The What, Why & How of Sales Enablement

There’s no question that sales and marketing must adapt to the modern B2B buyer’s journey. So much of the purchase process is self-serve, leaving sellers with limited time to stand out from competitors and build relationships with prospects.

That’s why the sales enablement field has exploded in recent years. According to the 2018 Sales Operations Optimisation Study from CSO Insights, nearly 60% of B2B companies have a formal sales enablement program in place. That’s a significant jump from 19% back in 2013.

The reality is that sales enablement has become a critical component of any B2B organisation, which means it is no longer optional. It’s crucial for survival, growth, and success in today’s economy. The following is a guide to help you get started.

WHAT IS SALES ENABLEMENT?

The concept of Sales Enablement is broad, but simply put it means equipping sales professionals with the tools they need to sell more effectively. This can take many forms, but it includes providing the information, technology, training, content, templates, processes and other tools required to successfully engage a buyer throughout the sales process and to best position the seller’s business/brand in the market. 

The goal of sales enablement is to bring together sales, marketing, customer engagement, brand management, and other administrative necessities, in order to optimise sales and enhance the customer experience.

A comprehensive sales enablement strategy that has been implemented well can have a broad and powerful impact on the overarching success of a business, driving market survival, business growth and economic success.

WHY DO WE NEED SALES ENABLEMENT?

Sales Enablement equips sales professionals to conduct a more effective sales process and achieve optimal sales results. From planning the sales process to executing the sale, while continually assessing and improving the end-to-end process, the sales structure is more effective when there’s a clear sales enablement process in place and the necessary tools are available.

HOW IS SALES ENABLEMENT IMPLEMENTED?

To build and then implement a sales enablement strategy there are some key factors to consider.

Firstly, client information, deal background data and all related communication pieces should be collated in one place. It’s important to be able to review and analyse past data in order to prepare for the future – this includes comparing previous great outcomes with previous disastrous deals.

Speak to your colleagues across relevant business areas.  It’s important that the left hand is talking to the right hand through collaboration, communication and feedback in particular between sales and marketing. The two cannot exist as separate silos – they need each other to succeed.

Set your team up for success - give them the tools they need. Using a digital tool that ensures your sales team always has access to the most up-to-date and relevant content is important for their success. Any new sales enablement technology will ideally be able to connect with your existing technology and training tools so your team can learn whilst they’re on the road.

And lastly, investing in change management and the educating and training your people is imperative for sales success. Having the best sales enablement tools is irrelevant unless you invest the time and money into training your people how to use them.

THE BENEFIT OF SALES ENABLEMENT

As competition gets fiercer and more intelligent, Sales Enablement needs to be imbedded in business culture. All in all, a sales enablement culture means your salespeople are equipped with the strategic resources necessary to optimise their potential to gain competitive advantage and to optimise previously unseen opportunities in the market.  

As a result of a sales enablement culture, your business will have in place better cross-function alignment, more reliable data and faster deals, leading to increased sales and revenue.