Solution Selling: What is it and When is the Solution Selling Methodology Used?

In today’s world, B2B buyers do plenty of research independently. When buyers finally initiate contact with a sales rep, they expect that rep to understand their challenges and provide solutions. In fact, a recent survey found that 82% of B2B buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors.

A recent survey found that

of B2B buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors
0 %

But all too often, sales reps use generic sales presentations and spout off the features and benefits of their products or services – without considering whether or not these features and benefits are relevant to the customer. This one-size-fits-all sales approach is a sure way to send your prospects packing.

Today, some of the most successful sales teams have switched to solution selling. Sales reps who excel at solution selling demonstrate an understanding of their customers’ challenges and provide solutions for overcoming them. With this approach, sales reps can earn customers’ trust and ultimately close more deals.

Chances are, you have at least a basic understanding of solution selling. But in this post, we’re going to dig deeper on the topic to answer questions including:

  • What is solution selling?
  • What is the solution sales process?
  • When is solution selling used?
  • How is solution selling different from other sales approaches?
  • What are the pros and cons of transitioning to solution selling?

What is solution selling?

Solution selling isn’t exactly a new concept. The solution sales methodology was developed back in the 1970s. But it continues to grow in popularity.

As the name suggests, solution selling is a sales methodology in which sellers present solutions to prospective customers, rather than products. In the context of sales and business, “solutions” typically refer to products, services, or strategies that address specific challenges or problems faced by customers or clients.

To offer solutions, first, the seller must gain a deep understanding of the prospect’s unique needs, wants, and challenges. Then (and only then), the seller can recommend solutions to help the prospect overcome their challenges – and meet their goals.

What is the solution sales process?

In some ways, the process is similar to other selling methodologies. However, the solution sales process also differs from other selling approaches in some key ways. Let’s take a closer look at the key steps of the solution-selling process.

Step 1: Become a product expert

You can’t make a sale if you don’t have a solid understanding of what you’re selling. This is true for any sales approach – including this one. After all, you can’t identify a solution for your prospects if you don’t truly understand what you have to offer.

Solution sellers must be product experts. In addition to understanding the ins and outs of your own products and services, sellers must also be well versed in competitor offerings. That way, they’ll be prepared to overcome objections and clearly communicate what makes your solutions different.

Of course, a rep’s education should start at onboarding. But solution sales training shouldn’t stop at onboarding. Things are always changing. Ongoing sales training, coaching, and learning opportunities help ensure reps are always well-versed in what they’re selling.

Step 2: Qualify prospects

Sure, you may have great products and services. But the reality is, your offerings aren’t the right fit for every company out there.

There’s only so much time in the day. So don’t waste your time pitching your offerings to a company that isn’t the right fit – and will never make a purchase.

Instead, focus on good-fit prospects. Many companies have developed ideal customer profiles (ICPs) that outline the characteristics of a prospect that’s a good fit. If you have ICPs, make sure your reps know them inside out. In fact, ICPs should be a key component of your solution sales training program.

Step 3: Identify customer's unique needs and pain points

This stage is one that sets the solution-selling methodology apart from others.

At this point, the seller focuses on learning everything they can about the prospect, including their:

  • Needs
  • Opportunities
  • Pain points

Thanks to the internet, sellers can easily find some of this information on their own. However, sellers must ask thoughtful questions to gain a true understanding of a seller’s pain points. In fact, asking the right questions is a critical selling skill.

Active listening is another key selling skill. Be sure to stay engaged when your prospect is answering a question, and summarize their answers to ensure understanding. You may have to ask additional questions to gain clarity.

When you’re having a conversation with a prospect, it can be difficult to take notes while remaining present. Conversation intelligence software can record sales conversations and deliver insights, allowing you to remain present and engaged in the conversation as it happens.

Step 4: Determine the right solution

Once you have a clear understanding of your prospect’s challenges, it’s time to determine the solution to those challenges. This is another step in the solution sales process that makes it different from other sales methodologies.

Typically, the solution isn’t something straight “off the shelf.” Instead, it’s a combination of product and service offerings that address the buyer’s unique needs.

Consider building a “decision tree” of solutions to recommend in key scenarios your prospects and customers face.

 

#5. Present your solution

This is the point where you present the solution to your customer’s challenge. Remember: this isn’t about sharing a generic sales presentation that lists every single product feature. Instead, your goal is to communicate the solution – and help prospects understand why it’s the best solution for the challenges.

Content can help you convey the value of your solution. For example, a case study can help a prospect understand how your solution helped a company overcome challenges similar to theirs.

This is also where competitor knowledge comes into play, as you may need to communicate how your solution is a better choice than that of a competitor.

Step 6: Negotiation

You’ve taken the time to understand a prospect’s challenges and presented a solution to those challenges. But that doesn’t mean the work is done. Next up in the solution-selling methodology is the negotiation stage.

The goal of this stage is to come to an agreement that works for both the buyer and seller. During this stage, the buyer may come to the table with questions and objections, so it’s important to be prepared.

Step 7: Closing the deal

You’ve developed a solution to your customer’s pain points – and get them on board with the value of your solution. After the negotiation process is complete, the only thing left to do is close the deal.

When is solution selling used?

Solution-based selling can be an effective sales approach under the right circumstances. However, it’s not the right sales approach for all scenarios.

For example, many prospects do plenty of self-reflection and research before reaching out to a sales rep. They may come to the table with a clear picture of their challenges – as well as a solution. Let’s say the prospect is shopping for a new web hosting service. They know what their needs are – and which one of your “off the shelf” packages will meet those needs. They simply need advice on making a decision or understanding why your solution is better than a competitor’s.

In this case, solution-based selling may not be the right approach.

However, solution selling can be extremely powerful in situations when a prospect has unique needs that require a bespoke solution. In some cases, they may not be able to clearly articulate their needs – muchless know how to solve them.

For example, a consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand traditionally sold in brick-and-mortar stores is looking to sell directly to customers. They know they need an e-commerce platform, but they’re unsure what problems they’re trying to solve. They need your help defining their challenges and identifying a solution to solve them.

Solution selling is also a great fit when a customer needs a high level of support. For example, a customer deploying an enterprise-wide software solution may need a high level of support for implementation, training, and increasing adoption.

From the seller’s perspective, solution-based selling works best when you have many different products, services, or packages available. For example, you might offer multiple pre-packaged solutions – such as silver, gold, or platinum packages. You may also offer other add-on products and services. These can all be mixed and matched to create a custom solution that addresses your prospect’s challenges.

How is solution selling different from product and consultative selling?

How does solution selling differ from other popular sales methodologies like product selling and consultative selling? Let’s take a closer look.

Solution selling vs. product selling

Product selling is still extremely common. But what exactly is product selling – and how does it differ from solution selling?

Reps who practice product selling focus on communicating the features and benefits of a product or service – without considering the needs of the specific buyer. For example, consider walking into a car dealership. The sales rep starts to push the features and benefits of a newly released sports car. But in reality, you need a larger, family-friendly vehicle.

Product-based selling can be effective for smaller, transactional sales. But for larger, B2B sales, this sales methodology is ineffective.

When a seller engages in product-based selling, they’re often seen as pushy – and only focused on making a sale. The result is that prospective buyers disengage.

Today, a growing number of organizations are turning to solution selling.

Unlike product selling, solution-based selling is a consultative sales approach. Reps who practice solution selling don’t lead with features and benefits. Instead, they take the time to truly understand the prospect’s key challenges. Then, the rep can guide the buyer to a solution that solves those challenges.

Let’s say you walk into another car dealership. The sales rep sits down to understand your needs and frustrations with your current vehicle. Once they have a handle on your unique situation, they offer a customized solution.

Product selling

Consultative selling

  • Transactional
  • Focused on the sale at hand
  • One-size-fits-all approach
  • Seller-centric
  • Rep focuses on the features and benefits of the product
  • Rep doesn’t take the time to understand buyers’ needs and challenges
  • Relationship-building
  • Focused on the bigger picture
  • Personalized experiences
  • Buyer-centric
  • Reps focus on understanding the buyers’ pain points
  • Rep presents solutions to overcome these pain points

Consultative selling vs. solution selling

Solution selling overlaps in many ways with consultative selling. While the two terms are closely related, they’re not exactly the same.

As the name suggests, solution selling is focused on presenting the solution to a problem – rather than a product and its features. On the other hand, consultative selling is more focused on the consultation that comes before a seller presents a solution.

What are the key benefits and challenges of implementing solution selling?

There’s no perfect sales methodology. A sales methodology that’s a great fit for one organization may not be as effective for another.

If you’re considering adopting a new sales methodology, it’s important to understand the key benefits and challenges. Enterprise solution selling is no exception.

Pros of solution selling

There are countless benefits of solution-based selling. For starters, sellers who use this methodology are able to convey how a solution can solve a prospect’s problems – and the negative consequences of taking no action. This creates urgency that can move buyers to action.

In addition, solution selling helps ensure the seller’s offering is actually a good fit for the customer’s needs and challenges. Customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase decision – which will help boost retention.

Finally, solution selling allows sellers to build long-term relationships with customers. Customers can see that the seller truly understands their business. This fosters trust, which can help the seller close the deal. In addition, it can open up opportunities for upsell and cross-sell opportunities in the future – as well as referrals.

Cons of solution selling

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of solution selling is that it takes time. In order to be successful with solution selling, reps must take the time to become experts in their offerings. In addition, they must spend time learning everything they can about a given prospect so they can present a customized solution.

In addition, the solution-selling process can be difficult to plan. There’s no set script or sales presentation. Sellers must be able to think on the fly to address what matters most to their prospects.

Finally, change can be difficult. Solution selling requires a shift in perspective. This shift can be challenging for those accustomed to product selling. Organizations can leverage sales training software to get sellers up to speed on the ins and outs of solution selling.

Solution selling with Mindtickle

Modern buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors. Sales reps who are skilled at solution selling can deliver personalized experiences and solutions that meet B2B buyers’ needs and expectations.

Solution selling can help your sales reps build trust with prospects and close more deals. But making the transition to solution selling can be challenging, especially for reps who have never used this sales approach.

Sales reps must master a certain set of skills and behaviors to excel at solution selling. Revenue organizations must equip their teams with the tools, training, and support they need to master these key skills – and put them to work while interacting with buyers.

Jumpstart Solution Selling with your Team

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This post was originally published in November 2023 and was updated in May 2024. 

What is Business Enablement? Everything You Need to Know

In the world of business, change is the only constant. Organizations must keep a pulse on change and adapt accordingly. Otherwise, they’re sure to get left behind.

A business enablement mindset is a must for any modern organization. But what is it?

In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about business enablement and answer key questions, including:

  • What is business enablement?
  • How does it differ from sales enablement?
  • What are its goals, and how is success measured?
  • Who is responsible for it?
  • How can business enablement benefit your organization?

You’ll walk away with a clear picture of what business enablement is – and how it helps ensure your organization is effective and efficient – both now and in the future.

What is business enablement?

Business enablement is a relatively new concept. So, let’s start by answering the question, “What is it?”

Every business in the world wants to be successful. That’s a given.

Of course, an organization’s ability to achieve its goals rests largely on its employees. But organizations often don’t equip employees with what they need to be effective and efficient.

A survey from Gartner found that nearly half (47%) of digital workers struggle to find the information needed to be effective in their roles. Furthermore, research from McKinsey & Company found that more than half of employees are “relatively unproductive” at work.

Research from McKinsey found that

of employees are relatively unproductive at work
0 %+

When employees don’t have what they need, it negatively impacts the entire organization.

For an organization to achieve its goals, it must set up its employees for success. That’s where business enablement comes in.

It equips employees with the strategies, processes, people, and technology they need to be effective and efficient.

Successful initiatives reduce friction in employees’ workflows, making them more productive. When employees are more productive, the organization is better positioned to achieve its short- and long-term goals.

Business enablement initiatives are often “behind the scenes.” It can include anything from introducing a new technology that automates time-consuming processes to developing a new change management process.

Business vs sales enablement: what’s the difference?

The phrases “sales enablement” and “business enablement” are similar. So, it’s not surprising that people often confuse the two.

However, they aren’t the same thing.

Sales enablement is equipping the revenue organization with the right tools, sales training, information, coaching, and content they need to be effective and efficient in their roles. Modern B2B buyers have high expectations, and sales enablement helps sellers meet those expectations throughout the sales cycle.

While the concept of sales enablement is relatively new, it’s quickly grown in popularity. Per the 2024-2025 Chief Revenue Officer + Sales Leader Outlook Report, 84% of organizations invest in a sales enablement team. Typically, a sales enablement manager reports up to the organization’s Chief Revenue Officer. Sales enablement teams rely on sales enablement software to build, deliver, and measure sales enablement programs.

According to Mindtickle research,

of orgs invest in a sales enablement team
0 %

Sales enablement teams focus on supporting the sales team. However, business enablement initiatives typically have a broader audience. These initiatives often impact the entire organization.

Sales enablement Business enablement
Primary audience Sales or revenue team Entire organization
Goal Increase sales productivity Increase organizational effectiveness and efficiency
How they accomplish this goal Equipping sellers with the tools, training, information, coaching, and content they need to engage buyers and close more deals. Equipping all employees with the right tools, processes, resources, and strategies to be productive.
Ownership/responsible party Sales enablement team, typically reporting up to the CRO. Sales enablement closely collaborates with sales and marketing teams. Cross-functional

What are the goals of business enablement?

Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the organization can be as effective and efficient as possible. Business enablement achieves this goal by equipping teams with the right tools, processes, resources, and strategies to eliminate friction and increase productivity.

When employees have what they need to be effective and efficient, the entire organization is more effective and efficient. In addition, the entire organization is aligned around the customer, which means it’s better equipped to meet customers’ needs and expectations. As a result, sales and retention will soar.

What are the performance metrics involved in business enablement?

Organizations can’t simply launch an initiative and hope it’s successful. Instead, they must measure its impact and optimize accordingly.

Establishing goals is the foundational first step of developing an initiative. Then, you can monitor key metrics to see whether your initiative is or isn’t achieving those goals.

But what business enablement metrics do you need to track? It depends on the goals of your project. However, nearly all business enablement initiatives aim to save time and money. So be sure to track metrics to determine whether or not you’re achieving those objectives.

Other metrics that may be measured include:

  • Employee productivity
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer retention

With consistent measurement, you can identify whether your program is effective and what you can optimize to improve performance.

Who is responsible for business enablement?

Not surprisingly, sales enablement is driven by a dedicated sales enablement team. But who is responsible for business enablement? In other words, who are business enablement specialists, and what are different functions?

Typically, business enablement is a cross-functional effort. The exact teams that are involved vary depending on the initiative. However, there are typically a few groups of people involved:

This is the person (or people) leading a specific initiative. These specialists are responsible for driving collaboration and ensuring the project’s success. Depending on the initiative, the project owner can hail from any number of teams. For example, someone from human resources may be the project owner for a new payroll initiative. A representative from IT would likely lead an initiative focused on rolling out new technology.

These people are expected to adopt a new business enablement initiative or tool. They could be all employees or a subset, such as a specific department.

Typically, this is the person responsible for approving a business enablement initiative. Often, it is the head of finance or IT. Gaining this person’s buy-in increases your likelihood of getting buy-in across the entire leadership team and the organization as a whole.

What are the benefits of business enablement?

Today, a growing number of organizations are adopting a business enablement mindset. That’s not surprising. Business enablement – when it’s done well – can deliver many benefits to the business.

Alignment across the organization

Each team within the organization is focused on their own projects and initiatives. But all too often, these teams work in silos.

It can unite the entire organization toward a common goal. In addition, a business enablement initiative can bring together teams that don’t typically work together. For example, a project may be led by a team composed of members from IT, customer service, sales, marketing, and finance.

Better communication across different departments

Effective communication within a team and across the organization is key. But it can be challenging, especially when teams aren’t working in the same physical location.

Business enablement initiatives can improve internal communication. For example, you might roll out new technology to keep teams aligned on key projects. Better communication will drive better business outcomes.

Improved operational efficiency

There are only so many hours in the day, and you want your employees to make the most of them. But often, they get bogged down by time-consuming, repetitive work.

Business enablement can streamline or even automate repetitive, time-consuming tasks and admin work. That means your employees have more time to make progress on meaningful work.

That means your entire organization can move closer to its goals – faster.
Increased employee satisfaction
Employees with the right tools and processes to do their jobs are more satisfied at work. Satisfied workers are more productive – and more likely to stick around long-term.

A competitive advantage

Customers’ needs and expectations are always evolving. It’s important to understand these expectations and adapt accordingly.

Businesses can leverage business enablement to ensure the organization is aligned with customers’ needs and equipped to meet those needs.

For example, according to Gartner, 75% of B2B buyers prefer a rep-free sales experience. An organization can develop behind-the-scenes processes and leverage new technology to ensure the entire organization can meet customers’ expectations and preferences. If that company’s initiatives are a success, they’ll set it apart from the competition, making it easier to grow sales.

Increased customer retention

Winning new customers is important. It’s equally important to retain existing customers.

Business enablement initiatives enable teams to align around serving the customer. This will increase customer satisfaction, which will boost customer retention. In addition, customers are more likely to recommend the business to others, which will increase referrals.

It’s time to adopt a business enablement mindset

Business enablement is a relatively new concept. But a growing number of businesses are adopting it.

Equipping employees with the tools and processes they need to succeed will increase the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency. In addition, employees will be better equipped to serve customers, increasing customer acquisition and retention.

Business enablement and sales enablement aren’t the same thing. However, a solid sales enablement strategy – paired with the right technology – is a key way to boost sales productivity.

Today, winning revenue teams leverage Mindtickle’s integrated sales productivity platform to power their sales enablement programs. 

Sales Enablement with Mindtickle

With Mindtickle, sellers can access the training, content, enablement, coaching, and call insights they need to be successful – all from one platform.

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5 Must-Haves for Every Sales Enablement Program

It’s every CRO’s dream for each of their sales reps to meet quota every quarter. But that’s not reality.

Instead, missed quotas have become the norm. According to Forrester, more than half of sales reps miss their quota targets.

Today, a growing number of organizations turn to sales enablement to ensure all their sellers are ready to overcome challenges and conquer any deal that comes their way. In fact, per the 2024-2025 Chief Revenue Officer + Sales Leader Outlook Report, 84% of organizations invest in a sales enablement department.

According to research,

of orgs invest in a sales enablement department
0 %

But simply establishing a sales enablement team doesn’t guarantee you’ll build a team of top-performing sellers. Your team must also develop and deliver sales enablement programs and initiatives that’ll actually impact your reps’ ability to close deals.

But that’s easier said than done. This is especially true today when revenue organizations are faced with increasingly competitive markets and shrinking budgets.

But it’s not impossible.

In this post, we’ll explore the foundational, strategic initiatives that are necessary for any successful sales enablement program. We’ll cover:

Foundational

Programmatic

What is a sales enablement program?

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 activities, including developing a content strategy, creating sales training programs, and implementing technology solutions such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems, sales automation tools, and analytics platforms.

How to align your sales enablement with sales process development

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How to align enablement efforts with the buyer’s journey

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How to align sales and marketing teams together

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Elements of great sales enablement programs

The below are absolutely essential for a successful sales enablement motion.

1. Sales onboarding and training

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.

2. Role-playing

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 2024 State of Sales Productivity Report, reps at top-performing companies perform an average of 13 role-plays per year.

Reps at top-performing orgs perform an average of

role-plays per year
0

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.

3. Content

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

4. Coaching

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

5. Analytics

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.

Is your sales enablement program preparing your reps to close more deals?

Modern sellers face more challenges than ever before. Sales enablement – when it’s done right – can help sellers overcome these challenges and close more deals.

But creating a sales enablement team doesn’t guarantee results. It’s imperative to build and deliver programs and initiatives that’ll actually prepare your sellers to close deals. It’s also critical to incorporate five must-haves into your sales enablement strategy: sales onboarding, role-playing, content, coaching, and analytics.

Today, leading revenue organizations turn to Mindtickle to build and deliver sales enablement programs that ensure sellers have what it takes to crush any deal. Mindtickle’s integrated sales productivity platform incorporates all the key ingredients of sales enablement – right from one integrated platform.

 

Sales Enablement with Mindtickle

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This post was originally published in September 2022, was updated in April 2023, and again in May 2024. 

What is Sales Onboarding?

Sales onboarding is an education program that provides newly hired sales reps with the necessary knowledge, instills the company values, and shows them how to leverage the provided tools of a company in an easy-to-absorb and timely format. This process ensures all sales reps have what they need for success within the company, with the team, and in the field.

A well-defined onboarding program, in particular, allows sales reps to learn in consumable chunks, with defined learning objectives and onboarding materials that are readily available and updated with the latest competitive, corporate, and product information.

Sales reps who undergo standardized onboarding processes become productive 3.4 months sooner, on average than those who work at organizations with less formal onboarding. And those new hires are 50% more likely to stay with the organization.

To be successful, sales reps need an intimate knowledge of the products they are selling, as well as the specific procedures and behaviors that will help them succeed. To be clear, a strong sales onboarding program gives reps more credibility and confidence in their new role, boosting the success of the entire sales department. In this post, we’ll cover the the following topics so you’re ready to build an onboarding plan that sets every rep up to be a top performer:

What is the importance of sales onboarding?

What are the best sales onboarding practices?

What is a 30-60-90-day sales onboarding plan?

How does sales onboarding reduce ramp time?

What are the features of a sales onboarding platform?

What is the importance of sales onboarding?

Sales onboarding is an essential component of an effective sales enablement program. It’s the first step in ensuring sellers have the tools, resources, and support they need to be successful.

The numbers are in, and reports confirm the importance of a solid sales onboarding program for every organization.

According to G2, reps are productive in 3.4 months faster with best-in-class sales onboarding programs — that’s 37% faster than organizations with low-performing programs. 

Sales onboarding sets sellers up for success

Creating an onboarding program that is aligned with the specific needs of your sales reps as well as the organization leads to greater success in the field, as your reps will know the products they’re selling and have the knowledge and skills to back them up. Knowledge gained through onboarding also helps reps get to know their customers, both existing and potential. It provides information about current users and enhances creative thinking around new business opportunities.

Even further, reps enter the field with the comfort of knowing the values and standards of the company, so they can sell with confidence. If onboarding at your company is too general, you may miss out on opportunities to improve key sales skills aligned with your organization.

Sales onboarding improves retention and recruitment

Setting new hires up for success in their role is a huge part of attracting and retaining top talent. In today’s competitive job market, job seekers are more knowledgeable and discerning of their prospective employers than ever before. If a talented sales rep is considering joining your team, the onboarding and training programs may play a significant role in their success. A strong onboarding and training curriculum sets you apart as an employer that values and invests in its employees.

A strong onboarding program also helps you retain the top talent you have recruited.

Companies with ineffective onboarding lose 17% of new hires in the first three months.

With a great onboarding program, you can keep employees for months and years to come by giving them the knowledge and consistent onboarding experience they need to succeed in your sales department.

Sales onboarding increases rep engagement

Sales reps who are highly engaged in their work do everything they can to satisfy their clients, grow their client base, help other sales reps succeed, and contribute ideas to improve the overall sales department. These highly engaged employees are advocates for your company and an integral part of your sales department.

Building employee engagement starts with onboarding. When new reps get the tools and information they need right from the start, they are more likely to buy into the company’s goals, bond with the sales team through shared experiences, and contribute in a positive way every day.

What are the best sales onboarding practices?

A job done poorly gets poor results—and sales onboarding is no exception. An onboarding process that is effectively built from the start can lead to improved sales opportunities, more closed deals, and great salespeople who stay for the long haul.

Here are a few best practices to help you build your own sales onboarding program:

  • Build a company story: Come to the table with a clear vision of your goals. What is your company’s mission and vision? What are your company values? What do you bring to the table? How is it different from your competitors?
  • Provide clear, concise messaging: With a clear understanding of your company values, new sales reps need a guide for how to convey your message. Your onboarding program should provide key messaging tips for a variety of different sales situations and opportunities.
  • Target the right customers: Develop sample profiles of customers that are a good fit for your products, including personalities and relevant industries. Learning how to pick and choose potential customers is a great way to help new hires understand your ideal customers and sell to them effectively.
  • Standardize the process: Access to paperwork, manuals, onboarding materials, and centralized messaging can significantly improve the results of the process. Enlist the help of a dashboard-style system that keeps everything in one place. A simple, effective, repeatable system will help new reps feel confident when the process begins, and give a simple way to check back and review important information when needed.
  • Provide continuous support: Using a revenue productivity platform that standardizes your message is just the first step toward improved sales and retention. Provide opportunities for reps to check in, access sales coaching, and track their own productivity with assessments to cement the learning process with ongoing activities — a concept we call everboarding.
  • Offer engaging, varied training formats: Onboarding used to mean all-day training sessions and shadowing experienced reps — long days, information overload, and minimal retention. With advances in sales training technology, you can offer a more engaging and interesting onboarding experience. With sales training techniques like micro-learning and gamification, you can present information in various formats to keep new hires engaged and help them retain more information long-term.

While a consistent model of behavior and information makes the onboarding process run smoothly, creating one for your company is an individual, unique exercise. It must be consistently administered across new sales reps but customized for your industry, values, goals, team, and leadership.

What is a 30-60-90-day sales onboarding plan?

A common onboarding strategy sales organizations take is the 30-60-90-day plan — a roadmap for where you want new reps to be after the first, second, and third months in their role. It can look something like this:

  • 30 days: The new hire is familiar with the company mission, culture, history, products, buyers, sales processes, and tools. Offer some icebreaker activities and opportunities for collaboration and team building.
  • 60 days: The new hire becomes more hands on, participating in team meetings, confident in talking to customers and prospects, and seems motivated to perform well.
  • 90 days: The (not-so) new hire actively reaches out to their accounts independently and fits into the larger company culture. You can see a clear picture of their progress from day one.

There are different ways to approach a sales onboarding program, and where you start will depend on two things: your company objectives and what you already have in place. Using technology can help you customize the process for not only your company but also for the many different learning styles that each rep brings to the table.

How does sales onboarding reduce ramp time?

Average ramp time for new sales reps can be anywhere between six and 12 months. A strong onboarding program can use the following techniques to improve the onboarding process and decrease ramp time:

  • A repeatable process: A well-defined, easily accessed, and standard process with clearly stated goals for the first and second week, first month, and so on is a must-have. This process leaves the first impression with new reps and can make or break the relationship between the new rep and the company.
  • Written resources: Information must be easily accessed for learning and review, so ensure everything is properly recorded and accessible.
  • Goal setting: Expectations should be communicated and accountability tracked, but not rushed.
  • Company experience: Give new sales reps the opportunity to experience other aspects of the company, such as customer service and support and inventory control.
  • Mentorship and shadow opportunities: New hires get up to speed more quickly when there are ample opportunities for mentoring and shadowing. These activities allow reps to get guidance from more experienced sales team members in a less formal setting, giving them good opportunities to ask questions and learn in a real-world environment.

These techniques can be automated and/or streamlined with the help of a revenue productivity platform. 

What are the features of a sales onboarding platform?

Sales onboarding platforms are typically part of enablement or productivity software. Today, more sellers are working remotely than ever before, and using technology is crucial for ensuring that sales onboarding is accessible and adaptable for every individual rep.

These systems help to optimize the creation and execution of onboarding materials by:

  • Storing, managing, and distributing training content
  • Replicating in-person engagement through video conferencing tools and virtual instructor-led training (VILT)
  • Providing practice opportunities through recorded role-plays
  • Offering gamified learning and competitions
  • Personalizing learning paths based on proven competencies and areas for improvement
  • Tracking completion rates and scores

Successful sales onboarding with Mindtickle

The Mindtickle revenue productivity platform offers onboarding and training features that improve time-to-productivity, sales rep effectiveness, and much more. Mindtickle offers user-friendly dashboards and analytics to track new reps’ progress through onboarding modules and identify reps who need additional training in certain areas.

Once onboarding is complete, Mindtickle offers a full suite of sales training, sales coaching, analytics, and micro-learning tools to reinforce concepts and build key skills. 

Sales Onboarding with Mindtickle

Schedule a demo today to see how Mindtickle can improve your sales onboarding program.

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This post was originally published in January 2020, was updated in September 2022, and again in April 2024.  

The 3 Most Important Skills for Every Role On Your Sales Team

Today’s sellers face a ton of challenges. They need the right skills to overcome these challenges and emerge successful.

There’s a subset of top performers on every sales team. These are the folks who are adept at building relationships and closing deals—even in less-than-ideal circumstances. In a perfect world, you could clone these top sales reps.

Of course, this isn’t possible. But the most successful revenue organizations are doing the next best thing. They’re spending time figuring out what makes their top sellers so great and then working to replicate those skills and behaviors across the entire revenue organization.

Taking this approach, you can create an entire team of top performers. It starts with determining what skills are needed for each role on your sales team.

Defining what sales excellence looks like

Sellers have limited time, and it behooves them (and their organization) to focus their time on the prospects that best fit their offering. To help ensure that’s the case, most organizations identify and document their ideal customer profile (ICP).

Far fewer businesses take the time to identify and document their ideal rep profile (IRP), which is the list of skills, competencies, and behaviors a revenue team member needs to succeed in their role. However, the IRP continues to be a growing trend among sales productivity practitioners.

The growth of this trend makes sense. After all, how can a revenue organization drive excellence when it doesn’t even know what excellence looks like?

The IRP is essential to true sales productivity

The first step in driving org-wide excellence is to take the time to identify and document the skills needed for success. The most successful sales organizations define IRPs for their go-to-market (GTM) or customer-facing roles. The most common roles for which organizations define their IRP are:

  • Account executives (AEs)
  • Business development representatives (BDRs)
  • Channel sales specialists (CSSs)
  • Customer success managers (CSMs)
  • Sales engineers (SEs)

Team members should be continuously measured against this “gold standard” to identify each individual’s learning gaps. Then, organizations can deliver individualized learning and sales coaching that closes these gaps and creates more peak performers.

The top 3 skills for every member of the revenue team

Sure, it’s key to identify the skills each member of your revenue team needs to succeed. But what exactly are those skills?

Of course, these vary by role. The skills needed to be a successful BDR differ from those needed to excel as a sales engineer.

Recently, we analyzed activity from more than a million users at 400+ companies to understand how the best organizations are getting their sales teams ready to close more deals. We shared our key findings in our State of Revenue Productivity 2024 Report. Based on this analysis, we’ve identified the top three skills needed by five key revenue team members.

The 3 most important skills for account executives

Account executives work day in and day out to understand the needs and challenges of businesses — and then provide solutions to address them. The three most important skills for success in this role are:

Once an AE has determined the buyer’s needs, they must have the skills to articulate their solution’s value.

Our analysis found that over half (54%) of sales calls include more negative sentiment than positive. Objections are one example of negative sentiment. AEs should expect objections— and have the skills to address and overcome them.

Prospects often don’t accept an offer as-is. Instead, they want to negotiate. This is especially true in today’s economic climate. AEs must have the skills to navigate the negotiation stage of the sales cycle expertly.

The 3 most important skills for business development representatives

BDRs are often the first touchpoint a prospect has with your company. They need to master these three skills:

BDRs must know your ICPs inside and out — and be able to quickly and accurately determine if a prospect is a good fit for your company’s offerings.

Like AEs, BDRs must be prepared to expect resistance from prospects and equipped to handle it. The right enablement and coaching can ensure they’re ready to address any objection that comes their way.

Strong communication skills include both speaking and listening. BDRs must master active listening skills so they can understand what a prospect is saying and respond thoughtfully.

The 3 most important skills for channel sales specialists

Channel sales refers to the practice of a third party (also known as a partner) selling your company’s products. The top three skills needed for channel sales specialists are:

Channel sellers must know a product inside and out — and be equipped to handle any question. Continuous enablement and coaching ensure they always have current, accurate product knowledge.

Like AEs, channel sellers must be experts at conveying the value of a particular solution to the prospect.

Prospects are more likely to make a purchase from a sales rep who’s taken the time to get to know them and earn their trust. As such, relationship-building skills are essential for any channel sales specialist.

The 3 most important skills for customer success managers

Customer success managers spend most of their time meeting with current customers to address any issues and ensure the customer gets the most value from the product provided. As well, they’re often responsible for upsells and renewals. They must have a solid mastery of the following three skills to be successful in their roles:

CSMs spend a lot of time interacting with customers via phone and email. Often, they need to share feedback from customer interactions with other departments, including sales and product. Solid written and verbal communication skills are a must.

It’s less expensive to retain an existing customer than it is to obtain a new one. As such, CSMs must perfect their renewal skills. Renewal time can also be a great opportunity for upsells. CSMs should be skilled at identifying upsell opportunities and articulating the value of the upsell to the customer.

The CSM is typically their go-to if a customer runs into a problem. Customer success team members must have solid problem-solving skills to help resolve issues quickly and effectively.

The 3 most important skills for sales engineers

A sales engineer is a member of the B2B sales team whose specialty is selling complex technical products and services. They must have a mastery of these three skills:

Sales engineers must be well-versed in the myriad ways companies use a solution and can use this knowledge to articulate how the solution can work for a specific prospect.

Similar to other roles, sales engineers must be experts at articulating business knowledge to prospects.

Prospects often come to sales engineers with technical questions and objections. Sales engineers

Start building a winning revenue team

Today, many revenue leaders accept that great sellers are born, not made. They either have what it takes, or they don’t.

But that isn’t reality. Sales excellence can be taught.

First, organizations must identify the success-related skills for each revenue team role. Then, they can measure all revenue team members against their IRP to understand where they’re shining and falling short. Equipped with these insights, revenue teams can deliver personalized training, enablement, and coaching to ensure each master the skills that matter most in their role.

Mindtickle Readiness Index

In other words, you can build a team of top performers – no cloning machine required.

But not all enablement and productivity programs drive results. Instead, you need the right, data-driven strategy and technology to power your sales enablement and sales productivity programs.

Revenue Enablement in Mindtickle

Ready to see how Mindtickle empowers winning revenue organizations to build enablement and productivity programs that drive sales excellence and revenue growth?

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This post was originally published in June 2022 and was updated in April 2024. 

3 Types of Coaching Sessions You Need to Have With Your Sales Reps 

Like the best athletes, the best sales reps always ask for and get more coaching from their managers. 

The best managers are coaching their reps a lot more too.

According to our 2024 State of Sales Productivity Report, top managers tripled the number of coaching sessions since 2022, completing 40 sessions per month. Top-performing reps also get four more coaching sessions per month. 

The result? 

More wins. More revenue. 

So where do you start? 

Key takeways

  • The best managers are doing something differently with their reps during coaching sessions.  
  • There are three common types of coaching between managers and reps. We break them down. 
  • Next steps for setting up an efficient, personalized, and scalable coaching program at your own org. 

Coaching must go beyond deal reviews

Creating a “coaching culture” is often identified as a priority for selling orgs. We define a coaching culture as ongoing, data-driven, and infused into every manager and seller interaction.

When done well, it works. 

According to research, companies with dynamic coaching programs achieve 28 percent higher win rates.

Companies with dynamic coaching programs achieve

higher win rates
0 %

Unfortunately, many orgs struggle to create this coaching culture and instead take an ad hoc approach focused on short-term fixes. This approach is almost always primarily focused on deal reviews.

Of course, as-needed deal reviews are an important way to improve the outcome of a given sale. But on its own, deal coaching isn’t enough to improve long-term results.

The best sales orgs take a different approach to coaching. Rather than focusing solely on deal coaching, they deliver a blend of coaching types delivered at regular intervals to improve long-term success.

How the best sales managers are coaching their reps

Back to the best athletes: When they’re asking for coaching, it’s usually to address a specific issue with their game. 

The same can be said for sales reps.

However many orgs struggle to identify rep weaknesses, which makes effective coaching a struggle. 

According to our 2024 Chief Revenue Officer and Sales Leader Outlook Report, only 40% of C-level executives said they can identify rep strengths and weaknesses.

The first step to effective coaching is to understand rep strengths and weaknesses. To do this, you can take a look at your win/loss reports as well as call recordings to get a better understanding of where reps need improvement. From there, you can equip managers with what they need to “fix” those issues and get your reps back into the field with the skills they need to close more deals, 

Let’s take a closer look at the three types of coaching the best sales managers are delivering to reps — and how often they’re doing so.

#1 Opportunity sales coaching

When someone hears the phrase “sales coaching,” their mind might immediately go to opportunity coaching. That’s not surprising, as it’s the most common type of sales coaching. Our research found that 85% of sales reps report being coached on open deals.

Opportunity coaching is an important way to improve the outcome of a deal. For example, a sales manager might identify that something in a deal isn’t going as planned. This might be based on feedback from the rep during a pipeline review meeting. Or, they could get insight by leveraging a conversation intelligence solution that sheds light on how the rep is performing.

Salesforce- Coaching

In either circumstance, the manager can provide opportunity coaching to help the rep steer the deal back on course. And this will improve the chances of them ultimately closing the deal.

How often are the best managers delivering opportunity coaching? Sometimes, this coaching happens at a regular cadence — for example, during a weekly pipeline review. At these meetings, reps and managers discuss current opportunities — and how to move them forward.

Often, though, opportunity is delivered as needed — for example, when a rep raises a question or concern or meeting intelligence uncovers an issue.

#2 Skills sales coaching

In general, skills coaching is a lot less common. A mere 24% of reps report being coached on skills. 

While opportunity coaching improves the outcome of a single deal, skills coaching is required to ensure reps have the skills and behaviors needed to close deals consistently.

The best sales managers recognize the importance of skills coaching on long-term behavior. As such, they aim to deliver at least one skill-based coaching session per month per rep.

What skills do they focus on? The short answer is, it depends. The first step is for organizations to identify the knowledge, skills, and behaviors a rep needs for success by developing an ideal rep profile (IRP).

Ideal rep profile competencies

Then, each rep should be measured against this gold standard. This helps managers identify where there are skills gaps. Armed with this data, sales managers can deliver targeted, personalized skills coaching that addresses the needs of each individual rep.

#3 Targeted sales coaching

If there’s one thing sellers can count on, it’s that things are always changing. New products are released. Pricing or packaging is adjusted. A new competitor enters the marketplace. And those are just a few of the many changes faced by reps.

The best sales managers deliver coaching sessions to address changes and ensure reps are equipped to adapt. Typically, targeted coaching is a single session on a specific, targeted topic — often followed by enablement content such as content, training, or a role-play exercise.

When it comes to sales coaching, follow-up is key

Sales managers are busy. But the best ones know that coaching is worth the time and effort. On average, top managers complete 12 coaching sessions per month.

But coaching isn’t a one-time event. For example, a manager can’t simply deliver a skills coaching session focused on objection handling, check it off the list, and never think about it again — at least not if they expect actual improvement.

The best managers know that proper follow-up and ongoing reinforcement are key to effective coaching. Our analysis found that top managers are three times more likely to assign content, training or a role-play as a follow-up to a coaching session.

This follow-up is paying off. Reps who are assigned follow-up actions post-coaching see an average improvement of 13 points in Sales Readiness Index scores.

Start closing gaps and optimizing seller performance with coaching

Sales coaching, when done well, is proven to boost sales outcomes significantly. Deal coaching alone won’t cut it. The best sales leaders use a blend of deal, skills, and targeted coaching to ensure the entire sales team has what it takes to close deals.

Sales Coaching in Mindtickle

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How to Achieve Data-Driven Sales Transformation

When huge business shifts occur, companies sink or swim. Heightened customer expectations and larger buying teams have led to an onslaught of software products that simplify processes and focus on customer experiences.

Organizations that embrace these changes and adopt technology — in other words, set forth on a path to digital transformation — will find themselves well-positioned to beat out their competition and win over customers. Yet many shy away from taking on such an initiative, thinking it’s impossible to achieve given the current size of their sales team and available resources.

But it doesn’t have to be. Implementing technology and collaborating with employees makes digital transformation possible. And it often begins with your sales team. Keep reading to learn more.

What is digital transformation?

You see the term “digital transformation” everywhere, but what does it actually mean? Organizations committed to digital transformation adopt and integrate new technologies that reshape business, process, and culture models; automate certain processes; and, as a result, improve customer experiences. Spreadsheets and paper documents no longer support complex buying cycles — technology is necessary in today’s business environment.

IDC estimates that global spending on digital transformation is expected to hit $3.4 trillion by 2026.

According to IDC, global spending on digital transformation will hit
by 2026
$ 0 T

Orgs are investing in projects to modernize their infrastructures with AI, machine learning, and customer experience technologies. Digital transformation initiatives are often led by the CEO, CIO, and other senior leadership, but for them to work successfully, it requires involvement across departments.

What role does sales play in digital transformation?

Digital transformation impacts all functions of the business, but none more than sales. Sales teams have historically been a buyer’s first impression of your company. Now, buyers are doing plenty of research before ever speaking to a salesperson: visiting your website, viewing your content, and browsing your products (as well as those of your competitors).

According to Gartner, 78% of buyers prefer a rep-free sales experience, so they must have the technology and tools to maximize impact during that time. it’s also critical for sellers to make the most of these tools.

Still, salespeople have the most insight into the customer journey and should play a pivotal role in digital transformation efforts. They understand your products and services’ unique value and the best ways to communicate that to buyers. They also understand your company’s strengths and weaknesses and its daily operations. And finally, they understand how technology is essential to help employees do their jobs and create a far more pleasant experience for potential and existing customers.

Gartner reports that customers are 40% more likely to buy from sellers who tailor content to their needs — but sellers can only do this if their organization’s digital transformation has armed them with the tools and insights needed to personalize engagement.

Transforming your sales team with tech

Successful digital sales transformation fuels growth across the organization and goes beyond the blanket deployment of new technologies. A focus on automation, measurability, and how to make your sellers’ lives easier is what should guide your transformation efforts.

Data & insights

Data is at the heart of any digital transformation. The right technology provides insights into rep performance, from training engagement to content usage and time to close. These metrics help sales leadership personnel easily recognize where sellers are having success and where there are opportunities to improve.

Individualized training

Leveraging these insights, you can develop individualized learning activities for every seller. But leaders still struggle to identify gaps. According to our 2024-2025 Chief Revenue Officer + Sales Leader Outlook Report, only 40% of leaders can identify rep strengths and weaknesses for customized sales rep training.

Only

of leaders can identify rep strengths and weaknesses for customized sales rep training.
0 %

Digitally transformed sales enablement teams leverage tools that allow for customized training and hands-on learning activities automatically assigned to reps based on performance metrics — and add a level of competition with scored learning and leaderboards.

Follow up with field insights

Digitally transformed sales organizations also leverage technology that helps them ensure sellers are applying what they’ve learned during real customer interactions. Conversation intelligence goes beyond high-level performance metrics for sales leaders to gain visibility into real-world rep behaviors. From recordings and transcripts to AI-powered insights like sentiment, questions asked and answered, and more, you can pinpoint where every rep succeeds and where they fall flat when speaking to buyers — and you can arm sellers with tools to further the buying cycle.

For example, in analyzing our customer data, we found that, on average, sellers using Mindtickle share seven calls externally monthly. This is an example of how sellers in a digitally transformed salesforce can leverage conversation intelligence to elevate a prospect’s buying experiences: it enables the seller to share the transcript and recording of the call with their champion, who, in turn, is armed with the resources they need to socialize the information with their own internal stakeholders. It also makes sellers less focused on note-taking during sales conversations and more present and focused on what the prospect says.

Tailor coaching

Based on the strengths and weaknesses you’ve identified through data, conversation intelligence, and training, you’ll be armed with the information you need to design unique coaching experiences for every seller on your team. While over 80% of sellers report being coached on open deals, only 24% report being coached on long-term skills. But to effectively sell in a digital world, reps must be coached on skills ranging from systems and processes to written communications.

If individualized coaching seems like a lot of work, that’s because it can be — if you do it manually. Fortunately, leading revenue productivity platforms deliver the tools front-line leaders need to automatically schedule and launch coaching sessions and provide analytics to maximize the impact of coaching over the long term.

Critical skills for digital transformation

For your digital transformation to be successful, leadership must demonstrate certain skills, including the following:

Be transparent with employees throughout the entire planning and implementation process.

Gather input from various employees and work together to determine the best solutions for your business needs.

Create a transformation plan you feel passionate about and will dedicate yourself to over the weeks and months ahead.

Recognize that the process won’t go as planned and that you’ll have to adapt as circumstances change.

Ensure you take proper steps toward your goals regularly — daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

Use the best platform for sales, support, and commercial transformation

Don’t view digital transformation as an obstacle to your success — think of it as an opportunity to better equip teams and gain a competitive advantage.

Mindtickle is an all-in-one platform to aid you in your digital sales transformation. Our revenue productivity tools automate tedious manual efforts for sales teams, managers, marketing departments, sales enablement people, customer success personnel, and more. With Mindtickle, you can build customizable programs with unparalleled flexibility, align these programs with your industry and business needs, and gain deep insights into program performance.

Drive digital transformation with Mindtickle

With professional services to integrate all the tools you need in one centralized platform, Mindtickle is what you need to get your revenue teams ready for anything.

Get a Personalized Demo

This post was originally published in April 2022 and was updated in March 2024. 

How One B2B Company Doubled Win Rates and Conversion 

Is your sales team drowning in a sea of software?

This B2B software leader was too. They were overloaded with tools but slashed through the clutter and doubled their win rates.

How’d they do it?

In this video, Lindsey Plocek from our Product Marketing team, shares their story. Here’s what they did:

Key takeaways

  • Aligned their revenue teams: This customer aligned all stakeholders on its revenue team, including executives and leaders from sales, marketing, and customer success. They could set clear expectations and goals by establishing a unified vision and focus areas, such as driving pipeline growth and improving deal velocity.
  • Consolidated their tech stack: By moving to Mindtickle, the company consolidated multiple disparate technologies to streamline its operations and enhance productivity. Mindtickle enabled reps to access relevant content tailored to their customers, gain insights into deal risks and blockers, receive coaching, and engage buyers more effectively.
  • Focused on improving buyer engagement: Recognizing the critical role of buyer engagement in driving sales success, the company prioritized enhancing interactions between reps and customers. By providing personalized experiences and leveraging analytics to understand buyer preferences, they were able to improve the effectiveness of their sales efforts and ultimately accelerate win rates.

Transcription

Hi, I’m Lindsay with the Mindtickle product marketing team, and I’m going to be talking about how one of our top customers improved win rates with consolidation and share some of the great learnings that they shared with us.

This customer is a high-growth B2B tech company in the customer experience space. When we talk about this customer, we’re really talking about their full revenue team. Everyone from their CEO, CRO CMO, and leaders in customer success, onboarding, and enablement were involved in this challenge. They were tasked with improving win rates by at least 4% to hit their revenue goals, and they were able to do so on key deals, driving their win rates from 15 to 30% and actually doubling them.

They also improved conversions from stage to stage in key stages by 22%. Some of the use cases they pursued were driving that revenue team alignment and accountability into best practices, building a structure to scale data-driven enablement, and coaching as well as helping reps better-engaged buyers, and providing processes to better manage and accelerate deals.

They also really focused on driving adoption of their sales methodology. The first thing that they did, right, that I really learned from was just driving that cross-functional revenue alignment. They got everyone in a room, and they talked about what does the ideal onboarding look like, the ideal structure for ongoing training, which sales methodology did they really want to use. They established a few focus areas such as driving pipeline growth and improving deal velocity. They got everyone together, and they aligned on their expectations.

From there, it became clear they needed to focus on helping their team improve buyer and customer engagement. They consolidated many disparate technologies into one solution that would help reps bind, the top used most relevant content to their book of business would help reps and managers get really rich deal insights on deal risks and blockers as well as do call coaching.

They also provided reps with a new way to engage buyers and customers in Digital Sales Rooms and really provide that personalized experience and get analytics back on what actually engaged folks. As I mentioned, streamlining their sales tech stack was a big part of this. They were able to reduce down from four or five different tools to a single solution for all of the different use cases I’m mentioning here. They reduced cost by 10s of 1000s of dollars annually. They also simplified usage to drive the adoption of the tools that they implemented.

So that is how one company we work with reduced tech chaos to accelerate win rates. If you have questions, please reach out and hope you learned something interesting today. Thank you.

How to Use Your CMS, DSRs, and CRM to Inform Your Content Strategy

Is traditional sales content management stifling your org’s growth potential?

In this video, Mindtickle Principal Product Marketing Manager Christian Pieper outlines how orgs can build a content strategy using data from your CMS, DSRs and CRM.

The result? 

A content strategy that’s driven by data and perfectly aligned with the buyer journey. 

Key takeaways

Here’s the rundown of the key things Christian recommends for revenue enablement pros:

Centralize your content management:

  • Consolidate all sales content into one centralized platform to reduce administrative burden and increase adoption.
  • Bring content from various sources into a unified location for better visibility and data centralization.
  • One company reduced admin burden by 40% and increased content adoption by consolidating training and external content.

Layer engagement data

  • Move beyond merely attributing content usage to deals and instead focus on understanding how content impacts deals.
  • Use Digital Sales Rooms to track engagement with content by internal and external audiences.
  • Layer engagement data on top of usage data to gain insights into how content affects deals at different stages.

Plan your content strategically

  • Plan content around the buyer journey by integrating DSRs with your CRM.
  • Understand the buyer journey to create content that addresses specific buyer needs.
  • Identify high-performing pieces and focus on creating impactful content that aligns with buyer behavior.

Transcription

Hi, I’m Christian Pieper principal product marketer at Mindtickle. I’m excited to share this video as part of our series on reducing your technology chaos. Today specifically, I’m going to talk to you about how you can use different pieces of technology related to your sales content to inform your content strategy.

Again, the biggest problem people have with content is that they don’t know what’s happening. A big part of what we will talk about today is understanding how your content is being used. And using all of that data to find actual ways to improve the strategy you’re using for building and deploying content.

The first tip I’m going to talk about is how having all your content in one place helps streamline your efforts. The next one I’ll talk about is how layering engagement data on top of your usage data can help you understand the impact of content, not just how often it was used. And finally, I’m just talking about how you can structure your content in a way that makes it more likely that your sellers will use your content to move deals forward.

I already mentioned this, but if you don’t know what’s happening, you can’t inform your content strategy using data. Most places don’t know what’s being shared by whom and in what ways, and that’s usually because content is being housed in all kinds of places. Different solutions may be on the seller’s hard drive.

Ultimately, you want to bring all of your content into one place to reduce admin burden, increase your adoption, and centralize that data. This is critical. I spoke with the head of enablement and midmarket tech company recently, and they were facing a major problem before where they had their training content in one place, and their content for external audiences in another and sellers weren’t using either solution. They didn’t have good data, they didn’t know what was happening. So they consolidated all that together, and they estimated that they reduced their admin burden by 40% while increasing their adoption in both training and external content use. Now they’re gathering data on how that content is impacting deals.

I want to stress that it’s not enough just to attribute cost to attribute content usage to deals. Yeah, you can say this content was used in these deals. And these deals were worth X dollars. But you’re not saying anything about how that content impacted those deals, maybe those closed. Despite the use of that content. Maybe that content was instrumental, you don’t know.

To understand that, you have to layer engagement data on top of your usage data. That’s why it’s really important to use good sales tech that will allow you to track engagement with your content both by your internal and external audiences.

Digital Sales Rooms is an amazing piece of new tech that really helps you understand who is engaging with your content in the buyer organization,and at what points in your deals. That way, you can see how it’s impacting deals at different stages. And not just that it was used but to what effect. By comparing these two pieces of data, you can also discover opportunities for your strategy.

If content is used not very often but generates great engagement when it is you need to find a way to impact to improve the usage of that content, you might want to include it in templates for your digital sales herbs, might want to put it in the sales place your sellers use to understand how to sell to different personas. Regardless, you will have to find a way to get it used more often.

Now, if you have continents being used a lot and generating a little engagement, you probably have identifying content that isn’t doing its job; you should find a way to make that content more impactful. You want to look at slide-level analytics and adapt. For example, which slides are people engaging with the most get rid of the ones that they aren’t engaging with and focus on the stuff that they care about, that will help you generate content that impacts deals more effectively.

Finally, I want to talk about ways you can streamline your content by identifying it or by planning it around your buyer journey. To do that you have to understand your buyer journey. Again, if you’re sharing content from your hard drive and email if your sellers are doing that, you’re not going to know how the content is impacting the buyer journey.

But if you’re using digital sales rooms, if those are integrated with your CRM, then you’re going to know what content is being shared at what points and what kind of engagement it’s generating. That should help you understand the jobs that your buyers are trying to do and the questions that you’re trying to answer. And that can help you make content that accomplishes those jobs and answers those questions.

In the end result for this is overwhelmingly found when you look at the data inside your sales content solution, a small percentage of your content is generating the vast majority of your engagement. Look for your content superstars and make more of that make less stuff but make stuff that gets used much more often.

This is based on a really amazing presentation I saw from Kathleen Pierce at Forrester – if, you have a subscription at Forrester, I’d highly encourage you to seek her out and have her brief you on her question-based framework for content. It really helps you align your content strategy around data that you generate about your buyer behavior.

Hope this video was helpful on how you can reduce your chaos by consolidating technology and making it more impact. If you want more actionable insights. Please click our scan. This QR code will take you to more videos from my colleagues that will answer how you can do this and other ways in your organization. Thanks for your time and good luck out there.

What is Marketing Enablement and How is it Different From Sales Enablement?

Generic, one-size-fits-all marketing no longer works. Modern buyers expect personalized experiences – wherever they are on the purchase journey.

But often, organizations struggle to deliver marketing that resonates with buyers.

That’s where marketing enablement comes in.

In this post, we’ll explore what marketing enablement is, why it’s important, and how it differs from sales enablement. We’ll also share tips and best practices for an effective marketing enablement plan.

What is marketing enablement?

Today’s B2B buyers are more informed than ever. Oftentimes, they’ve done plenty of research on their own before engaging with a sales rep. In addition, these buyers have high expectations for outstanding experiences.

Marketing teams are under pressure to develop campaigns, content, and initiatives that resonate with these discerning buyers. Marketing enablement can help marketing teams deliver.

Let’s set the stage with a marketing enablement definition.

marketing enablement definition on an orange background

Essentially, marketing enablement is a practice focused on equipping marketing teams with the tools, data, information, and training they need to be better at their jobs. When marketing teams have what they need, they can create more effective, efficient campaigns and content that attract prospects and help move them through the funnel.

Marketing enablement helps ensure marketing teams better understand their buyers. This is foundational to any successful marketing program.

Marketing enablement also equips teams with the marketing enablement tools and resources they need to develop content and campaigns that engage buyers throughout the sales cycle.

Finally, marketing enablement also equips marketing teams with data (often, within a marketing enablement tool) that enables them to understand how (or whether) their content, campaigns, and other initiatives are impacting sales outcomes. With these insights, marketing teams can better align with sales and focus their attention on creating optimized content and campaigns that will improve sales outcomes.

Marketing enablement vs. sales enablement: What’s the difference?

In the world of B2B sales, marketing enablement, and sales enablement are two phrases we hear often. Sometimes, marketing enablement and sales enablement are even used interchangeably.

Both marketing enablement and sales enablement have the power to improve sales engagement and drive revenue growth. But marketing enablement and sales enablement aren’t the same thing.

Marketing enablement

Aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing initiatives.

Sales enablement

Aims to ensure every seller is ready to take on any deal that comes their way.

Marketing enablement aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing initiatives. The goal is to ensure marketing initiatives – including content and campaigns – resonate with buyers. Optimized marketing activities increase buyer engagement. When buyers are engaged, it’s easier for sales reps to shepherd them to the next stage of the purchase journey.

On the other hand, sales enablement aims to ensure every seller is ready to take on any deal that comes their way. Sales enablement teams collaborate with key teams including sales, marketing, and sales ops to identify the key skills and competencies a seller needs to be successful in the field. Then, they develop and deliver myriad initiatives – including onboarding, training, content, information, and coaching – that enable those sellers to develop the skills and competencies needed to close more deals.

While marketing enablement and sales enablement are different practices, there are some similarities.

As we’ve already covered, both marketing and sales enablement can positively impact buyers’ experiences and enable reps to close more deals. In addition, both practices rely on the right data and technology to drive their activities. For example, sales enablement can leverage data available in their sales enablement platform to determine how many sales reps completed a recent training – and whether it impacted seller performance. On the other hand, marketing teams can leverage data in a marketing enablement platform to determine whether a piece of content is being used – and whether it’s impacting the outcome of deals.

Finally, effective marketing enablement and sales enablement both require a customer-centric mindset. Teams must understand their buyers – including their key opportunities and challenges. These buyer personas must be the north star of any marketing enablement or sales enablement activity.

What are the key benefits of marketing enablement?

Marketing enablement isn’t exactly a new concept. But recently, a growing number of organizations have started to adopt this practice.

The growing popularity of marketing enablement isn’t surprising. Marketing enablement – when it’s done well – delivers plenty of benefits. Let’s take a look at a few.

Improved alignment between marketing and sales

All too often, marketing and sales teams act as adversaries, rather than partners. Per a LinkedIn report, nine in 10 sales and marketing professionals indicate they are misaligned around strategy, content, process, and culture.

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Sales and marketing professionals think they're misaligned

This misalignment is costly. According to a Harvard Business Review article, misalignment between sales and marketing costs businesses an estimated $1 trillion each year.

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Sales and marketing pros feel that aligned messaging and initiatives lead to better customer experiences.

Marketing enablement facilitates better alignment between these two key teams. Sales and marketing collaborate to ensure that marketing initiatives are aligned with sales processes and goals. This alignment allows for better experiences for buyers. The same LinkedIn report found that 90% of sales and marketing professionals feel that aligned messaging and initiatives lead to better customer experiences.

Of course, when customers have better experiences, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

More effective lead generation

A key responsibility of many marketing teams is to generate leads for the sales team. All too often, lead generation efforts fall short. Maybe a particular campaign delivered fewer leads than expected. Or perhaps another campaign generated a high volume of leads, but the conversion rate was extremely low because the leads weren’t a good fit for what sellers are offering.

Marketing enablement empowers marketing teams to boost their lead-generation efforts. By aligning with the sales process and understanding how buyers are engaging, marketing teams can develop compelling campaigns and content that attract a high volume of good-fit leads. Then, marketing can serve up these quality leads to the sales team, who can guide them through the sales process.

Better buyer engagement

Today’s buyers are more informed than ever before. Generic will no longer do. Instead, they expect content, information, and experiences that are tailored to their specific needs.

Marketing enablement ensures marketing teams have the data, tools, and resources they need to develop content, campaigns, and messaging that resonate with buyers throughout the purchase journey. When buyer engagement increases, so too does purchase likelihood.

Increased content ROI

In the past, marketing teams would develop and launch marketing campaigns and content – and then hope for the best. There was no easy way to understand how buyers and sellers were (or weren’t) engaging with content – and how specific content and campaigns were (or weren’t) impacting sales outcomes.

With marketing enablement, marketing teams have access to rich data and analytics that help them understand how their initiatives are performing. This includes:

  • Whether a piece of content is being used
  • How a piece of content is being used by both sellers and buyers
  • How an initiative is impacting revenue

With this insight, marketers can make optimizations, prioritize their time and effort on what’s proven to work, and drive better ROI from their content, campaigns, and other efforts.

Tips for an effective marketing enablement plan

The importance of marketing enablement is clear. Marketing enablement – when it’s done well – can enhance marketing effectiveness and efficiency. Better marketing leads to better sales outcomes.

But what does an effective marketing enablement plan look like? There’s no easy answer. It depends on many factors, including size, industry, and marketing scope – among others.

However, there are some best practices for developing a successful marketing enablement plan.

Determine goals
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Collaborate with sales
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Conduct an audit
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Store content
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Partner with enablement
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Analyze & improve
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What are the goals of your marketing enablement efforts? Be sure to document them. For example, you might aim to increase lead generation or improve the ROI of your content.

Be sure your goals are specific and measurable. In addition, they should align with the goals of your sales team and the organization as a whole.

A marketing enablement plan shouldn’t be created solely by the marketing team. Instead, it should be a collaborative effort, incorporating input from teams including sales and sales enablement.

Sales teams know their customers best. They can provide valuable insight into what is resonating with buyers – and what is making it easier (or harder) to close deals.

Marketing should also collaborate with sales enablement. After all, sales enablement teams help ensure sellers understand how to use the content that’s available to them.

One of the foundational steps of marketing enablement is to take an inventory of all existing marketing assets. Once all content is accounted for, the marketing team can determine which assets need to be refreshed and which should be eliminated.

After your content inventory is complete, map your existing assets to the customer journey. This exercise can help you understand where there is a need for additional marketing support.

Taking inventory of content seems simple enough. But that’s not always the case.

Oftentimes, marketing content is stored in multiple, disparate systems. It can be challenging to get a handle on all content.

A best practice is to store all marketing content in a single system of record. A content management system within a sales productivity platform is an ideal marketing enablement tool.

Storing your content in a central location ensures your sales reps can always find the latest and greatest versions of the content they need for any sales scenario. In addition, a content management system makes it easy to update, delete, or add new content.

Once you’ve developed new content and campaigns, it’s important to ensure sellers know about it. Sales reps need to understand how marketing initiatives fit in with their sales process – and how they can use marketing content to move deals forward.

Be sure to partner with the sales enablement team to develop a plan for enabling sellers.

Data is a critical component of an effective marketing enablement strategy. Be sure you’re tapping into technology to measure the effectiveness of your messaging, content, and campaigns. Then, use this data to optimize accordingly.

For example, you can leverage your sales productivity platform to understand how buyers and sellers are engaging with a particular piece of content and how it is (or isn’t) improving deal outcomes. These insights can be used to optimize content.

In addition, ask for feedback from sales on an ongoing basis. Sales reps are meeting with customers all day. They have a good understanding of what’s working and what’s not.

Supercharge your marketing enablement strategy with Mindtickle

Modern buyers have high expectations for outstanding experiences. Generic marketing initiatives won’t cut it.

Today, a growing portion of organizations are turning to marketing enablement to deliver marketing that resonates with buyers throughout the sales cycle. It’s a win-win for marketing and sales alike. Better marketing leads to greater customer engagement. Engaged buyers are more likely to make a purchase.

Effective marketing enablement requires the right marketing enablement tools. Today, some of the world’s best organizations turn to Mindtickle to supercharge their marketing enablement strategy.

With Mindtickle’s integrated revenue productivity platform, sellers can easily access the content they need in any sales scenario. They can leverage training and coaching to better understand how to use the content and messaging that’s available to them.

Marketing teams turn to Mindtickle to understand how sales reps and buyers are engaging with content – and whether it’s impacting sales results. Marketing teams can use these insights to make optimizations that lead to better performance and ROI.

Enablement in Mindtickle

Ready to see how Mindtickle can boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing? Contact us to schedule a live, personalized demo.

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