What if I told you there’s one thing that you can do right now as a sales leader that will help you achieve higher team quota attainment, more revenue growth, higher sales velocity, and increase lead conversion rate?
It’s not a magic new sales methodology and it has nothing to do with a new tool or technology.
This one thing that can change the course of your business is Sales Enablement.
Research by Aberdeen reveals that sales enablement leads to 62% higher team quota attainment, 205% more revenue growth, 725% higher sales velocity, and 23% increase in lead conversion rate in organizations with structured sales enablement programs versus organizations without it. That’s how powerful it is.
It’s clear that sales enablement is a sales driver, not just a nice-to-have. Many high growth companies are deploying this function with incredible results, as they jump on the opportunity to supercharge the revenue generating side of the business.
What is Sales Enablement and Its Scope?
There’s no single agreed upon definition of sales enablement, as it’s still maturing and evolving in function and scope, but I like the definition by Brainshark in Sales Enablement For Dummies: “A systematic approach to increasing sales productivity, by supporting reps with the content, training, and analytics they need to have more successful sales conversations.”
Though the responsibilities of sales enablement is still being defined, we can begin to clarify its scope. The following four functions are key in a successful sales enablement program:
Content: Sales enablement must make sure that quality content is created and sales reps can find and utilize the right content at the right time.
Training: Reps must be trained in not only sales skill, but product, marketing/industry and business skills as well.
Strategy and Execution: Sales enablement goes beyond winning deals and extends to hiring and onboarding, forecasting, budgeting, and performance reviews.
Tools and Technology: Once the strategy is established, you must guarantee adoption of the technology to execute against the process. This function also overlaps with training, as tools and technology add functionality and become more complex.
Many companies are bought into the vision of sales enablement, however, according to research by Highspot and Heinz Marketing, there’s a huge disconnect.
When you ask about the importance of activities that are under the sales enablement umbrella, there’s a Grand Canyon sized gap between how important companies rate those activities and how they rate their current efforts.
How to Setup and Deploy Sales Enablement in Your Company
If your organization isn’t up and running with an effective sales enablement program, or if you have a program running but need to close the gap and execute better, follow these six steps. You’ll be well on your way to providing your sales organization with the content, strategy, training and technology that help your salespeople sell more effectively.
1) Establish the need. The job of your sales reps is to show up on a call (or meeting) knowledgeable, skillful and with the right assets to help prospects buy. If there’s any indication that any of these elements are not there, you need to invest in sales enablement now. These gaps in efficiency and effectiveness are robbing your company of money. You’re never too small to have a sales enablement function.
2) Set your goals. The most important numbers to sales teams are pipeline, revenue, and customer lifetime value. However, Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, argues for a different metric for measuring sales enablement effectiveness: active selling time (expressed as a percent of a rep’s entire day). Another significant metric to measure is time to quota (expressed in months or weeks). Effective programs can shorten ramp time where new reps are matching quota attainment for the rest of your team months sooner.
3) Get a lay of the land. Once you've made the case, it's time to get a lay of the land. This means surveying your team to better understand rep’s biggest challenges, thus where your biggest opportunity lies. Don’t forget to talk to marketing, sales ops, account management, customer success and anyone who directly contributes to the revenue generating activities of your organization. You need to talk to the people who are closest to the problem.
4) Know your buyer. In order to empower the sales reps and help them deliver the best experience to your prospects, you must first know them inside and out. Beyond knowing their pain points and challenges, you must be able to recognize buying signals and trigger events that are related to that prospect’s problems.
If you don’t know your buyers as good as they know themselves by now, you’re doing it all wrong.
5) Map the sales process to the buyer's journey. When sales leaders are planning their strategy, it's common for them to only focus on what's best for their team and neglect the customer. The paradox is that what's best for the sales team starts with that's best for the customer. So rather than focusing on the sales process alone, it's important to first look at the buyer's journey and the experience a buyer has with you at every single state of the sales funnel. Once you understand that, you can begin to understand how to empower your team and deliver a better experience to prospects at every stage.
6) Validate and iterate. The most effective team's test content, tactics and execution, but what makes them effective is rigorously measuring against your goals. This allows you to iterate and improve by doubling down on what’s working or moving on to the next test. This can and should be applied to all four of the key functions of sales enablement: content, training, strategy and technology. This involves ideating, prioritizing, testing, measuring and then analyzing.
Following these six steps will dramatically impact your sales team and help them crush the competition. Though there’s no single agreed upon definition of sales enablement, no definitive scope of the function, and no clear department that owns the program, there is one thing that we can all agree on - sales enablement should be a mindset. If the foundation of sales enablement is the customer and the ultimate goal is revenue, then all parts of your organization have a vested interest and should support this function. You need a true sales culture where all departments are on the same page. Once everyone truly understand this, you can begin to impact the bottom line in a major way.
This is just an introductory overview of sales enablement. There are many more moving pieces to complete the puzzle and give you a full picture. That's why we’ve teamed up with the experts at PandaDoc for a webinar about “How to Use Sales Enablement to Increase Pipeline and Drive Revenue.”
On this webinar, you'll discover:
The keys to an effective sales enablement program
How technology can help you drive revenue and shorten the sales cycle
6 Steps to get up and running with sales enablement
How Sales Enablement drives productivity and closes more deals
4 types of content that sales can use to close deals faster
How marketing and sales can develop effective Sales Enablement content