Sales enablement is a hot topic in sales circles—with good reason.
Once you build an effective sales enablement strategy for your company, you’ll close more deals and generate more money than your CEO will know what to do with. That’s the idea, at least. And we’re here to help you make it happen!
Keep reading to learn what sales enablement is, why it’s important, how to build an effective sales enablement program, and a whole lot more.
What is Sales Enablement?
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.
One of the most interesting things about sales enablement is who owns it. The sales enablement process is owned by both Marketing and Sales.
In most cases, Marketing creates the resources that sellers use to close deals, such as blog posts, video guides, and case studies. Sales then shares these resources with prospects to convert them into paying customers.
But sellers can take a more active role in your sales enablement strategy, too. For example, sales reps can request specific pieces of content from Marketing, based on their experiences in the field. This leads to a more effective sales department.
Why is Sales Enablement Important?
Sales has changed in the last few decades. Your prospects don’t want to be sold to. They want to be guided towards specific solutions that fix their unique problems.
But there’s an issue: sales reps are busier than ever. They have new products to learn about, new sales trends to update themselves on, and new customers to interact with. They don’t have time to hold every prospect’s hand through the sales process.
Fortunately, with a solid sales enablement strategy in place, they won’t have to. They can just send prospects their sales enablement materials at key times.
At the end of the day, sales enablement is important because it empowers sales departments to make more sales. More sales equals more revenue, which equals more success—all without forcing reps to expend more effort.
When Do You Need to Focus on Sales Enablement?
A proven sales enablement program will benefit your company. So, we suggest focusing on sales enablement as soon as you possibly can. Especially if:
- Your sales numbers are subpar. A sales enablement program will help your reps close more deals in less time, without expending more effort.
- Your sales reps are too busy. Proper sales enablement helps reps become more productive, allowing them to complete more tasks on a daily basis.
- Your top sellers close 80% of your deals. Every company has a couple of top sellers. You want to make sure that your top sellers aren’t doing all of the work. Sales team enablement helps low achievers achieve more so that your company’s revenue isn’t completely dependent on one or two reps.
- You want to accomplish bigger goals. As mentioned above, sales enablement will help you make more sales and drive more revenue. If you want to accomplish more, implement a sales enablement program.
The Foundations of a Sales Enablement Program
You can enable your sales reps in two different ways: you can create content that reps can pass along to prospects, and you can provide reps with the training and tools they need to supercharge their selling abilities. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Content that reps give to prospects
Blog posts, video demonstrations, and case studies are just a few examples of content that your sales reps can send to prospects. Each is designed to educate potential buyers and move them further along the buyer’s journey.
When sales reps have access to this kind of sales enablement content, they’ll be able to close deals more consistently. Why? Because the content will do a lot of the heavy-lifting for them, allowing your reps to serve more prospects at a time.
Training and tools given to sales reps
In-person training seminars, video-based classes, and sales enablement software are examples of internal resources that can help your team make more sales, too.
Think about it this way: any guitarist can join a blues band. But very few guitarists can play like Eric Clapton. That’s because few people have committed themselves to the instrument like Mr. Clapton has. (Most people don’t have his natural talent, either. But that’s besides the point.) Clapton’s dedication to the guitar is what makes him great and allows him to serenade us with incredible music.
The point: proper training can help turn average sellers into great ones.
Let’s stretch the analogy a bit further: Eric Clapton doesn’t need a $10,000 guitar to make those sweet, sweet melodies. He can do it on a $100 ax from Walmart. But, expensive guitars generally sound better and are easier to play, which makes it easier for Mr. Clapton to create the music he hears in his head.
The point: sales enablement software can elevate your entire sales department, making it easier for each individual seller to close more deals.
Benefits of Sales Enablement
We touched on the benefits of sales enablement. Now it’s time to dig deeper. Here are seven advantages you’ll enjoy once you build a sales enablement program.
Improved training and faster onboarding
According to Forrester, sales enablement can reduce ramp time by 24%, empowering new hires to become meaningful contributors quicker.
It makes sense. When new sales reps are given access to your sales enablement library, they’ll be able to run through the materials on their own time and at their own pace. And when they have access to your sales enablement software, they’ll be able to implement the things they’ve learned in the most efficient way possible.
Reps spend more time selling
Why do you hire sales reps? To make sales for your company. A proven sales enablement program will give them more time to do that.
Reps won’t have to waste hours searching for the right materials to send prospects. They’ll simply access the library of tools and updated collateral available to them, which they can leverage to boost their productivity levels.
We should mention that sales enablement software, while not entirely necessary, can boost rep productivity even more. How? Sales enablement software helps reps easily access the materials they need, when they need them—from anywhere.
Sales enablement software limits data entry tasks, too, as this kind of tool integrates with your CRM so that notes taken in the field are automatically cataloged.
Alignment between sales and marketing
Your company will enjoy more success when its sales and marketing teams are aligned. Fortunately, a winning sales enablement process can help with this.
Sales enablement can’t happen without input from both of your Sales and Marketing teams. The simple act of building a sales enablement strategy will automatically bring these two departments together.
In addition, your sales enablement platform will act as a single source of truth for your company: marketing will create content and store it in your sales enablement software, then sales will access said content when they need it. The result is simple, effective collaboration that leads to more sales for your organization.
Greater sales readiness
Are your reps ready to make sales? They will be once you implement a sales enablement program. That’s what the process is all about!
Once your reps have access to proper sales and product training, as well as content they can share with prospects, they’ll have everything they need to close deals consistently. In other words, they’ll be ready to do their jobs.
Personalized buyer experiences
Modern buyers want personalized service. A sales enablement platform makes this much easier to deliver, thanks to integrations with CRM tools.
Once you integrate your sales enablement and CRM systems, your reps will be able to access customer details during sales conversations. They can then use these details to personalize the buyer experience and make more sales.
Higher close rates
What do you get when you combine better training, greater sales readiness, and personalized buying experiences? Higher close rates. It’s almost inevitable.
When your reps are trained to do their jobs, they’ll be able to do them with more success. When your reps are prepared for every scenario, they won’t lose sales when things go awry. And when your reps create personal buying experiences, each customer will be more likely to pull the trigger and make a purchase.
So, what’s the point of all this? Why spend time developing a sales enablement program? Why invest money in a sales enablement platform?
Because doing these things will lead to more revenue for your company.
Your goal, as a sales department, is to make as many sales as you possibly can. More sales, more money, more success. It’s all within reach. You just have to invest in sales enablement. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how in the next section.
How to Develop a Successful Sales Enablement Strategy
We’ve talked about why sales enablement is important. Now it’s time to explain how to take advantage of it for your company. Just follow these steps:
Get 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 covered in this article. Feel free to throw in a few of these statistics, too—just to make sure the benefits are understood.
- 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?
Remember, 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, clarify 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 specify:
- 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.
For example, you may find, after analyzing the data, that your sales process results in a high number of demos every month. Your close rate, however, is less than stellar. 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.
Create and map content to the buying process
Now that you’ve optimized your sales process, you can map content to it.
First, audit your company’s content. What pieces do you already have? And how successful is each one? Make sure you include blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, ebooks, videos, and email templates in your audit.
Second, match content to each stage of the buyer’s journey. In general, blog posts should be saved for the beginning of the journey, ebooks and whitepapers for the middle, and case studies for the end—but you’ll have to decide that for yourself.
Third, create new content to fill the holes in your buyer’s journey. (Or, to replace old, outdated content that doesn’t perform very well.)
Here’s a good content map to help you understand the types of content and topics you need at each stage of the buyer journey:
Top-of-Funnel (TOFU) Content – This kind of content 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 – This kind of content should focus on solution awareness and make up about 40% of your content. Examples include webinars, videos, blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, and hero content.
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 – This kind of content 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?”
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 your reps can focus 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 sellers 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 an astonishing 46%.
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 is easier 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.
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.
Important Sales Enablement Metrics
As mentioned above, you need a way to report on your sales enablement efforts. These five metrics will give you the information you need:
Your win rate measures the percentage of opportunities that your sales team converts into paying customers. If you have 100 opportunities in your pipeline and convince 45 of them to buy your company’s products, your win rate would be 45%
This metric tells you how successful your sales team is at making sales. It should go up once you implement a sales enablement program.
A sales quota is the number of sales each rep in your department is expected to close within a specific time period, i.e. one month, quarter, or year.
A successful sales enablement program will make it easier for reps to hit their quotas, thanks to the content and training materials they’ll have access to. Once you invest in sales enablement, your reps should meet quota more consistently.
Average Sales Price
How much is each closed deal worth to your company? You want your reps to hit their quotas—but only if doing so results in more revenue.
Closing a large number of small deals might not propel your company forward in the same way that closing a small number of large deals will. That’s why it’s important to analyze the average sale price metric for your sales department.
If you’re not happy with your average sale price, work with your sales enablement team to create new content that will promote higher-value deals.
Sales Cycle Length
The shorter your sales cycle, the quicker your company gets paid.
This is especially important in terms of B2B sales enablement, where deals can take months to complete. Nobody wants to wait that long!
Analyze the sales length cycle metric to see how long it takes your team to guide prospects through the buying journey. Doing so will help you better plan the future. It will also give you a chance to identify friction points.
Are your reps doing things to stall sales? If so, you need to remove them. Once you do, your team will be able to close deals at a much quicker clip.
Sales Collateral Performance
Finally, pay attention to the way your marketing collateral performs.
One of the easiest ways to measure this is to track the number of times your sales reps use the content at their disposal. If your content gets used, you can assume it helps reps make sales. If it doesn’t, you may need to create something new.
Even if your reps use your sales enablement content, we suggest analyzing it on a regular basis. Can it be optimized to increase sales?
Enable Your Sales Team With SPOTIO
There’s no doubt about it, sales enablement is important.
Once you implement a sales enablement program, you’ll be able to onboard new sales reps faster, boost their productivity levels, ensure they offer personalized experiences to prospects, improve your close rates, and drive more revenue.
While it does take work to build a sales enablement program, it will be much easier to manage with a sales enablement tool like SPOTIO, which gives users access to:
Document management: Sales reps need easy access to enablement content. That way they can quickly distribute blogs, case studies, and other materials. SPOTIO allows users to store all of their files, including PDFs, Microsoft Word and Excel documents, PNGs and JPEGs, and even MP4s.
Activity tracking and reporting: You build strategy—that’s your sales enablement role. Your reps, on the other hand, are the ones that have to implement strategy. With SPOTIO, you can easily track their activities so that you always know why they achieve the results they do, and how to proceed. For example, are low sales a result of poor effort or training? SPOTIO has the answer to this question and many more.
Sales intelligence: SPOTIO’s analytics dashboard will tell you everything you need to know about your sales enablement process. Wondering what the best time to prospect is? Or which territories produce the most sales? SPOTIO removes guesswork so that you can build a better sales enablement strategy in less time.
Task automation: You hired your reps to sell. Unfortunately, without SPOTIO, they’ll spend a majority of their time on non-selling activities, such as data entry. Boost rep productivity by giving them access to robust task automation. SPOTIO includes automated CRM data capture, as well as proven templates for sales calls, emails, and even texts, which reps can use to communicate with prospects effectively.
Sales sequencing: Speaking of communication, SPOTIO is a fully-featured prospect engagement tool. Your sales reps can use it to create automated sales sequences that help them stay in touch with their leads. Schedule and track visits, calls, emails, and texts that help propel your sales enablement strategy forward.
Route planning: You manage a field sales team, which means your reps spend a majority of their time outside the office. It’s an effective way to close deals, but it can also kill productivity levels. Why? Because it takes time to drive from prospect to prospect. With SPOTIO, your reps can plan the most efficient routes between sales meetings with one click, reducing their windshield time in the process.
Territory mapping: Which prospects should your reps focus on? The ones in their territory. Use SPOTIO to cut territories by zip code and make sure that none of them overlap. Then assign them to the most qualified reps. Doing so will ensure your sales enablement strategy has the best chance of succeeding.
Customer mapping: You have to know who your customers are and where they’re located before you can sell to them. SPOTIO will give you these details at a glance, thanks to the platform’s visualization features. Every lead in your pipeline will appear on a map, and can be color-coded to represent their current pipeline stage, the result of a rep’s last visit with them, or anything else you want. This feature makes it much easier for reps to put sales enablement strategies into action.
CRM integrations: Last, but certainly not least, SPOTIO integrates with a variety of popular tools, including CRM software like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, HubSpot, Zoho, Pipedrive, and more. It doesn’t matter what CRM you use, SPOTIO can be used alongside it to aid your sales enablement efforts.
SPOTIO is the ultimate sales enablement software for field sales teams. Request a demo today to see if SPOTIO is the right tool for your unique company.