What is sales enablement and how can you do it better?

Estimated reading time
3 minutes
7th April 2020
Author: Nick Mason
Posted in: Sales, Strategy & Planning

Sales enablement is the process of equipping sales teams with the resources that they need to effectively close deals.

The goal: to ensure every salesperson can draw on training, product guides, case studies, videos, blogs, customer quotes, and analytics to guide leads through the buyer journey.

Why is sales enablement important?

Here’s an example of what the world would be like without it:

Without sales enablement

A salesperson is on a call with a potential client in the automotive industry. The salesperson talks broadly about the advantages of the product across the technology industry. They are unable to draw on examples of its success, share any statistics, or send over product guides after the call. 

With sales enablement

A salesperson enters the call already prepared with automotive industry case studies, statistics, and customer testimonials. Once the meeting’s over, they send over a personalized guide specific to the client’s stage in the buyer’s journey.

Who is responsible for sales enablement?

If we’re talking about providing sales teams with resources, who is responsible for owning the process – sales or marketing? 

While sales and marketing teams can sometimes disagree, sales enablement is one of the many areas where the two need to work together. Marketing owns the production of content and sales-specific tools. This includes the production of case studies and videos to share throughout the buying process. Sales teams can draw on these resources for a particular meeting, or send them to clients between discussions to keep up contact throughout the process. 

In order to produce the right resources for a particular client or lead, however, marketing needs the input of sales. With the knowledge of exactly what their client needs to help them convert, sales representatives can feedback to marketing on their content and resource requirements at each stage of the buyer’s cycle. This means that between them, sales and marketing can create successful sales enablement which is personalized to each industry, stage, and client.

How to improve your sales enablement strategy

There are three essential steps to building a sales enablement strategy that gets results:

1. Live and breathe the buyer journey

Ironically, you should try and avoid thinking about the collateral you create as something for sales. It isn’t the salesperson who makes the decision in a transaction, it’s the buyer. You have to identify key moments in the buyer’s journey to reach them with the right content at the right time. Sales and marketing need to have open communication with each other to find the right messaging that resonates through these stages.

2. Personalize all sales messaging

Thanks to new technologies, people expect everything to be tailored to them from communications down to experience. The content your salespeople are sending out to buyers needs to see similar treatment. Custom tailoring documents goes beyond simply adding a name. For example, you can also add logos, references to companies, and add/remove sections depending on that person’s unique interests. This could be time-consuming to do manually. However, it can be incredibly effective, so consider adopting the right tech to personalize at scale.

3. Track the performance of everything

Only 35% of salespeople track the performance of their content. This is a huge mistake. No one would argue that tracking content from a marketing perspective for the purpose of optimization is a bad idea. So, why should sales enablement materials be any different? If a sales cycle with a buyer goes particularly well, you should dig through their engagement metrics to see what content was most effective and when. As a result, you can build the best practice strategies for the rest of the sales team to use.

Keeping your sales team in a position to close deals during the COVID-19 lockdown is challenging, but not impossible. Take a look at these 5 ways to enable a sales team who can’t leave home.