Sales enablement is any tool, process, or asset that makes the sales process more efficient. While sales development is the process of reaching out to prospects and setting initial appointments, sales enablement allows the process to happen in the first place. Most think of software when they hear sales enablement but it’s an all-encompassing process that includes several different sales functions.
The following are key components of a sales enablement strategy:
1. Set sales enablement goals
When creating a sales enablement strategy, first determine your goals. The overarching goal will be generating more sales, but be more specific. Where is your sales team 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
2. Provide proper training
Adopt new sales techniques as part of your sales enablement plan. Leaders tend to overlook training in creating their sales enablement strategy. Deploying software isn’t enough. Teach (and reteach) proper selling techniques. Some companies opt for consultants; others create an in-house team. Training should also include new selling techniques in addition to the foundational principles. If there’s a particular sales leader or method you believe in, assign reading to your team. Assigning materials is a great way to get everyone on the same page.
Pro tip: Here are some examples of readings recommended by channel leaders in the Partner Channel Podcast:
- 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, allowing the sales team to work efficiently and achieve results. To determine the right tools for your company’s sales stack, analyze your sales process. By examining each step, you’ll pinpoint where you can streamline specific processes or an area where you can make your 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.
- 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 sales can give to prospects that are intended to be shared throughout their organization. Impactful sales enablement content includes: case studies, competitor battle cards, a sales deck, sales scripts, and more.
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.
A sales enablement strategy is necessary to achieve your revenue goals. The rise of sales enablement is a response to the evolution of buying behavior. 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.
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