5 Sales Enablement Best Practices You Need to Adopt Right Away

5 Sales Enablement Best Practices You Need to Adopt Right Away

An estimated 82% of marketers have a sales enablement strategy in place, but if they’re failing to implement sales enablement best practices then they won’t be achieving optimal results.

Sales enablement is all about making sure your sales team has the right resources at the right times. Then they’ll be ‘enabled’ to hold optimal conversations with potential customers and drive deals through to completion. 

For sales enablement to work companies need to overcome several obstacles and this necessitates a new way of thinking and working. Companies need to focus on aligning sales and marketing teams – and replacing random or reactive content management systems with centralised technology and processes. Make sure you check out our in-depth guide to sales enablement here Sales Enablement: The Secret To Predictable Sales Revenue Growth.

sales enablement best practices

There has to be a whole sea-change in mindsets and practices across the organisation if sales enablement is to work.

In this post we’ll outline some sales enablement best practices that will help you better align your sales and marketing teams, reduce mis-communication and reduce wasted selling opportunities. By adopting these protocols companies can achieve higher sales quotas and see increased ROIs.

1. Get the team onboard with your CRM

So you can continually evaluate what’s working, and what’s not, you need to have insights into

  • The activities your reps are running 
  • Where they are in the pipeline
  • How your team is performing against goals

This means reps should be able to share and update their status regarding their deals in the CRM. Everyone should be able to access the same information to boost team working and communication. The CRM must become the hub of the organisation. 

Every company is different. So it’s important to customise your CRM settings to reflect your sales processes. And your CRM must be able to integrate with other apps and dashboards so you can get in-depth reports that reflect your specific attribution and revenue models.

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2. Make sure sales and marketing are closely aligned

As part of sales enablement best practices reps need to be able to access information that’s tailored to specific target accounts. To do this the sales team needs to be aligned with marketing. With sales’ help marketing can create relevant content based on reps’ conversations with target audiences. 

Once the two teams are on the same page they can also identify what makes a lead ‘qualified’, assess how well the content is working, and make necessary adjustments. 

3. Instill sales enablement best practices with regular training

According to recent research most business leaders say their sales managers

“Represent the most strategically important investment of our training resources, energy and attention right now.”

That’s because sales teams are in the unique position of being able to directly influence customer-facing revenue. Training shouldn’t apply when simply onboarding new recruits – but to offering regular training opportunities for reps throughout the year. 

Sales need to be trained on new products and new methodologies – as well as on new sales techniques – including how to utilize content to its best effect. 

4. Formalise the sales enablement process

Without a written set of guidelines you can’t be sure everyone is on the same page. For a sales enablement strategy to be successful everyone needs to understand their role in adopting and executing the new processes. A formal approach will ensure teams have the right mindsets and understand the importance of working together efficiently. 

A formal approach is clearly a winning formula. CSO Insights suggest that companies with a formal sales enablement charter report the best results in terms of win rates. 

5. Make sharing sales enablement best practices ‘best practice’

As every rep will tell you sales is a dynamic environment with products and messaging changing every day – as well as the needs of customers. Good reps should be in constant communication with each other, sharing what’s working well so that everyone can improve performance and meet or exceed quotas.

Companies need to create a closed-loop system of feedback around content, training and best practices. This applies not only to the sales team but cross departmentally. Marketing, in particular, needs to know how the sales teams are making best use of their content and assets. 

It makes sense to find out how and why some reps are excelling in certain areas and replicate those across the company. If a member of the sales team has worked out a winning call cadence (that’s consistently landing them big accounts) it makes sense to make that a standard for all reps. 

Organisations that implement structured, measurable sales enablement processes and invest in dedicated technology are getting impressive results. A commitment to developing a culture where sales enablement best practices are the norm is the ideal environment in which to build trust and motivate teams to sell more. 

Companies that address the basics and have formal sales enablement processes in place look set to outperform those that don’t in this new era of selling. 

Sales enablement

B2B Inbound Marketing: Why every business needs this modern approach

B2B Inbound Marketing: Why every business needs this modern approach

B2B inbound marketing is all about highly targeted content which is aimed at attracting individuals within another business or organisation to your business.

It would be great to believe that prospective customers will naturally fall upon your website and come knocking down your door to buy your service or product, but the truth is that life in the connected world has never been noisier or more competitive, it’s now harder than ever to try and stand out, however inbound marketing allows you to get ahead of the game.

Traditional means of “push” marketing are simply not working, and businesses are beginning to see revenue stagnate or even drop as they fail to keep up. Shouting about offers in an impersonal and intrusive way via cold calls, direct mail and other forms of hard selling are wearing thin and customers are no longer responding.

B2B inbound marketing

Inbound marketing and sales are now the way forward – pulling your customers in through a campaign that offers valuable insight and solutions will not only cultivate results but help gain the trust, loyalty and respect of your audience that leads to the long-term relationship and advocacy your business craves.

Not only does B2B inbound marketing allow you to work better with your customers, but it also allows you and your business to work smarter with money. Traditional means of outbound marketing are costly, and don’t necessarily get you the results you so need, while inbound marketing is much more cost effective and works at directly addressing your audience and pulling your prospective customers in to you.

Remember, inbound is not about forcing your product or service on prospective leads and customers, but is about answering their questions, problems and pain points, educate and inform them by using your industry knowledge. There are thousands, if not millions, of potential customers out there who are searching for what you’re offering – by becoming a trusted source of information, you’re building a solid relationship and these people will want to come back, and eventually will buy into your product or service. If you’re using the old and outdated methods of outbound, this simply won’t happen, potential customers will become irritated and bored of your impersonal and pushy approach and will look elsewhere to answer their problems…and you don’t want that.

By putting your customers at the heart of what you do, you’re able to attract, engage and delight them at all stages of the buyers journey, and that way you’re building up a nice, healthy and positive relationship, rather than pushing away leads through annoying spam.

Buyer Centric Flywheel

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Why inbound instead of outbound?

  • Inbound marketing educates the audience, while outbound tries to hard sell to the audience.
  • Inbound marketing engages and interacts with the audience, while outbound rarely engages with the audience.
  • Inbound marketing uses effective content to pull audiences in, while the biggest budget will win with outbound.
  • With inbound, the audience gives permission to the marketer, while outbound interrupts the audience.

Read more about Inbound vs Outbound Marketing.

B2B Inbound Marketing Essentials:

  • Buyer personas and buyers journey: Buyer personas are the most important step in creating an inbound marketing campaign as they allow for you to get a real insight into your customers. They’re semi-fictional representations of your perfect customer and are key to ensuring that your campaigns are effectively targeting and speaking to the right people. Buyers journey relates to the route that your leads will take to becoming a customer.
buyer persona
  • Remarkable content: Content is important, content allows you to have a voice for your brand and is at the heart of inbound marketing. Content includes, but not limited to, blog posts, social media posts, images, videos, webinars, infographics and so on. Read more on why content is important.
  • Inbound marketing website: An inbound marketing website is built and designed with user experience in mind, using lead generation/conversion, content creation and personalisation. To do this, you should build your website on a CMS, a CMS will make it easier for you to maintain, update and improve.
  • Web analytics: In order to improve on what you’re doing, it’s important that you track what you’ve done. Using HubSpotGoogle AnalyticsHotjarWistia and other software, you can track and measure the performance of your marketing campaigns through metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, click-through rates, on-screen time etc.
     
    If you’re reading this and still using an outbound marketing methodology, then it’s time to switch up and adapt your business to the modern world by adopting a B2B inbound marketing strategy – Make sure you download our guide below.

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B2B Sales Enablement: Empowering Sales Teams to Close More Deals

B2B Sales Enablement: Empowering Sales Teams to Close More Deals

Modern day B2B customers want something different from B2B sellers. They want a more omnichannel, frictionless buying experience and less direct interaction with salespeople until later in the sales cycle.

That’s why so many organisations are turning to B2B sales enablement. It’s been shown that B2B businesses that use sales enablement techniques are more likely to achieve or exceed their sales quota – and in a shorter period of time. Make sure you check out our in-depth guide to sales enablement here Sales Enablement: The Secret To Predictable Sales Revenue Growth.

Why is B2B sales enablement so successful?

Just as consumers of today expect a tailored, on-demand experience when it comes to Netflix or Uber, B2B buyers want a seamless experience. They want the right information, at the right time, delivered via their preferred channels. 

Potential customers have high expectations around the content and input they receive from a business. B2B buyers are often younger too, and, having grown up in the digital age they’re highly invested in all things online. 

Since lockdown it appears they’re demanding an even slicker experience. Since the start of the crisis, according to McKinsey

“ When researching products, customers’ preference for digitally enabled sales interactions has jumped significantly.”

Failing to meet their expectations could spell disaster.

B2B Sellers see sales enablement as a way to improve falling quotas

B2B companies need to find solutions to improve win rates, accelerate deals and build stronger customer relationships. To do this, according to SoPro they should be involved in

“The continual process of removing barriers to achieving sales. It can be realised and maximised through strategies, tools and processes.”

B2B sales enablement

The role of a sales rep has changed dramatically

B2B prospects often complete the majority of their purchasing journey before they even meet a rep. 

Personality, while still important, is not enough to push prospects through a predetermined sales funnel. The sales process today is all about identifying and catering to the key moments in a buyer’s journey, using different channels and targeting content and sales messages. 

However B2B sales enablement is not just about ‘moving to digital’. The death of the salesperson has been widely exaggerated. It’s not that there’s no need for that human touch –  It’s about working out how and when to deploy sales reps to best effect. 

Sales and marketing must align

While there are other barriers to achieving higher sales quotas (for example, product development, service delivery or customer satisfaction) the underlying issue is the misalignment of sales and marketing teams. When this happens nobody has their focus 100% on practices relevant to a buyer’s persona or journey. 

So a key aspect to B2B sales enablement is to ensure that marketing and sales develop close collaboration. Then marketing can create personalised, highly relevant content for sales to use within the sales cycle. Marketing and sales need to work together to craft messaging at the right times, and across all touchpoints, to engage customers and keep them moving forward. 

Both teams also need to be able to track and understand the returns on investment (ROIs) of later stage content. Then they can maximise the reps’ ability to have valuable, converting conversations. 

B2B sales enablement

Sales enablement strategies, tools and processes

The path to sales enablement will differ from firm to firm. But anything that improves sales performance can be counted as part of a sales enablement strategy. Here are a few general points to consider when you’re planning sales enablement implementation: 

  • Firstly and foremost it’s essential to make sure content is being properly managed and delivered.
  • Large B2B companies often have tons of content which can be living in different locations. It’s estimated that sales reps can spend up to 30 hours a month searching for, and creating, content. And materials that are outdated or off-brand can surface at any time: Customers who receive irrelevant content are likely to disengage themselves from the conversation. 
  • To fix this problem organisations need, at the very least, to create a content library and integrate this with a sales enablement solution. All content needs to be tagged so that marketing and sales can find what they need. 
  • Sales need to be trained on how to use the sales enablement system(s) to access custom content. And understand how to input their  feedback so that marketing can produce better content going forward. 

Sales enablement is a proven strategy. According to research by Aberdeen 84% of reps at companies with best-in-class sales enablement strategies achieved their quotas compared with 55% of reps at companies with average strategies (and 15% at companies with none). 

These are powerful statistics that go to show that failing to keep up with the B2B buyer’s changing mindset could have dire consequences for B2B companies. 

Sales enablement

Sales Enablement Strategy: Some Key Elements to Consider

Sales Enablement Strategy: Some Key Elements to Consider

In the digital era your buyers are performing their own research online before engaging with your salespeople. Your sales team is no longer the first point of contact, so it’s essential they adapt their selling techniques to fit in with the new customer journey. 

Unfortunately too few sales teams are managing to do this. According to the World-Class Sales Practices Report, just 56.9% of sellers achieved their forecasted quota in the past year. 

Sales enablement empowers sales teams

To close more deals, a modern day sales team needs access to new types of content, training and communication. They need to be sales ‘enabled’ i.e. there needs to be a sales enablement strategy in place. 

A good sales enablement strategy requires sales and marketing to collaborate. Marketing needs to create high quality content then teach sales how to apply that content at touch points in a prospective customer’s journey. Make sure you check out our in depth guide to sales enablement – Sales Enablement: The secret to predictable sales revenue growth.

What is sales enablement?

In brief, sales enablement is a function within an organisation that strives to make sales people more effective. It’s a strategy whereby all content is streamlined and tools are readily available throughout the sales process.

By implementing a sales enablement strategy your sales people can spend more time talking to prospects; and less time creating presentations that your target audience find irrelevant. 

sales enablement

Content plays a big part in a sales enablement strategy

As part of a sales enablement strategy your sales team will need to have access to customer-specific content. This will help them initiate conversations and help inform buyers along the buying process.

And lots of content is required (it’s been estimated that the number of decision makers involved in a sales cycle averages out at  6.4).

These decision makers are spread across many roles and departments, all with their own unique pain points and interests. To successfully engage with each individual, sales need to tailor their messages carefully.

How to create content for sales enablement 

Marketing is usually tasked with creating content for the top of the sales funnel (i.e. a one to many approach). Sales reps however need to access one to one messaging. Since reps are constantly speaking to prospective customers they have a unique understanding of a target account’s content requirements.

sales enablement strategy

Sales input is crucial to content creation

Sales’ input is crucial to help marketing create content that will resonate with prospects. 

For example a prospect may ask one of your reps for an ROI analysis to share with their CEO. If your salesperson doesn’t have that kind of content available, they may have to throw something together quickly. Or even resort to sharing the wrong kind of content with them e.g. a case study. 

The result: The prospect will become frustrated – leaving the door open to the competition. 

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Elements of a successful sales enablement strategy

These 5 elements are essential to the successful implementation of a sales enablement strategy:

1. Sales must be 100% onboard with sales enablement 

Your sales team need to understand the value sales enablement will bring to your organisation. They need to see that the need for content will have to increase – so that they can share specific materials with prospects. Content includes onboarding docs, training videos, product specifications and so on. 

2. Your company board should see the value in sales enablement

Sales enablement will inevitably require new investment in technology in order to make the strategy work efficiently. You will need to identify current gaps and opportunities and present them to senior management to illustrate the benefits of the strategy.

3. A documented enablement plan 

This is another key element of a sales enablement strategy. It’s essential to review both the sales cycle and individual sales team members to identify where new training materials or coaching is required. 

4. A cross-departmental approach 

Sales must be able to communicate at all levels of the organisation. For example they may need to provide feedback about products (with product development) or connect with the legal team to clarify language. Collaboration across all teams is crucial to ensuring sales get what they need, seamlessly and efficiently. 

5. Investment in technology 

There are several types of sales enablement technology available e.g. HubSpot that can help structure a program. It’s a place to hold content, training resources and playbooks as well as share content with specific prospects. By simplifing your sales team’s activities it will make it easier for them to find what they need.

In adopting a sales enablement strategy you are illustrating a commitment to giving sales the processes and resources to help them sell more.

With a successful sales enablement strategy in place your sales team will be better placed to fulfil their potential and convert more leads into customers. 

Sales enablement