Your sales team's performance directly impacts the rate at which you can accelerate revenue and grow your business. But your team's ability to nurture leads and close customers is often an indication of how well you set them up for success.
It can be difficult to equip and train your sales team to sell more effectively. But with the right sales tools and content, you can help them understand your products and services, identify potential customers, and close deals.
This is why you need to adopt sales enablement best practices.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is the process of equipping and training salespeople to sell more effectively. It involves creating content and tools that help sales reps understand a company’s products and services, identify potential customers, and close deals.
Your sales enablement strategy is iterative — meaning you will need to continuously refine and enhance how you support your sales team.
What You Need to Develop Your Sales Enablement Strategy
The first step for implementing your sales enablement strategy is to assess what you currently have in place. Take an inventory of all of your current assets: content, tools, training, and support materials.
This can help you identify what gaps need to be filled in order to provide a more complete and effective enablement program.
Content is crucial for developing a sales enablement strategy because it provides information that can be used to help your prospects make an informed decision about buying. If the sales team doesn’t know what your company offers, they can’t promote its value proposition.
The sales team needs consistent, accurate information for making product recommendations to customers. Content includes everything from the marketing materials that describe your value proposition to data sheets and presentations that explain how products work. It also includes training materials like cheat sheets, sales scripts, how-to videos, and Q&A documents.
Sales training is essential for helping sales reps work through the sales process with confidence. Training usually takes the form of online tutorials or recorded lessons that can be completed at a time that works best for the sales rep.
Your training resources should help reps solve problems and answer questions that come up in the field.
Support materials such as videos, infographics, FAQs, and articles can help build a better understanding of products and their use cases. They can also familiarize reps with your company’s perspective on topics like trends in the industry.
Sales Software and Tools
There are several types of business software that can help reps quickly access relevant information and guidelines for following your sales processes to effectively nurture leads.
The most common sales enablement tools may include the following:
- CRM platforms
- Email marketing software
- Website analytics tools
- Customer support systems
- Document management software
Tools also include online collaboration platforms, like Slack and Jell, that can help sales teams collaborate on selling strategies and work through the sales process together.
Sales Enablement Models
There are a number of different models for sales enablement. Each organization will have its own unique needs, and the model that works best will vary from company to company.
One common model is the “hub and spoke” model. This model places a central team or department (the hub) in charge of developing content and training materials. The spoke teams then use these materials to train their own sales reps.
Another model is the “train the trainer” model, which involves training a select group of reps to become trainers. These trainers then go out and provide training to the rest of the sales team.
A third model is the “self-service” model, which gives reps access to training and content materials that they can use on their own. This model often relies on online tools and resources that are easily accessible.
Choosing which model best fits your business will depend on a number of factors, including the size and structure of your sales team, the complexity of your products, and the timeline you establish in your sales enablement strategy.
How Sales Enablement Differs From Sales Operations
Sales enablement is sometimes confused with sales operations. However, there are key differences between the two functions.
Sales operations is responsible for optimizing and improving processes in support of salespeople. This might include better forecasting reporting and lead management systems. The goal of sales operations is to reduce the time it takes for salespeople to get their work done.
Sales enablement, on the other hand, is about helping your reps do their jobs better. It's focused on creating tools and content that helps them accomplish their daily tasks, such as prospecting on LinkedIn, setting up sales automation tools, or closing a deal with a customer.
Sales Enablement Best Practices
There are several tips you need to follow to equip your team with the tools they need to hit their quota.
Create Sales Playbooks.
A sales playbook is a guide that outlines your company’s sales process. It can include information on how to identify potential customers, qualify leads, and close deals.
The sales playbook should be tailored to your company’s products and services, and it should be constantly updated as your product evolves.
There are several topics you should include in your playbooks, including:
- How to identify sales process changes
- Pertinent information about product updates
- How to build and prepare a sales deck
- Step-by-step instruction on how to use your sales automation tools
- Closing techniques that are proven effective
- How to leverage sales battlecards during conversations
Sales playbooks are typically created by sales managers or executives. You should have some type of shared document repository that allows you to access the playbooks from anywhere, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
Align With Your Marketing Team.
Your marketing and sales strategies should work together to set both teams up for success. Both teams need to know what each one is doing at any given team.
For example, If your company is putting energy into growing awareness about a new product through PPC ads, then the sales team should be prepared to answer questions from that targeted segment of potential customers.
Tailor Your Sales Process to the Buyer's Journey.
Your sales process needs to align with the buyer's journey. The buyer's journey is the process that buyers go through when they are considering a purchase. There are three stages in the buyer's journey:
1. Awareness: The buyer is aware of a problem or need that they have.
2. Consideration: The buyer is considering different solutions to the problem or need.
3. Decision: The buyer has decided on a solution and is ready to purchase it.
Aligning your sales efforts to each stage is effective because your team is providing support at each step of the prospect's buying process. For example, your company might have a different process for prospects who are in the consideration stage than for prospects who are in the decision stage.
Appoint Someone to Take Ownership of Sales Enablement.
As with everything in marketing and sales, your sales enablement processes should not be a simple set it and forget it. It requires consistent audits and continuous management.
By assigning someone to take charge of your sales enablement program, you get peace of mind knowing that a reliable team member is engaged in ongoing updates. This way, your program stays effective and evolves to meet the ever-changing needs of your sales team.
Measure Sales Enablement Metrics.
You should track certain metrics to gauge the level of success of your sales enablement efforts. Depending on your process, look at several metrics, including:
- The number of leads generated
- Conversion rates
- Sales cycle length
- Revenue generated
- Training content usage
- Deal slippage
- Quota attainment
Adopt These Sales Enablement Best Practices to Drive Revenue
If you're looking to increase revenue, adopting sales enablement best practices is a great way to do it. Sales enablement can help you improve your sales process, understand your products and services better, identify potential customers, and close deals.
By using the tips above, you can create a sales process that works for you and helps you achieve your revenue goals.