What is Sales Enablement?
The ongoing search for best practices to optimize sales has companies turning to sales enablement strategies. Sales enablement is an umbrella term, encompassing many resources designed to work together to empower sales teams to improve productivity and increase revenue.
There are specific sales enablement applications available, and alternatively, sales management teams have combined multiple resources, such as database management products and ongoing stakeholder training to create a personalized company sales enablement program.
The key to an effective sales enablement strategy is the integration of multiple components, including stakeholder training, marketing content, sales coaching, support, database resources, and workflow optimization. Combining these tools into a cohesive and well-articulated company-wide process unifies all departments around the common goal of enhancing customer experience and increasing the bottom line.
Why is Sales Enablement important?
Sellers are continuously challenged to come up with novel ways to interact with a more sophisticated and independent clientele. Buyers are much more likely to check internet resources and conduct their own product research online before consulting with a sales representative.
Sales enablement can help businesses keep up with ever-evolving buyer expectations. In a digital economy, sales enablement can streamline the time spent by sales and marketing reps adapting new materials that are specific to buyer needs, ultimately helping them convert more leads into customers.
Quality sales enablement technology can also elucidate trends in customer content engagement and link them to sales performance. Sales representatives can better gauge the results of their efforts and become more valuable advisors to management. Sales enablement can give your whole business team a much better view of the big picture!
What are the Benefits of Sales Enablement?
The implementation of a well-functioning sales enablement strategy can have many positive benefits.
- It generates a centralized resource for up-to-date product and marketing content, which can be accessed by all stakeholders.
- It can significantly reduce time spent by sales representatives researching and processing a deal, therefore speeding up the sales cycle.
- It is a repository for training and coaching resources in multiple, flexible formats.
- It streamlines communication between sales representatives, leads, and active customers, thereby fostering more trusting relationships.
- It supplies insights into the results of marketing efforts, so team members can create the content most likely to accelerate the closing of deals.
- It is a resource for all departments in a company, where employees can both add new data and access trends in existing data.
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What Tools Help with Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement technology platforms are made up of two branches of tools: those that are customer-centric and those that are for internal company use.
Customer-centric content is the material that salespeople will provide to the customer. It requires close cooperative management of content between the sales and marketing departments. Resources for internal company use include best practices, research data, and tools for sales training and coaching. Internal company goals may include the use of sales enablement strategies to increase communication between sales reps and the marketing team and have them share insights.
Here are some examples of specific tools that may be included in a sales enablement platform:
- A lead qualification framework
- Company-tailored reporting and analysis tools, such as BI dashboards
- Sales content optimization programs
- Task automation strategies
- CRM software
- Communication automation software for emails, prospecting, and messaging
- Online and self-guided training and certification classes for continuing professional development
What Role Does Content Marketing Play in Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is not synonymous with content marketing, marketing enablement, or sales operations. Rather, an effective sales enablement strategy meshes the efforts of both sales and marketing professionals. “Content creation is a huge element of successful sales enablement. This is where marketing and sales can really put their heads together for the greater good of the company.” – Salesforce
For content creation efforts to be effective, professionals need to take into consideration content organization, type, and distribution. Content should be cataloged and cross-referenced, so it is easily accessible to all stakeholders. It should be directed to buyers’ specific needs and easily personalized. Content needs to be available in digital formats, such as recurring blog posts, white papers, and updated webinars. Finally, marketing content needs to be trackable, allowing for ongoing evaluation of its effectiveness in the sales cycle.
How Does Sales Enablement Work in Concert with Your CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?
Digital technology tools, such as a CRM solution, can be used to integrate sales enablement into both sales representatives’ and managers’ workflows. It can be linked to sales enablement or be a tool within the platform, thus providing business-wide access to all the sales enablement resources. Content libraries can be hosted on the company CRM and can house data vital to sales enablement scoring systems, such as sales reports, as well as metrics such as average sales cycle length, the number of sales representatives achieving quota, and average deal size. Linking a CRM to a sales enablement strategy fosters stronger customer relationships and empowers your team to sell more effectively and efficiently.