Sales enablement is the process, practices, technologies and tools that improves the productivity and performance of the sales organization and sales team. Examples of sales enablement include playbooks, processes, collateral, CRM system, success metrics, and sales portals.
The benefit of sales enablement is a better-equipped sales team, all working in unison and speaking the same language internally and to the prospect. When the sales team is all rowing in the same direction, it makes it easier to ramp up new hires, and for existing reps to complete the sales process for higher win rates. Additional benefits include the latest sales information and collateral being easily accessible for desk workers and road warriors alike, and improved collaboration between sales and marketing for better tools and content across the entire organization.
Sales enablement doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. There are simple things you can do to assess your current levels of enablement and the gaps. Start by creating a matrix of the tools your team does have, and honestly assess them in terms of value and usage.
For example, does your sales team have a sales playbook? If so, great start, but is the playbook mapped to buyer personas and a sales process? Does your sales team use the playbook? Is your playbook current? If the answer is no to any of these questions, it’s time to drill down on this sales enablement tool and determine how to make it more effective. Conduct this activity for every tool you do have to determine what’s working, what’s not, and what’s needed.
Another way to better enable your team is to open up the lines of communication with your sales team. Institute 1:1 weekly meetings between managers and reps to stay up to speed on their status, and learn where they may need some help. This information can be used to develop ongoing sales training sessions, where reps can strengthen their skills and learn from one another. Any enablement tool or technology that you introduce to your team will need to be fully trained upon if it’s going to last.
For nearly 15 years, SRi has supported B2B sales teams of all types and industries by building enablement tools and training materials customized to their company culture, sales process, and desired buyer. In this blog, we’ve identified the 11 most important resources to improve sales team performance.
- Case studies: Customer success stories that give the prospect a true narrative about how your product or service solves the problem they are experiencing. Case studies often incorporate customer testimonial, and prove that your company is credible and your product works. Case studies are a good early-stage tool to use before providing actual references further along in the sales process.
- Scripts: Think less word-for-word scripts, more talking points. Scripts are the key messages that you want your sales reps to relay in their prospect communications. Believe us, if these aren’t provided and monitored by sales management, sales reps often go off track and create their own less-effective templates for both email and phone (and more often than not, it’s not pretty!).
- Fact/product sheets: Supporting materials that give the prospect more information about your company and products/services. Fact sheets boost credibility in initial prospect meetings, and are also a good tool to attach to follow-up emails after a first call.
- Competitive analysis: We often share this with reps in the form of “battlecards”, a format that is easy to consume and quick to reference. This tool gives reps information to differentiate and provide value against competitors.
- Corporate slide deck: A slide deck used for presentations in many stages of the sales process, from initial conversation until proposal presentation. As with scripts, sales presentations should be trained upon so that reps are able to put together appropriate presentations, and give them with confidence.
- LinkedIn profile: Everyone in the sales organization should have a LinkedIn and your company should have a page as well. LinkedIn is a tool with multiple purposes; it puts a face to the name when a prospect searches someone on your sales team, it is a great way to connect with prospects after an initial call, it is a helpful aid in list-making and blueprinting, and it allows for sharing of content with networks of customer and prospects.
- Sales processes for new business and account management: Easy-to-understand, well-defined, step-by-step processes that aligns with your prospect/customer’s buying process, instruct reps on every action to take, and is mapped to your CRM system. You should have two sales processes, one for new business and another for existing accounts, as these really are two different sales. Reps will need training on whichever process they are responsible for executing on.
- Call logging and email tracking: Recording of sales communications in CRM for internal review, analysis and training, as well as tracking to ensure that each prospect communication is maximized.
- Training: All the tools in the world aren’t going to help your reps if they don’t know they exist or know how to use them. Conduct training on all new tools and technologies to get reps comfortable with them, and continually monitor usage to make sure enablement tools are being used properly. 1:1s with your reps are a must, and a good opportunity to check-in regularly and get honest feedback about how things are going. Lunch-and-learns and group study sessions are another way to boost team collaboration and teach reps about new sales techniques, products, and more.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Contact management is obviously a critical tool, and you probably already have some kind of system in place. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the right one or that it’s being used to its full potential. There are two things at play here: the first being that it’s difficult to get everyone on the sales team to buy-in and use the CRM regularly and to its limits. Extensive training is generally needed to get to this point. The second is that a CRM is only the first step – there are many add-ons available today that can enhance your CRM and support your sales process, such as call logging, email tracking, marketing automation, and more.
- Sales portal: All sales enablement tools, resources, and training materials should be hosted in a shared place for easy sales team access. There are many different solutions available, such as Dropbox, Box and Sharepoint, to organize and store files. The software you use is less important that the features it provides to make files lightning-fast to find – if your portal is cumbersome, the sales team will not use it. Features such as tagging, user-based search, and mobile-compatibility are features to look for in a sales portal.
You may have some, or all, of these tools already; if so, evaluate what you do have to make sure it’s working properly. If not, consider implementing some of these tools into your sales organization in the coming year. Need help evaluating? Download our sales organization assessment worksheet.
Sales Result can support your sales enablement efforts. Our sales playbooks and processes are proven to decrease ramp times by 50% and get sales teams performing at a higher level with better presentations, scripts, fact sheets, and more. Operationally, we can provide recommendations to improve your CRM and sales portal technologies. If you’re ready to turn more cold leads into closed sales with customized enablement tools, schedule a complimentary consultation with SRi today!