What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is a can of worms. But it’s an important topic to review because it is one of the key areas that sales and marketing deal with regularly.
Sales enablement is a collection of tools, platforms and training, with the potential to expedite the sales process and to enhance the position of the salesperson, both within their organization as well as with their buyers.
Let’s agree up front that Sales is the frontline and the face of the company in an outbound setting. (The distinction, of course, is e-commerce sales, where a person is not involved.) Sales is one of the most important, difficult, rewarding, frustrating, and energizing professions, and salespeople are a special breed. The relationship between sales and marketing is more dynamic than ever because digital marketing has shifted the balance of influence in the initial stages of the sales process to marketing. A sales enablement system enables Sales to be the best they can be, using tools which can present timely content in a professional manner.
Someone once told me, “Marketing is easy. Make brochures and ads, set pricing, and Sales will do the rest.” But I’ve found that well-planned and well-executed marketing is never easy, and the relationship between sales and marketing is different now. Just like electric vehicles are programmed to precondition the temperature of battery packs prior to charging to optimize charging rates and efficiency, so we must precondition customers within the framework of the buyer’s journey, using sales enablement tools to increase satisfaction and efficiency.
Managing platform selection and managing content on an ongoing basis is a shared responsibility. How quickly can your sales team benefit from your sales enablement efforts? It depends on how the enablement program is presented and whether everyone can see a clear benefit. Ensure that they do!
Why Do We Need Sales Enablement?
In a world of highly competitive products, services, and organizations, sales enablement is a competitive advantage. Nothing beats a well-trained salesforce that is providing their prospects and customers with consistent and accurate messaging — and this applies to field salespeople and internal sales, as well as customer service. Sales enablement inherently shifts the sales process from a funnel approach to a buyer’s journey, and presents the opportunity to deliver tailored content at the right stage of the journey to move the prospect from awareness to purchase.
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What is Needed?
A sales enablement platform which interfaces well with the CRM system and your marketing automation system is critical to exploiting the systems’ capabilities. Make sure IT is involved in the selection, and that you check reference customers. Showpad, Brainshark, Highspot, or MindTickle are popular platforms offering maximum flexibility. G2 is a well- respected resource for platform comparison.
Fill in the Gaps
Salespeople are the lifeblood of your company, at the frontline, which is why sales support is critical. Sales enablement manifests itself in a salesperson’s pride in association with your company, and it’s why they wear those logoed polo shirts! Nobody wants to look foolish in front of a customer, which is why coaching is important.
The right coaching includes delivering accurate and relevant support materials at the right time in the buyer’s journey. You may already have the pieces in place to support your sales efforts, but there are platforms which will automate and enable the efficiency of your sales team, and that efficiency makes sales enablement for your business an investment worth considering.
If you need help developing a sales enablement strategy or selecting a sales enablement platform, contact us for a 30-minute consultation.