Digital is the new normal. And this new normal is rapidly impacting the buying and selling process in today’s increasingly digital marketplace. Gone are the days where a handful of well established companies controlled the narrative during the buying cycle. Today’s buyer has free access to the latest market trends and intelligence available on his smartphone. And with markets evolving at a fast pace, companies are compelled to invest in improving their sales processes to stay relevant and grow.

To summarize,

  • The new buying process is driven by the buyer as opposed to the seller
  • The sales team has transitioned from leading the sales process to guiding it
  • Today sales teams are facilitating the buyer’s buying process

This shift to an agile and engaged selling process requires organizations to enable their sales team with the right tools, content and processes to drive success. Here we discuss five reasons your business needs to define and execute on a solid sales enablement program.

Informed Sales Team

With a constant changing marketplace and an already knowledgeable buyer, it is important that your sales reps are armed with the latest knowledge and information about your industry and the problem space. A successful sales enablement program gives your reps several opportunities to absorb vital information and content so that when they engage with prospects, they offer value.

Additionally, it is also important that your sales reps are consistent with your company’s overall messaging and positioning. Today, buyers are engaging with your company and your offering across multiple channels at different stages of the relationship cycle. They engage with,

  • Content on your website when they research you on the web.
  • Third party sources that talk about trends, challenges, and opportunities in your marketplace.
  • Sales Development Reps (or Inside Sales Reps) who nurture them and qualify the opportunity.
  • Sales reps during value proposition and negotiations.
  • Customer-success teams to ensure continued success of the engagement.

A formal sales enablement structure offers the necessary foundation to bring this consistency across different channels.

Effective Company-Wide Enablement

It is often misunderstood that the responsibility for enabling sales lies with the marketing and/or sales enablement team. It is true that marketing and sales enablement managers are the primary orchestrators of sales enablement processes. However a successful sales enablement function requires contribution from all divisions of the company. A 2018 survey conducted by CSO Insights highlighted that only one-third of the content, sales reps need along the entire customer’s parth, comes from marketing.

If you ask your sales reps, you will learn that they are already working with every department in the company. It is rarely the case that they are only connected with the marketing team and are insulated from the rest of the organization. However, a hub and spoke model for enablement (where the sales rep is the hub and the different departments are the spokes enabling the rep) is bound to result in chaos and low efficiency. It is therefore important that an organization have a well defined sales enablement structure and process that allows,

  • Vetted and trusted Information is consistently flowing to the sales team
  • Business functions to enable sales efficiently by reducing redundant sales-communications
  • Marketing and sales enablement to control the quality and consistency of information shared with the sales team.

Easier to Scale Success

It is quite likely that your company has a significant capital of brain trust among its employees. You have product experts, architects, subject matter experts, etc spread throughout your organization. And short of having every one of these experts available for every customer interaction, organizations are spending an inordinate amount of resources and capital to scale this brain trust.

Companies are constantly trying to package these episodes of brilliance and best practices and ship it to other groups and team members in the organization so that they achieve revenue and company growth. And a sound Sales Enablement program is a fundamental prerequisite to scale this success. A sales enablement program,

  • Gives companies a vehicle to package best practices. For example, when a sales rep wins the first tier-one deal, you want to package the learnings from that win and educate the rest of the sales team. Having a conference call where the deal team shares their winning formula is not enough. You need a process to package those learnings so that they can be consistently communicated to other sales reps.
  • Provides the means to distribute these best practices in an efficient manner so that they can be effectively impressed upon the audience. The stakeholders of a Sales Enablement program are well aware of the effectiveness of different communication channels when it comes to distributing best practices. This know how allows them to select the most effective channels where they are bound to drive highest returns.
  • Provides sales reps the right environment and tools to adopt these best practices so that they can leverage them in their daily prospecting and selling cadence.

Successful on-boarding of new sales rep is a critical factor in the success of a sales organization. And a well structured sales enablement program can make a big difference to the success of the newly on-boarded sales reps.

Data-Driven Enablement

Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

Every company’s leadership will tell you that enabling sales with the right tools, knowledge, and guidance is crucial for the existence of the business. However, trying to enabling sales in absence of a properly defined sales enablement process is like throwing darts in the dark. In today’s highly data-driven world, it is important that organizations are able to monitor and measure the fruits of their enablement dollars. A formal sales enablement structure not only tells stakeholders what is working and what is not working, it also arms them with insights that can help them explore newer enablement techniques and channels that are well suited to their organization and their sales teams.

Engaged and Committed Sales Talent

Neil Patel, in this blog post, argues why companies should replace their sales reps with ambassadors. He distinguishes ambassadors as those who don’t just fill orders, but they’re responsible for the entire customer lifecycle. They handle marketing, sales, and support.

We are not saying that sales should start wearing marketing and support hats. However, with increasing competition and the control shifting to the buyers, it is paramount that an engaged and committed sales talent is representing your company and products. An often overlooked benefit of a successful sales enablement process is that you end up with a highly engaged and committed sales force. With a sales enablement structure,

  • Your sales team is productive and therefore more engaged.
  • Your sales team is committed as they see an organization that is investing in enabling them.
  • There is less disconnect between marketing and sales.
  • Future enablement decisions are driven by hard data and not guesswork.

In the last decade there has been an explosion in marketing technologies and many organizations have seemed to have cracked the formula for getting prospects through the door. However, industry research indicates that there is still a big gap between prospects knocking on the door and customers signing the check. If you are trying to stop these leaks in your company, a well structured sales enablement program will definitely help.

Author Bio: Gaurav Harode is the founder of Enablix, a sales enablement startup that he bootstrapped with his technical co-founder in 2017. Through Enablix and from his prior sales experience, Gaurav has had an opportunity to market and sell to a broad spectrum of enterprise buyers. Gaurav is using this know-how and feedback from Enablix customers to help B2B companies better manage their sales enablement responsibilities and drive revenue success. Before Enablix, Gaurav spent over 9 years at Oracle working in their Financial Services Global Business Unit with a primary focus in the risk and compliance domain.”