What is Sales Enablement?
Growing a business in today’s digitally connected, globally competitive world is like fighting a never-ending war. When you send your military to war, it is critical that they are equipped with adequate information, weapons, and equipment to win the battle against the opposition. In the same vein, Sales Enablement equips your sales channels with the knowledge, content, tools, and other resources to enable them to win new business and defeat competitors. Sales enablement must provide the resources sales teams need to generate sales and ultimately drive business growth.
The purpose of sales enablement is to help your sales force appear as “experts”. It is to enable them to provide insight and knowledge that adds value to the potential customer. After all, information is readily available and easily accessible, a few clicks on the keyboard and tons of information instantly appears. Therefore, when a potential customer engages with a member of your sales force, they expect more than what’s accessible online, they expect a subject matter expert to answer their questions.
Sales Enablement Resources
There are a plethora of software applications available for sales enablement. The most commonly used in small and mid-market businesses include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, Marketing Automation, and presentation software.
Reference materials are created for internal use only to provide salespeople with quick access to key information. Examples include
- Feature Advantage Benefit (FAB) Summaries
- Competitive Product Comparisons
- Discovery Questions List
- Product Cheat Sheets
Training is a critical component of sales enablement. Sales teams need to be kept abreast of new products, product enhancements, or any other product changes. It is advantageous to train on competitive products as well. Sales teams should also be trained in sales techniques and best practices.
While it is not training, it is wise to have periodic meetings concerning market trends and changes.
Sales Enablement Goals
The ultimate goal of sales enablement is to help your entire sales force increase sales volume and revenue.
What is a business without making sales? It’s simply an entity existing without purpose. Or perhaps a charity organization. The aim of every business is to make a profit, and profit only comes from selling your product and service to consumers. This is why sales enablement is vital to you and your business.
Sales enablement recognizes this and says, “Hey, let me help you drive sales. But you would need to empower your team first.” It tells you to focus on improving your work processes, beef up marketing tools, and furnish your sales representatives with as many resources as possible.
Besides boosting sales and revenue, sales enablement has other sub-goals. They include:
Increase productivity: We already know profit is the bane of every business, but to get to the point where your business makes outstanding profits, the productivity of your team must be beyond average. It is not news that the productivity of any team is hinged on its ability to access relevant resources. So, this is how it works: sales enablement improves the productivity of your sales team, which in turn results in increased sales.
Build team capacity: Sales enablement doesn’t only impact your sales numbers but also impacts your team’s capacity. As you continuously equip your sales team with relevant tools and resources, you build their capacity. Their knowledge is widened and their arsenal is well-furnished such that they are motivated to tackle challenges head-on. Most importantly, sales enablement instills a learning culture within your team. They would not only rely on the resources provided but will seek further to satisfy their craving for new knowledge and mastery.
Develop a large customer base: Mastering sales techniques necessary implies learning the art of building and maintaining a customer base. Through constant training and making available relevant resources, you can be sure to improve your customer base with time. Enablement helps your team understand the market, customer demography, customer preferences, weaknesses in processes, etc., which will, in turn, give direction to their activities and ultimately yield positive results.
Who is Responsible for Sales Enablement?
“Who owns sales enablement?” This question often raises some debate.
While some people believe sales enablement is the responsibility of the Marketing team, some believe that Sales handles its enablement. Then there is another opinion that suggests that it is a joint responsibility between the sales team and marketing team.
In practice, sales enablement is jointly owned by the sales and marketing teams. That’s what operates in virtually all companies. And it’s that way because companies have observed that it works. Being a joint effort, both teams can effectively collaborate to convert leads and generate leads. Two heads are better than one, right?
Here’s how it often plays out in companies. The marketing team makes available to sales reps a broad range of resources like product guides, prospective customer data, statistics, videos, and so on to help them effectively make sales. These resources often foster interaction between sales reps and customers.
The sales team also from time to time communicates with the marketing team their needs in terms of what type of content and materials they need to close deals and make sales. So, it’s a two-way interaction. Marketing provides sales with relevant tools and resources to help them reach customers and sell effectively, and communicate with marketing their needs.
Moreover, marketing can also organize training sessions for the sales team with the aim of improving their work processes and mode of operation. In response, sales must try their best to implement best practices learned from these training sessions.
What is Sales Channel Enablement?
In most cases, companies have an in-house sales team that handles their sales needs. In some instances, they rely on external partners even while having their in-house team. It’s not uncommon to find the sales team of a company collaborating with a sales and marketing agency for a particular project or series of projects.
Even with their expertise and strength, external sales partners need sales enablement too. They need to understand your sales goals and objectives to be able to efficiently provide valuable solutions. Hence, sales channel enablement is simply providing sales enablement to external sales.
It involves providing tools, content, information, and data, and offering training to external sales channels with the aim of generating sales. It’s basically equipping indirect sales partners to help you sell your products or services.