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What is Sales Enablement?

9 mins read

Although talk of sales enablement is dominating the inbound marketing world, there’s currently no universally-accepted definition. However, everyone who’s involved in any capacity can agree that it’s all about equipping sales teams with the relevant content and training so that they can not only focus on the better-qualified leads, but also be in a position where they can actually close them.

Paige and Will

Basically, it’s a process that helps your sales team do their job better. If you’re pulling your hair out and still asking yourself ‘What is sales enablement?’ then continue reading to find out more about what sales enablement is, who should own it in your business and more.

What is Sales Enablement?

HubSpot states that sales enablement is the technology, processes and content that will empower your sales team to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. But it can be stretched a little further than that.

Sales enablement is an ongoing process; it’s not a step-by-step guide or blueprint that you can implement and never fine-tune again. It’s all about strategy. It’s to equip your sales team to constantly have effective engagements with good-fit prospects and customers throughout their buyer’s journey.

The sales enablement strategy you, your sales team and your marketing team formulate will revolve around getting the right information into the hands of your sales team at the right time so they’re in a solid position to move a sales opportunity forward.

What does this mean for you? It helps to drive revenue by eliminating guesswork and wasting less time on poor leads.

Remember, sales enablement might sound like it’s all about your sales team, but the primary focus should be the buyers. Think about it - the reason sales enablement has become a thing in the first place is so that your sales team can be given the resources a buyer wants.

Don’t worry, we’ll cover the types of content your marketing team should be throwing towards your sales team further below. But the main point is that the information or content needs to be easy to consume and also reusable by your sales team.

Although, that content could be useless if your sales team aren’t aware of how to actually use the resources proved to them, That’s why training, technology and development are also big parts of sales enablement, and another aspect we’ll cover.

The Benefits of Sales Enablement

When done right, sales enablement can be a highly effective strategy for increasing the overall level of productivity and effectiveness of your sales team. When they’re equipped with resources and training, they can have more valuable conversations with qualified leads.

When they do have access to virtually anything they need to convince a lead to make a purchase and when this is done over time - as it’s not something you can achieve overnight - sales enablement can have heaps of benefits for your sales and marketing teams as well as your business as a whole.

Mayzin and Paul in a meeting

1. More Buyer Knowledge = More Effective Conversations

It’s simple - the more your sales team knows about your buyers, the more effective conversations they can have with prospects and buyers that they’re talking to. When your sales team has the relevant insights into buyer behaviour, pain points, challenges and motivations, they can essentially use that to succeed.

This is done by your sales team catering the conversation to appeal to each individual buyer’s unique interests and needs. By ditching a generic one-size-fits-all approach, the chances of making a sale increases substantially.

2. Can Effectively Stay in Touch With the Buyers

One of the most annoying things your sales team probably comes across is wasting time engaging in random phone calls to follow-up with leads that may or may not be interested in what you’re offering.

With sales enablement, your sales team can continue to nurture qualified leads by providing prospects and leads with relevant information, insights and value based on their unique needs.

This means your business will always be at the front of a buyer’s mind until they’re ready to make a decision. By using data, those conversations can be a lot more interesting.

3. Build Genuine Relationships

A salesperson in your team that knows the name of the buyer they’re on the phone to and is familiar with their needs, pain points and challenges will leave an impact. Rather than hearing the same generic message, a buyer who hears their name on the other end of the call will think, ‘Whoa, this person knows my name and knows what I want. I like them.’

Sales enablement ensures that your sales team has all the relevant information they need to actually develop a strong, genuine and meaningful relationship with prospects over time which can substantially increase the likelihood of closing a deal. Compare that to a generic call to a random name on a list - you get the point.

Sam and Lou

4. Your Marketing and Sales Team Will Become BFFs

We know that your sales and marketing teams probably don’t have the best relationship right now and those Christmas parties might be slightly awkward. However, having your marketing team support your sales team and vice versa is a key component of sales enablement.

They need each other. Sales teams are more successful when they can provide prospects with quality content at the right time and the more leads are closed, the prouder your marketing team will be that their content is actually working.

This strengthens their relationship and the increased collaboration helps your company’s brand by gaining credibility as industry experts.

5. More Successful Calls = Drives Revenue

This is probably the biggest benefit of sales enablement and the main reason more and more companies are adopting the process in the first place. At the end of the day, all of the benefits above allow your sales team to have more successful sales conversations with prospects.

By having closed deals and increased deal opportunities, sales enablement can help to drive revenue for your business with a DemandGen report revealing that on average, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.

Why Sales Enablement is More Important Than Ever and Why You Need to Act Now

This is self-explanatory as well. Sales enablement is important because a smoother selling process results in more sales. Buyers are smarter and more informed than ever before.

They can obtain information about a product or service without ever having to talk to your sales team at all. In fact, most buyers embark on over 50 percent of the buyer’s journey alone before ever speaking to a salesperson.

Digital 22 office

As buyers are savvier than ever and a lot more educated, they want sales teams to present them with something new and information they physically can’t get themselves. Without a customer-centric approach to selling, your sales team won’t succeed.

If your sales team can’t show how your offering will solve the buyer’s problems, then they’ll lose interest so it’s important that you find new ways to engage with customers.

So, your sales team desperately need information, resources and content that’s going to be impactful.

Sales Challenges

  • According to Seismic, 59 percent of sales reps’ time isn’t spent on actually selling.

  • Seventy percent of marketing goes unused by sales.

  • Seventy-eight percent of executive buyers claim sales teams don’t have relevant marketing materials.

The Importance of Content

  • Ninety-five percent of buying decisions are directly influenced by content.

  • Eighty-two percent of buyers view at least five pieces of content before they purchase.

  • Ninety-five percent of salespeople say they don’t have enough valuable content.

Content Challenges

  • Forty percent of a sales person’s time is spent searching for or creating content to share.

  • Sixty-five percent of content created by marketing teams goes unused by sales teams.

  • Ninety-four percent of marketers don’t measure the engagement of their content from sales.

The gaps are clear to see as to how sales enablement can help. But there are also benefits which have been highlighted from the same source. Again, as content is a big part of sales enablement, a successful strategy can see plenty of increases in usage rates, conversions and revenue.

  • A successful strategy can see a 375 percent increase in content usage.

  • There can be a 275 percent boost in conversions.

  • A successful strategy can also see revenue increased by 65 percent by new salespeople.

Tom K D22 office

So, why do you need to act now? Well, buyers aren’t responding to that one-size-fits-all approach we highlighted earlier. That means your marketing and sales team need to align content to key stages of the buyer’s journey to create personalised experiences to increase win rates.

Everything involved in your sales enablement process needs to be measured. Technology, like HubSpot, provides the ability to measure and analyse results which increases customer retention rates by 14 percent, according to Lenati.

To put it bluntly, your sales team will be completely lost without your marketing team. Marketers make it so much easier for your sales team to access, deliver and personalise content at the right time with engaging messages to improve customer engagement.

Rather than your sales team wasting time and creating content from scratch, sales enablement makes the entire process more seamless so they can focus on what actually matters so that more content is used and more leads are closed.

How to Actually Achieve Sales Enablement

A lot of little pieces have to come together for the sales enablement puzzle to work properly. Obviously, we can’t fit everything here but we’ve made it a lot easier for you to digest what you need to know by collating all of the relevant information in one place.

Align Your Sales and Marketing Teams

This is the big one and without this, sales enablement simply won’t work. It doesn’t need to be challenging as there are ways to make them work together more efficiently. The process on how to align both teams can be achieved by following the tips below:

  • Lead scoring: Lead scoring helps your sales team focus on quality leads with marketers helping to assign the score of each lead depending on the action taken. Read more about lead scoring here.

  • Set mutually agreed goals: Make sure both teams know that they’re working towards one unified goal.

  • Encourage communication: Have your sales and marketing teams collaborate and communicate often.

  • Build a sense of connection: Celebrate joint wins and make both teams understand how the other works so they understand problems easier.

  • Get sales involved in campaign planning: Have your sales team help plan campaigns as they know what works with prospects and what doesn’t.

  • Integrate software: Using sales enablement software gives your teams a powerful overview of the entire customer lifecycle so that everyone has access to the full picture.

To find out more about how to align your sales and marketing teams in a lot more depth, check out this blog.

Matt chromebook

Improving Sales Productivity and Motivation

Chasing bad leads can make any sales team lose motivation. Luckily, there are ways you can help boost productivity and morale so they can keep chasing amazing leads.

These are:

  • Say no to bad opportunities.

  • Use lead scoring.

  • Use a CRM and automation technology.

  • Align your sales and marketing teams.

  • Set individual and team goals.

  • Build a level of trust.

  • Offer monetary and creative rewards.

  • Ask what motivates your teams.

  • Create a culture of recognition.

  • Get teams involved for shared goals.

Click here to read a blog about what you can do in all of the points above to increase productivity. Or if you want to know more about the motivation points and the important role you can play, head here.

Create an Effective Lead Qualification Process

A lead qualification process determines which leads your sales team should focus on and which they should ignore. It’s important for sales and marketing teams to align here so that they can both see success.

Follow the tips below so your sales team can get better-qualified leads...

  • Identify top qualification questions.

  • Create a sales-specific process.

  • Implement lead scoring.

  • Create service level agreements.

  • Emphasise constant communication.

  • Adopt an account-based marketing process.

  • Integrate sales and marketing software.

For more information on how to create an effective lead qualification process, as well as questions your marketing and sales teams need to ask each other, head over to this blog.

Sales Automation

Yes, sales automation is the best way to close leads when used effectively to automate the manual and repetitive processes. Tasks that can be simplified with automation include:

  • Approvals.

  • Notes recording.

  • Lead scoring.

  • Call logging.

  • Lead delivery.

  • Customer onboarding.

  • Meeting scheduling.

  • Sales quotations.

But sales automation also has many benefits. These include:

  • Identify potential customers.

  • Lead information.

  • Easy reporting.

  • Create proposals.

  • Call analysis.

  • Email templates and automation.

To find out more about how sales automation is important to the sales enablement process, read and bookmark this blog.

Tom, Joe and Andrew with Mac

Sales Trigger Events

A trigger event is an occurrence that signals a buying opportunity. Again, it works when sales and marketing join forces as automation workflows use trigger events to scale customer interactions.

Some events your teams can track include:

  • Buyers opening emails.

  • Awards.

  • New roles.

  • Unhappiness with current service.

  • Actual evidence of interest.

  • New legislation.

  • Entrance into a new market.

To find out more about the roles sales trigger events play in sales enablement, how they help and tools to use, read this blog.

Sales Collateral to Use

This is the point you’ve been waiting for since we mentioned it - content your marketing team needs to create for your sales team to use when communicating with prospects.

The collateral needs to be valuable and impactful to act as extra support, so use these ideas in the New Year.

  • Email templates.

  • Videos.

  • Downloadable content like case studies and eBooks.

  • Blog content.

  • Awards and recognition.

  • Background and biographies.

  • Testimonials and reviews.

  • Portfolio.

  • Sales presentations.

  • Newsletters.

To read more about each content idea in more depth, head over to this dedicated blog so you know what to do and use.

Sales Enablement Best Practices

For sales enablement to work in your company, there are some best practices that you should consider following to ensure success. Otherwise, there’s a danger of the entire process falling flat.

Focus on the Customer Experience

Make sure your sales team turns their sales enablement focus on improving the customer experience for the best chance of securing new leads and holding onto existing customers. The customer-centric approach to sales enablement helps your sales team to engage with customers to build better long-term relationships.

Always Share Content Before and After Closed Deals

Make sure your marketing team is always creating compelling content that’s relevant to the needs of your customers. Content is a good way of bringing value to your customers and it’s a sure-fire way of continuing to build long-term relationships that are sustainable.

Rounding up relevant content makes it simple for your sales team to know when to share what type of content. This way, they can move prospects through the buyer’s journey more efficiently.

Adopt a Sales Enablement Culture

By making sales enablement a part of your company culture, your sales team can constantly adapt and evolve to increase their selling efficiency and quality. By offering regular training and workshops, your sales team can offer more relevant strategies to other members of your sales team.

Inbound in a meeting with camera

How to Measure Sales Enablement

A successful sales enablement process features a lot of moving parts that have an impact on your entire company. This can be difficult to track but it needs to be done, so take the following into account to know how to measure sales enablement.

  • Set a measurable goal.

  • Establish a realistic benchmark.

  • Track your sales performances.

  • Measure sales enablement adoption.

Obviously, the easiest way to analyse is to implement software like HubSpot. Your sales team can analyse data ranging from deals won and lost to activities logged by your sales team.

Plus, by using HubSpot, your sales team can sell better and faster through email sequences, automating prospects, implementing direct messaging and more.

Interested in Helping Your Sales Team Close More Deals With Sales Enablement? Download Our Free Guide

Now that you know what sales enablement is, how important it is and how to actually get started, you’re in a good position to take the next step to help your sales team close more leads with sales enablement.

To make it much easier to understand, we’ve created a comprehensive eBook about all thing sales enablement to help sales team close more leads. It covers everything from the current state of the sales landscape right through to succeeding with sales enablement and tips on how to realign both teams.

Grab your free copy and soak up all that useful knowledge by hitting the download button below.