Have sales become more or less difficult for your company? Well, if you had invested in sales enablement before COVID-19, you were much better positioned to handle the disruption in the sales process that hit almost every business in every industry this year. Go-to market models change during periods of disruption and this one is not over yet. The more that organizations are forced to do more with less, the more they change business patterns. Sales enablement will ensure that you are in synch with your buyer, providing the right information at the right time to enable sales success.
What is Sales Enablement?
If you are new to the concept, let’s start with the definition of sales enablement. Forrester, a leading industry analyst, performed an exhaustive study about sales enablement. Their definition is:
“Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system.”
Essentially, sales enablement drives success for your entire revenue generating team from sales to services to customer success by enabling the sales process to be more efficient. The enablement includes an umbrella of tools, content and process to increase sales velocity and produce more wins.
So, you may be asking if sales enablement is a role or a task performed by people within your organization. Forrester and I agree that sales enablement is a role. In the rest of this article, I will discuss in more detail the components that a good sales enablement program will have. It is an investment, but one with an excellent ROI – growth! A study by Aberdeen found that companies with excellent successful Sales Enablement programs have:
- 32% higher team sales quota attainment
- 24% better individual quota achievement
- 23% higher lead conversion rate
- Over 75% of companies using sales enablement tools report higher sales in the past 12 months, with nearly 40% reporting growth of 25% or more
- 59% of companies that exceeded their revenue targets (including 72% that exceeded them by 25% or more) have defined Sales Enablement functions
Ideally, a sales enablement program is built on a foundation consisting of existing strategies for the corporation as a whole, then marketing, sales, and sales methodology. This showcases how important the integration of planning and strategy are with a sales enablement program and execution.
Once a sales enablement program is ready to be established, the components are as follows: charter; goals, content, tools, training and integration.
- Charter: The charter is essential at the beginning of the program because sales enablement has a tendency to be a catch-all for problems. Using a charter will enable your organization to outline the vision and mission of the program with a timeline, scope, stakeholders, metrics, desired outcome and measurements.
- Strategy: The strategy for sales enablement, tied to the corporate direction and marketing strategy, will customize the program to resolve the organization’s unique pain points. It will be integrated with the buyer journey and the product/services capabilities of the organization.
- Goals: What do we want to achieve in 3, 6, 9 and 12 months with sales enablement? Obviously, we want to improve win rates and increase sales velocity. But there can be other goals, such as enabling a better team environment between sales and marketing or services. Sales enablement should remove silos and improve communication between departments as well.
- Tools: There are a number of sales enablement tools, designed to provide the right content at the right time to your buyers. As sales becomes more and more mobile, there are also sales enablement tools specifically designed to automate mobile sales. Tools can also be used to automate price quotes, approvals and resource assignments.
- Training: As with any important initiative, training is critical. I recommend starting with a basic foundation and layering on additional capabilities over time. Training is not one and done – you will always be optimizing and continuing to build on the knowledge of your teams.
- Integration: Sales enablement does not stand alone! Ideally, it is integrated with marketing, sales, deployment and customer success. It is also critical to integrate sales enablement along the buyer journey so that you are supplying the right information as your buyer needs change along the way.
If you are considering how to improve your organization’s sales, enablement is a great place to start. It will consolidate your revenue generating teams’ energy to improve win rates. And, as an added bonus, your customer journey will be improved. Join the 75% of businesses that are reaping higher sales with sales enablement.