Sales enablement is a phrase that’s bandied around a lot lately, but what exactly is it and why does your organization need it? Forrester Research undertook detailed research with sales and marketing executives to come up with this comprehensive definition of sales enablement:
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.
The definition puts the customer front and center of the function, which is exactly where they should be, but the more challenging aspect is determining whether your business really needs someone to focus on sales enablement at all. Creating a new business function or hiring a new resource is a big decision, so to help you decide I’ve collated my top 5 reasons for why you should hire a sales enablement manager.
Your business is in a high growth phase
Many businesses experiencing high-growth tend to go with the flow, after all business is booming so there’s no reason to do anything different, right? This can cause pain points later on, particularly where there are no streamlined processes in place or few measurements to track performance, both at an individual or a business level. As Mark Roberge highlights in his article about the Science of Building a Scalable Sales Team, it’s important to take a disciplined approach when training sales people so that everyone has the same foundation skills.
A sales enablement manager takes the lead in creating a consistent sales onboarding and training experience that is rigorous and data driven. [Tweet This]
According to Roberge the result at Hubspot has been “our sales people are able to connect on a far deeper level with our prospects and leads”, a process that has resulted in consistently high growth.
Your new sales reps are taking a long time to meet quota
Hiring new sales reps is a big investment for any company, and the longer they take to ramp up the more money you burn. As Peter Mollins points out in this interesting article on how to measure sales enablement success
According to Aberdeen Research, companies that adopt best practices across their sales teams had double the quota attainment of their peers. [Tweet This] 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.
Sales enablement is about achieving peak performance for each member of your sales team, and that includes finding ways to make them more efficient and effective, so they can meet their quota more quickly and keep on achieving it into the future.
Your sales reps are spending too much time on non-selling tasks
The job of a sales rep is to be working on some element of the sales process, whether it’s generating leads, qualifying those leads, conducting sales demos or closing a prospect and creating a customer. Any time where they’re not working on these selling tasks is simply unproductive, and an inefficient use of this valuable resource. As Nancy Nardin states:
“To increase sales productivity, you have to reduce or eliminate tasks that aren’t productive”. [Tweet This]
Part of the role of a sales enablement leader is to look at the sales process and identify how it can be improved, reducing non-selling tasks and increasing efficiency across the entire process.
You want to increase individual sales quotas next year
According to CSO Insights 94.5% of firms they surveyed said they were raising quotas for 2014. If you’re planning on doing the same thing, then you’re going to need to do something differently to get more out of the same contingent. A sales enablement function will ensure that your sales reps are well trained on your customer needs, always up to date with industry and product changes, and have the necessary tools and information available to them when they need it. As CSO Insights discovered
“Firms with dedicated sales enablement staff reported 57% of their reps meeting / beating quota”. [Tweet This]
So it is possible to achieve more with the same sales team, provided they are well equipped when they get out on the field.
Your marketing efforts aren’t translating into more sales
If your marketing budgets are increasing but the additional spend isn’t translating into sales, then sales enablement could be the missing link in the chain here. This function connects the marketing knowledge with the sales team, so that the experience of both areas is brought together in the materials that are produced for their customers.
Simply put the purpose of the sales enablement team is “to provide the sales team with the resources they need to generate more revenue”. [Tweet This]
A significant part of the role in many organizations is creating sales collateral for each buyer persona and every stage of their purchasing process. This requires both sales and marketing skills to be effective, with sales enablement acting as a conduit between the two. In fact, the Hubspot sales enablement team sits with the sales reps but actually reports through to the Marketing.
If you’re still not sure whether it’s time for you to hire a sales enablement manager I ask you this question, can you afford not to?