Odds are, if you’re a sales enablement leader right now, you’re operating your team much differently than you did less than a year ago.
Less (or no) budget.
Shorter seller attention spans.
At the same time, the quota conundrum continues. According to our 2022-2023 Sales Enablement Outlook Report, almost 40% of sellers achieve below 75% of their quotas. And until you can stand up programs that enable more sellers to hit their quotas, none of the challenges listed above are going to change.
As a sales enablement leader, you know there is no shortage of potential programs and initiatives to launch – it’s just a matter of how much you can do.
In this blog post, we break things out into two parts:
- Foundational, strategic initiatives are necessary for any successful sales enablement program. Depending on your org, these items might be ongoing, in progress, or on your roadmap. These are co-owned by leaders across the executive, enablement, RevOps, sales, marketing, product marketing, and customer success orgs.
- Programmatic activities are likely already happening in some form at your organization with or without the foundational, strategic initiatives. They are essential to a successful sales enablement program and are typically owned by the enablement and RevOps teams.
Here’s how to make the most of limited resources and get every seller on track to hit their quotas.
- What is a sales enablement program
- How to align your sales enablement with sales process development
- How to align enablement efforts with the buyer’s journey
- How to align sales and marketing teams together
Sales enablement is a strategic approach that aims to empower sales teams with the tools, information, and resources they need to engage with prospects and close deals effectively. A sales enablement program is a coordinated effort by an organization to provide sales representatives with the right content, training, and technology to sell more effectively.
The primary goal of a sales enablement program is to improve the effectiveness of the sales team by providing them with the necessary resources to sell more effectively. This can include training on sales techniques, product knowledge, and objection handling, as well as access to marketing collateral, customer testimonials, and other materials that can help them in their sales process.
Sales enablement programs typically involve a range of different activities, including the development of a content strategy, the creation of sales training programs, and the implementation of technology solutions such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, sales automation tools, and analytics platforms.
Elements of great sales enablement program
The below are absolutely essential for a successful sales enablement motion.
Aligning sales enablement with sales process development involves integrating the tools, content, and training provided through sales enablement into the various stages of the sales process. This helps ensure that sales reps have the resources they need to effectively engage with prospects and customers at each stage of the process, ultimately improving their performance and increasing the likelihood of success.
Here are some steps organizations can take to align sales enablement with sales process development.
- Define + refine your sales process: The first step is to clearly define the stages of the sales process, from lead generation to close. This helps identify the specific needs and challenges of sales reps at each stage, which in turn informs the development of sales enablement resources.
- Audit + update sales enablement content: Based on the identified needs of sales reps at each stage of the sales process, organizations can create relevant and engaging sales enablement content, such as product information, customer case studies, and competitive analysis.
- Provide sales training: In addition to providing sales enablement content, organizations should also provide training to help sales reps effectively use the content and tools provided through sales enablement. This can include training on product features and benefits, objection handling, and sales techniques.
- Integrate sales enablement into the sales process: Once sales enablement content and training have been developed, they should be integrated into the various stages of the sales process. For example, sales reps can use customer case studies and competitive analysis during the qualification and discovery stage, and use product information and objection-handling techniques during the presentation and negotiation stage.
- Continuously evaluate and improve: Finally, organizations should continuously evaluate the effectiveness of their sales enablement efforts and make improvements as necessary. This can involve gathering feedback from sales reps and customers, tracking key performance metrics, and iterating on sales enablement content and training to better align with the sales process.
By aligning sales enablement with sales process development, organizations can better support their sales reps throughout the sales process, ultimately improving their performance and increasing their chances of success.
This is probably a broken record that sales enablement leaders are very familiar with hearing. While its importance is easy to understand, executing it well is not.
No matter where you are in executing them, here are the important steps organizations can take to align their sales enablement efforts with the buyer’s journey:
- Map the journey: The first step is to understand the different stages of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to consideration to decision. This helps identify the specific needs and challenges of buyers at each stage, which can inform the development of sales enablement resources.
- Develop buyer-centric content: Based on the identified needs of buyers at each stage of the journey, organizations can create relevant and engaging sales enablement content that addresses their specific pain points and concerns. This can include educational content, such as whitepapers and case studies, as well as product-specific content, such as demos and product sheets.
- Personalize content for each buyer persona: To further align sales enablement with the buyer’s journey, organizations can personalize their content for each buyer persona. This involves tailoring the content and messaging to address the specific needs, preferences, and challenges of each persona.
- Integrate sales enablement into the buyer’s journey: Once sales enablement content has been developed and personalized, it should be integrated into the different stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, organizations can use targeted email campaigns to deliver relevant content to buyers in the awareness stage and provide personalized demos and case studies to buyers in the consideration and decision stages.
- Continuously evaluate and improve: Finally, organizations should continuously evaluate the effectiveness of their sales enablement efforts in supporting the buyer’s journey, and make improvements as necessary. This can involve gathering feedback from buyers, tracking key performance metrics, and iterating on sales enablement content and resources to better align with their needs.
By aligning sales enablement with the buyer’s journey, organizations can provide buyers with the information and resources they need to make informed decisions, ultimately improving their chances of closing deals and increasing customer satisfaction.
Does an aligned sales and marketing team sound like an impossible dream?
It’s not the easiest feat but if you look at alignment as something to be done in the phases outlined below, you can break off the broader initiative into more achievable and realistic blocks of work.
Here’s where to start:
- Define shared goals and objectives: The first step is to establish shared goals and objectives that both teams can work towards. This helps ensure that both teams are aligned and working towards a common purpose. Shared goals could include increasing lead generation, improving lead quality, and driving revenue growth.
- Develop buyer personas: To further align sales and marketing, organizations can develop buyer personas that both teams can use to better understand the needs and preferences of target buyers. This helps ensure that both teams are targeting the same types of buyers and messaging is consistent across both teams.
- Establish communication channels: Effective communication is key to aligning sales and marketing. Organizations should establish regular meetings and check-ins between the teams to share updates, discuss progress, and provide feedback.
- Collaborate on content development: Sales and marketing should work together to develop content that addresses the specific needs and concerns of buyers. For example, marketing can develop educational content to attract leads, and sales can provide feedback on the effectiveness of the content in converting leads into customers.
- Implement feedback loops: Finally, organizations should implement feedback loops to ensure that both teams are learning from each other and improving over time. This can involve gathering feedback from sales on the quality of leads generated by marketing, and feedback from marketing on the effectiveness of sales messaging and content.
By aligning sales and marketing teams, organizations can improve lead generation and conversion, increase revenue growth, and improve customer satisfaction. It requires a commitment to collaboration, communication, and a shared understanding of the goals and objectives of both teams.
A good sales onboarding program is designed to equip new sales hires with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to be successful in their role. It should provide a comprehensive introduction to the company, its culture, products/services, sales processes, and best practices.
Here is a checklist of what to make sure is included as part of your onboarding and ongoing training program:
- Set clear objectives and expectations by outlining what they are expected to achieve and how performance is measured.
- Role-specific training provides new hires with a deep understanding of their responsibilities and how to execute them effectively.
- Sales reps need to have a thorough understanding of the company’s products/services and the industry they operate in. Onboarding programs should provide in-depth training on these topics.
- Onboarding should provide training on the company’s sales processes and tools, including CRM systems, sales scripts, and objection handling.
- Sales onboarding should be evaluated based on metrics such as ramp-up time, quota attainment, and sales productivity to continuously improve the program’s effectiveness.
By incorporating these key elements, a good sales onboarding program can ensure that new hires are well-equipped to succeed in their role, ultimately contributing to the organization’s overall success.
This is a powerful and effective way for reps to practice and improve real-world selling behaviors while allowing sales leaders to get a firsthand look at how learning is applied. And the more often they’re done, the more productive your sellers will be. According to our 2023 State of Sales Productivity Report, reps at top-performing companies perform more than six role-plays per year.
Here are some examples of sales role-plays to try with your team. Remember that not every seller might need role-play practice for each one of these scenarios. Take a look at call recordings to see where some reps fall short so they can be coached to improve:
- Cold calling role plays: In this type of role play, a salesperson practices calling a prospect for the first time and delivering a persuasive pitch.
- Discovery call role plays: In this type of role play, a salesperson practices asking questions to understand the prospect’s needs, pain points, and goals.
- Objection handling role plays: In this type of role play, a salesperson practices responding to common objections and concerns that prospects may raise during the sales process.
- Demo role plays: In this type of role play, a salesperson demonstrates how the product or service works and highlights its benefits to the prospect.
- Closing role plays: In this type of role play, a salesperson practices asking for the sale and overcoming any final objections or concerns the prospect may have.
- Cross-selling/up-selling role plays: In this type of role play, a salesperson practices offering additional products or services to an existing customer.
- Negotiation role plays: In this type of role play, a salesperson practices negotiating price and terms with a prospect to close the deal.
These role plays can be customized to the specific industry, product, or service being sold. They provide a safe and supportive environment for salespeople to practice their skills and receive feedback from their manager or trainer.
Sales content plays a crucial role in sales enablement. It refers to any material or resource that sales teams use to engage with prospects and customers throughout the sales cycle. Here are some ways in which sales content is used in sales enablement:
- Sales playbook: A sales playbook is a comprehensive guide that outlines the company’s sales process, best practices, and key messaging. It provides sellers with a roadmap for how to navigate the sales process and effectively communicate with prospects.
- Sales training materials: Sales training materials, such as e-learning modules, videos, and quizzes, can be used to provide sellers with the foundational knowledge they need to be successful in their role. This can include topics such as objection handling, lead qualification, and negotiation.
- Sales collateral: Sales collateral, such as sales decks, one-pagers, and white papers, can be used to support new hires during their sales conversations with prospects. They provide new hires with the messaging and talking points they need to effectively communicate the value of the product or service.
- Sales tools: Sales tools, such as CRM systems, sales enablement platforms, and lead generation tools, can be used to streamline the sales process and make it easier for new hires to manage their pipeline and stay organized.
- Personalization: Sales content can be personalized for specific audiences or buyer personas. This can include customizing messaging, using specific examples or case studies, and tailoring content to the prospect’s stage in the buyer’s journey.
Sales coaching is an essential component of sales enablement. It involves providing personalized feedback, guidance, and support to sales teams to help them improve their skills and increase their effectiveness in selling. Here are some ways in which sales coaching is used in sales enablement:
- Skill development: Sales coaching can be used to develop and improve specific sales skills, such as prospecting, objection handling, and closing. This can help sales reps become more confident and effective in their sales conversations.
- Sales process improvement: Sales coaching can also be used to improve the overall sales process, by identifying areas for improvement and providing guidance on how to address them. This can lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness in the sales process.
- Goal setting and accountability: Sales coaching can be used to set goals and hold sales reps accountable for their performance. This can help to ensure that sales reps are aligned with the organization’s goals and that they are working towards achieving them.
- Performance feedback: Sales coaching can be used to provide regular feedback on sales reps’ performance, identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement. This can help sales reps to continuously improve their skills and performance.
- Coaching culture: Sales coaching can help to create a coaching culture within the organization, where sales managers and leaders prioritize coaching and development as a key part of their role. This can lead to a more engaged and motivated sales team and improved sales results.
By using sales coaching in sales enablement, organizations can ensure that their sales teams have the support and guidance they need to improve their skills and achieve their goals. It can also help to create a culture of continuous learning and development, which is essential for success in today’s fast-paced business environment.
It’s important to close the loop on all these sales enablement efforts. This means tracking certain KPIs over time to gauge whether sales enablement training, coaching, and other approaches are helping to improve seller performance. Evaluating both individual and team performance metrics, as well as how they correlate to revenue, you can diagnose any issues or gaps within your enablement program. And when you’re able to locate where the problems are, you can make changes, like creating additional training materials around a certain topic or assigning role-plays to reps with specified selling scenarios.
Are you ready to take the next step in your own sales enablement strategy? Set up time for a Mindtickle demo to learn how sales onboarding, role-playing, content, coaching, and analytics come together in one platform.
This post originally published in September 2022 and was updated in April 2023.