Sales enablement roles are booming, as evidenced by the hundreds of Sales Enablement positions across the globe. This is an especially important role given the emerging fluidity of the buying process and a more complex set of sales competencies and skills needed to address that new buying journey.
Simply put, a strong sales enablement team knows what content to provide and when to provide it and what skills need to be developed and how to develop them. They’re aware of the ever-changing sales cycle and how a piece of marketing collateral can resonate in the moment. They can see the sale from the customer’s perspective, and they deliver the content customers want before they realize they want it. These capabilities are not in contrast to digital selling tools; rather, they are in cooperation with them.
In fact, the proliferation of digital sales enablement tools has only made sales enablement teams more important in recent years. A strong enablement team can isolate the meaningful material and deliver insights sometimes lacking from digitization and automation. Perhaps this is why 59 percent of sales professionals say they have more tools than they can use, according to research from Accenture.
The study found that “agents are simply awash in more product data, competitor data, and customer data than they now can effectively absorb or use.” Sales enablement finds the signal amid the noise. Therefore, a strong sales strategy requires a strong sales enablement team.
Here, we look at why productivity and talent management represent the two key components for any team seeking to design an effective sales strategy.
Most sales organizations don’t face a lack of content or tools. Instead, they need ways to more effectively leverage those resources thereby increasing win rates, average deal size, and revenue per sales professional.
For many organizations, the solution is to improve productivity by streamlining administrative activities. Doing so frees the sales professional to devote more time to customer-facing interactions. Sales enablement professionals are uniquely suited to advance this goal by distributing the right marketing collateral for the right deals at the right time.
As a result, sales professionals maintain their focus on meaningful dialogue without distraction. These interactions are important because the sales professional must satisfy several needs across a group of stakeholders and decision makers. What was once one conversation is now several conversations.
Enablement, however, is about more than getting the right content to the right customers. Enablement teams also serve the sales professionals directly by providing material that supports training activities. They share material that reinforces concepts and best practices. As a result, enablement can help an organization effectively scale learning and new initiatives by ensuring that all of the sales professionals are on the same page — literally.
This internal aspect of enablement also facilitates communication between the sales and marketing teams. Marketing needs insights from sales to understand the pulse and direction of the marketplace and competition. At the same time, sales professionals need the right messaging to inform their value proposition strategy and the critical capabilities found within new products.
This dynamic illustrates why productivity connects to onboarding. As solutions become more complex and tools more varied, new hires need more support than ever to understand and use the resources available. Enablement provides that support by helping sales professionals synthesize many different parts.
Effective onboarding helps reps reach full productivity faster. Doing so captures a higher return on investment and brings revenue and margin contribution targets within sight.
As onboarding for many sales professionals becomes a 12-month process, talent management is increasingly important.
Enablement plays a role in this process by illustrating what a “best-in-class” sales rep looks like within the organization. They consider how tenure, skill, competency, and experience shape an effective sales professional. Getting these factors right is critical because the expected per-rep contribution to revenue is a crucial aspect of meeting budget goals.
Enablement helps get the right players on the field. Moreover, sales enablement’s ability to make onboarding efficient can help pull revenue expectations forward and deliver profit earlier in the game.
Enablement also helps new hires understand the competition, products, services, and messaging. They help sales professionals learn how to deliver the pitch and handle objections. Often, managing this process means managing technology. Therefore, enablement helps derive meaningful value from an increasing array of digital tools found within today’s selling organizations.
However, strong talent management goes further than leveraging technology like LMS systems and CRM software to satisfy short-term goals.
True efficiency comes from developing talent that grows alongside the organization. Leaders need to map how this career trajectory will work.
For example, a company can develop an inside sales professional into an enterprise RVP. This development is valuable because fostering talent from within reduces ramp time meaning that productivity increases. In contrast, leading new hires to productivity requires more time because they’re new to the internal processes.
The more involved sales enablement becomes in talent management, the more effectively they can realize the full value of the resources within the company.
Doing so does more than achieve financial goals. When aspects of talent management like onboarding and career laddering work, sales professionals develop confidence in their skills and a deeper level of satisfaction with their role. These benefits have meaningful long-term implications like lower turnover and a team-oriented culture.
Sales enablement is the connective tissue in any sales organization. The function derives value from resources by fostering communication and organization. ‘
Customers travel many different paths when forming a buying decision. They expect new information and insights, and they expect them fast.
A strong sales enablement team can deliver on those needs. They have the 30,000-foot view and can improve the sales process, which leads to significant revenue gains and operational efficiencies. Generally, productivity and talent management are the two ways in which a sales enablement strategy succeeds in these goals.
- Effectively leverage resources
- Streamline administrative activities
- Support training activities
- Facilitate communication between the sales and marketing
- Talent Management
- Get the right players on the field
- Make onboarding efficient
- Derive meaningful value from digital tools
- Develop talent that grows alongside the organization