There aren’t many teams under more pressure than the sales team. If they don’t perform, the business doesn’t perform. Good business leaders make sure their team has the right tools for the job. They achieve this by using a sales enablement strategy.
What is a sales enablement strategy? It is more than another business buzzword thrown around without meaning. Sales enablement strategy brings together everything that a sales team needs to excel.
By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be ready to implement your own version. Plus, you’ll have the answers to questions such as:
- What are the key components of a sales enablement strategy?
- How can I develop one for my own business?
- What challenges might I face when implementing the strategy?
Understanding Sales Enablement Strategy
With an effective sales enablement strategy in place, a sales team can engage with every buyer. They have the information, resources, and tools readily available. Often businesses will have some form of sales enablement in place, but it isn’t explicit. Sales teams have access to what they need, but not necessarily easily. When sales enablement is a priority, no chance for revenue is left on the table.
A sales enablement strategy of the past would have included product sheets and sales scripts. There’s far more to it nowadays. Sales forces are enabled through a far larger range of resources and activities:
- Content Management
- Performance Analytics
- Sales Tools
Expectations have increased dramatically over recent decades. Consumers expect personalization. They want to have answers to their questions quickly. Plus, they research other options more regularly. Consider sales enablement as a bridge. It allows your sales team to cross from their current performance levels to their potential.
The strategy also connects the sales and marketing departments. The two parts of the business work together to ensure they always present the same message to customers. The marketing team creates and delivers content and insight into customer behavior. The sales team then leverages these resources to have more meaningful conversations.
The Key Components of a Sales Enablement Strategy
Sales enablement is multi-faceted. Each strategy will differ from business to business, but almost all will include these key components.
Training and Continuous Professional Development
A great deal of effective sales is down to the personality of the salesperson. They intuitively know the best way to connect with a lead. They understand how to guide someone from obscurity to a customer. Sales, however, is a rapidly evolving field. The best sales teams must stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends.
Training should be delivered on product development and sales techniques. Some forward-thinking businesses even offer training on soft skills. Regular training ensures that no salesperson stagnates in their position.
When we talk about content here, we mean sales content. Content that the sales team can use when trying to close deals with prospects. That includes:
- Sales email templates
- Case studies
- Sales scripts
- Product information
- Marketing content (blogs, videos, infographics)
When the sales team has immediate access to this, they can answer questions on the fly. This delivers a more rounded, engaging customer experience.
Any content should be regularly updated to directly resonate with the company’s target audience. The fresher and more on-trend the content, the better.
Tools and Technology
It’s important that the sales team has the right tools to do their job. There are many tools and technologies that can enhance both efficiency and effectiveness. These tools are usually customer relationship management (CRM) tools or sales engagement platforms. There are also function-specific tools, such as email marketing tools and chatbots.
Each tool should come with a sophisticated set of analytics, allowing the team to interrogate data at a wide level. This encourages an environment of continuous improvement, evaluation, and adaptation.
Alongside platform-specific analytics mentioned above, teams need to have access to performance analytics. The metrics tracked should align with business growth and the overall vision of the company. Afterward, team members and managers can assess what went well and explore areas for improvement.
Collaboration Across Departments
Collaboration is important, especially for the sales and marketing departments. The more they collaborate, the better. The connection between marketing campaigns and sales strategies should be symbiotic. One should directly influence the other, with key decisions on messaging and customer engagement taken in tandem. This means that customer engagement is seamless.
Developing a Sales Enablement Strategy
We’ve created a ten-step process you can follow to create and implement your own sales enablement strategy. Your process might vary slightly from what we prescribe. Your experience will vary depending on where your business is positioned and what you have in place already.
Assess Your Current Sales Process
Start by exploring what you already have in place. Engage with the entire sales team and collect feedback. What is working well for the team? What do they use every day to complete their jobs? Is there anything additional they require? What isn’t working well? These questions will help you to identify the structure currently in place. You can then examine pain points and begin to devise solutions.
Set Clear Objectives
What is the purpose of your sales enablement strategy? Defining and setting your objectives at the initial stage ensures that you’ll stay focused on achieving them once underway. You can set more than one objective, but try not to make them too diffuse.
Examples of objectives include:
- Improving conversion rates
- Increasing sales productivity
- Reducing the sales cycle time
- Minimizing churn
- Achieving an amount of growth
Align Sales and Marketing
Have meetings across departments at this early stage. Explain that the plan is to implement a clear strategy to enable the sales department to work as effectively as possible. It’ll also be beneficial to the marketing department, as all messaging will be consistent. Content and strategies will be created collaboratively so that they resonate with the target audience.
Create and Curate Content
Look at the buyer journey and consider the content required for each stage. Assess if there are any gaps or improvements. If there are, remedy them at this stage. You may find that new materials are required, new case studies might be created, and presentations might need to be polished. It’s a good opportunity to take stock and elevate your content to the next level.
Implement Training and Development
Just as you investigated the current sales process and evaluated your content, it’s time to do the same with your training and development. Assess your team's skills and plan to plug any gaps. Then, look at emerging trends and new skills you might want to embrace. Positioning your business as a leader in modern processes will keep staff engaged and motivated.
Choose the Right Tools
Assess your current tech stack and evaluate what the team uses and what could be replaced. Ask if there could be an area where a tool would make their work more streamlined. This will involve a substantial amount of research and investigation. Ask for demos from leading sales technology providers to see how they might impact your business.
New technologies are emerging all of the time, especially related to automation. Many of them can dramatically reduce the amount of time sales team members spend on admin or outreach. Some businesses have seen dramatic growth after adopting an automated email follow-up strategy.
Plan to Measure and Track Performance
First of all, you need to establish your core sales metrics. These metrics should allow you to evaluate the success of your new sales enablement strategy easily. Metrics that you should measure include those noted in the last section. Often tools and technology will have these baked in, making them visible at a glance on an intuitive dashboard.
As you begin to implement the various stages of the strategy, ensure you’re gathering feedback from the various team members. They will provide valuable insight into the strategy as it unfolds. They can let you know precisely what’s working and what’s not. Then you can refine it as necessary.
Develop a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Explain to the team that this is not a rigid structure that is being put in place. It’s a fluid setup that can alter and change for the better however you and the team see fit. They should feel free to share feedback that might lead to improvement whenever they want to. Alongside this, any changes or introductions that you make to the strategy should be openly communicated.
Scale and Adapt
Markets will change. Your business will grow. The sales enablement strategy that you have in place should change and grow with them. Be ready to implement methods that allow you to scale your strategy. It could be as simple as buying the next tier of a subscription, or it might involve additional staff. No matter what, make sure your strategy matches your business goals and market conditions.
The Technical Side of Sales Enablement Strategy
A major part of your strategy will be facilitated by the use of sales enablement tools. These tools come in various shapes and sizes. Here are some examples:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: CRMs are the best method of centralizing customer data. All your customer information is in one accessible dashboard. That makes the sales process far more streamlined with better quality customer interactions. Leading CRMs include Hubspot, Pipedrive, and Salesforce.
- Sales Engagement Tools: These tools are designed to help you interact with your customers. They will offer automation to enable outreach at scale, plus methods to continue and follow-up conversations. Email tools fall into this list, with examples such as Instantly, making the process of email communication a breeze.
- Data Analytics: Many of the tools will come with built-in analytics. You should also invest in a Google Analytics or Tableau setup. These give a more holistic picture of how customers are interacting with your business. With this information, you can be confident in making accurate decisions based on data.
- Content Management Systems: Your sales content should be accessible in a structured way. Some businesses rely on shared drives or a cloud-based system. Others will invest in specific content management systems such as Seismic or Highspot.
- E-learning and Training: Depending on the training that you’re investing in, different platforms will be available. A good place to start is LinkedIn Learning. There are also sales enablement-specific platforms such as Showpad and Mindtickle.
Sales enablement strategies are more than just plans. They have the power to revolutionize how your sales team works completely. They can take a team performing adequately and elevate them to the peak of their ability. Consider it as a facilitator. It puts the structure in place to allow people and your business to shine.
- To empower teams, successful sales enablement strategies use a mix of content, tools, training, and support.
- Always ask for feedback as the strategy is implemented and as it is used. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement.
- To be truly successful, make sure your sales and marketing teams work together.
An email outreach tool is one of the best pieces of technology to invest in when building a sales enablement strategy. With our intuitive automation and detailed analytics, Instantly will help take your strategy to the next level. The best part? You can get started with it for free today.