Sales Enablement: The Ultimate Guide

At the core of your business is sales. If your sales team doesn’t sell, your organization misses out on crucial revenue. You need to make the sales transaction process as seamless for your sales team as possible.

This could be achieved through hiring seasoned sales staff and providing solid sales training or sales enablement.

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is the repetitious process of providing your organization's sales team with the materials and knowledge they need to close deals. These materials can be tools, blogs, white papers, videos, or training programs designed to effectively sell your product or service to customers.

An important component of structuring your program is what sales enablement offers to salespeople. The majority of what you deliver is information. This data is divided into two categories:

- The lead will receive content from a salesperson
- Internally, sales will embrace best practices, research, and tools

Sales enablement has several aspects, which means it requires the support of other departments, such as marketing.

Benefits of sales enablement

Sales enablement can help your salespeople and marketing department work together more effectively. It can also help you improve your sales process and grow your consumer base.

Here’s a list of sales enablement benefits:

Creates a selling roadmap

A selling roadmap lists out the stages of training your team for the entire process from identifying prospects to creating a plan to closing the deals. That way whether you have a new team member or a seasoned one, everyone understands the company sales process and any weak areas can be identified and improved.

Ties multiple departments together

Materials are created in marketing to help sales teams sell. However, other departments may interact with sales as well, such as legal and even IT if there are digital sales materials to be built. All of these departments act independently of each other and there can be a breakdown in corporate communication to the sales team. However, using sales enablement, it ties together these various departments or teams creating a fluid plan for the sales team. 

Helps retain top talent

Sales team members often move from company to company. They get frustrated over time with the selling process and look for improvements with another organization. As you probably know, it can be costly to lose sales staff and then to hire and re-train new team members. But by using sales enablement training, you can add knowledge and new skill development throughout the lifecycle of each sales team member.

Not only will it make your team members more comfortable selling, but it makes them more marketable. 

Gives a stronger picture of the customer

Since the essence of sales enablement is equipping your team to sell, a huge part of the process is knowing who they are selling to. While they may have a basic understanding of your customer, sales enablement creates a deep dive into the customer persona. 

For example…

  • What are the buyer’s pain points?
  • What are their needs?
  • What are their concerns?

The more your sales team knows a potential buyer, the better they will be at selling your product or service. Plus, by creating these customer/sales relationships, you’ll create more returns or even lifelong customers. 

Drives profit and revenue

This may be a given, but the bottom line is you want to make money as a company. Without sales, that won’t happen. So a good sales enablement program can make the difference between a profitable year and taking a loss.

Why is sales enablement important?

Sales enablement is important because it allows a sales department to go beyond a few high-performing individuals. It gives all salespeople the best practices, training, tools, and resources they need to succeed.

Who is responsible for sales enablement?

Sales enablement is owned jointly by sales and marketing. Marketing provides reps with a variety of resources they need to effectively sell. Sales can communicate with marketing about which types of content and materials are missing that they can share with leads throughout their buyer’s journeys.

Since we know which departments handle sales enablement, let's check out how to structure a team and what they'll be in charge of.

Sales enablement team structure

While every company has budget constraints, in an ideal world, a sales enablement team would consist of a team member dedicated to each of these roles:

Sales systems and data manager - responsible for maintaining the CRM or BI database. This would include inputting closed/won and closed/lost sales.

Sales process excellence and sales coach - offers one-on-one assistance to the sales team. They help manage behavior and offer suggestions on how to improve selling style.

Sales training and talent manager - in charge of sales training programs that generate continued growth, staying ahead of the competition, and a streamlined selling approach across all sales team members.

Sales report design and analytics manager - bridge the gap between sales and marketing to support and implement high-quality, data-driven decisions. They will also ensure data is accurate and consistent by designing and creating the processes for analysis. Plus, this person will help in copy direction for sales and marketing material making sure it supports the data gathered.

Sales knowledge manager - responsible for knowing all sales and marketing materials available for the sales team to utilize. A sales knowledge manager will know what tools are available for selling and will be able to direct the sales team on which vehicle is best. They will also be able to see opportunities for different vehicles based on customer feedback and competitor research.

Sales process and operations deployment manager - oversees the entire sales department. When there is a bottleneck or a major glitch in sales operations, this person is in charge of solving it. They will also create sales objectives and goals for the team each quarter. This person acts as the umbrella for the entire department.

If you are a smaller organization or just starting a sales enablement team, one person could cover more than one of these areas.

Sales enablement best practices

At first glance, implementing a sales enablement system appears to be a difficult task. However, following this list of tested sales enablement best practices can help your sales team turn more leads into customers.

1. Provide ongoing sales training

In order for your sales team to continually grow and improve, you'll need to provide ongoing training. As your product or service changes, so should your training efforts. A program the learning and development team put together two years ago might not hold up today, especially when onboarding new sales staff.

Ongoing sales training can help your organization:

  • Retain top sales team members
  • Free up HR department from finding new salespeople
  • Reduce the cost of training
  • Continuously upskill salespeople
  • Keep up with industry standards
  • Beat out the competition
  • Provide effective product training

Continu’s modern learning platform enables your organization to effectively and efficiently create, track, share, and measure your sales team's training progress.

2. Select a modern learning platform

Sales enablement revolves around developing training materials and learning resources for your sales team to help them close deals. One of the most common ways to accomplish this is with a modern learning platform.

Legacy LMSs are clunky, requires multiple tools in order to create these sales enablement materials, only provide certain content types, and not provide training for external users like customers, partners, or vendors.

That's why it's super important to choose an LMS that solves the above-mentioned problems and comes with the following features:

  • Create entire sales training programs within a single system
  • Develop learning materials using powerful eLearning authoring tools
  • Import third-party content and videos to consolidate resources
  • Track and measure a salesperson's training progress
  • Host webinars or workshops with attendance tracking (Zoom integration)

Luckily, Continu offers all those features and more!

Ready for a Modern Learning Platform?

Take your learning to the next level with Continu.

3. Use your CRM properly

As a sales manager, you should have a good understanding of what your sales agents are up to, where deals are in the pipeline, and how your team is progressing toward an objective.

You should be able to monitor, update, and communicate the status of all of your current offers within your CRM.

Make your CRM the one source of truth for your company to ensure that your team is working and communicating effectively.

Set your preferences to reflect your sales process. Import contacts, businesses, and transactions. Also, verify your CRM integrates with other applications. It's also crucial to enable reporting and create appropriate dashboards.

4. Implement a chatbot or conversation tool

Adding a chatbot widget to your marketing website will cut down on the simple questions prospects need answers to. It also gives your salespeople more time to interact with qualified leads and nurture them towards becoming a customer.

Continu's chatbot greeting website visitor to help sales filter leads.

Chatbots help your sales department by:

  • Answering frequently asked questions
  • Guiding visitors to conversion opportunities
  • Providing 24/7 support after work hours
  • Filter out poor leads from quality leads

By personalizing the chatbot's process, you can create complex workflows that come close to imitating actual humans.

5. Collaborate with your marketing department

Ensure prospects are receiving the appropriate content at the proper time. To do so, it's critical that your sales and marketing teams work together to develop the blog articles, case studies, and one-pagers needed to swiftly address prospect concerns and seal deals.

In fact, when salespeople are provided the right content from marketing (and trained on those materials properly), research shows:

  • Win rates can increase by around 38%
  • Salespeople can become 67% better at closing deals
  • Organizations can see an annual growth rate of 209% more revenue

That's why it's super important to have your sales team work closely with your marketing department to develop high-converting sales materials.

6. Define important development objectives

Your sales enablement program should not only provide salespeople with the resources they need but align with your organization's goals. By setting training objectives for your sales team, you'll be able to develop objectives and turn them into actionable next steps, such as:

  • Improving sales member skills
  • Create better product or service knowledge articles
  • Focus on customer pain points
  • Identify your product's winning features or solutions
  • Fine-tune the sales funnel

7. Focus on the buyer's experience

Considering that sales enablement is about empowering salespeople to connect with customers, it's only natural that the buying experience would be at the center of your efforts.

Improving the buyer's experience through sales enablement has two aspects:

1. Verify that salespeople are aware of the buyer's profile and what step of the journey they are on.

2. Match your sales strategies and training to the purchase process.

Doing so will ensure your sales team knows what stage the buyer is at and which sales techniques can be applied in order to close the deal.

8. Create high-quality product-led content

Blog articles, white papers, and webinars allow your entire sales department to display value to a vast number of buyers in a scalable and measured way. Some skilled salespeople often let high-quality product-led content speak for itself, so provide plenty of it that relates to the buying journey.

Now that we've covered the best practices that go into sales enablement, it's time to track and measure how successful your efforts are.

Metrics to measure sales enablement

The sales enablement process differs per industry and organization. There are a variety of sales enablement metrics or KPIs that can be measured in order to judge how successful your sales training programs are, such as:

1. Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate

Although this changes the definition by company, this sales enablement metric is generally considered as a prospective deal that has a high chance of closing, relative to your average lead.

Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate is the percentage of leads that convert into opportunities.

2. Win rate

A "win" is a customer's signature on a proposed contract of either your product or service. Basically, it's the agreement that your lead accepts your proposition and becomes a customer of yours. Win rate is the percentage of opportunities converting into signatures.

3. Competitive win rate

There are a bunch of factors that can affect win rate such as budget, priorities, and of course competitors. The competitive win rate is the percentage of opportunities that had at least one competitor as a factor.

4. Average selling price

Conversion and win rates are a great metric when it comes to sales enablement, but they're not the end-all KPIs. A scalable and insightful metric is the average selling price, which is the average amount of money your customers are paying for your product or service.

5. Sales cycle length

Smaller companies have a much shorter sales funnel process, thus a shorter length of time or steps to close the deal. Most enterprise-level organizations have a detailed series of processes like demos, use cases, free trials or a sales pitch in order to win the deal.

Sales cycle length tells you how long, on average, it takes to close the deal. So, if your sales cycle length gets shorter, it means your salespeople are more efficient.

6. Quota attainment

Depending on the size of your company and sales department, you might have a ton of salespeople on board. In order for organizations to effectively measure the success of their sales members, managers can focus on quota attainment.

Quota attainment is the percentage of salespeople who hit and/or exceed their sales goals.

7. Content adoption

To measure this metric, you'll need some sort of digital content solution, like a learning amplification platform. Content adoption refers to either the percentage of salespeople who have leveraged a sales enablement asset or the number of times an asset was used.

This is a great metric to measure how impactful a learning material, blog post, on-demand video, or sales paper was in winning the deal.

So, we know what sales enablement is, why it's important (with benefits), best practices, and metrics to measure. The next step is actually putting everything together and creating a sales enablement process.

How to create a sales enablement process

  1. Define sales goals
  2. Create SMART objectives
  3. Assign team members
  4. Communicate the sales enablement plan
  5. Measure the success of initiatives

After you have your sales enablement team in place and you have selected the right tool to help, you’ll want to develop a process. If this is your first time creating a cohesive sales enablement structure, you’ll need a plan. Here’s a simple, but effective sales enablement process to follow.

Step #1: Define sales goals

The first step is to decide why you are creating a sales enablement plan in the first place? In other words, what brought your company to this need? Some examples include shortening the sales cycle, growing your sales team, or reducing customer turnover. Whatever it is, define it.

Step #2: Create SMART objectives

After you have your main goals established, how will you reach these goals? For example, say your main goal is to lower current customer turnover. So your objectives may be to develop marketing material that covers the advantages of staying a loyal customer, training sales team members and creating a current customer service to gauge feedback. Make sure each SMART objective solves each sales goal.

Step #3: Assign team members

Since you have your team established, make sure each member is assigned the key objectives and tasks. That way you know your sales enablement goals will be met on time and within budget. Ensure each one of your sales enablement team members has a role, responsibility, and task to complete.

Step #4: Communicate the sales enablement plan

Next, you need to communicate the plan. Yes, your sales enablement team knows the plan, but as mentioned before, various departments could be pulled in to help this effort. They need to be aware of what the sales enablement goals are so they can assist when necessary.

Step #5: Measure the success of initiatives

Lastly, but most importantly, you should measure how your sales enablement process is going. Talk to the sales team and other departments who interact with the process like marketing and legal. Ask what is working and what can be refined. Also, look at customer surveys and see what problems can be addressed during the sales process. Then further refine your training materials and sales collateral to correct any issues.

Automating sales enablement with technology

Sales was a heavily manual operation a decade ago. However, this is not the case for today's salespeople. Many previously tedious procedures may now be automated for sales reps, allowing them to sell faster and more effectively.

Here are some ways you may enhance your sales enablement process using technology and automation:

1. Implement sales enablement software

Your team can manage all of their sales materials and information from one central location using sales enablement software. You can easily create, distribute, modify, and maintain your resources with the help of sales enablement technology.

Sales reps can access this information at any time, and your marketing team can easily collaborate with sales on the content they create and share with prospective customers.

Choose a sales enablement tool designed to upskill your sales team while providing all the materials they need to succeed. Book a demo of Continu today!

2. Automate prospecting and scheduling

Automated prospecting is a series of emails sent under a salesperson's account containing links to their calendar. Prospects who are interested in purchasing can use the calendar link to schedule a call with the salesperson.

Reps will be able to open their calendars every day and discover several meetings with eligible buyers already scheduled, saving them hours of prospecting labor.

3. Create workflows and email sequences

Follow-up email sequences can be created by sales enablement specialists, reps, and other members of the team if a prospect does not respond to their rep within a certain amount of time. Personalization tokens for contact and company information can be used in email sequences to customize the message toward the individual prospect.

Keep in mind that your salespeople are likely sending several follow-up emails every day. Creating workflows to automate the follow-up process will save them hours of time.

4. Set up live chat instant messaging

When a prospect is already on your website, there's no better moment to talk to them. Setting up live chat on your website can help agents interact with and convert potential customers in real time.

However, sales enablement team members can apply screening filters to guarantee that live chat widgets are only presented to high-quality leads, saving reps' time.

Continu, the sales enablement tool for your organization

Legacy learning management systems offer companies basic benefits, however, their primary functions will always be employee onboarding and continual training. With a flexible and highly-customizable LMS, sales managers can easily incorporate senior salespeople’s knowledge into the content they deliver to new recruits.

The right LMS allows managers to craft interactive, engaging courses, onboarding flows, and product walk-throughs in a matter of minutes. With a modern LMS, tweaking your sales enablement training program doesn’t require a revamp of the whole system, meaning collaborating on training content production can – and should – be an ongoing endeavor.

When you empower your sales team with the right resources, materials, and tools, they'll have the ability to sell more effectively and efficiently. This means, your business will experience a boost in revenue and, therefore, an increase in your number of customers and brand advocates. So, ensure your sales and marketing teams maintain open lines of communication to access and share the content, materials, technology, and software they need to reach and convert more leads into customers.

Continu offers everything your team needs to create training materials, upskill salespeople, and improve your sales enablement process.

Schedule a Demo Today

See Continu in action and how it can help your organization build a culture of learning.

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