Aug 3, 2022
Sales enablement is important because it acknowledges that sales don’t happen in a vacuum and gives holistic attention to every interaction and process that leads up to a successful sales call.
But most teams today aren’t using effective sales enablement. In our 2022 State of Sales Readiness Report, we found that only 43% of sellers hit their quota. That’s because a lot of companies don’t invest in or structure their sales enablement programs around generating revenue.
These teams are missing out on the benefits of a successful sales enablement program. Of course, effective sales enablement can drive more revenue for your company. But more than that, you’ll have better-prepared sales reps who build meaningful customer relationships, attract more qualified leads, and close on more deals.
- Sales enablement supports overall sales readiness
- Sales enablement provides an accessible knowledge base
- Sales enablement promotes ongoing sales training
- Sales enablement helps your managers create a coaching culture
- Sales enablement removes silos between sales and marketing
- Sales enablement can expedite onboarding for new salespeople
- Sales enablement can reduce sales rep turnover
- Sales enablement keeps your potential customers informed
If sales readiness is the framework by which companies measure how well prepared they are to meet sales goals, then sales enablement is the process of using content, knowledge, training, and tools to actually prepare your reps. These two initiatives work hand in hand to ensure your sales team is set up to close more deals.
At Mindtickle, we define sales readiness as a continuous state of excellence to grow revenue by increasing knowledge, improving performance, and adapting to change. Your sales enablement efforts are meant to ensure your team stays in that state of excellence.
Example: Skill and knowledge gaps
Let’s look at a hypothetical, but realistic, problem. ABC company is in the process of assessing its sales readiness. During the process, the sales team noticed that there were gaps in the skills their sales reps have versus the skills they need to sell effectively. Sales leaders at ABC correlate this to a recent decline in deals closed, which has also resulted in not meeting revenue goals.
ABC can employ sales enablement efforts to fix this misalignment. They can identify which parts of the sales workflow are most difficult for each sales rep, like converting leads into opportunities or upselling, for example. Then they can leverage that data to train and enable each rep based on their individual skills gap.
A strong sales enablement structure gives your salespeople access to a knowledge base, one that’s designated as a single source of truth. A designated knowledge base saves them from spending a lot of time looking for information or answers while they’re working with a customer. It promotes just-in-time access to the resources they need.
Sales enablement makes knowledge more accessible by gathering all resources, knowledge, and content into one spot. Here are some examples of what to include in your knowledge base:
- Sample scripts or talk tracks
- Information about customer personas and pain points
- Links to training modules
- Customer-facing content
No matter what they need to access, they can get it all within this single source of truth.
Example: One source of truth
Say your sales teams have knowledge spread out across multiple tools (like a CRM, a company wiki, and multiple drives). With too many places to look, it’s hard for your reps to find what they need in a timely manner during a customer interaction.
Sales enablement managers should come together to decide which source will be designated as the single source of truth. If you already have a drive or knowledge base tool in place that every necessary person has access to, start there. Even a simple tool like Google Drive can work for organizing all your relevant content and knowledge in one spot.
Sales enablement helps your reps hone their skills and develop industry knowledge through ongoing sales training and practice. Technology evolves all the time – products are updated; new tools are adopted; objectives and KPIs are changed. Ongoing training prepares your reps for these inevitable changes. Training gives them insights and advice they can use during customer interactions like more compelling messaging examples or how to effectively resolve common conflicts or objections.
Training is a big part of any successful sales enablement initiative. Sales enablement promotes an environment where your salespeople continually build their skills and knowledge. Then they put their skills to the test in common real-life scenarios through role-playing or other simulations.
Example: Stopping skill erosion
Skill erosion refers to a decline in a certain skill set, usually because that skill isn’t used often enough. Ongoing training helps your reps with skill reinforcement, so they can integrate those skills into their tasks, leading to more valuable and successful customer conversations.
To avoid skill erosion, make ongoing learning part of your sales team’s everyday routine. One tool that can help is Mindtickle. In the Mindtickle platform, you can use AI-powered skill reinforcements, role plays, and more to protect your reps from skill erosion.
For your sales teams to succeed, they need a supportive and knowledgeable coach. Sales enablement can help you create an effective coaching culture using data-driven insights, provide teachable moments, and easily facilitate coaching sessions for teams and individual reps.
A strong sales enablement strategy includes specific skill resources and behavioral training that help your managers coach your sales reps. This includes data they can use to identify areas of improvement in the workflow and technology to help make those improvements.
Take conversation intelligence technology, for example. This technology lets you tap into sales calls to understand your sales reps’ behaviors and skill sets. “With recordings and transcripts from sales calls, I can get a sense immediately if a rep is struggling with closing a call, and listen in on what’s going well. This allows me to coach my team to more wins and emphasize what’s working for us,” says Greg Myers, Regional VP of Sales at Turing Video.
“With recordings and transcripts from sales calls, I can get a sense immediately if a rep is struggling with closing a call, and listen in on what’s going well. This allows me to coach my team to more wins and emphasize what’s working for us.”
Example: First-time manager training
If you have a lot of first-time managers, it’s especially important to provide training on topics relevant to leading a team. These topics include effective communication, conflict resolution, how to handle performance reviews, and how to provide support to sales reps.
For instance, all sales managers should be well versed in how to handle objections since this is a common obstacle for every sales rep. Moreover, your managers should have resources and support to make them feel confident in their coaching abilities, enabling them to give their sales reps effective solutions to any problem.
When marketing and sales are siloed, each one is more focused on their individual goals rather than the overall company goal. This can affect overall productivity and collaboration, making it harder to get tasks done related to content, branding, and general marketing.
When sales and marketing can work together, companies can attract and close more leads. Think of marketing as the bait that attracts the leads and sales as the line that reels them in.
By implementing standards and processes on how these two teams should work together, you can break down the silos and increase collaboration.
Example: Content creation
Sales reps don’t have the time or often the skills to create their own content – they need marketing. Your marketing team is experienced in creating content that resonates with your target audience and attracts qualified leads.
Let’s say you need a specific piece of relevant content from your marketing team. With no standards or processes for content creation, your marketing team doesn’t know that they’re supposed to create the content. Your salespeople may feel obligated to create it themselves or skip it all together. The result is often less effective sales tactics and resources.
Alternatively, with a process in place, your sales reps will know when and how to engage marketing, and marketing folks will understand the types of situations they may be employed to help.
Sales enablement in your onboarding programs can get your reps effectively prepared to sell in a shorter time. In fact, in our 2022 Sales Readiness Report, we found that, on average, reps at winning organizations take just four weeks to complete onboarding, and they are fully ramped within four to five months.
This expedited ramp time is 40-50% less than the industry average, ensuring that sellers at companies with sales enablement can start generating revenue sooner.
Example: Personalized training to decrease ramp time
Each one of your salespeople is different. They all have varying skill levels and skill sets, and they come from different professional backgrounds. The idea behind sales enablement is to be able to personalize training based on the experience each rep already has and the skills they still need.
A sales enablement platform, like Mindtickle, automates your onboarding process from start to finish with personalized training based on each rep’s background and experience. It helps them build on the specific skills and knowledge they need to be successful without sitting through training that might be irrelevant to them.
Sales enablement can decrease rep turnover by keeping your salespeople engaged. Engaged employees feel more committed to the work they do and to the company they work for. On the other hand, disengaged employees often feel more burned out and end up costing you much more than engaged employees.
Sales enablement can help build a team of engaged sales reps by helping them develop their skills and navigate challenges as they arise and generally cultivating a positive seller environment – all factors that make them less likely to leave.
Example: Keep your reps engaged
Engaged salespeople are more optimistic, selfless, and team-oriented and show a passion for learning. One way to keep your sales reps engaged is by showing an interest in their career goals and helping them reach those goals.
For instance, if you have a sales rep who wants to become a sales manager, you can suggest resources, training, and content they can access to build their knowledge and skills.
Sales enablement is also about properly communicating and educating your customers via helpful content and your well-prepared sales reps. Informed customers are more likely to make a purchase from you if your product aligns with their needs.
With effective sales enablement, you can proactively answer customers’ questions and acknowledge the challenges they experience every day.
Example: Create memorable experiences to keep customers in the sales funnel
To keep your customers engaged, create memorable experiences that keep them in your sales funnel. Personalize your communications to them, craft impactful messaging, and provide high-value content that meets them where they’re at in the funnel.
For example, if you’re writing content for people who are somewhere in the middle of your sales funnel, write blogs or emails to offer helpful advice and tips like “How to Use [Our Software] to Do [This] Task” or “X Reasons You Need [Our Software] to Boost Sales.”
This type of content addresses pain points and offers helpful solutions, which can help convince them that your product is the right one for them.
Refine your sales enablement by measuring sales effectiveness over time
We know what you’re probably thinking: “Sales enablement sounds like a lot of work!”
It can be! But one easy way to incorporate sales enablement into your company is to use a software tool specifically designed for that purpose. A sales enablement tool can capture, analyze, and score all buyer interactions, so you can measure how effective your sales tactics are.
Rather than trying to change the systems of multiple departments and processes, you’ll have one platform from which you can roll out the changes with minimal disruption.
Mindtickle’s suite of tools and processes can help your salespeople increase their knowledge, boost their performance, and feel confident going into every customer conversation.