According to TOPO Sales Enablement is defined as “the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively.” Sales Enablement has grown to be so prevalent that it now has its own job category. A quick search on LinkedIn finds that there are over 12,000 job postings in the United States for Sales Enablement Managers, Directors, Associates, among other titles. There is an entire category developed around sales enablement tools and there are jobs specific to these strategies, yet nearly 50% of sales reps in B2B software sales miss quota. Why is this?
The reason often lies in the fact that we fail to remember a handful of key elements about the human brain. As someone responsible for growing a sales team I look for repeatability, predictability, and for ways to increase efficiency. The one thing I often have to remind myself of is that humans have been around for about 6 million years. Whereas sales enablement technology has existed for about 10 years. To think that the introduction of technology into our interactions has influenced and evolved our wants and desires as humans more in 10 years, than the previous 6 million would be naive.
Here is a quick anatomy lesson–there are two parts to the human brain that help us make decisions. The Limbic System, and then the Neo-Cortex. The Limbic System, specifically the Hippocampus, is responsible for emotion, behavior, and motivation–the things that make us “feel.” Just on the outside of that is the Neo-Cortex, this section of the brain is responsible for rational, logical thought. Decisions from our brain happen inside out–Limbic first, neo-cortex second. This is where the disconnect of B2B sales and sales enablement happens. We look to script and automate away the rational part of the seller’s evaluation process and completely ignore the training needed for sales reps to engage the emotional part of our buyers. This is so much harder to teach, so much harder to measure and much less predictable so we often don’t focus on them. These things get swept under the rug because it’s not easy to translate into a KPI.
Sales enablement should first start with a quick anatomy and psychology lesson. In order for any sales rep out in the field representing an organization in a channel capacity, or a first time SDR (Sales Development Rep), to be successful they must understand how humans respond and react to stimulus and threats. This should be the first tactic any enablement (direct or indirect) program deploys as it will be the foundation on which all future success will be built. The next tactic would be to embrace a culture of understanding that not every single part of the buying process is measurable. Establishing trust, building rapport, the level of gratification with each interaction… you can’t put a KPI around these things. Finally, encourage sales reps representing your brand to not be afraid to show their true self. In a day and age permeated with filters, authenticity is sought after so use who you are as an individual to your advantage.
Sales enablement goes deeper than utilizing a tool or hitting a sales quota. In order to truly enable sales we need to keep one thing in mind: we are humans connecting to humans.