One of the quirks of American English is the ambiguity that arises from our use of slang. If I say something is "cool" or "hot", I could be referring to its popularity. When someone else uses these words they may be describing its temperature. So it is with the concept of sales enablement.
Here at DaBrian Marketing Group, sales enablement is considered to be the iterative process of providing your sales team with the resources they need in order to close more deals. Content, tools, knowledge, and information are all combined in one central location to effectively sell your product or service. However, others may define sales enablement differently.
“ Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively. “ -Gartner
“Sales enablement is the process of giving your sales team everything they need to close more deals. “ -Salesforce
“ Sales enablement is the strategic use of people, processes, and technology to improve sales productivity and increase revenue. “ - Seismic
“Sales enablement is the process of making customer-facing teams able to efficiently move buyers through the sales process to the point where they can make the best buying decision. “ - BigTinCan
Sales enablement has evolved from a focus on sales content management to a comprehensive, go-to-market approach with solutions that develop in conjunction with the changing needs of today’s buyers. Complete sales enablement strategies now encompass sales coaching and training, conversation adaptability, document automation, communications, and sales and marketing alignment SLAs (service-level agreements).
To say that it is difficult to measure the success of a sales enablement strategy might be true. It could indeed appear this way if you don't know what you are looking for.
Establishing, then meeting the needs of both the sales team and marketing team is critical to the success of your sales enablement strategy. Because sales enablement encompasses all customer-facing departments, choose a metric tailored to each space.
The Sales Team
“The most immediate way to derive valuable insights from business data is to agree on a set of standardized sales reports. With the right CRM, or customer relationship management tool, you can see everything from activities logged by salespeople, product demos delivered, deals won and lost, leads worked, and lead conversion rates”. - LinkedIn Sales Solutions
Is the sales team utilizing the tools that have been given to them to improve their productivity? Measure their success by comparing the previous performance to the current performance. Agree upon criteria to be examined from these reporting options, then use those criteria to measure sales. Success gained or opportunities for improvement derived from sales enablement will be clear.
The Marketing Team
Conducting a full content audit is critical to the success of any sales enablement strategy. For many companies, measuring content performance can help you see how many pieces of content are being capitalized on. Sales reps may be unaware of a particular piece of content that could assist them in converting more leads to buyers. By centralizing all existing content in one location, enablement teams ensure reps can find the resources to share with their leads. By tracking that content’s performance, teams gain more awareness of what’s working for sales and what information is perceived as valuable to potential customers. Some examples of sales content that should be audited, organized, and optimized are, case studies, whitepapers, blog posts, and social media posts. To measure content success, focus on impressions, engagements, website traffic, and lead generation to see if new content is performing better than the previous content.
The Customer Success Team
Don’t forget the customer success team! Be sure to share all the information and content that the sales and marketing teams are using with this key team of anchor people. A surefire way to aggravate your client is to show them the right-hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. When a customer calls with an issue, customer success teams should be able to access the company's most recent communication with a customer, including any past issues, and the client’s product of choice. In this way, the customer success team can give informed advice on how to fix any issues that the customer is having. Without the proper training, up-to-date information, or current content shared with this team, your customer success team becomes an additional hurdle the buyer must clear on the way to successfully completing their journey. Avoid your customer success department turning into a black hole of eternal holds and conflicting information. Equipping them properly will prevent them from becoming just another call center for ticket complaints they cannot fix and issues that stand in the way of ensuring a great customer experience with the brand. To measure the efficacy of customer success teams, look at metrics like average first response time, backlog tickets, average resolution time, and satisfaction after resolution.
For the strategy to work, all customer-facing teams should communicate their needs and be allowed input on what is being chosen as the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) used to measure the success of their respective departments as they relate to your sales enablement strategy. Hold regular meetings to determine efficacy, communicate issues, share customer information from all sides, and work together on ways to improve.
When it comes to filling the need for a sales professional, sales onboarding is critically important. Once you’ve invested in a new hire, gain their buy-in. The business needs them to sell and contribute once fully trained and prepped. Sooner is better than later for most organizations, however, be cautious against the pressure to condense training as this could end up having a negative impact on the rep’s understanding and learning retention of onboarding materials.
-Did you know that one year after training, most employees can only recall about 15% of what they learned? Periodic, ongoing training is the best way to reinforce knowledge retention. Providing onboarding training is great, but repetition and context are vital for committing information to memory.- Jeff Rosset, Sales Assembly
When the best sales enablement tools are available, the time savings, when leveraged, are vastly beneficial to the new hire and the sales enablement manager. The new sales rep can focus on core tasks and duties using the tools, while the manager can devote their time to one-on-one time and mentoring sessions that will ensure the success of other new hires. If a sales rep still can not sell despite all the training, coaching, and knowledge you have given, then we have to look elsewhere for the breakdown.
Things are always changing, forcing us to adapt to those changes. There will be times when the customer needs change, and it is up to sales teams and sales enablement managers to ensure your business is responsive to those changes in needs or wants. So if onboarding and training have been completed successfully, and sales teams are still not selling, it could point to a difference in customer wants and needs.
When new customer demands or pain points emerge, there is a possibility that the usual materials the reps work with will no longer do the job. When this happens, sales teams should be trained to pivot and inform the sales enablement team. A sales enablement platform is perfect for such instances. All teams can leverage these tools to:
Your sales enablement staff should be knowledgeable about not only your services but about the industry as a whole. Allow them the ability to address any concerns a lead may have about whether your company is the right choice in a way that is conducive to success.
At its core, sales enablement is just a group of defined principles within a strategy that, when followed, ensures sales success. Its success is reliant on the entire team, inter-department communication, and their ability to immediately address issues that arise in the implementation of the strategy. To keep everything organized it is advised to pair the sales enablement strategy with sales enablement software to keep all information in one central location. Sales enablement software allows your teams to manage all of your materials and content from a central location. Software like CRMs (Customer Relationship Managers) provide the ability to create, share, edit, and manage all of these resources easily. All members of the sales enablement team can access the information here at any point in time, making it easy for the marketing team to collaborate seamlessly with sales on the content they create and then share it with prospects and customers for feedback.
Here are a few commonly-used sales enablement software options:
HubSpot's CRM — which is free! — provides your business with a complete look at your sales pipeline and full access to extensive marketing creation tools. The CRM connects all of your sales and marketing efforts so cross-team, sales enablement collaboration is easy. The Hubspot CRM encompasses, even more, when the Sales Hub and Marketing Hub are thrown into the mix, maximizing the most of all three Hubs’ tools.
Zendesk allows your reps to keep track of every interaction they have with a prospect throughout the complete buyer's journey. This makes it easy to record which sales enablement resources and tools they use and which tools they could incorporate in future interactions to close deals.
MindTickle is the market-leading sales readiness platform, helping revenue leaders at world-class companies grow revenue by increasing knowledge, understanding ideal sales behaviors, and adapting to change. MindTickle allows you to identify sales behaviors, provide individualized training, practice, and reinforcement, and align content for salespeople to access instantly.
Zoho One is an all-in-one suite of Zoho applications. Apps and services depend on a reliable Platform that will shapeshift in response to the needs of your business. Zoho One includes a range of no code, low code, and professional development tools to customize, extend, and integrate the operating system so you can reach your sales enablement KPIs.
No matter which software is chosen or which strategy is used, use it to empower every part of your team. Make sure that the decision to move forward with the strategy and product has buy-in from all members of the prospective sales enablement team then make the choice that will best fit your organization. With the entire team in agreement from the beginning, you can move forward with confidence through the steps of creating a better path with improved communication, and a more cohesive customer-facing team that will build sales growth for years to come.