Sales enablement is all about providing your sales organisation with the resources they need to become more relevant to buyers and close more deals. These resources are not just presentations, factsheets, and case studies – also, technology is one of the resources you want to provide your sales team with. In this article, we’ll look more into this part: sales enablement technologies and platforms in specific.
What is a sales enablement platform?
Gartner defines a sales enablement platform as “tools that unite sales enablement functions and customer-facing sales execution. They predominantly feature native capabilities for sales content, sales training, and coaching.” From this definition, we can take away that there is a difference between sales enablement tools and platforms.
If you research sales enablement technologies, you’ll find hundreds of tools. A tool helps your sales organisation to become more relevant or effective in one or several areas. A platform’s goal is to provide all the tools your salespeople might need for this.
Let’s look at a few great sales enablement tools:
- Demodesk is a meeting platform specifically made for sales reps, with some additional tools for rep coaching and meeting schedule.
- Gong is a tool that captures sales rep integrations (calls, meetings, emails, etc.), analyses this, and turns it into insights from which the team can learn and grow.
- PandaDoc is an excellent tool for quick document creation, often used by sales reps to create proposals or personalised brochures.
Not a CRM system
A sales enablement platform is not a CRM. A CRM system is used “for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers” (source: What is CRM? - Salesforce.com). A sales enablement platform focussed purely on making the sale.
Does this mean your data will spread over multiple systems and the single source or truth disappears? Indeed not, a sales enablement platform should always be integrated with your CRM. Or, maybe even better, work as an add-on or integral part of your CRM system. There are a few cases where the CRM supplier also offers a sales enablement platform – for example, HubSpot Sales Hub is the sales enablement platform for HubSpot CRM.
Features of a sales enablement platform
What can you expect if you decide to equip your Sales Development Reps and Sales Executives with a sales enablement platform? What are the features that every sales enablement platform should have?
Below you’ll find the six that are shared by almost every platform:
1. Sales Onboarding & Training
Sales have a high turnover, north of 35% on average (source: Sales Turnover Statistics You Need to Know). This means that it’s great for sales productivity if the onboarding and training of new employees take as little time as possible, ensuring that they are high-quality representatives of your valuable brand. A sales enablement platform helps new hires get started quickly by providing call scripts, playbooks, and other necessary processes and instructions.
2. Content management
Sales reps use lots of content in their sales processes. Presentations, competitor comparisons, reports, factsheets, case studies, and technical documents are some of the many documents buyers can request. A sales enablement platform should make it easy for the reps to find, access, and share content.
Tracking the activities done by potential customers can give valuable insights to your team members and provide triggers on when it is most relevant to contact your leads. Tracking can happen in many forms, and ideally, a sales enablement platform allows you to do all of it: tracking calls, emails, document views, signatures - the whole process.
4. Sales automation
Salespeople like to make a sale; most salespeople do not like data entry or other administrative tasks. A sales enablement platform should help the users automate their work where it’s deemed useful and necessary. This automation includes automatically enriching data and the ‘automation'-ways you might be more familiar with (if action, do this, wait until x happens, if this then that, etc.). In the latter, it often holds an even more personal touch than marketing automation. Marketing automation often heavily leans on email – sales automation might include other media like phone calls, LinkedIn messages, text messages, etc.
Integrating your sales enablement platform with your CRM is crucial: you don’t want data sitting in an isolated system. Besides a CRM integration, sales enablement platforms often have integrations with other tools frequently used by sales reps or other parts of the organisation; think of tools with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, file-sharing tools, meeting tools, or marketing platforms.
When talking to people in sales or sales operations, I get the impression that they are even more interested in metrics than the average marketeer. Therefore, it’s excellent that sales enablement platforms still have this hunger for insights. In my experience, sales enablement platforms try to provide reports and dashboards for everything you could desire; sales productivity, client engagement with content, and sometimes even advanced feedback like the sentiment in a call or the number of times specific keywords or phrases were used.
The six features named here are standard in most sales enablement platforms. However, platforms might add additional features that are also very helpful, like tools for meeting scheduling, virtual meeting hosting, or sales coaching. While these might not be ‘standard’ in a sales enablement platform, they aren’t less valuable. A particular area for hosting sales meetings can be extremely valuable.
Don’t step into the technology trap
I hope this article has been valuable to you and has provided you with a good overview of what a sales enablement platform is and what you can expect from such a platform. However, I do want to leave with a warning: it happens too often that a problem in a sales organisation or sales process is attempted to be fixed by implementing new technology. While, in the best case, this might temporarily lessen the problem; it’s not always the solution. For example, if your demos aren’t converting as you want a sales meeting platform might be the solution; but the problem could also be that your proposition isn’t aligned with your audience.
For more insights into sales enablement, take a look at our detailed sales enablement guide - and for more articles from The Onlinification Hub, subscribe with the button below.