The 8 Essential Features Your Sales Enablement Tool Should Have 

Apr 16, 2020

Sales enablement provides sales teams with the resources they need to sell more effectively. A successful program allows reps to engage more successfully with target buyers and more consistently meet—or even exceed—sales goals.

With the right sales enablement strategy—and the platform to match—enabling a sales team is easier and more data-driven than ever before. Selling is harder than ever in this competitive marketplace, so sales reps need easy access to key information and training, and sales leaders need an easy way to measure progress against key goals. This means a sales enablement tool is no longer a luxury: it’s a necessity for every CRO or Sales Leader. 

The reality, however, is that many organizations are unable to find a tool that addresses all of the unique challenges of sales enablement. While some sales enablement tools address a variety of sales challenges, other focus on one or two specific obstacles. For a sales enablement tool to be well worth the investment, it must contain several key features. These features enable sales teams to shorten sales cycles, improve productivity, and increase revenue.

What is Sales Enablement Software?

Sales enablement software is a centralized place for the training, resources, and data needed to help salespeople sell more effectively. 

Sales enablement software does several important things:

  • Helps sales reps easily access training materials, product documentation, and other content (no matter where it is stored)
  • Records key sales metrics so managers can identify opportunities to improve certain skills through coaching
  • Tracks reps’ progress against development goals
  • Improves visibility and alignment between sales and marketing teams
  • Enables micro-learning and virtual training to teach and reinforce key skills

At its core, a sales enablement tool does much more than just support a more efficient and effective sales team. With the proper tool, all types of organizations can boost their sales processes to enhance every step of the sales journey. And—what’s more—the right tool supports sales teams by providing them with the content and information they need to successfully engage with customers the first time and every time. 

sales enablement in action

A great sales enablement platform can enhance productivity, provide transparency and understanding with key analytics, and refine continuous training for more successful outcomes. It’s an invaluable resource for any organization that wants to accelerate sales productivity and create more meaningful sales interactions. 

In the past, sales teams browsed through papers, folders, inboxes, spreadsheets, PDFs, image repositories, and more to find the content they needed. But even if sales reps could find the right material at the right time, it was unclear whether it was up-to-date or being used effectively. Onboarding was a one-size-fits-all classroom session, training wasn’t customized for the needs of individual reps, and sales leaders struggled to assess, improve, and track progress in reps’ strengths and weaknesses.

Modern sales enablement—with the software to match—makes all of these processes simpler, measurable, and actionable. 

8 Essential Sales Enablement Features You Should Look For 

Organizations in the market for a sales enablement tool should be on the lookout for a sales enablement tool that offers the following key features. 

1. Insights and Analytics

Most organizations spend a great deal of time, money, and resources training their sales teams. But without a way to measure those efforts, it’s hard to understand what’s working and what parts of the training process need to be improved. 

When organizations have a sales enablement tool that offers detailed analytics for key sales metrics, however, they can thoroughly understand the effectiveness of their sales activities: onboarding, training, coaching, and more. 

In addition, they can drive insights into the effectiveness of internal compliance training, which is key in many highly-regulated industries, such as financial services or life sciences. Perhaps you’ve focused on compliance training for reps, but you aren’t sure of the impact of your programs. A strong enablement tool offers transparency and understanding through tangible metrics that allow you to measure knowledge, skills and behavior, and capability gaps to ensure compliance. It can also show how much time and money it costs to train each sales rep. If you find that costs are higher than you’d like them to be, managers can take steps to reduce inefficiencies and improve productivity.

With data and insights from your sales enablement platform, you can make data-driven decisions to improve sales initiatives, or develop a specific skill in individual reps. For example, a sales enablement platform allows managers to benchmark sales rep performance in a key area, like closing. After a large training session and additional 1:1 coaching designed to improve closing skills, the manager tracks close rate and other closing-related KPIs to see how the rep’s performance changes. Based on those measurable results, the manager can adjust the continuous training program accordingly. 

In addition, it can show how much time and money it costs to train each sales representative. If they find that costs are higher than they’d like them to be, managers can take steps to reduce inefficiencies and improve productivity.

2. Onboarding Management

Sales onboarding provides new sales representatives with the knowledge and training they need to succeed in their new role. During the onboarding process, it can be a challenge to keep sales representatives engaged, track their readiness, and provide them with easy access to paperwork, manuals, and other onboarding materials.

With an onboarding management feature, managers will have everything they need to set their sales representatives up for success. This feature typically enables teams to: 

  • Improve learning and testing through automated training paths, which get reps ramped up faster
  • Ensure better communication by keeping reps constantly updated and thoroughly engaged, leading to higher productivity and fewer turnover costs
  • Enhance coaching by leveraging the right tools and content that empower reps and managers to identify areas of improvement—like knowledge and skills—to reach higher quotas

sales readiness extends onboarding to ongoing capability

3. Gamification

It’s not easy to keep sales representatives engaged during sales onboarding and continuous training. That’s where gamification comes in. Through gamification, organizations can turn routine tasks into enjoyable activities that motivates and incentivizes sales reps to develop their skills.

Through gamification, teams can encourage friendly competition, break learning into bite-sized segments, offer relevant games and quizzes, and introduce real-life scenarios. Gamification can also add a social element to onboarding and training and promote open communication between sales representatives. 

Gamification can be used both by new reps during the onboarding process and seasoned reps who are consistently building upon their skills and experience. It can assist them with continuous training and the fine-tuning of their skills, all in a fun environment. 

4. Automated Workflows

Collaboration and accountability are common struggles for organizations. Not only do automated workflows make it a breeze to collaborate, they also hold all the right people accountable. 

For example, they can enable sales managers or other team members to offer qualitative and quantitative feedback on audio or video recordings submitted by new sales representatives. They do so by removing the manual action of setting reminders, which are pre-defined within workflows, providing a seamless feedback loop between managers and team members. 

Automated workflows motivate both managers and sales representatives to put in the hard work. They offer complete transparency so that everyone knows where improvement is needed and everyone is driven to take action. 

5. Program Management

Program management helps organizations reach their sales goals through strategic initiatives. These initiatives include multiple projects that relate to one another, and a program manager to oversee team members focused on different individual projects. 

One example of a program is updating the onboarding process for all new sales reps. This program includes multiple projects, like updating existing onboarding content, creating new onboarding content, and testing this content in a live environment. You’ll also likely need to explore the technical requirements for onboarding (i.e. which systems it will need to work with, where the content will be stored, how it will be accessed) and need to set up secure system access so it’s ready for new hires. In addition, you may need to organize “pre-onboarding” to engage reps before their first day on the job. 

These complex projects involve different teams: Marketing will need to create the content, IT will manage the technical needs, and sales managers and marketing will need to collaborate on pre-onboarding. But the program manager is responsible for identifying and removing blockers, and ensuring timely execution of the program. Program management can become overwhelming very quickly, especially for program managers with a lot on their plates.

With a program management feature, program managers can ease some of the stress they often face by creating and structuring programs, adding and managing collaborators, creating and publishing relevant content, and automating communication.

6. Content Management

Sales representatives depend on a variety of content throughout the sales cycle—and this doesn’t even include the content reps use to learn new skills or improve their current skills. Content used throughout the sales process may include sales scripts, product sheets, competitor comparisons, email templates, presentations, and more. 

The challenge with all of this content is that it must be well-organized so that it can be easily located and fully utilized. A content management feature can make it easy for organizations to access content, regardless of where it is stored. Essentially, it can simplify content management and ensure that all relevant knowledge is being shared at the exact right time within the sales journey. A critical component of this is content sharing and content collaboration which promotes both faster and higher fidelity time to value. By enabling multiple people to collaborate in the content authoring process whether in powerpoint, pdf, or video, people are empowered to bring shared experiences and best practices into play. 

A strong sales enablement tool will also help your teams track how your content is being used. For example, if 60% of your sales reps have used a certain piece of content in the past 3 months, and those 60% of reps have 10% higher close rates than those that haven’t, you can use that knowledge to fine-tune your training strategy. By tracking how people actually use your organization’s content, you can determine what works and what doesn’t. 

7. Integrations

As sales enablement practices evolve within organizations, new tools are usually purchased and implemented. It can be tricky to make the most out of all of these tools, especially when there are so many of them. After all, most people don’t want to go through the hassle of logging into several different platforms.

One of the most effective ways to maximize these disparate tools is to integrate them with a sales enablement tool. A sales enablement tool that offers integrations can give organizations the chance to keep their communication and calendering, CRM, reporting and business intelligence, content management, and other tools all in one place.

Integrations allow sales representatives to spend less time digging through multiple platforms and more time doing what matters: more time on what matters: selling and improving their skills. 

8. Governance

Sales enablement programs have a lot of moving parts. Therefore, you’ll need to operate under complete confidence that your organization is using its resources efficiently and securely at scale. You’ll need to apply a complex program across multiple user roles, locations, and levels of access. 

In a sales enablement tool, a governance feature can set permissions based on specific roles, simplify coaching workflows and roll-up reports based on organizational hierarchy, and define custom roles for those that need special access. 

Finding the Right Sales Enablement Tool

If your organization is in search of a robust sales enablement tool that delivers a long list of features and has a high adoption rate among users, Mindtickle is a great option. It’s equipped with everything you need to scale success, close deals faster, improve company reputation, and build lasting relationships with your sales representatives and customers. 

Mindtickle can truly revolutionize the way your organization sells so you can grow revenue and take your brand to new heights. Request a demo today to learn more, or determine your potential return on enablement with our comprehensive ROI calculator.