What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is a practice that provides members of the sales team with learning, content, and tools that allow them to succeed at their job. While it’s a relatively new concept for many organizations it has evolved over recent years from a primary focus on learning to a more modern focus on seller skills and behaviors as both business needs and buying experiences have changed.

Yes, training sellers on the industry, products, methodologies, competitors, etc. are the foundation of enablement. But simply knowing this information isn’t enough to get buyers across the finish line. It’s about different teams working together, honing skills, nailing the perfect pitch, using engaging content, and so much more — and all of this is what makes up an impactful sales enablement program.

sales-enablement

The benefits of sales enablement

Starting an enablement program from scratch may seem tough, but it’s got plenty of benefits:

  • Improves collaboration between sales and marketing teams
  • Helps to create a team of top-performing reps
  • Facilitates personalized, high-quality content
  • Provides all sellers with a single source of truth
  • Allows for continuous training and learning
  • Engages buyers more meaningfully
  • Increases revenue

What is a sales enablement platform?

A sales enablement platform combines all elements of enablement — onboarding, training, reinforcement, content — into one tool for sellers and adjacent teams like marketing and product. These tools allow for:

  • Easy content creation, editing, viewing, sharing, and collaboration
  • Virtual training and hands-on micro-learning opportunities to reinforce skills and knowledge
  • Increased visibility between sales and marketing
  • Analytics for tracking key metrics to identify where reps are progressing and where they can improve

For sales enablement software to serve its full purpose, it must have some essential features.

Onboarding

Onboarding is sales leadership’s opportunity to provide new hires with the materials, tools, and support they need to get engaged and have long-term success at your organization. It is also a key component of sales enablement, and your enablement technology should have features that make onboarding more efficient and effective. This means:

  • Automated, individualized training paths for learning and testing, that ramp reps up more quickly
  • Hands-on practice and certification capabilities to hone skills and certify ability/behavior before working with customers
  • Communication tools that allow managers to keep reps up-to-date, resulting in higher engagement and productivity
  • Analytics to identify skill and knowledge gaps
  • Coaching and content to fill those gaps and boost performance

Continuous growth and skill development

The sales enablement process is just that: a process. It must be a regular practice throughout the year to truly impact performance on individual and team levels.
Therefore, any enablement platform worth investing in should have features for high-impact micro-learning, spaced reinforcement, individualized learning at scale, live and on-demand training, and role-plays to sharpen skills before going into the field.

Insights and analytics

A lot of resources are invested in sales technology and training, so it’s crucial to have capabilities for measuring the success of those efforts. The sales enablement platform you implement must have data at its core for both correlating skills to business outcomes and tracking key sales metrics. With visibility into individual performance and the effectiveness of different sales activities, you can then make adjustments to continuous learning programs that target where each rep needs to improve.

Integrations

Salespeople use many tools throughout the day to get their jobs done. When these tools don’t work together, it’s not only inefficient but confusing for sellers. Sales enablement software should have integration capabilities with other technologies like communication and calendaring, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management System (CMS), business intelligence, and more to easily draw accurate correlations between enablement activities and revenue — and to let sellers spend less time navigating apps and more time selling.

How do you measure sales enablement?

As sales enablement includes so many initiatives working together, there are also many metrics to track to ensure for ensuring the program is programs are having a positive impact. We break them down into four categories below.

Knowledge and skills

These sales enablement metrics demonstrate sellers have

  • Ramp-up time, or average time to productivity
  • Course completion
  • Assessment and quiz scores
  • Knowledge retention
  • Content adoption and usage

Real-world behaviors

These metrics demonstrate how knowledge and skills are applied in actual buyer conversations.

  • Adherence to sales process
  • Filler words used
  • Keywords used
  • Consistency
  • Talk vs. listen ratio

Business outcomes

These metrics demonstrate how sales performance correlates to your organization’s bottom line.

  • Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate
  • Win rate (competitive and non-competitive)
  • Time to quota
  • Percentage of reps hitting quota
  • Average cycle length
  • Average deal size

Satisfaction

These metrics demonstrate whether sales employees feel supported, valued, and poised set up for success in their roles.

  • Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Turnover rate

What are the different types of sales enablement software?

Sales enablement platforms come in many shapes and sizes and serve different purposes. Here are just a few examples of different platforms and point solutions that make up a complete sales enablement solution.

Sales readiness platforms

Delivers sales training, including onboarding and ongoing training, content, conversation intelligence, coaching, analytics, and integrations in one centralized system.

Learning management systems (LMS)

Application for governing, distributing, automating, and tracking training materials.

Content management systems (CMS)

Repository that stores both learning and customer content, like product pages, decks, ebooks, guides, etc.

Conversation intelligence

Uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze customer and buyer phone calls and extract quantifiable insights, like filler words used and talk-to-listen ratios.

What are things to consider for the best sales enablement strategies?

Ready to dive in? Keep these five sales tenants in mind when building your enablement strategy.

Define objectives

The aim of a sales enablement program is to improve the skills, knowledge, and behaviors of salespeople in order to shorten sales cycles and close more deals. But what needs to happen to get there? Establish specific goals that help to determine whether your process is successful. Start by creating your ideal rep profile (IRP) to set a benchmark for rep performance.

Keep buyers at the center

Sellers may know all the details about your company and product, but can they translate it in a way that engages buyers? Providing an exceptional buyer experience should remain the focus of all enablement activities — and that doesn’t mean providing the same experience for every buyer. Different organizations and buying teams have different challenges, goals, and needs, all of which must be considered when going into a conversation with a potential customer.

Create relevant and compelling content

Whether it’s a product one-pager, sales presentation, or case study, any content that is designed for buyers must be of high quality and must be easy to tailor to what the particular buyer is interested in. As an example, a VP of sales is more concerned with long-term business outcomes, while a new sales manager will be interested in features and user-friendliness.

Make sales training a priority all year long

Learning isn’t a one-time event. Products evolve; industries shift; buyers move forward in their sales journeys. And sellers must be agile and prepared to ride the waves. Sales enablement isn’t complete without robust and ongoing training. Providing reps with virtual, bite-sized learning materials and quizzes on a regular basis keeps them up to date and helps learning stick.

Measure, measure, measure

How are all your sales enablement efforts helping to meet objectives? Evaluate KPIs and other metrics on a regular basis to identify where the program is having success and where it could use some work. Adapt the approach as you see fit and continue analyzing over time.

Where can I find a sales enablement guide?

To get started and build an impactful sales enablement program, you first need to have an understanding of all the important components.

Search online and you’ll find dozens of comprehensive sales enablement guides, all of which provide lots of information on sales enablement roles and responsibilities, strategies, tools, etc.

If you really want to take your sales enablement to the next level to increase productivity across your team, improve performance, and drive revenue growth, Mindtickle can help. As a leader in sales enablement and readiness, we have the expertise to give you the pieces that complete your sales enablement puzzle. While we’ve discussed many elements of sales enablement at length in this guide, check out other sales enablement resources to discover more.

How do you measure sales enablement?

As sales enablement includes so many initiatives working together, there are also many metrics to track to ensure programs are having a positive impact. We break them down into four categories below.

Knowledge and skills

These sales enablement metrics indicate that sellers have completed certain tasks or hit milestones after being onboarded:

  • Ramp-up time, or average time to productivity
  • Course completion
  • Assessment and quiz scores
  • Knowledge retention
  • Content adoption and usage

Real-world behaviors

These metrics demonstrate how knowledge and skills are applied in actual buyer conversations.

  • Adherence to the sales process
  • Filler words used
  • Keywords used
  • Consistency
  • Talk vs. listen ratio

Business outcomes

These metrics demonstrate how sales performance correlates to your organization’s bottom line.

  • Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate
  • Win rate (competitive and non-competitive)
  • Time to quota
  • Percentage of reps hitting quota
  • Average cycle length
  • Average deal size

Satisfaction

These metrics demonstrate whether sales employees feel supported, valued, and poised for success in their roles.

  • Employee Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Turnover rate

What are the best sales enablement conferences?

Sending salespeople to sales enablement conferences is an effective way to both contribute to their professional growth and improve employee morale. Here’s a rundown of events and the 2022 dates for each.

Mindtickle Revenue Reboot

July 14-August 18, 2022 | Virtual
Want to close more deals? Of course you do. Mindtickle has partnered with Chili Piper, Vidyard, BoostUp, Baker Communications, and Qualified to develop best-in-class sales enablement content and experiences on a weekly basis. Sign up for access to videos, networking discussions, and much more.

Sales Enablement Collective: Chief Revenue Officer Summit

September 7-8, 2022 | San Francisco, CA
Revenue leaders from all over the country will come together in the bay area to share wins, challenges, and ideas for driving revenue growth. Leaders from organizations of all sizes are encouraged to attend.

AA-ISP salesDisrupted

September 8, 2022 | Boston, MA
Practical advice is always useful, but using data is what helps to get sellers get to the next level in engaging buyers. An event unlike any other, salesDisrupted focuses on providing research to help sales leaders and professionals deliver real results.

Dreamforce

September 20-22, 2022 | San Francisco, CA and Virtual
Salesforce is celebrating its 20th Dreamforce this year, with over 1,000 sessions and workshops. Reps at any level of the sales hierarchy can attend and return to the office with new ideas for generating success. The best part? You don’t have to make a trip to San Francisco to attend; you can log in from the comfort of your own desk to watch live or on demand.

Sales Enablement Soiree

September 22, 2022 | San Francisco, CA
Focused solely on sales enablement strategies, the Sales Enablement Soiree gathers leaders and individual contributors around the world to learn and connect. Evaluate different enablement and sales readiness solutions to find which will best fit your organization’s needs.

Sales Enablement Society Annual Conference

September 28-30, 2022 | Atlanta, GA
A great experience for a personal and professional reset, this year’s Sales Enablement Society conference features inspirational keynotes, informative sessions, as well as a wellness patio, and plenty of parties. With the theme “Take the Leap: Connect. Innovate. Elevate,” attendees will have the opportunity to learn from both experts and peers.

Mindtickle Road to Readiness Roadshow

October 18, 2022 | London
On our final stop of the Road to Readiness Roadshow, we’re headed across the pond to connect with fellow sales professionals to share winning strategies and practices for building sales teams full of top performers.

Sales Enablement Collective: Sales Enablement Summit

October 19, 2022 | Boston, MA
This single-day event welcomes professionals from small to large organizations to discuss the common challenges in sales enablement, like breaking down departmental silos, scaling, and proving value.

Sales Enablement Festival by Sales Enablement Collective

October 26-28, 2022 | Virtual
Register for the Sales Enablement Festival for 20+ hours of insightful content from leaders at companies like Getty Images, Google Cloud, IBM, and Zoom. The event is 100% virtual.

Sales Enablement Collective: Sales Enablement Summit

November 16-17, 2022 | Chicago, IL
Join more than 300 attendees at the annual Sales Enablement Summit in Chicago. The one-day summit offers opportunities to discuss pain points, share best practices, and learn from the best of the best in sales enablement.

Mindtickle Fall Product Announcement Webinar

Fall 2022 | Virtual
Just like sales enablement as an initiative, the Mindtickle sales readiness platform doesn’t take a “set it and forget it” mindset. We learn and take feedback from our customers to continue innovating and making our product the best it can be. This fall, we’ll be announcing some changes and additions to our leading technology. Whether you’re an existing customer or are still in your decision phase, tune in to see what you can expect in the year to come.

Sales Innovation Expo

November 22-23, 2022 | London, UK
Designed for rookie sellers, leaders, and everyone in between, the Sales Innovation Expo is a free event that provides both tactical and inspirational learnings to take back to your team.

Chief Revenue Officer Summit

November 23-24 | London, UK
For the first time, London will host a dedicated summit for CROs. Leaders from all over the globe are invited to share insights and ideas for driving continuous growth through the uncertain years ahead.

Getting started with sales enablement

Mindtickle is a leading sales enablement and readiness platform that helps organizations all over the globe transform their sales enablement processes for maximum revenue impact.

Visit us to learn more about our sales enablement services.
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