What does “Sales Enablement” mean?
To start, let’s define what we mean by “sales enablement”. Two words: Close Rate. In a few more words — improve your close rate and closing speeds by improving your sellers and sales processes, using all the means available.
If we were to unpack that, it comes down to two basic ideas:
- Improve the sellers. This can include sales onboarding, training, certifications, developing a sales culture, and educating your sales team better about the products and services they are selling. It’s difficult to sell a product you do not know or don’t believe in!
- Improve the process. This can include investing in technology that reduces quoting times by half. Or prospecting tools that identify better leads. Or a dialer that allows simultaneous calling and note-taking from a single application. Or an SMS integration or chat function that makes it easier for prospects to interact with your sales team (and vice versa). Or a CRM that makes it incredibly easy to manage new and existing deals.
Having a well-defined “sales enablement program” can be the difference between a successful business and one that falls behind its peers. Sales enablement is an essential part of any business and can help streamline processes, improve customer retention, and maximize sales—but it can be difficult to formalize and implement.
To help streamline this process for you, we’re bringing insight from our own sales enablement processes as well as the most up-to-date knowledge and expertise in this crucial area to form an objective and simplified view of your business.
Start with the fundamentals – the Sales Process
A truly successful implementation of sales enablement requires an entire reworking of your sales processes–this means a shift of worldview as well as a tectonic shift in the way your sales team operates, how it connects with operations and marketing, how it unites stakeholders within the team, how it interacts with your sales tech stack, in short, how it thinks, operates and sells.
Every business can benefit from sales enablement, whether your organization is testing out new markets, shifting from selling features to selling value, or launching entirely new product lines, there are enablement processes that can help you leverage data better, commit the right amount of resources, and implement the correct tech stack for your business.
The lingering effects of the pandemic are still rippling out in the business world, with a recent Garner report stating that 42% of B2B buyers prefer to not speak to a sales rep at all. Now companies across the globe are strengthening their sales enablement efforts, or hiring outside experts.
All this means that your sales enablement stack has to evolve, become leaner and meaner, and rise to the challenges of today’s shifting market.
This guide is here to help you tune out the noise and zero in on the signal of effective sales enablement practices, which will help your business streamline the most important aspect of, well, being a business: selling, and selling smarter.
Define your sales enablement goals
The first step in building an effective sales enablement strategy is to define your short, medium, and long-term goals. Determine what your sales team needs to achieve, such as increasing sales, shortening sales cycles, improving lead quality, or accelerating pipeline growth, and put a spotlight on any area where your current sales operations are currently lacking.
Unsure about what your sales enablement goals might be? Take a quick look at a few “symptoms” of poor sales enablement practices for some ideas.
- Low sales conversion rates
- Inefficient or ineffective technology
- Poorly developed sales collateral
- Limited access to product training and resources
- Minimal sales coaching and mentoring
- Lack of meaningful sales metrics and analytics
- Minimal customer-focused sales strategies or processes
- Lack of consistent sales processes or procedures
- Inadequate communication between sales and marketing teams
- Low win rates on new business
- Limited customer engagement or feedback
Create an audit
Do you have content for each stage of the customer journey? Is your content dynamic, does it have multiple formats that are easily accessible to your sales team?
Ensuring this means your sales teams have this valuable information at their fingertips, at the ready to put in front of customers at the right stage of their specific journeys.
Having a cache of various tailored content also increases the likelihood that this information gets utilized to its fullest potential.
A comprehensive sales enablement audit might also include efforts to:
- Establish and Monitor Metrics: Establish and track key performance indicators such as sales quota attainment, sales cycle duration, lead generation and conversion rates, and customer feedback.
- Review Processes: Analyze sales processes to identify areas of improvement. This could include documenting the sales process and building a sales playbook, as well as identifying and addressing process gaps.
- Assess Tools and Technology: Evaluate the effectiveness of sales enablement tools and technology and explore opportunities for improvement.
- Analyze Content Performance: Measure the performance of content and other resources used in the sales process, such as product demos and sales presentations.
- Measure Training and Onboarding Effectiveness: Evaluate the effectiveness of training, onboarding, and coaching programs to ensure they are meeting their goals.
- Assess Data Quality and Accessibility: Investigate the accuracy and accessibility of sales data, such as customer lists and sales records.
- Evaluate Sales Enablement Performance: Analyze the performance of sales enablement teams, such as their effectiveness at driving sales and customer satisfaction.
Identify your target audiences and buyer personas
At first glance, identifying your ideal customer profiles (ICP) – or buyer personas – that include their needs, preferences, and buying behaviors can seem like a daunting task. Thankfully, with a few data-driven tricks, this becomes much easier.
Dig deep into your best customers’ demographics (their job titles, ages genders, and other population data) as well as, if you’re a B2B operator, their “technographics”, or what tech stack they use.
$37 billion is wasted in ad spending every year from ads that fail to engage the target audience. This means that even if you spend the money to pay for the privilege of getting in front of people right where they are, if they aren’t the right people, you’ve wasted precious marketing dollars.
Once you have your target audiences, create personalized content and resources that resonate with them and drive more sales, as according to demandscience.com, 48% more likely to consider vendors that personalize marketing to address their specific needs.
Integrate your Sales Practices with Salesforce
When built properly and customized for your business, Salesforce can empower sales enablement by providing sales teams with the tools and data they need to close deals faster.
It can provide sales reps with access to customer information, customer histories, activity logs, opportunities, and more. Sales reps can use this data to better understand their customers and tailor their sales strategies accordingly.
Salesforce also enables sales reps to create and manage pipelines, track activities, and performance, and manage customer relationships. All of these features can help sales reps be more efficient and effective in their sales activities, leading to increased sales and customer satisfaction.
Unfortunately, not all CRMs make sales reps’ lives easier. According to Inc., 71% of sales representatives feel they are spending too much time on data entry–which leads to up to 40% of sales updates never making it to the CRM due to either negligence which is born of a value judgment, or casual forgetfulness during a busy work day.
This means your Salesforce instance may be underutilized for its core function. Remember that audit we suggested earlier? Take your tech stack into consideration as well. If your Salesforce sales processes aren’t working for your team, it’s not too late to change course.
You can also try to unburden your sales reps by outfitting them with enhancement tools, like AI-powered sales enablement platforms that sync with Salesforce to reduce the administrative load and allow them more time to do the actual selling.
Optimize Your Sales Processes
Streamline your sales process to ensure that it is efficient, effective, and scalable.
To optimize your sales processes, you should establish long-term goals, track and sales analyze data, spot any holes in your pipeline, nurture and manage leads effectively.
Define clear stages and criteria for each buying stage, create automated workflows, and use your tech stack to improve collaboration and communication.
Shift Your Selling Approach
Provide sales training and coaching: offer ongoing training and coaching to your sales team to help them improve their skills, stay up-to-date on industry trends, and master new technologies. This will help your team sell more effectively and close more deals.
Sales training focuses on equipping sales reps with the resources they need to start selling. Sales coaching, on the other hand, takes the expertise and experience of your most talented sales reps and shares it with the rest of your sales team, based on the individual needs of reps.
Sales enablement tech comprises any platforms that connect your content, marketing, and sales cycles. These tools allow you to peer into your sales process from first contact to retention and upselling—tracking analytics and content usage to see what’s best for your business at the right time, as well as providing success metrics along the way.
Use sales enablement technology, such as Salesforce, sales analytics tools, content management platforms, and sales enablement tech, like Ambition, a “sales coaching platform” to automate and optimize your sales processes, improve collaboration between sales and marketing, and increase your lead-t0-sell ratio.
Measure and Analyze Performance
Regularly track and analyze your sales metrics and KPIs, such as:
- Lead-to-Opportunity Conversion Rate
- Content Performance
- Win Rate
- Competitive Win Rate
- Average Selling Price
- Average Discount
- Sales Cycle Length (or deal velocity)
- Quota Attainment
- Knowledge Retention
- Certification Scores
- Time to First Deal
- Churn Rateto measure the success of your sales enablement efforts.Use data-driven approaches to identify areas for improvement and optimize your sales strategies and tactics.
Align Sales and Marketing
Recent data has shown that organizations with closely aligned sales and marketing teams saw 27% faster profit growth, and 36% higher customer retention, and—56% of these companies met revenue goals, while 19% exceeded those goals.
To ensure that your sales team is collaborating closely with your marketing team, try to foster and establish a close connection between them, this is not only a tried-and-true approach to doing business better, but a key ingredient to healthy sales enablement.
Sales enablement which is implemented correctly informs marketing on what various efforts are and are not working—utilize shared goals, buyer personas, metrics, and resources to ensure that both teams are working towards the same objectives.
Marketing automation tools, in particular (such as Marketing Cloud Account Engagement) can help sales teams by streamlining many of their processes. Automation can save time by automating tasks such as lead scoring, email nurturing, lead segmentation, and more.
Automation can also help sales teams to better understand their prospects, tailor their message and content to their buyers, and identify opportunities for improvement. Automation can also help sales teams to identify and prioritize high-value leads, allowing them to focus their time and resources on the most qualified leads and increase their conversion rate.
Sales enablement is an ongoing process. Continuously review and refine your strategies and tactics based on data, customer feedback, market changes, and internal comments from your sales and marketing teams to ensure that your sales processes are always performing at their very best.
Sales enablement might seem like a “nice-to-have” practice for your business, but it’s one that should be in the front row of your organizational orchestra. To be successful in today’s ever-changing market landscape, you have to be on your A-game at all times, and today that means sales enablement best practices must be part of your company’s toolkit.
By putting these ten sales enablement practices into action at your organization, you can begin to see the benefits of a fully equipped, lean, all-star sales team—an ever-evolving goal that is able to shift and turn on a dime, when faced with new information or new challenges. At the end of the day, the best sales enablement ultimately is the one that works for your organization.
To learn more about how sales enablement works with your tech stack, or to get help beginning to exercise these sales enablement practices for your organization, contact us at Parquet Development.