May 26, 2022
According to the 2019 SalesTech Benchmark Survey Report, only 40% of sales teams use sales enablement tools. These tools provide sales teams with the resources they need to sell more effectively. A successful enablement program allows reps to engage successfully with target buyers and more consistently meet — or even exceed — sales goals.
So if you’re in the 60% of companies not using sales enablement technology, your team is underprepared and unequipped to deliver the best experiences to their prospects.
Sales enablement tools can help your sellers close more deals and boost your bottom line. But they are most effective as part of a comprehensive sales readiness program. Sales enablement is just one element of your overall sales readiness framework, designed to improve your team’s performance and create a shared culture of excellence within your sales organization.
What is sales enablement software?
Sales enablement software provides a centralized place for the training, resources, and data needed to help salespeople sell more effectively.
Sales enablement software:
- 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.
The benefits of sales enablement for your team
Modern sales enablement solutions make all of your sales processes simpler, measurable, and actionable. We’ve identified three of the biggest benefits of sales enablement tools below.
Improved access to content
Sales enablement tools help reps know what content is available to them and how to use it in their sales interactions. Reps need to be able to find relevant sales content to nurture leads, follow up with prospects, and convince important decision-makers of the value of your products.
But Forrester found that not having the right content is one of the biggest challenges for sales teams. Sellers reported that finding content and information is a significant productivity obstacle, affecting their daily work. With a sales enablement tool, your enablement team can tag content to categorize it based on buyer persona, stage in the sales funnel, customer outcome, or the stakeholder it’s most relevant to. This includes:
- Case studies
- Sales playbooks
- Competitor comparisons
- Microlearning modules
- Training call recordings
Then, your reps can search for those key terms and easily find just-in-time sales enablement content that’s relevant to their needs. Sellers are then better equipped with the knowledge and content they need to progress conversations with prospects, helping them improve their win rates and close deals.
Improved collaboration between sales and marketing
LinkedIn found that 85% of survey respondents believe that sales and marketing alignment is the largest opportunity for improving business performance. Unfortunately, sales and marketing teams often fall into silos, with little communication between them.
Sales enablement improves alignment between these teams and gives better visibility into the effectiveness of their processes. Marketers can see how sellers use marketing content in their sales conversations and get measurable data on how different content types impact the sales process. Additionally, sellers can see what content the marketing team has produced and get updates about new case studies or product sheets they can use in their nurture flows.
Both teams can see which messaging, content, and campaigns are working, so they can collaborate to improve their overall sales performance.
Improved visibility into team performance
Sales enablement gives sellers access to content, resources, and training materials to help them build the skills and knowledge they need. Then, sales leaders can see their reps’ performance data alongside insights around their content usage and training completion.
This enables sales managers to understand how the content, resources, and training provided as part of their sales enablement strategy affects sellers’ performance. Additionally, they have access to more data around the content topics and messaging that best resonate with buyers, which can give them the knowledge they need to streamline the sales process.
With access to more data around how training content and exercises affect team performance, plus insights around the topics that are most relevant to buyers, sales managers can take a data-informed approach to the training and sales coaching programs they provide to their team.
8 essential features you’ll find in the best sales enablement tools
Organizations in the market for a sales enablement tool should look for a 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.
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 costs are found to be higher than managers would like them to be, they 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 roles. During the onboarding process, it can be a challenge to keep reps engaged, track their readiness, and provide them with easy access to forms, 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 tools and content that empower reps and managers to identify and address areas requiring improvement — like knowledge and skills — to reach higher quotas
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 motivate and incentivize sales reps to develop their skills.
Through gamification, managers 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 need to consistently build upon their skills and experience. It can assist with continuous training and the fine-tuning of 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, automated workflows can enable sales managers or other team members to offer qualitative and quantitative feedback on audio or video recordings submitted by sales representatives. They do so by removing the manual action of setting reminders, which are predefined within workflows, providing a seamless feedback loop between managers and team members.
Automated workflows motivate 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 sales teams reach their targets through strategic initiatives, such as voice of the customer programs or sales onboarding programs. These initiatives include multiple connected projects, with a project manager overseeing the team members focused on different projects.
These projects are bigger than individual sellers working on their deals. Instead, they involve different teams, such as leadership for strategic direction, marketing for content creation, and I.T. for technical implementation. If your sales enablement tool doesn’t have a program management feature, it’s difficult to manage and execute these strategic initiatives and this can negatively impact your sales enablement efforts.
But 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 sellers 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 promote 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.
An effective 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 three months and the same 60% of reps have 10% higher close rates than those who 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.
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 calendaring, 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: selling and improving their skills.
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 who need special access.
4 examples of sales enablement tools (+ one sales readiness tool you don’t want to miss)
Tech marketplace and reviews site G2 lists over 140 tools in the sales enablement category. So, if you’re looking for sales enablement software, you have plenty of options. We’ve picked out five top-rated tools to help you find the best one for your sales team.
1. HubSpot Sales Hub
HubSpot is best known for its CRM and inbound marketing platform, but it also offers a Sales Hub to help companies already using its marketing tools break down the silos between their sales and marketing departments by getting everyone on the same platform.
HubSpot Sales Hub is primarily an easy-to-use CRM, giving sellers and their managers greater visibility into their deal pipeline and task list. However, its free plan also includes content management to give sellers easy access to sales content. Enterprise customers can also use sales management playbooks such as battle cards and call scripts to better enable sellers to close deals.
While the most robust sales enablement features aren’t available to all customers, HubSpot integrates with more than 100 other sales enablement tools, so it may work well in combination with other instruments in your tech stack. Additionally, HubSpot has a vast library of training content and certifications to help sellers master best practices and essential skills.
Seismic is one of the leading dedicated sales enablement platforms. Its standalone platform provides a centralized hub where sellers can access the content and resources they need to engage with their prospects.
It recommends content and training at the time when they’re most relevant to your sellers. For example, when a prospect moves from sales-qualified lead to opportunity, it shows content and resources relevant to that stage of the buyer journey.
As a dedicated sales enablement platform, it’s a better choice for sales enablement teams than a tool that’s a CRM with enablement functionality added on. It has a great reputation and established customer base in the finance industry — particularly for wealth management, asset management, and banking organizations — which makes it a trustworthy option for companies operating in those spaces.
Salesforce is one of the best-known sales tools available. It splits opinions in the sales world: some companies love it and others find it has a steep learning curve and is difficult to implement for their business.
Like HubSpot, Salesforce is a CRM first, with additional features and functionality built on top. The Salesforce sales enablement tool is a paid add-on for its Sales Cloud product, at the cost of an extra $25 per user per month on top of the original subscription.
If your company already uses Salesforce for its CRM, then its sales enablement add-on may be the simplest option for your team. However, it probably isn’t worth switching to Salesforce just for their sales enablement tool.
Showpad is a revenue enablement platform that helps sellers prepare for each sales conversation and gives them the resources to ensure each call or sales interaction makes a positive impact on the customer. It combines training and coaching functionality with content management, ensuring sellers have access to the content they need.
In response to how the sales process has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemicShowpad has invested heavily in enabling remote and hybrid sales teams. Its platform is split into two parts: Content and Coaching. Each is an essential part of sales enablement, but the two parts of the platform are priced separately. This means companies need to pay twice to benefit from the full sales enablement functionality they can get from other tools.
Sales readiness: Mindtickle
Mindtickle’s sales readiness platform provides tools and processes to help sellers increase knowledge, enhance performance, and go into every customer conversation ready to succeed. One of the biggest challenges of traditional sales enablement is that reps forget their training very quickly, so they aren’t able to make the best use of the content and resources available to them. Mindtickle helps reps build and maintain their knowledge and skills through spaced reinforcement training and coaching exercises.
Our platform combines sales enablement, content management, conversation intelligence, sales training, and manager-led coaching. It provides continuous training, content, and enablement to ensure that sellers remember — and use — the knowledge and skills they’ve learned in their training and coaching sessions to move sales conversations forward.
Sales enablement is an essential part of Mindtickle’s comprehensive sales readiness framework. We make sales enablement best practices an ongoing part of the sales process rather than a siloed additional tool or exercise that sellers only think about a few times a year.
Sales enablement tools are most effective as part of a comprehensive sales readiness program
Many companies choose a dedicated sales enablement tool, but that has the effect of siloing your sales enablement content and training from the rest of your sales activities, limiting its impact on your sales team. Instead, make sales enablement a key part of a comprehensive sales readiness approach and look for a platform that keeps sales enablement connected.