When you boil it down to its simplest definition, sales enablement equips your sales team with tools, streamlined processes and compelling content to sell more effectively. As a digital marketing agency, we’ve written quite a bit about what sales enablement is and how to implement it.
The B2B sales landscape — often characterized by long sales cycles, multiple stakeholders, and complex products or services — is uniquely positioned to reap substantial benefits from an effective sales enablement strategy.
In this post, we’ll highlight the multifaceted benefits of sales enablement specifically for B2B companies and answer the question: Why is sales enablement important?
What Is Sales Enablement?
Before jumping right into the why, let’s do a quick refresher on the what. What is it?
According to HubSpot, “Sales enablement is the iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources they need to close more deals. These resources may include content, tools, knowledge and information to effectively sell your product or service to customers.”
In essence, sales enablement ensures the right information reaches the right person at the right time, fostering more productive sales conversations and, ultimately, driving revenue growth.
Why Sales Enablement Works
Three pillars — technology, content and process — make sales enablement a powerful tool for B2B organizations.
Technology: The driving force. The right digital tools will align your processes between departments and create the efficiency that makes sales enablement so popular. The most important sales enablement tool is your CRM. Platforms like HubSpot or Salesforce improve the sales process and help your sales team keep track of their relationships with clients.
The benefit? A turbo-charged sales force that operates with remarkable efficiency and agility, making the most of every sales opportunity.
Content: The voice. It’s no surprise that content is still king for B2B marketers, with 73% reporting using content marketing in 2022. Without compelling narratives, the most efficient sales enablement strategy comes up short.
We like to take a journalistic approach to digital marketing content, thoroughly researching the target audience for each piece and building out value in every email, blog or sales sheet.
The result? Persuasive communications that captivate customers, amplify your story and equip your salespeople to excel in every interaction.
Process: The backbone. Process is about defining clear workflows, establishing best practices, and implementing a cohesive strategy across sales and marketing teams. What’s the payoff? A consistent operation that boosts sales effectiveness and accelerates your journey from first touch to closed deal.
Who Owns Sales Enablement?
Depending on the size and structure of your B2B company, sales enablement responsibilities may be divided among different entities within the organization. Primarily, though, sales enablement is a collaborative effort between marketing and sales.
The Sales Enablement Team
As companies recognize the value of sales enablement, they’re increasingly forming teams dedicated to the practice. HighSpot’s annual State of Sales Enablement report found that sales enablement teams have grown over the past year. What’s more, 92% of respondents stated having a sales enablement team in place improved sales performance.
Why Sales Enablement Matters
Sales enablement works because the strategy is tailor-made for how B2B customers make decisions in 2023. Today’s B2B customers are far less likely to rely on salespeople for most of their decision making. Gartner reports that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase, only 17% of their time is spent meeting with potential vendors.
This means the vast majority of their time is spent researching a product, service or company online. Ensuring these customers have the resources they need as they self-navigate through the buying process is critical to closing the deal. By the time they’re ready to talk to your sales department, 86% already have a vendor preference, and 28% don’t bother looking for another vendor. (Gartner)
The fact that buyers are doing their own research does not undermine the value of sales reps. On the contrary, sales enablement allows buyers to self-navigate the buyer’s journey online, ensuring that their needs and questions are addressed at each stage.
Fast Fact: 93% of buyers are more likely to consider a brand’s products or services if the organization provides personalized communications throughout the journey. (LinkedIn)
Key Outcomes From a Robust Sales Enablement Strategy
1. Better Customer Experience
The primary benefit of a solid sales enablement strategy is that it enhances the customer experience. Sales enablement leads to more personalized, relevant and engaging interactions because sales reps better understand customers’ unique needs, pain points and preferences, allowing them to offer tailored solutions rather than generic pitches. This personalization can result in higher customer satisfaction, loyalty and, ultimately, revenue.
Fast Fact: According to Salesforce, 88% of customers say their experience with a company is as important as its products and services.
2. Smoother Handoffs from Marketing to Sales
When your sales and marketing team are in alignment, you’re much more likely to offer a cohesive and valuable message to clients at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Equally important is that strong internal processes mean fewer leads are dropped or moved too quickly to sales.
Here’s what that looks like within a sales enablement context:
- Sales and marketing have agreed-upon definitions. In addition to getting on the same page strategically, both sales and marketing need to have a crystal clear understanding of what constitutes a sales-qualified lead (SQL). The exact definition will vary depending on your organization, but in general, an SQL is someone who needs what you’re selling, wants to buy and has the means and authority to make the purchasing decision. Talk through the exact characteristics of SQLs, write it down and have everyone sign it.
- You’ve implemented an SLA. A service level agreement (SLA) is a document that outlines the deliverables one party has agreed to supply another. In a sales enablement context, SLAs align expectations, accountability and key goals between sales and marketing teams, and cut down on confusion about who should do what and when.
- Sales and marketing work together to develop collateral that works. Making this a team effort ensures each piece of collateral effectively addresses customer needs, conveys the business’s value proposition and empowers sales reps to engage with prospects at every stage.
3. Improved ROI and Attribution
A CSO Insights study found that organizations with dynamic, formal sales processes had 15.3% higher win rates and higher quota attainment than those with random or informal processes. Sales enablement allows you to track both direct and indirect influences of marketing efforts, attributing credit to a variety of engagements that lead to a sales opportunity.
Fast Fact: According to SiriusDecisions, organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions experienced 24% faster three-year revenue growth and 27% faster three-year profit growth.
It’s All for the Customer
When it comes down to it, a comprehensive sales enablement strategy is good for your business, but it’s also good for your customer — and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Customers today, especially in B2B spaces, are self-reliant explorers who actively shape and participate in their own buyer’s journey. Sales enablement meets customers where they are, offering valuable insights and information, answering questions and leading them toward a product or service that will ultimately fit their needs. Sales enablement isn’t just about optimizing your internal processes. It’s about tuning your organization to the nuanced rhythms of the B2B buyer’s journey.