Is your sales team reaching their full potential?
Without a sales enablement program in place, the answer is probably either “no” or “I don’t know.” Being able to answer that question with an enthusiastic “yes” is one of the greatest benefits of launching an effective sales enablement initiative. You’ll be confident that your sales reps have everything they need to improve customer relationships, accelerate sales cycles, close more deals, and drive more revenue. In fact, 75% of companies implementing sales enablement tools saw sales increases within twelve months.
The potential is great, but so are the risks. A strategically launched program can be a big boost to your bottom line while an unsuccessful launch can be a big waste of resources and trust. So, how can your company tap in to this powerful selling strategy and become part of the 75% that’s seeing success?
How to improve sales with sales enablement
If you’re new to the idea of sales enablement, the first step is understanding. Sales enablement is essentially a system of support for your sales reps that includes all the tools, resources, processes, and training they need for improved sales conversations. Check out our sales enablement introduction for more information.
There are a few characteristics that are common to successful sales enablement programs:
- It should add value for your customers – Today’s consumers are moved by content that is personalized, authentic, and educational. Be sure your sales enablement strategy caters to the modern buyer — one that is connected and informed.
- It should make sales easier for your team – One of your main goals is to let your reps spend less time prepping and more time selling. With better technology and streamlined processes, sales enablement should remove hurdles, not create them.
- It should be tailored to your company – What are your sales goals? Where is your sales team experiencing challenges to meeting those goals? What resources do they need to overcome these challenges? Answering these questions will help you define what sales enablement means to you and your organization.
6 steps to starting your sales enablement program
- Learn the landscape
This is a vital step that is often overlooked. Sales enablement was largely born out of the need to adapt outdated sales practices to rapidly changing buyer behavior. So, while nothing can replace the value of experience in the field, even years of experience can’t replace the value of keeping your ideas up to date. That’s why the first step is to update your data on what’s currently driving sales in your industry.
- Set goals
Like anything in business, sales enablement needs to be strategic. So let your goals be your guide. Everyone wants “increased profit,” but to set SMART goals, think about specific ways that sales enablement initiatives will have an impact on your revenue. Goals should include indicators of both sales activity (e.g., number of hours spent selling, usage of sales tools, process buy-in) and sales performance (e.g., conversions, quotas).
- Align to your buyer’s journey
What you probably already know (or discovered during step one) is that sales today is all about the buyer. With access to a wealth of information and options, your customers are more sophisticated and in-control than ever before. In order to stay competitive, sales reps should be equipped to meet their needs with personalized, value-driven content at every decision point.
Map out each step of your buyer’s journey, consider what kinds of decisions and activities the buyer will make at each step, and formulate your sales enablement strategies to ensure buyer success. If you haven’t developed a buyer’s journey yet, there’s no time like the present.
- Develop resources
Now that you’ve determined what kind of information is going to move your buyer along each step of their journey, it’s time to create the content. Sales enablement materials can be broken into two categories: internal- and external-facing. Your internal tools will include resources like playbooks, sales processes, training, and market research. Your external tools will include content that reps share with the customers like sell sheets, presentations, videos, white papers, and guided selling tools.
High-quality content is essential for sale-enablement success. The sales enablement experts at GO2 will partner with you to create customized materials that accelerate your sales.
- Incorporate tools and technology
The next step is to integrate sales enablement technology that gives simple, organized access to the content you created. Even the most precision-targeted content won’t drive sales if your reps never use it. Not only that, but you want these resources to be used over and over again. That’s why effective sales enablement tools should take into account where, when, and how sales reps will use the materials.
Examples of technology that can be used to support your sales enablement efforts include:
- Asset management platforms
- Sales and marketing analytics
- CRM software
- Presentation builders
- Provide training
One of the best ways to boost the performance of your sales force is to provide ongoing training and coaching. You’ve developed sales processes, created quality content, and adopted new technologies — now your reps need to know how to use these resources to lead customers down the path to purchase. Onboarding these tools is important, but sales enablement training is more than a one-and-done activity. Regular reinforcement and practice are essential for keeping everyone up-to-date on the latest products, services, strategies, and sales practices.
What could go wrong?
Sales enablement is an important investment and you want to get it right the first time. Here are some common pitfalls and advice for avoiding them.
Problem: Low adoption
Solution: Change management
Humans are naturally change-averse and a new sales tool can represent a significant disruption in routine. If the sales team isn’t embracing the new resources you’ve provided, it’s time to implement or update your change management strategies.
Problem: Not enough selling time
Solution: UX testing
After an initial investment of effort, sales enablement tools should free up time for more interaction with customers and prospects. If you find that the opposite is happening, user experience testing can help you make adjustments so the tools are working for your sales team, not against them.
Problem: Ineffective content
Solution: Sales and marketing alignment
Sales and marketing departments often operate with different goals in mind, but that can lead to content that doesn’t necessarily drive revenue. Sales enablement should be a collaboration between both sales and marketing to ensure they’re working toward the same business goals.
Implementing sales enablement
If an ever-changing marketplace is making it challenging for your reps to meet their quotas, GO2 Partners can help with an end-to-end sales enablement program. Our sales enablement specialists will develop everything from strategy to content to technology — empowering your sales team to provide real value to buyers and a real revenue boost to your business.