What is Sales Enablement?

Just what is sales enablement, and does your organisation need it?

For the first question, there is no single definition covering what it is. To sum up sales enablement, it is simply using practices, tools and technologies to improve sales performance. So there are many aspects to sales enablement – strategy, training, analysis, content, tools and more.

As for the second question above, the answer is yes (we wrote about this before too!). If you’re not engaging in sales enablement then your sales people, and your sales, will suffer:

     •   Your sales team need the latest tools to be able to sell better. Technology doesn’t stand still for any business
     •   There is always room to gain additional sales
     •   You probably don’t know where your sales gaps currently are
     •   Your competitors are looking at every aspect of their sales processes

Sales and Marketing Working Together

Historically, marketing teams passed their leads to the sales people to close. This is still the case today, but the two teams have become so much closer than ever before. This is mostly due to available technologies. CRM’s now allow for greater transparency on who has been the marketing team have targeted and therefore shown an interest in products and/or services. It’s much easier at this stage to pass to the sales team to close as the sales processes are clearer to the marketing team.

Marketing and sales teams need to work together to be the most efficient they can be. Creating sales processes and content is very important to all stages in the sales cycle, but now it has become incredibly important to the marketing team too. They also need to know how the sales are being closed to be able to create their marketing messages.

Sales enablement therefore encompasses not only the sales process, but how marketing approaches their own role. Aligning the two areas is key to driving new revenue.

Why Should You Engage with Sales Enablement?

1. Personalisation – every stage in the sales cycle is different for your sales people and your potential customers. If you are able to break down your sales cycle into bite size chunks, then get the appropriate content to allow your people to sell, then you are onto a winner. It’s vital to have micro-sales stages in your process as it will drive your customers along their path to purchase.

2. Marketing needs it – for your marketing department to effectively pass leads to your sales people, you will need to be able to deliver the correct content to your customers at that specific point. Therefore, marketing needs sales enablement to be able to understand what your sales team is doing and how they are going to convert.

3. Be productive – in years gone by, companies would be produce a plethora of marketing content and sales content to help them sell – anything from brochures to door-drop leaflets. However, most of the time, a lot of this content would never be used! Having a sales enablement programme in place will mean that you will only implement what is necessary and you can get rid of any additional materials or wastage, meaning you’ll be so much more productive in the long run (and obviously cut down on erroneous costs too).

4. Increase efficiency – dovetailing in with the last point, your sales people will increase their productivity as they will only focus on the tasks and sales tools assigned to their role. They will have better materials to use as well, meaning that they are not fumbling around to find an old brochure that doesn’t really help them sell. It’s a win-win situation!

5. Analysis – if there is one part of your sales and marketing function that isn’t working as well as expected, then use your sales enablement process to improve – and improve quickly. There will be no need to throw out all the materials you already have, as you should have your content in bite-sized chunks. You’ll be able to analyse future developments too; let’s say you have a new product coming to market – with the sales enablement programme that you have already defined and have in place, it should be much simpler to bring this product to market.

6. Allow better company-wide reporting – one big problem within large organisations is that one department doesn’t know what the other is doing. With sales enablement, you will be able to retrieve granular detail about your activities and how the teams are performing. This will allow you to sit at the head table to report on any challenges you may have within sales, giving you’re a greater voice within the organisation.

Are Companies Realising the Potential?

Companies are investing in sales enablement, but you need to grasp the full potential and go into it with conviction. If you only do some of the aspects of sales enablement, then you’ll find yourself missing opportunities, as mentioned above. For example, procuring a new CRM will only do you so much, if you haven’t defined what content your sales people need or how this ties in what marketing are doing. A half-hearted approach will not work.

In our experience, companies that are executing sales enablement correctly are not only improving efficiency and productivity, but they are finding that their customers buying cycles are getting shorter. Win rates are going up and retention rates are also going up, which is remarkable seeing as this would be serviced by another department within the organisation (but goes to show that good practice rubs off on everyone).

So, what do you think?

Do you need to invest in sales enablement?

Surely now your answer will agree with mine from the top of this article.

Discover what powerful sales tools can do for you by checking out some of the work we’ve done with Huawei, Toshiba and BT in our case studies.