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Sales enablement is any tool, process, or asset that adds efficiency. While sales development is the process of reaching out to prospects and setting initial appointments, sales enablement lays the preliminary groundwork that makes the rest possible. Most think of software when they hear sales enablement, but it’s an all-encompassing concept that includes several different functions.
The following are key components of a sales enablement strategy that you can apply to both Channel and Direct:
1. Set sales enablement goals
When creating a sales enablement strategy for your channel or direct team, the first step is to determine your goals. The overarching objective will be generating more sales, but be more specific. Where is your sales team or partners struggling? Are your sales reps bogged down with menial tasks like prospecting and cold emailing? Is your messaging not resonating with your target audience? Are your sales reps struggling to set meetings? Once the issue is determined, you can work backward and pinpoint the tools your team needs the most.
Examples of sales enablement goals:
- Shorten the sales cycle
- Close larger deals
- Establish upsell or cross-sell strategies
- Improve trust and brand strength in the market
Goals are only impactful if you have a way to measure them. Ensure that you have appropriate software or methods in place to benchmark and track progress in relation to specific sales enablement strategies. For example, Allbound lets managers track how specific channel materials assisted with registrations and overall pipeline trends.
2. Provide proper training
Deploying new sales enablement strategies or software will be ineffective if you don’t train channel partners and/or internal teams.
Don’t think that passing along a single PDF is good enough. Instead, employ multiple mediums (live seminars, videos, white papers) so individuals with different learning styles have options. Pair these with quizzes or similar ways to gauge the training effectiveness. The accumulated scores will let you know which trainings to ditch and which strategies to apply to future sales enablement learnings.
Pro tip: Here are some examples of readings recommended by channel leaders in the Partner Channel Podcast to inspire:
- Gilbert Vendryes from Zoom recommends Sales Leadership Lessons by Carl Eschenbach
- Michelle Gunter from Partner Perspectives recommends Building Successful Partners Channels by Hans Peter Beck
- Aaron Cullip from HKA Enterprises recommends Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer
- Doug Remington from DTEN recommends Making Channel Sales Work, by Marcus Cauchi and David Davis
3. Build a tech stack
A sales stack is a collection of software that allows partners and teams to work efficiently and achieve results. To determine the right tools for your company’s sales stack, analyze your process. By examining each step, you’ll pinpoint where you can streamline specific initiatives or an area where you can make your partners’ and reps’ lives easier. Although everyone’s sales process varies, start with a basic outline of tools:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software: CRM is a database for customer interactions and sales. By logging sales information in CRM, you improve relationships with your marketing department, customer service team, and finance department.
- Partner relationship management (PRM) software: PRM software streamlines and manages channel sales partners. PRM is a unified platform that injects automation into your channel partner program, enables communication, tracks metrics, and facilitates joint marketing campaigns. Simply put, a PRM is necessary to enact a channel sales enablement strategy.
- Automated prospecting: Automated prospecting software makes lead generation easier by eliminating the busywork required in outbound sales. Prospecting software allows you to find and contact prospects based on specific job titles, industries, the current technology they use.
- Scheduling: Scheduling software prevents back and forth when trying to book a meeting with a prospect or customer. Calendly provides prospects with available timeslots and automatically schedules meetings for you.
- Contract management: Drafting, editing, and sending PDF contracts and agreements is time-consuming. Contract management software like DocuSign and HelloSign automate this process and increase the likelihood of getting a signed agreement back.
Pro tip: Plan and evaluate your sales process to choose the right tools. When evaluating software, ask for recommendations from fellow sales leaders or use online comparison guides like G2, Capterra, or Trustradius. Remember that your software and apps must integrate with your existing technology. Also, be sure to vet your software vendor for support. Will you have an assigned customer success or account manager? Find out who will onboard, train, and provide additional support during your team’s learning curve.
4. Sales enablement content
Content goes beyond email campaigns and sales collateral. Craft messages specifically for the sales team that make selling more effective. Content is an essential part of sales enablement and often a resource that sales reps lack. What makes good content? Materials that guide the buyer along their journey and make the buying process easier. Ensure your marketing team aligns with your sales enablement process to ensure your content is valuable to the sales team.
Pro tip: Create materials that prospects can share throughout their organization. Impactful sales enablement content includes case studies, competitor battle cards, a sales deck, sales scripts, and more. For more ideas, read How to Strengthen Your Partner Program with Content Creation.
Sales enablement requires a multi-level approach from marketing. Using one channel to reach customers isn’t enough to stand out amongst the noise. Use a mix of digital tactics, tradeshows or virtual events, and word of mouth to create a sales enablement marketing strategy.
Combining inbound and outbound marketing strategies makes for potent sales support. This combination will also allow synergy between your sales and marketing departments.
Embrace new marketing ideas and carefully track results to pinpoint the optimal strategy for meeting your initial sales enablement goals.
Bottom line about sales enablement strategies for Channel and Direct
An evolving sales enablement strategy is necessary to achieve your revenue goals. As technology advances and information becomes abundant, the buying process has become more much involved.
Whether you run a 75-person company or do freelance work, there’s some level of sales enablement required to obtain customers. By setting goals, providing proper training, employing the right technology, and providing adequate marketing, your sales enablement efforts will reap ROI.