We’re going to give it to you straight: the buying process has changed.
Consumers used to come to sales reps to glean information about the products and services they were interested in. These days, consumers do a bulk of their research online, before they ever connect with a representative at a company.
To build a healthy sales department you need to account for these changes. One way to do that is to invest in a sales enablement strategy.
In this article, we’ll explain why sales enablement strategies are vital to your organization’s success and how to develop one for your specific field sales team.
Why do you need a sales enablement strategy?
Sales enablement is the process of providing sales reps with the resources they need to close deals at a consistent clip. Said resources often include written and video content, software tools and templates, and in-person training seminars.
Make sense? Great, now let’s talk about why you need a sales enablement strategy. There are plenty of reasons, but here are the most important ones:
- Sales enablement aligns teams around common goals.
- Sales enablement makes it easy to decide what content to create.
- Sales enablement allows teams to better allocate resources and get results.
Despite these benefits, only 77.1% of large companies and 39.3% of small businesses have a sales enablement plan in place. Worse, 90% of B2B sellers don’t use the sales enablement materials available to them.
What does this mean? That you have a wonderful opportunity in front of you…
How to Develop a Successful Field Sales Enablement Strategy
By building an effective sales enablement framework for your company, you’ll give your reps the tools they need to sell more. Just use these tips and tricks:
Start with executive buy-in
You can’t build a sales enablement program without executive buy-in. So, before you do anything else, talk to your company’s leaders and get them on board.
In most cases, you’ll just need to explain to them the benefits of sales enablement, which we briefly covered above, and cover in-depth in this article. Feel free to throw in a few of these statistics, too—just to make sure the benefits are clear.
- Organizations with sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on forecasted deals, compared to 42.5% for those without.
- 84% of sales reps achieve their quotas when their employer incorporates a best-in-class sales enablement strategy.
- On average, companies that invest in training and coaching their employees can expect a 353% return on investment.
Identify Your Sales Enablement Team
Next, figure out who will be a part of your sales enablement team. Will you appoint people you already employ to these roles? Or do you need to hire new staff?
To clarify, both Sales and Marketing teams contribute to sales enablement. So make sure your sales enablement team includes professionals from each field.
Once you’ve chosen your team, specify their roles. Decide who will:
- Choose a sales enablement platform for your team.
- Design your sales department’s onboarding strategy.
- Create sales playbooks and other content for sales reps.
- Analyze data to evaluate the success of your sales enablement efforts.
Define Your ICPs
Your company’s ideal customer profile, ICP for short, is essential to its success. Without it, your sales reps won’t know who to target. This will waste valuable time, kill your conversion rate, and lead to inter-department turmoil.
You can avoid all of these things by clearly defining your ICP before you develop a sales enablement strategy for your organization. Your ICPs should summarize:
- The industry that your ideal customer operates in
- The number of employees that your ideal customer has
- The kind of budget that your ideal customer has to work with
- The chief decision maker at your ideal customer
Note: If you already have ICPs, look them over. Are they still relevant? If not, take a few hours to update them. You’ll be glad you did!
Set Sales Goals And KPIs
What do you want your sales enablement program to achieve? Try to be as specific as you can when setting goals, as they will determine which KPIs you focus on.
For example, you might want to build a sales enablement strategy to help your worst sellers reach quota. To track this goal, you can set KPIs like conversion rate, average revenue per sale, and quota attainment for each of your reps.
You should also track specific pieces of content. Are they generating the results you want them to? Or do you need to create new pieces that perform better?
Review The Current Sales Process
Next, take a look at your current sales process. Are you happy with it? You’re reading a blog post on sales enablement, so we’re guessing the answer is “no.”
The question is, why?
During your sales process audit, look for bottlenecks in the buyer’s journey, areas of friction that lower conversion rates, and anything else that prohibits your reps from making sales. Then try to fix and/or remove them as soon as possible.
After analyzing the data, for example, you may find that your sales process results in tons of demos every month. Your close rate, however, is less than ideal.
Knowing this, you can look for ways to improve your conversion rates by focusing on helping reps deliver better demos, providing more case studies, or assets to position your company more effectively versus the competition.
Audit your existing enablement materials
What content have you already created?
Study these pieces to see which resonate with your target audience and which get ignored. Then decide to either eliminate the poor-performers from your library, or refresh them, so that they can actually help your sales reps close deals.
Your current content can also inform the kind of content you create next. For example, if an eBook titled, “101 Motivational Quotes to Get You Through the Work Week” is popular, perhaps a blog post on “5 Inspirational Leaders” will be, too.
Lastly, make sure every piece of sales enablement content you have is easy to understand and use. If they’re not, your reps will ignore them.
Fill your content gaps
After auditing your sales enablement materials, you’ll know exactly which kinds of content perform well and which your target audience could care less about.
The process will also help you identify gaps in your sales enablement strategy.
Maybe you have tons of high-performing top-of-funnel content. But your middle- and bottom-of-funnel content is severely lacking. Once this becomes clear, you can put more effort towards mid and bottom funnel content than top funnel content.
(We share more information on top, middle, and bottom funnel content below.)
Note: filling gaps is different than identifying popular content and creating similar / adjacent versions, as described above. Filling gaps is about addressing the holes in your current sales enablement processes, while creating similar content is about attracting more prospects and improving the buyer experience.
Create industry-specific case studies
Few pieces of content benefit sales enablement strategies quite like case studies.
Adding a few of these to your company’s content library will be like pouring rocket fuel onto your sales efforts—as long as you create them the right way, of course.
First, find customers who LOVE your products and/or services. You can identify them by tracking which ones have spent the most money with your company, used your offerings for the longest period of time, written positive reviews, etc.
Second, approach your top customers and ask if they’d be willing to partner with you to create a case study. Offer them an incentive if needed.
Third, ask an experienced team member, or hire an outside professional, to create the case study for you. Keep in mind, video case studies tend to be more effective in this day and age. But written case studies are still highly beneficial.
Map Content To The Buying Process
Now that you’ve optimized your sales process, you can map content to it. Doing so could boost your department’s close rate by as much as 8.1%.
We suggest segmenting all of your content into one of three categories: top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of funnel content. Here’s a bit more detail on each category and the kind of material they should contain:
Top-of-Funnel (TOFU) Content – According to HubSpot, 19% of buyers want to connect with salespeople during the “Awareness Stage” of the funnel.
The kind of content you create for the top of the funnel should focus on brand and problem awareness and make up about 40% of your content library. Examples include videos, trend/benchmarking reports, infographics, blogs, and advertorials.
When creating TOFU content, ask yourself questions like, “Who is our company and what do we do?” and “Is the way we do business working for our audience?”
Middle-of-Funnel (MOFU) Content – The same HubSpot article referenced above claims that 60% of buyers want to connect with salespeople during the “Consideration Stage” of the funnel, making it the most popular time, by far.
The kind of content you create for the middle of the funnel should focus on solution awareness and make up another 40% of your content library. Examples include webinars, videos, blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, and infographics.
When creating MOFU content, ask yourself questions like, “Why should our audience care?” and “How does this solve their problem?”
Bottom-of-Funnel (BOFU) Content – Lastly, 20% of buyers want to connect with salespeople during the “Decision Stage” of the funnel.
The kind of content you create for the bottom of the funnel should focus on product awareness and make up the last 20% of your sales enablement materials. Examples include case studies, brochures, product videos, testimonials, peer reviews, recorded demos, ROI calculators, website, and survey results.
When creating BOFU content, ask yourself questions like, “What value does our product provide?” and “Why should our audience choose our solution?”
Understand your customer’s desired touchpoints
To succeed in sales, you have to understand your ideal customers. That’s why we always encourage sellers to study their industries, create ICPs for their companies, interview their current customers, and otherwise learn about their buyers.
When you know your target audience like the back of your hand, you’ll know when to reach out to new prospects and which channel(s) to use.
Do your prospects want to be contacted at the beginning, middle, or end of the buyer’s journey? And do they want to be contacted by phone or email, or would they rather you swing by their office so that you can talk in-person?
These are important questions. Get the answer right, and you’ll make more sales. Get it wrong and you’ll drive potential customers to the competition.
Make Collateral Accessible At The Moment It Is Needed
Your sales enablement collateral is the blog posts, case studies, etc. that your team has worked hard to create. But all of that hard work goes down the drain if sales reps can’t access the materials they need, when they need them.
The best way to enable your sales team is to invest in a sales enablement platform, like SPOTIO, which will make it easy to store, organize, find, and share your collateral. We’ll talk more about sales enablement software in a bit—stay tuned!
Automate Repetitive Sales Workflows
Sales enablement is about empowering your reps. You can do this by giving them access to training and sales collateral, which they can use to increase sales. You can do it by simplifying your sales process so that reps can focus more on selling, too.
The best sales enablement platforms allow sales teams to automate repetitive workflows, such as data entry tasks, so that they don’t have to do them.
When your reps can focus more of their time on closing deals, they’ll be more effective, enjoy their jobs more, and become higher-value assets for your company.
With a tool like SPOTIO, field sales reps won’t have to worry about logging prospect interactions and passing notes to CRMs—SPOTIO will do it for them, automatically, which will boost their productivity levels by up to 46%.
Thanks to SPOTIO, field reps also have the power to create messaging templates and even automated sales sequences. Once they do, they’ll be able to schedule follow up emails and texts, as well as call and visit reminders. The result? No prospect, big or small, will ever fall through the cracks again.
Promote Team Collaboration
Sales enablement requires collaboration. This is a good thing, as studies show that collaboration improves employee engagement, productivity and happiness.
Most Marketing and Sales teams don’t collaborate very well. Marketing generates leads, then wonders if Sales act on them. Meanwhile, Sales looks at the leads that Marketing generates and wonders why they don’t target XYZ customers instead.
Neither side communicates with the other, which creates hostility between departments and prevents peak efficiency. Sales enablement strategies solve this.
Empower Your Team With Sales Enablement Software
Sales enablement software is the secret ingredient to sales success.
You don’t need it, just like you don’t need to wrap your filet mignon in bacon. But sales are easier to come by with sales enablement software, just as steak is better when it wears a zesty pork jacket. These are simple facts of life, friend.
The main thing you have to decide is which sales enablement software to use.
There are a lot of options available to you. But if you’re in field sales, you can’t go wrong with SPOTIO. Why? Because it was specifically designed for field sales teams. As such, it has all the features your field reps need.
Provide Ongoing Training and Support
If you want your sales enablement strategy to succeed, you have to give it the attention it deserves. You can’t take a “set it and forget it” approach.
This means you’ll need to invest in ongoing training for your sales reps.
The better they understand the sales enablement materials in your library, the more likely they’ll be to use them. The more they use them, the more sales they’ll make. And more sales will show them the true benefits of your sales enablement plan, motivating them to continue learning about and using your content. Win!
Standardize Reporting And Analysis
Finally, you need a way to report on your sales enablement efforts. That way you can prove to upper management that they’re working. Or, if they’re not, approach your boss with a plan, backed by research, that will help you achieve more.
Look to create reports for metrics like win rate, quota attainment, average sales price, sales cycle length, and sales collateral performance.
Once again, SPOTIO is ideally suited for this purpose.
Our platform’s “My Reports” feature allows users to generate custom reports that align with their department’s specific goals and KPIs. Want to track individual rep’s conversion rates? Simply add it to your report. Could you care less about territory information? Remove it from your report just as easily.
Enable Your Sales Team
Your company’s sales enablement strategy is vital to its success in 2022 and beyond.
Once you develop the right plan, your employees will be more aligned, you’ll have a better idea of how to allocate resources, and your reps will close more deals than ever before.
As mentioned above, the right technology will empower your sales enablement processes and allow reps to be more effective. For field sales teams, the “right technology” means SPOTIO.
With SPOTIO, field sales reps can automate menial tasks, design customized sales sequences, schedule emails and texts that link to top performing content, and track the important KPIs they need. Sign up for a free demo of SPOTIO today to learn more.