What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement is a catch-all phrase with many meanings. But what is sales enablement and more importantly, what is its purpose?
The idea of training new sales reps, or any other customer-facing employees, to align their objectives with the company’s goals and gain insight to be successful is not a new concept. Knowledge of product(s), brand, and competitive landscape is imperative to their quickly becoming effective. In the search for a consistent revenue growth strategy, companies have sought to better equip and prepare those on the front lines of revenue generation: sales teams. The goal was, and continues to be, to enable them to reach quota as quickly as possible and consistently, thus the creation of sales enablement. However, as sales enablement constantly changes in scope, it’s needless to say that there’s yet to be a single, universally adopted definition.
Sirius Decisions says, “The purpose of sales enablement is to ensure sales teams have the skills, knowledge, behavior, and tools needed to engage buyers in rich conversations.”
Forrest Research says, “Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return on investment of the selling system.”
When Forrester Research asks, “What is Sales Enablement?” they characterize it with the idea that companies should put their customers upfront. Putting customers first is an excellent approach to creating your sales enablement initiatives. That said, it’s just as important to determine whether your business needs a dedicated sales enablement manager, a big decision for any company.
Here are the top five reasons you should consider hiring a sales enablement manager.
1. Business is in a high growth phase
Many businesses experiencing high-growth tend to deal with business challenges that are right in front of them. Usually when business is booming it’s easy to forget about the longer term future. This shortsightedness can cause major headaches down the road, particularly when there are no streamlined processes in place to track personal or business performance.
Referring to an HBR blog Science of Building a Scalable Sales Team, Mark Roberge from Hubspot points out the importance of taking a disciplined approach when training salespeople so that everyone has good foundational selling skills. According to Mark the result at Hubspot stated that “our salespeople are able to connect on a far deeper level with our prospects and leads”, a process that has consistently resulted in high growth.
2. New sales reps take a long time to meet quotas
Hiring new sales reps is a significant investment for any company, and the longer they take to onboard and ramp up, the more money burned.
“According to Aberdeen Research, companies that adopt best practices across their sales teams had double the quota attainment of their peers. Each sales enablement program that gives a rep more time for core selling nets more revenue. Each best practice program that makes reps more effective translates into topline improvement”.
A sales enablement manager should strive to help each member of their sales team achieve peak performance. Therefore, sales enablement programs should always include finding ways to improve sales reps’ efficiency and effectiveness with prospects so they can meet their quotas and keep on performing into the future.
3. Sales reps spend too much time on non-selling tasks
The primary job of any sales rep is to continually work on their sales process, generating and qualifying leads, conducting sales demos and closing deals. If Anytime they’re not on these selling tasks it’s usually unproductive, and a poor use of a valuable resource.
“To increase sales productivity, you have to reduce or eliminate tasks that aren’t productive.”- Nancy Nardin
Part of the role of a sales enablement manager is to look at the sales process and identify how it can help reduce non-selling tasks and increase efficiency across the entire process.
4. Need to increase individual sales quotas next year
According to CSO Insights, 94.5% of firms they surveyed said they were raising quotas. If you too are planning to increase quotas, then you’re going to need a new strategy and a new set of sales enablement tools to get more out of your sales team. A dedicated sales enablement manager should help to ensure that your sales reps be well trained regarding your customers’ needs, be up to date with industry and product news, have the necessary tools and information available with them when they need it. As CSO Insights discovered.
As CSO Insights discovered that the key to achieving higher quotas with the same sales team is to keep your sales team well trained and ready with a new set of skill.
5. Marketing efforts aren’t helping sales sell
If you are increasing your marketing budgets but that’s not translating into helping sales sell more, then having a sales enablement manager could be the reason. A significant part of marketing’s role is to create sales collateral for each persona for every stage of the buyer’s journey, so, it’s crucial that both sales and marketing are aligned and work closely together.
A sales enablement manager can help bridge the gap between marketing deliverables and what the sales team needs. Working with both sales and marketing can make the difference in sales ability to provide valuable content and collateral to customers. For example, the Hubspot sales enablement team sits with the sales reps but reports through to the marketing.
If you’re still not sure whether it’s time for you to hire a sales enablement manager ask yourself, can you afford not to?