Sales enablement is a crucial strategy for organizations looking to boost their sales performance. In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the basics of sales enablement, its benefits, key components, and ways it improves sales performance. We'll also delve into sales enablement training, empowering sales reps, maximizing efficiency, and the all-important ROI.
When sales and marketing teams work together, powerful growth can happen within an organization. Sales teams can communicate with marketers about the kinds of content and collateral they need to engage and convert leads. Marketers, meanwhile, can create blogs, videos, buying guides, whitepapers, and other materials that support salespeople’s efforts.
It’s a professional dance between sales and marketing teams known as sales enablement. With sales enablement, sales teams have a detailed road map to obtain leads — along with the content, tools, and resources they need to turn target customers into loyal buyers. Meanwhile, marketers have a better understanding of what their target customers need and want.
What is sales enablement, and how can organizations use it to fuel revenue growth and gain a competitive edge? In the following comprehensive guide, we break down the concept of sales enablement, how C-suite executives can incorporate sales enablement training, and how sales enablement can become the secret weapon that empowers your sales force. We’ll dive into sales enablement’s fundamental components to propel your organization to new levels of success.
From sales enablement basics to implementation and measurement, this guide contains everything you need to understand sales enablement essentials. Work with your branding agency to implement the strategies outlined below, and experience greater growth within your organization.
Sales teams face numerous challenges today that make it more difficult to stand out and achieve sales goals. Longer sales cycles, greater difficulty in reaching decision-makers, increased competition, and adapting to a pandemic-induced remote selling environment are just some of the current challenges.
In a world where every organization strives to stand out in a crowded marketplace, sales leaders agree that overcoming these obstacles requires aligning sales and marketing efforts.
Gartner reports that half of CSOs believe sales enablement will support marketing or customer success roles within the next three years. Let’s take a closer look at sales enablement as a strategy and why it’s becoming a cornerstone of revenue growth for global enterprises.
Sales enablement equips your sales team with the tools, knowledge, training, and motivation they need to engage prospects and close more deals. It’s not simply a catchphrase to impress leadership; sales enablement is a strategic approach to revenue growth that empowers your sales force to perform at its peak potential.
Many chief sales officers (CSOs) and other sales leaders shift to sales enablement out of necessity. When sales dip, they may take a magnifying glass to sales strategies, marketing assets, or individual sales representatives. They may also look closely at changing customer behaviors and implement sales enablement to adapt to the times.
Most CSOs discover it isn’t just one facet of sales, marketing, or customer preferences that’s to blame for lagging sales. It’s often a combination of factors contributing to poor sales performance.
When sales and marketing teams work together via sales enablement strategies, they can have a well-oiled sales machine that gets sharper and more effective with time.
The research on sales enablement speaks for itself: Aligning sales and marketing efforts can translate into a 67% improvement in closing deals. On the flip side, misalignment of sales and marketing costs organizations $1 trillion annually in wasted marketing efforts and decreased sales productivity.
Organizations with a sales enablement team are also 52% more likely to align the sales process with the buyer journey, improving the customer experience.
In short, sales enablement bridges the gap between marketing efforts and sales outcomes. By syncing marketing and sales efforts, it’s possible to boost sales growth, keep sales reps motivated, increase marketers’ awareness of what sales reps need, and even increase customer satisfaction.
It isn’t a quick fix but can have lasting benefits when everyone is on board with implementing a sales enablement strategy.
The benefits of sales enablement training extend far beyond the individual sales representative; they impact the entire organization. By investing in training, you’re not only improving sales performance but also fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement.
Assuming you have the right sales and marketing talent in place, sales enablement training can help upskill your team members. It can also allow you to grow your team with dedicated enablement professionals.
Indeed, many organizations are establishing entire sales enablement teams dedicated to implementing enablement strategies. A quick search of job boards reveals that demand is high for dedicated sales enablement talent.
Below are some of the benefits of sales enablement training to gain a competitive edge and tap into new opportunities.
With sales enablement training, sales teams gain an in-depth understanding of your products or services. Knowledgeable sales reps are naturally more confident and persuasive in their sales conversations.
Better sales conversations mean more growth. Organizations with sales enablement see a 49% win rate on forecasted deals; those without it achieve 42.5%. As a result of sales enablement, 76% of organizations experience a 6% to 20% increase in sales.
On average, sales reps spend 440 hours per year trying to find the right content to share with prospects. That’s lost time they could be spending on closing deals, nurturing customer loyalty, and engaging in other high-impact activities.
Increasingly sophisticated buyers further complicate matters. Sales teams may have to reach multiple decision-makers throughout the prospecting process. When they do reach someone with decision-making power, it’s imperative that sales reps can communicate confidently with the right content and messaging.
With the proper strategy, tools, content, and training, sales teams have the resources they need to prospect more effectively. They’re able to reach the right decision-makers at the right time.
Better prospecting translates into more qualified leads. Some 84% of sales reps meet their quotas when organizations have sales enablement in place.
With enablement training, sales reps are able to shorten the time to close, enhancing revenue growth. They’ll spend less time locating qualified prospects and more time closing deals.
When your sales teams are well-prepared and knowledgeable, they can provide better value to customers and prospects. More value means more closed business — with 74% of buyers choosing the organization that’s first to add value.
Another 80% of customers say the customer experience is as important as an organization’s products and services.
With the close connection between sales and customer success, sales enablement is a crucial factor in not only closing deals but also ensuring customer satisfaction. Delivering value doesn’t only happen at the moment of the sale; it needs to continue long afterward to secure customer loyalty and retention.
Salespeople who feel supported and well-trained are more likely to stay with your organization. They’ll have the information they need to engage prospects and feel more successful on sales calls.
Without ongoing training and upskilling of your sales reps, you risk losing up to 60% of your sales force within four years. Replacing sales reps can be costly — upwards of $97,000 per year — and sales enablement training helps mitigate this issue.
Amid the evolving B2B landscape, your sales force must remain sharp and focused. Sales enablement training ensures your teams stay updated with the latest industry trends, customer behaviors, and competitive insights.
As your organization grows, sales enablement training allows you to scale your sales teams effectively. You’ll have systems and processes in place to get new hires up to speed quickly, ensuring consistent performance across the board.
Remember, enablement training is not an expense but a strategic investment with a substantial return on investment. To harness the power of sales enablement, leaders must understand its core components and how they work together to drive success.
In this section, we’ll explore various aspects of an effective sales enablement strategy, laying the groundwork for successful training initiatives. Let’s dive deeper into the essential components of sales enablement, helping you understand how to structure your enablement programs for maximum impact.
High-quality content makes conversations easier for your sales team and helps reps meet their targets. This content should encompass a range of resources that help to build credibility and trust with your target audience, including:
Crafting effective content often entails ongoing communications between sales, marketing, and customer success teams. Sales and customer service reps can convey the types of questions they receive, and marketers can respond with assets that solidify your organization as a trusted brand in your space.
As your marketing team creates assets, it’s essential to tailor content for various customer segments and stages of the sales cycle. Along the way, track metrics such as engagement rates, click-throughs, opens, and booked appointments to understand which content resonates most with prospects. Content marketing should be an ongoing effort in your sales enablement plan, not a “set it and forget it” endeavor.
Sales enablement relies heavily on technology and tools that facilitate content delivery, training, and analytics. Some of the technologies you might need include:
An integral part of sales enablement is ongoing training and education for your sales force. Training should encompass product training, sales techniques, market knowledge, and effective use of the technology and tools at their disposal.
An agency experienced in sales enablement training can help keep your sales team engaged in continuing education via regular training sessions and opportunities for Q&A.
At JTN Group, for example, our sales enablement services combine strategy, tools, and ongoing training to unlock sales teams’ prospecting and closing skills. We find that better training results in fewer bottlenecks and missed opportunities while freeing up sales reps to focus on high-value activities.
Building a dedicated sales enablement team will help you drive your strategy forward more quickly. This team is responsible for curating content, analyzing data, and ensuring sales enablement efforts align with your organization’s goals.
Your team can be as small or as large as you desire, depending on your needs and budget. A startup enterprise might rely on cross-departmental roles to implement sales enablement, while large organizations might have a dedicated team with segmented roles to oversee different aspects of enablement for various product lines.
Typical team roles might include:
You might start with just a few dedicated enablement roles and ramp up as your organization grows. Your branding agency can help you determine the most critical roles for your organization.
Whatever tools, platforms, strategies, and team members you incorporate, it’s crucial to measure the impact of your sales enablement initiatives. Establishing and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you identify strengths and weaknesses in your enablement strategy.
Your KPIs might change over time or from one campaign to the next. Common enablement KPIs may include:
Aligning sales and marketing efforts can directly impact sales performance and improve revenue growth. The more your sales reps have the right content, tools, and training at their fingertips, the easier it is for them to do their jobs well and meet their goals.
In this section, we’ll explore the ways sales enablement boosts sales performance.
A core tenet of sales enablement is creating content that aligns with the needs and pain points of your target audience.
Sales teams armed with content tailored to specific buyer personas can engage prospects more effectively. They can address prospects’ concerns, personalize the sales process, and engage prospects at each buying stage.
Hyper-targeted content ensures sales reps have answers and resources ready during sales conversations, building trust and smoothing the sales process.
Compared to traditional marketing, content marketing can generate three times as many leads per dollar spent and costs 62% less. Moreover, it can produce more qualified leads — people who are genuinely interested in your solutions and are likely to be receptive to nurturing and follow-ups after initial lead capture.
With the right content, training, and tools, your sales teams can guide prospects through the buying journey more efficiently. Sales enablement streamlines the sales process by providing resources that address questions at each stage. Prospects move from awareness to purchase more swiftly when they have their objections handled.
Targeted content aids in lead nurturing by delivering the right information to prospects at the right time. Sales teams can be more agile to keep leads engaged and prevent them from going cold in the pipeline.
Training is vital in sales enablement, empowering sales reps with the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to meet targets and motivating them to excel. In this section, we’ll explore the critical role of training in sales enablement, the various methods available, strategies for creating tailored training programs, and the importance of continuous learning for sales teams.
Sales enablement training equips your sales force with the necessary skills and knowledge to engage prospects effectively, close deals efficiently, and adapt to evolving market dynamics. Training empowers sales reps with product knowledge, selling techniques, and market insights, boosting their confidence and effectiveness.
Proper training also ensures that all members of the sales team deliver a consistent brand message and adhere to best practices. It helps sales teams adapt to changes in customer behavior and market conditions, keeping organizations competitive.
Sales enablement training comes in various forms, and organizations can choose the methods and platforms that best suit their needs:
Combining various methods can help create a well-rounded training program that suits a range of learning styles.
Effective training programs are tailored to the specific needs of your sales team and organization. Here are some tips for creating customized training:
Sales enablement training is not a one-time activity but rather a commitment to continuous learning. Organizations that invest in ongoing education have a competitive advantage, as their sales teams are better prepared to adapt to industry shifts.
Ongoing training helps your teams stay up-to-date with evolving market dynamics, customer preferences, and technologies. In addition, regular training hones your sales team’s skills. Even seasoned professionals need to stay in practice and can benefit from accessing expert sales insights and learning new techniques.
In sales, success comes down to sales reps’ ability to build relationships, close deals, and exceed targets. Sales enablement empowers these reps to thrive even amid challenges.
Organizations around the globe are prioritizing sales enablement activities. We’re seeing sales enablement teams become increasingly vital in light of a changing global landscape for organizations everywhere.
In part, sales leaders are recognizing the need to shift following a slump. Over 40% of sales leaders missed revenue targets as a result of the pandemic, causing them to evaluate their teams’ approach to sales, according to one HubSpot report. Top performers came out ahead by adapting their sales models during a turbulent year, enabling their teams with technology and tools, and using data to discover coaching opportunities.
To equip sales teams with success, focus on the following critical aspects of sales enablement.
You can’t force sales enablement on your sales and marketing teams. Encouraging adoption and collaboration will make your teams more likely to embrace enablement and get excited about results.
Focus on training and acclimating salespeople to enablement processes and dedicating resources toward enablement initiatives. From there, continue scaling your enablement programs and teams as your organization grows.
You have numerous options for implementing sales enablement programs. Your organization’s industry, operational structure, and sales strategy will largely dictate which tools you use. Here are some questions to address as you decide on your sales enablement tech stack:
By thoroughly addressing these questions, you can make informed decisions about your sales enablement tech stack that will allow your organization to enhance sales efficiency and effectiveness.
Sales enablement is multifaceted, and there is no “one size fits all” for every organization. However, there are some best practices to follow that can help you design a strategy that works for your organization.
With research, reviews, and information available at the tap of a button on mobile or desktop devices, buyers are coming into sales conversations well-informed. As a result, sellers have less influence on customer decisions.
Gartner reports that among various buying activities, buyers spend just 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers. Furthermore, they spend only about 5% or 6% of the time with any one sales rep. The remaining time involves online research and other independent activities.
To catch buyers’ attention amid the myriad research they’re doing on their own, sellers must be prepared for a complex and non-linear buyer journey. Find ways to deliver value via helpful content to make decision-making easier and minimize buyer’s remorse.
The buyer’s journey involves multiple decision-makers. You need to provide content that helps each of them complete their job in the buying process. Gartner identifies those jobs as being:
This “buyer enablement” process enables key stakeholders to complete their buying jobs and move the decision through the process. Ultimately, the final decision isn’t one magical step but a series of decisions that leads a buying team to one conclusion: that a particular product or service is the best solution to its needs.
Track, measure, and analyze results based on the sales enablement KPIs you identify for your organization. In this way, you can refine your approach and continue fine-tuning your enablement strategies for success. Your agency partner should also be able to help highlight successes and opportunities for improvement.
In the fast-paced world of sales, efficiency and effectiveness are the keys to success. Sales enablement helps to streamline processes, harness automation, and utilize technology to boost sales team productivity. In this section, we will explore how Sales Enablement plays a pivotal role in maximizing both efficiency and effectiveness.
Sales enablement is the compass that guides sales teams through intricate sales processes. It simplifies workflows, minimizes unnecessary steps, and optimizes each interaction with a potential buyer. Here are some of the ways sales enablement streamlines the sales process:
With automated tasks and streamlined processes, sales reps spend more time engaging with prospects, leading to a higher number of meaningful interactions. Sales enablement also facilitates efficient onboarding, so new hires can get up to speed quickly and become productive team members in short order.
With access to personalized content and messaging, sales reps can engage customers more effectively, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
While the value of sales enablement training in improving sales performance is undeniable, organizations often seek concrete evidence of ROI to justify their initiatives. In this section, we’ll delve into quantifiable aspects of the ROI of sales enablement training and discuss the long-term benefits and sustainability of this strategic investment.
Consider the immediate and long-term impacts of sales enablement training on your organization’s bottom line. Here are key factors to consider.
Sales enablement training is not a quick fix; it’s an investment that yields enduring benefits. Sales reps continue to benefit from ongoing training, contributing to sustained performance improvement. As markets evolve, enablement training keeps sales teams adaptable and responsive to change.
A well-trained and empowered sales force is more likely to stay with your organization, reducing turnover costs. Moreover, organizations that invest in sales enablement training gain a competitive edge, leading to long-term market leadership.
Sales enablement is a dynamic field that continually evolves to meet the changing needs and preferences of buyers and sellers. To stay ahead in this landscape, it’s essential to keep a close eye on the top emerging trends in this space like those below.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming integral to sales enablement. AI-driven tools can analyze vast amounts of data to provide insights into customer behavior, predict buying patterns, and recommend personalized content and messaging for sales reps. Expect to see further integration of AI in sales processes to enhance productivity and effectiveness.
Buyers today expect highly personalized and interactive content. Sales enablement platforms are adapting to this demand by providing tools for creating dynamic and tailored content that engages prospects at a deeper level. Content may include interactive presentations, personalized videos, quizzes, animations, and more.
Reaching prospects wherever they are means engaging them through all kinds of communication channels. Email, chat, social media, video, phone, and other channels are all important during the buying process, and customers want it all. Along with utilizing these channels, you can create tailored content that speaks to your buyers’ needs.
Sales enablement platforms are becoming increasingly popular as sales teams adopt emerging technologies. These platforms combine various sales and marketing functions to centralize communications, content, coaching, and analytics. They’re also equipped with automation to increase efficiencies across teams.
Expect sales enablement platforms to grow in adoption as sales leaders align sales strategies and processes with organizational goals.
To gain a competitive advantage in the sales enablement landscape, focus on staying informed and up-to-date with the latest best practices. Here are some final tips on staying ahead in your sales enablement efforts:
As sales enablement continues to evolve, organizations that embrace these emerging trends and stay agile in their approach will be better positioned to drive sales success in the ever-changing marketplace.
In the world of modern business, where competition is fierce and buyer expectations are high, the role of sales enablement has become increasingly evident for sales leaders. As you contemplate the path forward for your organization, remember that your sales enablement strategy must be customized for your organization. Tailor your approach to your unique needs and objectives, invest in training, and embrace the technologies and trends that align with your vision for the future. By doing so, you’ll position your organization for continued growth, competitiveness, and success.