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Sales performance Sept. 15, 2022

What, Why, and How of Sales Enablement

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Sales enablement has come into the spotlight as buyers become more independent and companies become more data-driven in everything they do. But what is sales enablement? Sales enablement aims to help reps sell more effectively by giving them all of the information, tools, and training they need to successfully engage their prospects—and ultimately close the deal.

Sales enablement has come into the spotlight as buyers become more independent and companies become more data-driven in everything they do. But what is sales enablement? Sales enablement aims to help reps sell more effectively by giving them all of the information, tools, and training they need to successfully engage their prospects—and ultimately close the deal.

Developing a Sales Enablement Program

In order to answer the question, “what is sales enablement,” many companies choose to formalize their efforts by creating a sales enablement program. At a minimum, these programs usually include a basic content library containing presentations, brochures, spec sheets, and other information that sales reps can provide to prospects during the sales process. More comprehensive programs might include things like coaching strategies, research reports, and other sales enablement tools designed to support reps behind the scenes.

Why is sales enablement important?

Sales has traditionally been a seller-led business dominated by a handful of salespeople who will stop at nothing to achieve their quotas. The internet has changed how buyers evaluate solutions and make decisions, and some sales veterans are discovering that their well-honed approaches are less effective than they used to be.

61% of buyers cite “providing relevant information” as a hallmark of a positive sales experience while 51% expect a prompt response to their inquiries. Sales enablement programs support both of these expectations and help everyone on the sales force succeed by providing the same knowledge, tools, and resources to everyone—so they can respond quickly and effectively to prospects’ inquiries.

4 Steps to Success with Sales Enablement Tools

It doesn’t matter how many sales enablement tools you provide, they’re only useful if your reps adopt them and incorporate them into their sales processes.

Here are four things you can do to develop top-notch sales enablement tools and help your reps see the value of the resources you’re providing.

1. Develop high-quality customer-focused content.

Content is king in sales enablement, and there are no shortcuts. There’s a reason content marketing has eclipsed most other types of marketing in recent years. Media like blog posts, eBooks, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts, and videos establish authority on a topic and give salespeople creditable resources to point to without having to resort to traditional sales collateral. Both types of content have their place, but authoritative, well-researched, long-form content could be the secret sauce that gives your reps an edge over the competition.

2. Provide ongoing training and professional development.

People are reluctant to use what they don’t understand, so make sure that your reps understand the resources you’re providing, how to use them, and how they can make everyone’s jobs easier. This is why ongoing training is the bedrock of some of the industry’s most effective sales enablement programs. Training should cover a variety of topics from traditional sales training to the art of the pitch to how to use sales enablement tools to improve the sales process. This continually reinforces the information and keeps the tools and resources at the top of everyone’s mind until using them becomes second nature.

3. Create resources that are effective and easy to use.

Sales teams will only see the value of sales enablement tools if they make their jobs easier. This includes ensuring that the resources are easy to find and fit intuitively into your company’s sales processes. Sales is increasingly becoming a customer-centric discipline, so success largely depends on delivering the information buyers want—in the format they prefer. It’s a good idea to conduct ongoing audits to identify the most- and least-used resources and understand why so that you can make the right investments in future materials.

4. Measure and adjust course.

Sales enablement programs generally exist to streamline the sales process and increase revenue. Therefore, it makes sense to measure the validity of your investment by measuring the effects of your sales enablement tools on metrics such as:

  • Average time to close
  • Sales growth
  • Revenue per sales rep
  • Win rate

You might want to check out this article for examples of 21 sales KPIs you should be tracking, and then brainstorm ways in which you could adjust or expand your sales enablement program to support these goals.

You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

While the sales enablement program itself clearly belongs in the sales wheelhouse, the marketing department can be a crucial ally in developing a sales enablement strategy. Most customer-facing content marketing material is usually produced by marketing departments, so forming a partnership could be beneficial in keeping up to date on what’s available as well as influencing which types of content are produced in the future.

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3 Ways Sales Departments Can Improve Their Content Libraries

In some organizations, the sales department produces almost as much content as the marketing department. Here are three tips to help you get the most out of your efforts.

1. Make it a library.

Content that’s scattered across network drives and folders is not living up to its full potential. Centralizing all sales-related content, including marketing-produced content, on an intranet or shared drive ensures that your reps have quick and easy access to a breadth of information whenever they need it. Don’t forget to retire content as it becomes outdated or less effective. One of the main objectives of a sales enablement program is ensuring that sales reps always have top-notch content ready to go when they need it!

2. Don’t overlook case studies.

Case studies can provide one of the most compelling statements as to why a customer should choose your solution. An effective case study showcases the solution and the problem it solved for your customer. Your CRM is a great way to identify potential cases. If you don’t have the skills in-team to tell the story, marketing might be able to help—they might even see video potential.

3. Create email templates and sequences.

Not only can email templates and sequences save time, but they can also make sure that none of your prospects fall through the cracks. While email has been shown to be almost 40 times more effective than social media in acquiring new customers, it can be labor-intensive—which could explain why 70% of sales reps stop after sending one email. Standardized templates that automatically trigger when a prospect has gone cold can save time and improve the chances of receiving a reply—sending more emails increases the chances of hearing back by 25%. Today’s sales automation tools provide the perfect balance of time savings while providing ample customization options for targeted follow-ups.

Beyond Sales Enablement Tools: KPI Dashboards + Gamification Features

KPI dashboards and performing-driving gamification features can help keep sales reps engaged in their work while making the most of the sales enablement tools available to them.

Visualizing sales KPIs—for example on Plecto’s real-time sales performance dashboards—can help boost reps’ interest in how their department is performing while spurring their interest in performing their best.

Over 40% of the Global Fortune 1000 use gamification to drive performance and keep their employees hitting their KPIs. Plecto includes built-in gamification and employee-recognition features like leaderboards, contests, points, badges, and instant notifications to keep everyone motivated.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial and see how these tools can complement your sales enablement strategy and help drive sales performance to new heights!

SAGE CRAWFORD

Content Manager

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