Nowadays, audiences are evolving. And sales teams, along with marketers, are looking for new methods in order to reach these audiences. How to go about developing and implementing such methods is key to driving company profits. This is where sales enablement can greatly benefit you and your organisation. Whatever your business, it’s important to have a solid understanding of what sales enablement is and how it works. Only when you truly understand how it can fit into your sales system can it be effectively applied. The first stage of mastering sales enablement is learning its core definition. From there, the sky is the limit. Let’s begin our comprehensive look at sales enablement—and its limitless potential for business growth.
Sales enablement refers to the process of equipping salespeople and marketers with everything they need to engage buyers effectively. This can include direct guidance, content, strategies, and training. After all, a talented salesperson is likely to become even greater provided they have the right tools. As much as sales enablement is about providing, there is also a significant amount of removing that goes with it. Like eliminating barriers that prohibit salespeople from forming meaningful business connections.
While sales enablement is primarily about the salesperson, the prospect (or the buyer) also plays a major role. At its core, sales enablement provides salespeople with the tools they need in order to engage potential buyers. And companies must recognise the value of these tools. By providing sales teams with the resources to attract buyers, businesses are likely to increase transaction numbers.
Sales enablement analytics provide marketing and sales teams with data-driven insights to optimise their business and drive revenue. Incorporating sales enablement into your organisation will ensure that sales teams work more effectively by:
With countless sales enablement methods available across various industries, it’s hard to determine which is right for your company. But one thing is certain—your company definitely needs it. Here’s why:
Essentially, sales enablement is important because an easier selling process leads to an increase in sales. Leads become prospects who, in turn, become customers. And they take a considerable journey between the former and the latter. How they get to the end all depends on you, the salesperson. A buyer who has experienced an enjoyable, informed sales journey will be more inclined to remain a long-term customer. Keeping buyers happy leads to higher customer retention. And retention is significantly more profitable than acquiring new prospects.
Also, sales enablement is vital to an organisation’s internal growth. It can elevate average salespeople to become top-sellers in little time, increasing their individual contributions to the company. Departments with a strong understanding of sales enablement mean that all salespeople have access to relevant knowledge. It’s a tested method that lifts up entire teams. Which means that management is no longer dependent upon its high-performing players as all sales reps will climb.
The importance of sales enablement—at a glance:
As a dedicated sales manager, learning to make significant and immediate impacts on sales enablement should be a top priority. Executing any of these internal best practices is a great start. Each strategy ensures that your distribution efforts and content creation lead to quantifiable business results.
One of the most effective sales enablement best practices for any organisation is time management. Many salespeople are spending too many hours searching for marketing content to share with their prospects. Eliminating the number of resource storage portals within your company’s databases means less inefficiency and a greater focus on sales. Keep everything in one, accessible location—preferably one with cloud-based sharing capabilities.
Better yet, adopt a sales enablement software that is both flexible and organised. These platforms provide a single, manageable repository for all company content and tools while integrating with existing systems. Streamline your selling process and maximise your results.
With time management in mind, salespeople can certainly benefit from recognising and enforcing their own limits. By putting a cap on the amount of time you spend on any given sales task, you better prepare yourself for similar functions in the future. For example, salespeople who spend hours researching and preparing while inadvertently neglecting prospects emails are setting themselves up for failure. Training is one thing. But training yourself to recognise when you are overdoing it is a valuable sales and time management practice. Don’t allow yourself to flounder. If you are experiencing challenges with workloads, leads, or anything else, reach out to a dedicated team lead or manager. Sales teams are only as strong as their individual members.
Establishing or improving sales training should be a top priority of any organisation. And not just in one, hour-long session. In order to prove effective, sales training should be constant. All successful companies incorporate ongoing training and communications into their workflows. This way, sales reps know exactly what will be most beneficial throughout their entire sales cycle.
In addition to routine training, professional coaching (quarterly or bi-annually) can also greatly improve overall profits. An expert sales coach who specialises in performance can address the strengths and weaknesses that management might miss. Coaches motivate sellers and help them to build and enforce action plans. But most importantly, they hold sales reps accountable. Never overestimate the power of bringing in an outsider to assess the setup of your sales department.
That being said, training can also prove effective when administered by high-performing internal salespeople. Sales managers should be able to recognise the best practices of top sellers and leverage them to other sales team members. Using the best to help train the rest is always an effective strategy.
As any salesperson knows, when you manage to get a lead on the line you need to act fast. If a member of your sales team is engaged with a prospect, timing is crucial. Any lead that engages with your content (i.e. responding to emails) should be contacted immediately. Chances are, they are ready to move to the next stage.
Frequent check-ins with your team’s best sales reps is a great practice for sales enablement success. Pull aside top-sellers and have them walk you through each stage of their most recent and profitable transaction. Navigate every step of the sales process and assess the success of the content. Then take that knowledge and add it to your content library. Better yet, have the seller record a video highlighting their steps to successfully closing their deal. This allows other members of the sales team to reference and recognise examples of great sales in real time.
There is a reason that managers hire certain salespeople—and it’s not just because they can sell. Chances are, your team is brimming with experts in niche areas of the trade. Giving them opportunities to share learnings and experiences creates a culture of growth. And it works on both sides. Instilling trust in your team is crucial, and never goes unnoticed. Increased workplace morale always translates into higher performance and employee satisfaction.
Dedicated salespeople can always appreciate some good-natured competition—as long as they are competing with co-workers. Implement departmental contests or games in order to make learning interactive and fun. For example, put together a call-of-the-week contest. Encourage your reps to recognise examples of what makes a great sales call. Again, this boosts morale and creates more content to add to your library, laying the framework for new hires.
Assembling content materials is great, but after a while, you might realise that some are just not useful. Take time to analyse your tools—determine which are used successfully, and highlight those that yield fewer results. Afterwards, reassess your strategy if necessary. Focus on elements that work and stop doing what doesn’t!
Hone your posting skills and learn to tailor effective content to your relevant audience of social media followers. Publish content that is helpful and of interest, especially on platforms like LinkedIn. Sharing valuable information, consistently, creates a status of trustworthiness and likability that often leads to increases in engagement.
This practice typically applies to any department in any organisation. However, salespeople can be particularly sensitive and reluctant as many (wrongly) assume that technology is out to steal their jobs. Not the case! The best sales reps are those who adapt and learn how to incorporate technology into their traditional sales strategies. Consider the tools that are available, try them out for practicality, practice, and excel. The future is friendly.
We’ve talked at length about the benefits of sales enablement content. But what does this all-encompassing category include? And how can you be sure you are utilising relevant content for your organisation?
Simply put, content is any type of information (physical or digital) that helps to build your brand narrative. It’s a key component of any organisation attempting to establish visibility and maintain an audience with the goal of transacting. As you will see, content comes in many forms. An infographic, a blog article, a magazine write-up or a how-to video highlighting your company’s products. Whatever the medium, content is crucial for salespeople to engage with prospects and develop strong connections with audiences.
When working to develop sales enablement solutions, creating content can have a significant effect on results. However, not all content is created equal. Content developed specifically for sales enablement differs from that which is intended for marketing purposes.
To simplify, content created solely for the conversion and closing stages of sales can be defined as sales enablement content. Content produced in order to turn potential leads into prospects is regarded as content for marketing purposes. While effective sales and marketing teams work together to achieve results, it is important to highlight this small distinction.
Here are some essential forms of content that you and your team can use to achieve high-quality sales enablement results:
As important as it is to understand customers, it is just as helpful that salespeople know with whom they’re competing. This type of research content offers helpful insight into how competitors are approaching their target audiences. But most importantly, it can be used to examine where those same competitors are falling short.
Learning to recognise and analyse missteps is an essential part of an effective content strategy.
When salespeople identify their company’s weakness within their industry, they can reexamine plans in order to maximise solutions. This way, they can continue to stand out to prospects and gain the upper hand on the competing businesses.
Case studies are another efficient content example, providing salespeople with an enhanced understanding of customer needs and expectations. They also highlight potential challenges the same audience may be experiencing. This, in turn, presents a window in which sales reps have a greater opportunity of demonstrating available solutions.
Case studies come in many different forms: testimonials, focus group minutes, customer recommendations, and so on. Basically, any customer-centric media that communicates your business and its value.
As a sales enablement tool, blogs provide effective, high-value insights that are current and on-brand. They furnish salespeople with the relevant education required to nurture leads and close deals. Once developed (typically by marketing), they can be shared directly with prospects and archived for future reference across all departments.
Though common with content marketers, whitepapers can be invaluable source material for sales professionals, too. (In general, sales and marketing teams working together often experience the best returns from sales enablement strategies).
In case you were wondering, whitepapers are usually relevant only in certain industries. They are documents and resources containing statistics and education about how a brand’s product can provide prospect solutions. Not always sustainable for full strategies, whitepapers can certainly be referenced for information by salespeople assembling a last-minute pitch.
Incorporating traditional marketing methods with modernised sales enablement strategies is still a common practice. Sales scripts can be defined as a prescribed series of talking points for use by salespeople. When implemented correctly, they can be an integral part of an effective sale strategy. Successful sales scripts are consistent with information first shared with a prospect.
They also highlight new educational content with the intent to persuade existing prospects toward signing a deal.
There is one key consideration for salespeople who use sales script: don’t always stick to it. At most, scripts should be used as a guide when communicating with prospects—not gospel. Instead, use your own tone and voice as they relate to your company’s brand values and guidelines. Once you have aligned your personal flair with the words on the page, you’re ready to test on potential customers.
Copywriters and other members of the marketing team have a responsibility when developing and delivering sales scripts. As they create the content, they should also be actively communicating with members of the sales team for feedback. Knowing if the scripts are working—and, if not, where they can make adjustments—is a fundamental stage of content creation. Remember: scripts are only effective if and when they actually yield results.
Marketing professionals and salespeople have benefited from social media channels for years.
Using social media, especially messaging channels, for sales enablement solutions gives salespeople a solid platform for establishing significant engagement.
In order to maintain a brand’s solid social media presence, marketers will curate and add digital content. This may be in the form of a blog post (see above), graphic signage or a video element. All of which can be helpful for sales teams hoping to establish or maintain connections with potential customers. Again, this type of content can be easily shared (via links) with prospects, generating higher engagement across all platforms.
Believe it or not, company training materials can be critical tools for sales enablement—and not just for new hires. They can also be useful for salespeople who need a refresher course on reestablishing the voice and tone of their company. This applies both to internal communication and for when sales reps are consulting with prospects. Effective onboarding materials should include relevant content. These include your company’s values, brand guidelines, company mission statement, and so on.
One-pagers allow for a simple, streamlined understanding of certain aspects of your business or brand. They highlight, and clearly communicate, the benefits of a product or service and how either can serve as a solution to a prospect’s challenges. They are a handy tool that salespeople can quickly reference to increase their awareness and knowledge. In rare cases, they can be shared with prospects who may be struggling with making a decision.
As you can see, content options with the potential for increasing conversions and yielding high returns are plentiful. Sales enablement content can be utilised by both marketing and sales teams to generate leads and engage with prospects. All fine and good. But now that you have all of these content examples on hand, how will you keep them organised?
For any organisation, big or small, adopting content for sales enablement is crucial. So, too, is storing it. In addition to your company’s usual training materials and onboarding documents, you should create and maintain a library of other resources, e.g. best practice libraries of actual customer conversations.
Sharing sales conversations among your sales team will give your whole team the opportunity to learn from each other. If you want to manage who gets access to those conversations, highlight strong practices, pinpoint missed opportunities and give timestamped feedback, then we suggest trying out SalesMath.
So who exactly is in charge of enforcing sales enablement at the office? Well, that depends. Typically, it has been owned jointly by sales and marketing departments. But there are organisations that have Sales Enablement Managers in place. And as you will come to discover, the opportunities and incentives for Sales Enablement Managers are many.
First, let’s take a look at an organic, DIY approach to bringing sales enablement into your workplace without a manager.
To start, there are a few simple rules of organisation that can assist you in structuring your own program. Shared insights from both the sales and marketing departments can help with this. Common resource requirements include content, guides, and sales training—creating this, and providing training, should be the responsibility of marketing. A quick rule of thumb: when it comes to sales enablement, there is one structure that is best for organisation. And it’s as follows. Marketers are better at creating content and salespeople are better at enforcing.
Lastly, it should fall on members of the sales team to ensure that the enablement strategy is executed and monitored.
In order to fully grasp the effectiveness of sales enablement, companies must recognise that it’s the responsibility of all employees. Making sales enablement an element of a company’s culture is critical. It is also a surefire way to obtain overall business success.
Speaking of success, some companies may be large (or dedicated) enough that a full-time, on-hand sales enablement specialist is required. This is usually a job for a Sales Enablement Manager. Sales Enablement Managers are brought on to support cross-departmental teams. They are responsible for overseeing sales content, sharing enablement best practices, and creating training policies. Depending on the company, they may also manage technology. Software—including Content Management System (CMS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems—can be monitored by a Sales Enablement Manager. But that’s not all.
Typically, Sales Enablement Managers serve a number of day-to-day functions. These can include but are not limited to:
As with any job description, the role of Sales Enablement Manager may vary depending on company and industry. Depending on the size of the company, the manager may report to sales, marketing, or oversee their own separate sales enablement team.
Due to the diverse skill set required, this role offers substantial compensation. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a Sales Enablement Manager is about $100,000. This combines a base pay of $77,0000 plus $23,000 in additional compensation, such as incentive bonuses and commissions. A reminder: with great pay comes great responsibility. Think you’ve got what it takes to become a Sales Enablement Manager? Before you apply, take a look at some of the interpersonal skills companies consider before hiring a candidate.
Companies as diverse as GE, Uber, VISA, Workday, Siemens, ComCast, Paypal and Hewlett Packard all employee dedicated Sales Enablement Managers. There are also various levels and rankings that can apply to this position (i.e., Sales Enablement Director, Specialist). In some markets, these roles may go by alternative titles, including sales readiness, sales effectiveness, or Field Enablement Managers. Whatever the title difference, managers enforcing sales enablement always tend to embody the above traits. And they all share the same goal of enabling their sales teams to sell more efficiently.
There you have it! A definitive look at the benefits, best practices and content examples of sales enablement. Hopefully, you have gathered that sales enablement is an essential element of maintaining successful sales operations and business growth. By sticking to the helpful tips above, and integrating sales enablement among your sales and marketing teams, your company’s growth potential can reach leaps and bounds. Get started today!