Sales enablement is a bit of a buzzy term, but the idea is simple. At its core, sales enablement is about giving your sales reps the tools they need to convince their prospects and close more deals. Sales enablement initiatives can take many forms, but if you're in marketing, the best way to contribute is through content. In this article, I'll share some of the main best practices you should follow when getting started.
I've come across plenty of B2B companies who see their sales enablement initiatives fizzle out, just six months after launch. Generally speaking, they've failed because they took a top-down, centralised approach that wasn't suited to the company's realities.
This is a common issue, especially when sales reps and marketing experts at B2B companies are often so far apart. To increase your chances of successfully implementing sales enablement in your company, I've gathered up a few of the most important best practices. Follow them, and you can at least get off to a good start.
Follow the sales process
Your sales reps need repeatable steps that can help them guide prospects from initial interest through to close. They need an approach they can rely on, in other words.
To make a new sales process effective, you must first determine what works and what doesn't about your existing process. You need to thoroughly evaluate each step in your sales process to see where salespeople trip up, and where potential customers stall. By assessing the whole dynamic of your potential buyers, you will better understand at what points you need to make changes or apply best practices.
Sales enablement helps your company determine which factors push prospects further through the sales cycle, allowing the whole process to be optimised. In this way, your organisation can continually improve and become more effective.
Tailor your process to the buyer's journey
You should never allow your sales team to bombard a prospect with the standard sales pitch they picked up when they joined the company. Nobody has time to sit through that. Instead, constantly tailor your sales pitches and material to make sure that you address the buyer's challenges, needs and expectations.
Make sure to review them regularly, and never let them remain untouched for an extended period. This will lead to stagnation, and your progress will stall.
Focus on your results
Make sure that your sales enablement approach has clear targets. Sales enablement is still a bit of a trending topic, which means many organisations half-heartedly kick off their sales enablement initiatives in an effort to keep up. But with no clear view of what they plan to achieve, they find it hard to quantify success.
The main objectives of sales enablement are to close more deals, make your business more money, and create relevance for your potential and existing customers. Therefore, you should focus on the figures that reflect these objectives. Before you start, set realistic goals for metrics like deal win rate, revenue per sales rep, and customer satisfaction. Work towards these goals, and make sure to follow up on them and revise them over time.
Designate a DRI
If you want to succeed with sales enablement and want change to happen, you must designate a directly responsible individual (DRI). Putting new projects into effect can be challenging, so choosing a capable sales enablement owner who understands your product and your buyers is crucial to generating the desired sales momentum.
You should see sales enablement as a long-term initiative, not just something you can launch and forget about. To make this happen, it's essential to have a DRI.
Merge sales and marketing
As you move forward, you must blur and erase the lines between these two departments. Sales can't improve without relevant content and input from marketing, but at the same time, marketing is blind without the people who know the customers' realities. Uniting these two departments is the most efficient way to ensure you're creating genuinely captivating stories to hook your potential and existing customers.
Make it easy for your sales reps
When you look at your company's customer journey, do it with an eye towards effortless simplicity. Are there steps in your process that are mundane and avoidable? For example, let's say your outbound sales team reaches out to twenty people a day. If they have to manually look up the next person to contact and find their contact information, they can potentially waste a few minutes. It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up over time.
The same applies to several critical sales enablement elements, like content and messaging. Salespeople spend the central part of their day building or finding content - whether that's a how-to guide or a relevant email template. If you can make it easy for sales reps to access this content when they need it, you'll save time and increase the chances that they'll actually use it.
Create different content for different stages
Not everybody who stumbles across your content is ready to buy from you. Neither is that potential customer sure they even need your solution yet. Feeding your potential and existing customers with information that they're not prepared for is an excellent way to push them away.
It would help a lot if you worked out what different funnel stages your potential and existing customers are in and mould what you're offering based on their requirements at that particular time.
A smooth-running sales enablement programme isn't easy to establish - but hopefully, these steps will put you on the right path. If you want to keep learning more about sales enablement, make sure to take a look at our in-depth guide on the topic. And for more updates from The Onlinification Hub, you can subscribe below.
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.