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.
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 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.
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.