What’s a Sales Enablement Strategy (and Why Do I Need One)?

As customers become more accustomed to a personalized world, their expectations for how they interact with companies have changed. Among other things, this means they’re looking for content that’s relevant to them — and is readily available at exactly the right time.

With a strong sales enablement strategy, you can provide potential customers with the kind of information they’re looking for to help guide them through the sales process. In return, you’ll improve your close rate while also saving time for your sales and marketing teams.

While sales enablement is effective at providing potential customers with the solutions they’re looking for, it also gives your sales team tools to keep the customer engaged throughout the purchasing process. It helps them sell more effectively and efficiently. With the right technology and processes in place, it can change not only how your teams work; it can transform your entire company and drive powerful results.

With this article, we’re going to take a closer look at:

  • What sales enablement is
  • Why it could be worthwhile for your company to use this approach
  • Which sales enablement tools are most relevant today

What Is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is exactly what the name implies: It’s about providing your sales team with the necessary resources to close more deals. Or, in other words, it enables your salespeople to do their jobs more effectively. Those resources can take different forms but typically include valuable content and information; technology (for example, a customer relationship management database — a CRM); and processes (documentation on how to handle each stage of the buyer’s journey, for example).

Sales and marketing both own sales enablement. For it to work, both sides must collaborate on and develop needed resources. Without marketing’s ability to create and share the needed information, the sales department won’t have the content and details they need to do their jobs. And without the sales team’s skills to integrate that information into their practices, the information loses its value.

Companies that implement a sales enablement strategy receive many benefits, including a more streamlined and effective sales process. Customers enjoy a better experience, which not only makes them more likely to remain a customer but also will generate positive word-of-mouth referrals. It also benefits your company by creating a culture of success and confidence — which can also lead to better retention of your salespeople.

Having a dedicated sales enablement team is crucial for long-term success. According to HubSpot’s Global Sales Enablement Survey, 65% of sales leaders who outperformed against their revenue targets had a dedicated sales enablement team. That’s a compelling argument for considering sales enablement as a strategy for ensuring a competitive advantage.

The Right Tools for the Job

The tools you choose to implement will influence the success of your sales enablement strategy. Even if your teams are creating great content that customers need, if nobody monitors how those resources are being used and how well they’re working, your sales enablement program can fail. You want to see what’s working, where improvement is needed and measure cyclical trends.

The right tools will align your processes between departments and create the efficiency that makes sales enablement so popular. Basically, a sales enablement tool will connect your content, marketing and sales cycle. So let’s look at some of the most vital tools for the job and what to look for.

The centerpiece of your toolkit is going to be your CRM., which improvess the sales process and helps your sales team members keep track of their relationships with clients. When sales reps are communicating with prospects, it’s easy to lose track of where they’re at in the process unless you’re using a reliable CRM, such as HubSpot, Salesforce, Pardot, etc. 

Teams that use a CRM can automate tasks that include scheduling meetings and follow-ups, generating quotes, delivery of content and so much more. Many of the tools that follow are offered through your CRM, so make sure that you’re leveraging them to your full advantage.

Lead scoring is another component that is integral to successful sales enablement. With lead scoring, you assign a value to “score” each specific action a potential customer makes, which helps you determine how likely it is that you’ll be able to close a deal. The scores can also be based on the person’s job title, industry or size of company. It provides insight that lets you identify and classify your leads and saves time for your sales team.

Content must be organized and accessible to make the most of the collaboration between sales and marketing. In sales enablement, content includes everything from email sequences to blog posts to e-books and case studies to sales scripts, testimonials and your sales playbook. 

Without well-organized, easily accessible content, your sales team won’t always know where to find what they need. In fact, according to Salesforce and SAP, salespeople spend about 40% of their time either looking for content or creating it if they can’t find what they need. 

Reporting dashboards are essential for tracking the progress of your sales teams. A must-have tool is a reporting dashboard that provides a comprehensive overview of your selected sales KPIs, such as the lead-to-consumer conversion rate, sales cycle length, average purchase value and other vital sales data.

Good to Grow

As you build a strong sales enablement strategy, you’ll discover that the tools you’re using will help inform how to move your program forward. Look for tools that are easy to use (complex tools can end up costing you time and money) and help your sales and marketing teams become more efficient. Make sure they integrate with your current CRM; in some cases, they may already be available on your CRM and just need to be implemented.

And most importantly, provide constant training to reinforce the value of the tools and to provide ongoing support for your sales enablement teams. Find the tools that are the right fit for your business — and then use them to become more streamlined and effective.

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Paula Felps

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