What Is Sales Enablement? An In-Depth Look
July 28, 2022
6 minute read
Sales enablement is a complex business process, but it boils down to one thing: giving your sales team what they need. In this post, we’ll cover what sales enablement means and examine the details of how it’s done. So get ready to learn all about making sales teams ready and prepared for success. And don’t forget to contact our team to get a free assessment.
Definition of Sales Enablement
Sales enablement refers to the act of implementing tools, strategies, and processes that work together to improve the efficiency as well as the effectiveness of your sales team. Sales enablement takes your plans and puts them into action, boosting sales and improving growth.
How is sales enablement different from sales operations?
Sales enablement sounds a lot like another process you’ve heard of before: sales operations. While they do have a lot to do with one another, they’re far from the same thing. Think of them as two processes that must be done well in order for a sales team to be successful.
B2C or B2B sales operations focuses on the hard processes that must take place in order for a sales team to sell. That means things like hiring and training staff, CRM acquisition and maintenance, and defining sales procedures. The question that sales operations has to answer is “what needs to happen in order for the sales team to succeed?”
Sales enablement is a bit different. It’s more about resources than processes. Good sales enablement strategies provide things like training materials, marketing collateral, and actionable data analysis to the sales team. The question that sales enablement has to answer is “what does the sales team need provided to them so they can succeed?”
When they’re working together, sales enablement is providing the resources necessary to get the most out of the processes that sales operations creates and maintains. The result is a team of sales reps that have what they need and know what to do.
What do organizations look like with and without sales enablement?
Let’s examine what organizations can look like with and without sales enablement. We’ll examine this on a number of different domains.
With Sales Enablement, relevant content is stored in a single, organized location so the sales team can find what they need without issue.
Without Sales Enablement, relevant content is scattered across multiple locations, disorganized, and hard to find. The sales team doesn’t have what they need when they need it.
With Sales Enablement, performance data is interpreted and used to produce the content the sales team needs to work successfully.
Without Sales Enablement, the organization is unaware of how content is performing and cannot provide the necessary data to help the sales team close more deals.
With Sales Enablement, the sales team uses a single, highly-familiar platform to host everything associated with sales enablement.
Without Sales Enablement, the sales team must use multiple platforms for their tasks, leading to inefficiency and confusion.
What teams cover sales enablement?
Sales enablement focuses heavily on alignment across sales and marketing in order to streamline processes. Because of this, both sales and marketing departments cover sales enablement. The marketing team is responsible for the production of content and other resources the sales team needs, and the sales team is responsible for using those resources effectively.
How can sales inform marketing?
Sales enablement isn’t just a one way relationship of marketing teams equipping sales teams. Sales must provide feedback to marketing so both can really earn the benefits of sales enablement. The product knowledge that the sales team has, as well as what kinds of questions and comments they’re getting from customers, is valuable for the marketing team to have.
How can marketing inform sales?
Marketing can help sales in many ways, from coming up with talking points and strategic messaging around products to creating the content the sales team needs to effectively communicate and sell. Marketing can also use feedback from the sales team to improve on existing content to better equip the sales team to have knowledge-based sales interactions going forward.
How can sales enablement help you?
You might be surprised by the results you’ll see if you get on board with sales enablement. Here are just a few of the advantages of utilizing sales enablement.
Better alignment between sales and marketing
When your sales and marketing teams aren’t working well together, you’re not just forced to mediate their disagreements, you’re actually missing out on opportunities to improve your processes. Sales can give marketing actionable feedback on their content; marketing can give sales the information they need to make the sales to customers on the fence. Above all, when everyone is working together, you’re all pointed at the same target and working together to hit it.
Shorter sales cycle
If it feels like it takes forever to usher a prospective customer through the sales funnel, perhaps it’s time to take steps to improve the process. Your sales team spends far too much time on activities that aren’t related to sales at all — things like paperwork, tracking prospects, and data entry. Implementing the right tools will give your team more time to do what they do best — sell!
Who doesn’t want more money to grow their business? When you’ve got your teams working together toward the same goal, you’ll be surprised by how much money you’ll save. Your marketing team won’t be wasting time (and money) on less-than-stellar leads and they’ll get the information they need to improve their materials. The sales team will get the high-quality material they need to sell better than ever.
Why is being data-driven important for sales enablement?
Data-driven sales enablement is sales enablement that gets results. Although conventional methods like aligning training with desired outcomes aren’t irrelevant in data-driven sales enablement, they’re not all that’s relied on anymore. The data available from sales enablement platforms, customer feedback, performance metrics, and more is extremely valuable for the success of a sales enablement strategy.
A CRM (customer relationship management) platform like HubSpot is one of the most comprehensive and effective tools for gathering and analyzing data available. With the insights provided by a well-used CRM, marketing can provide target messaging that better equips sales to close deals, satisfy customers, and lay the groundwork for customer success.
How to Use Your CRM for Data Driven Sales Enablement
While a CRM is one of the most important tools to include in your sales enablement strategy, it won’t do everything for you. Think of a CRM like a car: it will get you where you need to go, but you still have to do the driving.
A CRM brings multiple tools and processes to one platform and makes them readily accessible to a single person. That person can use the CRM to automate emails, quickly access content, track actions taken by contacts and team members, and even schedule meetings. Being able to do all this in a single, easily understood environment is essential.
But a CRM is also invaluable as a source of data. A good CRM will automatically generate reports on engagement, provide at-a-glance tracking information, and give you customizable dashboards to help you glean the insights you need from the available data.
Whatever your goals are, you should be able to use your CRM to gather and interpret the data you need to reach them.
Additional Sales Enablement Tools that Can Help You
There are many kinds of sales enablement technologies available to help you improve your sales processes. HubSpot is a fantastic source for many of these tools, as are many other sales enablement software providers. With a little research and planning, you’re sure to find the right tools to make your sales team a happy and successful one.
Customer Journey Mapping
Having a plan is almost always the key to success. In sales enablement efforts, the customer journey is the plan sales teams need to base many of their decisions off of. The customer journey follows potential buyers from the first point of contact all the way to after they’ve made a purchase. Customer journey mapping is how the sales enablement team defines the buying process for the rest of the organization, creates a basis for content strategy, and makes effective decisions about what to do next.
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of the potential customers your sales strategy is intended to reach. They are assigned traits such as desires, pain points, and knowledge level that help shape the sales strategy and represent realistic profiles of your customers. Usually they are given alliterative names to make them easier to remember.
Content is one of the most important parts of an effective sales enablement strategy. Good marketing copy helps the sales team close deals, and a good CMS (content management system) gives the sales team access to content that is organized and effective. But a CMS is more than just a storage vault for marketing content. It also facilitates collaboration, scheduling, security, and more.
Sales enablement professionals can help sales reps by giving them the tools they need to focus their time and attention where it is most needed. Email automation is one of the best ways to do this. It creates email workflows that are situation-specific and effective while freeing up time for busy sales reps. Effective email automation may use artificial intelligence for situation-specific responses and can have a range of benefits from increased customer retention rate to better overall sales performance.
Grow your revenue without growing your sales team
If you have sales and marketing challenges to overcome, then you need an effective sales enablement program. More and more companies are appreciating the value that comes with syncing their company with the behavior or consumers.
If your company is interested in better efficiency and productivity with regard to sales, you need to get on board, too. A good sales enablement program will save your company effort, money, resources and time.
What are you waiting for?
Getting your sales and marketing teams on the same page as sales enablement will radically change your business — and your bottom line. Get a free RevOps assessment from BridgeRev to see how we can help.
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Jake Fisher, is President and Co-Founder of BridgeRev. He helps our clients with their revenue and growth goals by providing better strategies, better processes, and better technology. He also makes videos and written content to help entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers achieve their own revenue goals. And, he talks to business and industry leaders at conferences and association events.