Here are three of the top sales enablement benefits that increase revenue and drive sustainable growth.
Sales leaders, welcome to the new paradigm.
It doesn’t matter if your product or service is the best in the world. If your sales team doesn’t have the right resources and training, you will lose sales.
In today’s fast-paced world, you need to get your junior reps up to speed quickly. Relying on your seasoned vets to “wing it,” won’t cut it anymore. Maintaining a high-performing sales force requires a series of focused actions, executed at the right time and in the right order.
Here’s the bottom line: if you want to drive sales results, you need a repeatable, scalable process you can apply to your entire sales team. It needs to be augmented by tools, support, and training.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Sales Enablement Program?
- Your sales training process will probably be ad hoc.
- There’s a good chance your sales team is underperforming.
- Deals are slipping through the cracks due to more sales conversations.
Sales enablement isn’t a trendy buzzword for an organization that will slow your reps down. It has become a key sales function that top sales organizations recognize as a strategic advantage. Just take a look at how much the role has grown in the past two years:
What Does a Good Sales Enablement Program Look Like?
Sales enablement is quickly becoming the focus of high-growth companies around the world. Why? Because they know they can’t maintain growth and compete without a consistent, cross-functional strategy that does the following:
- Optimizes the onboarding process for new sales reps
- Delivers the right content to sellers at the right time
- Achieves sales and marketing alignment
3 Sales Enablement Benefits You Can’t Resist
1) A sustainable process to increase revenue
Sales enablement is not a one-time fix. One-and-done training might give your team a temporary boost in confidence and activity. Research shows that without reinforcement training, your reps will forget ~90% of the training within 1 week.
Sales reps, like athletes, need to practice continually to reach their highest potential. If you don’t have ongoing programs that help reps learn and hone their skills, they won’t perform at their best.
Now, let’s attack a common myth head-on:
“We only hire reps who are veterans in this industry. They already know how to sell, so they don’t need sales training.”
Really? Your reps know everything there is to know about selling? They consistently embrace all sales best practices and avoid every sales mistake? They’re always up-to-speed on your messaging, product offerings, and buyer personas?
Didn’t think so. That’s like a world-class athlete saying, “We won yesterday’s game, so I don’t need to practice today.”
Past performance on its own does not guarantee future results.
The best sales enablement programs allow you to spot mistakes faster. Plus, they give you the data to make the necessary corrections.
Start by examining your new hire onboarding process. Look beyond the boot camp and ensure you have programs in place to support your reps months after they complete their formal training. Regular, short reinforcement bursts are a great way to make sure that knowledge isn’t lost and forgotten. This technique is called microlearning and science has shown it to be more effective than traditional learning alone.
With the right sales enablement technology, you can deliver microlearning and timely refreshers to your sellers. For example, what better time to reinforce your negotiation strategy than when your rep is prepping for a pricing discussion?
Dos and Don’ts
- Create a dedicated sales enablement function within your organization, if you don’t have one already.
- Deliver ongoing training to your sales team. This could range from short quizzes related to different stages of the sales cycle, all the way up to objection handling practice via role play and video coaching.
- Tell sales and marketing that they need to create a sales enablement initiative with no strategy, goals or resources.
- Assume that anyone on your team knows it all, even your top performers. (Everyone can benefit from ongoing training.)
- Cling to the belief that sales reps only need training when they first join your team, and then never again after that.
2) Shorter sales cycles
There are a number of ways sales enablement can help shorten your sales cycle. First, analysts estimate that the average rep spends nearly ⅔ of their time on non-sales-related activities.
Consider the time your reps spend looking for sales collateral, tracking prospect interest, and entering data into your CRM. It’s no wonder they’re falling short!
Adopt sales enablement best practices, and your reps will be able to share the right content with the right prospects much more quickly.
Another way to shorten the sales cycle is to equip reps with coaching and knowledge at exactly the moment they need it. They will be better prepared to deliver relevant messaging that sells your value and moves the conversation forward.
The best sales enablement tools can get them just in time training and targeted sales collateral. That way, even if your reps don’t know something they’ll be able to:
- Learn it in the moment.
- Remember it for future use.
- Be fully prepared for the opportunity at hand.
Dos and Don’ts
- Examine where your reps spend most of their time. Modern sales enablement tools can surface the right content within their CRM, email, mobile devices, or on all three.
- Use a sales enablement platform as the single source of truth for all your content. Make it easy for your reps to find the right content, instantly.
- Allow your marketing team to continually pump out large volumes of content without a way to measure its usage and effectiveness.
- Make it hard for your reps to find content by having it scattered across multiple, hard-to-navigate content repositories.
3) Better sales and marketing alignment
Time and again, we hear CEOs and CFOs express the same major pain point. When you get right down to it, misalignment between two or more departments costs everyone time, resources, and money. A sales leader I worked with in the past used to say, “The enemy is outside the walls of our company, not inside it.”
Unfortunately, in many organizations sales and marketing just can’t seem to get on the same page. When sales and marketing disagree on the quality of leads, follow-up on leads, and the suitability of marketing content, the blame game can bring productivity to a screeching halt.
This is an area where the sales enablement function is critical to your team’s success. Sales enablement can act as “organization glue” and align your sales and marketing teams. When sales and marketing are aligned on strategy, goals, and metrics, here’s what happens:
- Marketing stops wasting money on leads of poor quality.
- Marketing gets actionable data and feedback on sales content.
- Sales gets high-quality content and training that helps them sell.
- Both departments stop pointing fingers and start aiming for the same target.
The key to achieving sales and marketing alignment begins with planning. When sales and marketing are aligned, it becomes far easier to increase revenue by executing the right actions day in and day out.
Dos and Don’ts
- Marketing needs to know which content would be most valuable for sales, and sales needs to be able to find that content in less than three clicks. This is an ongoing conversation. First, look at your sales reps’ favorite content and make it more easily available. Then scale that process and surface other documents similar to their top picks.
- Track content engagement from both sellers and prospects. Which content is involved in winning deals? Which content is only used sporadically, even if it’s easy to find?
- Rush the conversation between marketing and sales. This is a great way to waste time and create even more frustration.
- Hope your content is OK just because you’ve invested time, money, and energy in creating it. Is it contributing to the results you want to see? If not, you need to change something. And changing your attitude from ignorance to denial doesn’t count.
Sales Enablement Is NOT a Nice-To-Have
To stay competitive and grow revenue, you need a sales force performing at their best every day. Sales enablement needs to follow best practices and be a vital part of your strategy if you fuel your growth.
Here’s why you need to embrace sales enablement:
- It gives you a sustainable process for increasing revenue for years to come.
- Getting sales and marketing on the same page is your key to boost efficiency and ROI.
- Sales enablement can shorten your sales cycle, again increasing efficiency and revenue.
If you’re struggling to build up your team, sales enablement can help. What if you’ve already got a sales enablement program in place? Then use these tactics to accelerate growth even higher. But just remember, your competition is reading this article, too.
Are you ready?
Also published on Medium.