missing ingredient in your organization’s approach to sales. It empowers sales and marketing teams through a structured knowledge-sharing program. It saves valuable time by equipping your team with the information needed to qualify, nurture, and convert leads. Crucially, it paves the way for continued training and learning, giving your people a competitive edge in today’s saturated marketplaces.
What is sales enablement? What kinds of sales enablement tools can your team benefit from? Why does sales enablement matter? And how does sales enablement work in practice? Let’s explore these questions.
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement equips salespeople with the knowledge and tools they need to engage the customer throughout the buying journey. It’s an iterative process that empowers salespeople to sell your product or service more effectively and, ultimately, close more deals.
Sales enablement is multi-dimensional and demands input from team members in both sales and marketing, who claim shared ownership of the initiative.
Marketing gives sales reps access to a dynamic range of resources needed to close more sales – think blog posts, video demos, product guides, frequently asked questions, and direct conversations with customers and prospects (via social media, for example). Reps then use this information to inform their approach to sales, delivering value-add information to leads that push them further through the sales funnel and refining best practices and sales strategies.
There are two types of information sales enablement provides salespeople:
- Information reps will pass on to the buyer, such as product features
- Best practices, tools, and insights that will inform internal processes
Sales reps can also share insights with marketing. For example, reps might identify a gap in content topics and flag commonly cited pain points and barriers to conversion. Marketing can then generate new, targeted content and share it with sales. The feedback loop continues from there.
Why does sales enablement matter?
Today’s business landscape is not just more competitive – it’s fast-moving. For new businesses looking to disrupt their respective industries, the barrier to entry is lower. Consumers are more empowered and spend more time gathering information about a product or service before making contact. Despite this, 77 percent of buyers expect sellers to teach them something new, and 74 percent of the time, B2B buyers purchase from the first seller to create a clear path to value.
Sales enablement improves the performance of sales beyond the existing group of overachievers. More importantly, it saves marketing and sales time and resources, ensuring both teams are aligned, aware, and equipped with mission-critical information.
Think about it this way: If you asked someone to drive from point A to point B without a map, GPS, or traffic data, they could do it eventually, but they might get lost or run into bumper-to-bumper traffic, roadworks, or detours along the way. If you provided them with real-time information about the state of the roads and traffic, they could map a more time-efficient route and make it to point B sooner. The same applies to your sales team.
How does sales enablement work in practice?
A simple sales enablement framework outlines the activities and initiatives marketing and sales teams should complete to execute their sales enablement strategy. Let’s unpack some of these.
Like every effective strategy, sales enablement works best when goals are explicitly defined and shared. Broadly, sales enablement aims to provide sales reps with the information needed to engage and convert leads. What, specifically, you focus on will depend on the nature and scope of your organization and business objectives.
Consider the following questions:
- Would your sales team benefit from more detailed information about the features and capabilities of your product or service?
- Do you have a small group of overachievers in your sales team that could share best practices and other insights with lower-performing reps?
- Does your sales team need more data on the buyer persona, as defined by marketing, to appeal to emotion and add value to sales conversations?
Put the buyer first
At its heart, sales enablement is about buyer experience. It’s about giving sales reps the toolkit needed to optimize and personalize this experience. Therefore, the buyer must be at the center of all sales enablement efforts:
- First, salespeople must have a comprehensive understanding of who the buyer is, what problem they need to be solved, and how your business’s product or service solves that problem. This understanding should run deeper than basic demographics – marketing should have a three-dimensional buyer persona that sales can leverage to shape the information they communicate and how they communicate it.
- Second, the sales process must be buyer-centric. Sales enablement involves training and knowledge sharing, introducing new tools, and exploring innovative sales methodologies. This is vital to the modern-day business’s sales approach, as B2B companies that outperform their competition are 62 percent more effective in using digital tools.
Develop value-add content
Content is integral to an effective yet simple sales enablement framework. Blog posts, guest articles, white papers, and webinars allow reps to deliver value-add information at scale. In addition, reps can leverage value-add content during conversations with leads and other touchpoints across the buyer’s journey.
Ensure reps use what sales enablement provides
The most comprehensive sales enablement program can crash and burn if team members fail to use the information and resources provided.
One way to combat this risk is to enlist the help of high achievers. Your top talent can inspire other team members to implement proven sales strategies and processes through knowledge sharing. Accessibility is another critical element of adoption. Ensure content is easily accessed by sales and easily updated by marketing. If the process is too hard or too time-consuming, it will fast be abandoned.
Empower your sales and marketing teams
Sales enablement can have a significant positive impact on your bottom line. If you are ready to empower your people with the resources, knowledge, and technology they need to work more effectively, deliver superior customer experiences, and close more deals, let’s talk. Get in touch today, and let’s get your people operating at their highest level.