The saying goes that sales tools make the salesperson. Is this true? Without a doubt, they do give sellers an advantage over those who still depend entirely on spreadsheets, charisma, and pitches. However, sales tools and technology alone won’t amount to much.
To make sense of sales tools like business intelligence, analytics, and marketing, agents will need to learn how to use them effectively and efficiently. This is where sales enablement comes into play.
What is sales enablement?
By definition, sales enablement is when a sales team is given the resources they need to close deals in an efficient and effective manner – while delivering an optimal customer experience. It also entails streamlining sales processes to achieve a smoother buyer’s journey. Sales enablement isn’t about just providing sales teams with the field sales CRM they need to succeed, but teaching them how to use these tools to best serve your company and clientele.
In simpler times, salespeople had to rely on two things: knowledge of the product they sell and knowledge of the company that sells these products. Having this information allowed them to pitch products and ensure the company delivered the goods.
Now, buyers are much more nuanced. In fact, Salesforce reported that two-thirds of customers expect their suppliers to know and understand their problems and needs. In other words, the modern salesperson needs to become an expert on their customers’ companies, as well. Sales enablement provides the means to becoming that expert. Specifically, it affords sales personnel relevant information to share with clients, as well as a collection of related data, tools, and best practices.
Is sales enablement essential?
In a word, yes. Sales enablement turbocharges a sales team’s ability to add more value to what they can offer clients. Let’s consider a real-world example. Historically, companies would call in their sales reps every time they launched a new product. They’d then hold a one-time product knowledge seminar that covers the material end-to-end. Next, they would dispatch the sales agents back to their respective areas to start selling.
It’s not a bad idea, but it is an inefficient one. Xerox famously noted that 87% of salespeople forget their product knowledge training after three months. Imagine how many lost sales opportunities that has amounted to over the years.
Instead, picture the same product knowledge training conducted using a Learning Management System-based course. Sales reps can log in from their smart devices and view videos, answer quizzes, and participate in discussions. If the system features a gamified module, they can even compete against one another for bragging rights. They can also refer to their LMS for any information they may have missed or forgotten. Meanwhile, trainers can conduct refresher courses periodically to keep everybody sharp.
Between the two groups, who do you think would go on to become the more successful sales group? If you guessed the latter, you’d be right. According to Aberdeen Strategy Research, a whopping 84% of sales representatives hit their quotas when their company adopts a comprehensive sales enablement strategy.
Best practices in establishing a sales enablement strategy
Developing a top-notch sales enablement strategy includes ensuring a continuous transfer of knowledge to salespeople. It also means a committed approach to using the existing sales tools provided to the sales team. Below are some of the best and most popular approaches:
Create a knowledge base
Centralizing your organization’s knowledge base into an accessible medium helps everybody, not just sales personnel. A knowledge base is a perfect storehouse, as it provides self-service access to all connected members in a highly organized fashion.
Even better, the knowledge base serves both the customer and the sales team. It can host basic product features and specifications, but can also store product research materials, industry papers, and even user reviews. Sales representatives can gather the needed data from the knowledge base to provide their clients with answers.
Alternatively, rather than depending on a salesperson’s availability, prospects can also head straight into the knowledge base to research for themselves.
Align goals with your sales enablement strategy
One ripple effect of using sales enablement is the increased collaborative effort between an organization’s sales and marketing groups. Sales enablement includes communication and collaboration tools that allow these teams to better align department goals. Here, sales representatives can share marketing materials with their customers and relay which ones are most effective back to the marketing team.
It’s not just marketing and sales, though. Even the corporate office or the C-suite can merge their values and initiatives. This can help align strategies that truly reflect the company’s ideals. On a more practical level, aligning strategies with the company’s revenue and growth targets for the year give the sales team a clearer picture of what they need to accomplish.
Supplement learning through training
Learning is a continuous process by nature. For sales, in particular, raising the training level means better learning opportunities for agents. Replacing the traditional classroom learning methodology with an interactive, always-on training system can help the sales team better retain their knowledge.
Even the subtlest changes in a product’s composition, features, and even target market can alter the outcome of an ongoing negotiation. Having access to these changes in real-time gives the sales team an edge when dealing with customers. Sales enablement lays the foundation for this.
Provide the right tools
Having the right tools is only step one. Sales enablement can further help improve the salesperson’s ability to handle these tools the way they were intended. For example, field sales teams with access to up-to-date prices and stock availability can close deals faster.
Meanwhile, sales managers can elevate their teams by having access to employee progress data. Having the means to monitor each team member enables managers to decide which agents require additional coaching.
You should enable sales enablement
Simply put, sales enablement is no longer something to consider or opt into. It’s a necessity – one that every successful organization has learned to use to its benefit. By understanding how to make the most of the tools at their fingertips, sales teams can enjoy better sales, customer experiences, and employee satisfaction.
Luckily for you, adopting a sales enablement strategy is a breeze with Skynamo. The cloud-based software works wonders for field sales personnel and managers looking to lend a hand from afar. Let’s chat about how Skynamo can help you help your sales team today.