The Ultimate Guide to Perfecting Your Sales Enablement Strategy

Sales enablement might seem hard to grasp at first, but it’s not nearly as complicated as you think. Simply put, you want to give your sales team the complete set of tools and training they need to have meaningful conversations with their clients. As a result, they’ll close more deals.

With so much information readily available on the Internet, today’s customers no longer depend on their friendly neighborhood salesperson to provide the data they need to make a purchasing decision. So, what value can salespeople add apart from taking and processing orders?

The Digital Sales Institute sums it up best by suggesting the modern salesperson’s major task is relationship building. It’s about listening to buyers, learning their specific problems and offering a solution to overcome their pain points.

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What Can Sales Enablement Do for Your Sales Team?

While sales enablement specifically addresses the needs of sales representatives, the end result points to an improved customer experience. The goal is to make the sales process as painless as possible so customers enjoy a more meaningful and productive sales journey.

Sales enablement combines and aligns the efforts of sales, marketing and customer service in enriching the customer experience:

  • Marketing develops and produces materials the sales team needs to maintain conversations with buyers and address their concerns.
  • Sales establishes relationships with prospects and uses marketing materials to convert leads into customers.
  • Customer service provides assistance to buyers (outside of sales) before and after closing the deal.  

Sales and marketing usually collaborate on the development of content and materials. While marketing crafts the programs and develops campaigns, they use data from sales to generate insights and create personas.

So, even if sales enablement only includes the sales department in its name, it’s actually a result of an active and productive collaboration between various groups in an organization.

Why You Need A Sales Enablement Strategy

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Given that buyers have evolved from dependency to total independence in matters of information, sales teams need to look elsewhere to remain relevant. This is why your sales organization must develop a strong sales enablement strategy. Independent-minded buyers prefer sellers that provide added value.

In most cases, buyers are more comfortable proceeding with the purchase decision with sales reps who can share insights and offer solutions catered to their specific problems. This is why coming up with the right sales enablement strategy can position salespeople as those who offer more than the products a customer needs.

Unlock Tools Sales Reps Need

A great sales enablement strategy equips each sales team member with the tools to connect with buyers. Sales enablement usually includes the following functions:

  • Recruitment, onboarding, training and development programs that include tools for performance evaluation, coaching and enablement
  • Development of content that gives sales the ability to communicate with customers  
  • The use of tools that help streamline the sales process, including sales management software, automation tools and content and presentation programs

Enhance Recruitment and Training

Having too many sales representatives can prove as fatal as having too few. The perfect number of salespeople to deploy always depends on the agreed targets. Given that it takes a certain amount of time and effort to propose a deal and close a sale, a proportionate amount of sales representatives should be available.

However, recruitment is just the initial stage. The right onboarding program and the proper training are critical elements of sales enablement that teach sales reps how to create and manage relationships with customers. After all, the modern sales process has evolved.

Sales reps can’t just show up at a customer’s place, whip out an order form and expect to close a sale. It takes time for buyers to make a purchase decision. Most companies now make purchases by committee, which means more decision-makers than ever before.

A typical sales cycle for small and medium businesses usually takes about 60 days. For enterprise clients, the sales cycle can take much longer. Therefore, new sales reps and trainees should learn the skills needed to patiently navigate the modern, tedious sales process right from the start.

Jointly Develop Content

Content is the lifeblood of conversations with customers. Without the right content, prospects might find it difficult to connect your company as the solution to their problems. When executed correctly, the right content improves the customer experience. At the same time, content also helps sales teams present solutions to buyers more efficiently and effectively.

There are several types of content that give sales the material to converse with clients:

1. Buyer PersonasBuyer personas are profiles based on a company’s typical customers. Marketing develops these personas using details gathered and provided by the sales team. Usually, the buyer persona represents key demographic information such as age, location and socioeconomic status. They also provide key factors that contribute to their purchase decisions as well as typical objections.

2. Product Demos and Video Tutorials Product demonstrations and video tutorials are carefully produced videos that work on a number of levels. For prospects, the demo can introduce the product and show its features and benefits. For undecided buyers in the latter stages of the sales journey, demos can reinforce the strong points that sway a purchase decision. Meanwhile, new users can use video tutorials as a guide to correctly using the product or service and getting the desired outcome.    

3. Brochures and Specification Sheets Brochures and spec sheets are often seen at trade shows, events and exhibitions. Sales reps usually carry a number of copies to hand out to prospects who showed interest. Spec sheets provide a handy reference to a product’s technical specifications that buyers will need to know, such as dimensions, performance ratings and power sources. Meanwhile, brochures provide a shortened version of a product’s features and benefits, which can generate initial interest.  

4. Reviews and TestimonialsCustomer reviews and testimonials are some of the most powerful endorsements of a product because they come from actual customers instead of paid endorsers or contracted influencers. With most buyers preferring to undertake their own research about products, they often refer to customer reviews and testimonials for a more honest assessment.

Most consumers share this sentiment. According to BrightLocal, about 81% of customers use Google reviews when checking out local businesses. Apart from Google and other review sites, there are many communities, consumer groups and independent reviewers that post original content recounting their experience with a particular product.

5. Sales PresentationsDespite the evolution of the buyer, some things about the sales process remain unchanged. This includes the sales pitch, where the intrepid sales team gathers at the client’s location to make a formal presentation of their solution.

More often than not, the sales team will have prepared a slideshow presentation that details its proposal. While these have historically been given in person, the COVID-19 pandemic led many enterprising sales reps to upload and share interactive presentations instead. This trend will continue, with salespeople being available via video conferencing to answer questions.

Align and Collaborate Using Sales Enablement Tools

Misalignment in your company leads to wasteful activities, such as sales reps developing their own marketing materials. Therefore, it’s vital to reorganize and realign your departments. This gives groups the opportunity to reestablish connections with each other and collaborate better in developing sales and marketing content.

Realignment also gives the sales team easy access to marketing content. Meanwhile, marketing can more easily approach sales for any input it might want to share regarding marketing materials being developed.

Considerations When Crafting Your Sales Enablement Strategy

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Understanding your existing practices can help you create your ultimate sales enablement strategy. This includes revisiting the way you design and develop your learning and promotional materials, training modules, playbooks and content. It’s important to provide the entire sales team with the skills, knowledge and tools that can help close deals.

Revisit Your Tools

There are plenty of tools and platforms your teams can work with. However, which tools work best for most companies’ needs? Here are some of the more popular sales enablement tools available on the market today:  

Customer Relationship Management Software

It all starts with customer relationship management (CRM) software. This platform holds a database that contains all information about every customer you’ve done business with over the years. CRM software identifies which customers are active in the sales pipeline and which ones are experiencing problems in their current sales journeys.

Sales Management Software

When managing a team of sales representatives, sales managers need all the help they can get. This includes tasks such as monitoring each team member’s sales activities, evaluating performance based on results and providing assistance when reps are out on the field. Sales management software can also keep track of entire teams, which helps managers pinpoint which agents need assistance or coaching at the moment.

Sales Analytics Software

Analyzing sales performance requires special software. Sales analytics tools look at the total picture to provide detailed insights that can help set future directions. Using this platform, management can determine the length of the average sales cycle and win shares of each sales rep. Additionally, it can identify bottlenecks in the sales journey and provide some clues on how to address these issues.

Prospecting and Lead Generation Software

Identifying and qualifying leads are necessary tasks that, if done efficiently, can lead to improved prospecting. This software can help identify events and automate the lead generation process, which can generate higher-quality prospects who offer better chances of conversion. Some tools that help generate leads include social media sales software and social listening platforms.  

Training and Learning Platforms

Learning management systems (LMS) can hold training and instructional modules that salespersons use to learn about their jobs. From product knowledge training and personality development courses to the fine art of dealmaking, an LMS can help administer the training and provide an evaluation to all sales representatives in need of additional learning.  

Content Management System

The content management system (CMS) is where all sales materials, marketing literature and other content are centrally stored for access by the entire team. This allows sales reps to collect materials needed for their sales pitch. It also lets marketing, sales and customer support collaborate on cloud-based documents so each group can share their expertise. The CMS can also help managers review and evaluate content produced by the teams before its release to leads and clients.  

Revisit Your Customers’ Sales Journeys

Apart from checking up on your sales enablement tools, you can also benefit from revisiting your customers’ sales journeys. It’s important to reinforce to the sales team that your solutions might be seen differently by various market segments.

Knowing your buyer personas means constantly evaluating them and checking whether each one still accurately represents its intended market. In addition, you might want to see if your current strategies are trying to sell your products to a more general market instead of the specific segments represented by your personas. By trying to please everyone, you might end up pleasing no one.

A good rule of thumb is to revisit the buyer personas and your current sales strategy along the five phases of the sales journey: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention and Advocacy.

During each stage, see if their present reasons, projections and objections remain accurate to what the actual market is saying. By continually fine-tuning your buyer personas and aligning your marketing strategy with these changes, you have a great shot at retaining or even improving your market share.

Revisit Your Customers and Talk to Sales Leaders

While fine-tuning your buyer personas is a great way to recalibrate your sales efforts, it’s even better if you can take the time to revisit your customers as well. While adjusting your personas might be necessary due to current market trends, customer feedback remains a better source of insights. Considering the economic upheavals brought about by a lingering pandemic and its inflationary pressure, try to determine whether these external factors affected your buying public’s purchase decisions.

At the same time, you should also look inwardly at the sales team. Specifically, look at the most recent sales results—are new sales reps dominating the leaderboards instead of established veterans? If there are emerging sales leaders, get their insights on the sales environment. What makes them successful in this current climate?

Additionally, gather some input from the previous sales leaders. You might also want to find out if they employed strategies that worked before but are unsuccessful now. For instance, interviewing members of the sales team can help determine if a new pattern is emerging that favors new strategies employed by new players. Or, you may find previous strategies just don’t work as well anymore. Either way, you can apply these insights when developing your new sales enablement strategy.

Realign With Organizational Goals

Given all the necessary revisits and corresponding adjustments, it’s crucial that, at the end of the day, these changes remain aligned with your organization’s goals and objectives. Talking to customers and adjusting your buyer personas are great, but make sure your company’s products and services remain the biggest beneficiary of these changes.

Listening to the new sales leaders is also okay. However, incorporating their input means aligning these ideas in the content development, onboarding and sales training processes.

In addition, assess the financial impact of any adjustments to the overall sales enablement strategy. Will there be a financial hit if the company adjusts its strategy? Will the new sales patterns require supporting an entirely new market segment? Finally, will the adjusted training modules and onboarding programs incur additional costs? Knowing how these considerations can impact your objectives (and possibly your bottom line) can help you make more strategic decisions.

Developing the Perfect Sales Enablement Strategy

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When brainstorming with the team on a new sales enablement strategy, you’ll need to consider how it will play out for the season. Remember, the point of sales enablement is to improve the customer experience. Implementing strategies that only end up changing your sales team is an exercise in futility.  

Here are some steps to keep in mind when developing the perfect sales enablement strategy:

Keep Sales and Marketing Aligned but Distinct

In the zeal to execute a strategy or produce content, some lines might be blurred during the process. For instance, sales might take the initiative to produce content on its own without asking marketing to assist. Or, marketing may decide to create content without asking for sales’ input. If this happens, you run the risk of creating misaligned or inaccurate content that can backfire quickly.

Instead, make sure everybody knows their roles. Marketing should always incorporate sales’ input in its content, and sales should always let marketing do its job. As long as everybody stays in their lane and continues to collaborate, the eventual strategy or the produced content will reflect the unified efforts. This gives you a better chance of success.

Take the Time to Train

Every fresh strategy should come with enough time to bring everybody on board. Equipping people with updated skills that apply to new situations is the best way to master the new environment. Otherwise, applying the same old procedures to totally different scenarios will only give you the same mixed results.

In this case, modifying buyer personas should always follow with a refresher course on the buyer personas. The program should highlight the changes the personas undertook, no matter how slight. After all, even the smallest changes can require the sales team to adjust its approach. For example, an insensitivity to the effects of inflation can seriously turn off a buyer trying to work within a slashed budget. But providing relief through payment restructuring or offering loyalty discounts can go a long way in retaining customers.

Unleash Sales Enablement Tools

In 2021, Gartner noted a 5% bump in companies’ sales tech budgets from the previous year. This means more and more firms are seeing the value of increasing the availability of sales enablement tools and software to produce better content, enhance training and development and align sales, marketing and customer service efforts. Conversely, companies that have yet to introduce sales tools into their workplaces have a lot of catching up to do.

Given the continued march of the digital age, don’t be left behind by insisting on staying the analog course. Start investing in sales enablement tools that can help sales reps better engage customers. This means considering collaborative presentation software, content management systems and learning management systems. It’s not only about producing content; it’s also important to actively share it and make it accessible to all.

Managers should also look into increasing the use of sales management and CRM software to better track sales records. Having a better gauge of each individual’s performance allows managers to stage timely interventions for sales reps having difficulties or commend sales members who recently posted success.

Finally, enhance your use of sales analytics and business intelligence software. Combining and analyzing separate streams of data can help generate previously unrealized insights. At minimum, analytics can track and evaluate performances on a granular level.

Create Collaborative Content to Share With Clients

It’s always important to apply sales enablement strategies when developing content designed for clients. The platform for creating the presentation should be a collaborative one that encourages idea-sharing and allows peer reviews and comments. In addition, the presentation should contain interactive elements, which are designed to generate interest and engagement from clients.  

Making the content available to clients through cloud-sharing can make it both easy and convenient for clients to receive and review proposals. Finally, built-in analytics that track and monitor client behavior toward the content can generate insights on how to further improve the presentation.

Ingage is a cloud-based interactive presentation platform that has all this and more. The platform encourages your sales and marketing teams to collaborate in producing a targeted presentation clients can appreciate. Its interactive content better engages audiences, while its built-in analytics monitor how clients respond to the content.

We’d love to show you how Ingage can perfect your sales enablement strategy. Contact us today, and we’ll gladly arrange a free demonstration.

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