Sales enablement has become a critical part of every company’s marketing strategy. In today’s competitive environment, companies are looking for ways to improve employee productivity, convert leads, and ultimately boost revenue.
One of the best ways to improve overall sales performance is to develop a sales enablement plan specifically designed to support your unique sales team and achieve your business objectives.
We know this may sound daunting, so we've compiled everything you need to know about sales enablement and listed actionable steps you can take to improve sales performance in no time.
In this article, you'll learn:
- Why sales enablement is important
- How to develop a Sales Enablement Plan
- SE best practices to implement in your business
Let's get started...
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement (SE) refers to the tools, strategy, and overall approach companies use to improve customer experience and increase sales performance for their business.
SE is generally a combined effort by the sales, marketing, product, and management team working together to increase sales productivity, decrease time and barriers to new revenue streams, and create long-term customers.
Why is Sales Enablement Important?
Sales enablement drives revenue, is designed to support sales teams, and improves client relations that directly impact business performance. When done well, SE helps sales and marketing teams align while strategically allocating resources that lead to growth.
According to Dooly, 75% of companies using sales enablement tools saw an increase in sales in 12 months, with 40% of those companies reporting more than 25% growth. When companies take time to outline sales objectives and invest in the proper tools to achieve them, sales enablement undeniably makes an impact.
What is a Sales Enablement Plan?
A Sales Enablement Plan is a business's specific strategy for helping its sales team find new business, improve relationships with prospects and clients, and drive revenue.
When formulating a Sales Enablement Plan, you must understand your sales team's unique needs to support them with the proper resources, content, and tools that effectively convert leads into customers.
A typical Sales Enablement Plan includes:
- Goals & Objectives
- Next Steps
A Sales Enablement Plan allows organizations to outline how they will help their sales team succeed, so spending time to create one that addresses your business requirements, goals, and needs is crucial.
How do you create a Sales Enablement Plan?
Many sales leaders struggle to create their organization’s sales enablement strategy because they don’t know where to start or who they should involve.
To help you get started, we've outlined 8 best practices for formulating your sales enablement strategy so you can help your sales team succeed.
Determine Your Goals
Before formulating a sales enablement strategy, you must determine your business's unique goals. What do you want your SE Plan to achieve? What pain points do you want to target? How will your plan specifically address these pain points?
Answering these questions will help you figure out how to approach creating a Sales Enablement Plan that will maximize sales performance for your business.
For example, if you want to reduce the time it takes to close deals, you might consider creating content that teaches your sales team how to do so.
Understand Your Sales Representatives
Once you've determined your business goals, turn your attention to the sales team.
Before coming up with a strategy or solution, you must understand your current sales landscape. Observe your sales processes, evaluate performance, and talk to your sales managers and reps to find out what's working well and where there is room for improvement.
For example, if your sales reps are good at finding leads during conferences but are struggling to pitch your product to them on the spot, you may consider using a mobile sales platform that works well offline and ensures your reps are always equipped to sell.
Invest in Training
Sales enablement incorporates sales training and education. Organize regular training sessions to ensure your sales reps know your product, competition, and potential customers inside and out so they are always prepared to sell.
Ongoing training will also help your sales team keep up with new developments in your industry and prepare them for changes in your business model or your clients' needs.
If you need to create new sales enablement content...
Gartner recommends incorporating:
- Recordings of successful calls
- Opportunities to shadow exemplary sales team members
- Informative videos
- Role play scenarios
- Effective sales call transcripts
There are many ways to create an effective training program, so make sure to address the pain points and goals you outlined in your Sales Enablement Plan when formulating training objectives. If not, you may find yourself spending too much time focusing on content and not enough time closing deals.
Collaborate with Marketing
Designing your Sales Enablement Plan must be a collaboration between sales personnel and the marketing department. Both groups should work together to ensure all sales tools, marketing content, and joint efforts are aligned with the company's goals and ultimately being used to achieve business results.
In addition to involving the marketing department in the strategic planning of your Sales Enablement Plan, we recommend reviewing what marketing assets have been created to see if they can be used to improve sales efforts. For example, if your marketing department has created a great video, you may want to include it in your Sales Enablement Plan to increase brand awareness.
In addition to helping create a more effective Sales Enablement Plan, encouraging communication between the sales and marketing teams can strengthen overall team-building initiatives and have a positive impact on your entire organization.
Consider your Customer
In a competitive market, it is essential to ensure your content is relevant to your audience. When developing your sales enablement strategy, make sure your training and content are aimed at alleviating your customers' pain points and showing them that your product is the solution they've been looking for.
Since there are many buyer personas, focusing on and tailoring content to specific your buyer types will catch their attention and keep them captivated. Account-based marketing (ABM) may be a way to focus content, as it is the process of targeting specific companies or buyers. For example, when creating email outreach campaigns, research specific customers and outline how your product addresses their unique needs. Or, when making sales presentations, consider using examples of how your product has already helped similar, existing customers with similar issues.
Understanding your customers' objectives and tailoring your content to show them how your product can help them is an effective way to generate leads, create customer satisfaction, and guide them through the sales funnel to closing a deal.
Take Advantage of Sales Enablement Technology
It's easy to get overwhelmed when developing a sales enablement strategy. Implementing sales enablement software that not only streamlines the sales process but also addresses other important aspects of your SE Plan is an effective and efficient way to help your business achieve sales objectives.
Sales enablement platforms drive sales productivity by:
- Making sales material easy to find
- Automating sales processes
- Serving as a training platform
- Tracking sales content usage for optimization
- Meeting resource repository requirements
Advanced sales enablement platforms work on or offline, so your entire sales team is always equipped to sell. By ensuring essential sales enablement materials are in one place while simultaneously automating time-consuming aspects of the sales process, an easy to use comprehensive sales enablement solution allows you to focus on other areas of your business.
Track and Measure Relevant Sales KPIs
To get an accurate understanding of whether or not your approach to sales enablement is effectively helping you achieve sales targets and revenue targets, we recommend setting and tracking KPIs.
Setting KPIs is an effective way to identify trends and patterns in your sales pipeline and can help you hone in on specific areas to address in your Sales Enablement Plan. While KPIs won't necessarily present the whole picture, they are a useful tool you can use to track and measure the sales cycle.
Here are a few sales KPIs to track:
- Quota attainment
- Average deal size
- Closed deals
- Sales content engagement
An effective sales enablement program will help you achieve your KPIs and lead to an increase in company revenue. And, if you aren't meeting your goals, KPIs will shine a light on where your company has room for improvement so you can adjust your sales enablement strategy accordingly.
Be Prepared to Adapt
As your company and your business' market evolve, so should your sales enablement efforts. Keep an eye out for changes in your market, monitor how your competitors evolve, and track your sales KPIs to see if your efforts are working.
If your sales training efforts start out strong then fade as priorities shift, you may need to refocus on generating content for product sales training, invest in sales coaching, or research new sales engagement tools to help your sales department address the changing landscape.
Additionally, technology is constantly changing. While it's easy to get overwhelmed, we recommend keeping an eye out for new, cutting-edge technology or solutions that further streamline the sales process and help you achieve your objectives without requiring much effort.
Be prepared to adapt so you can continually optimize your sales enablement efforts and stay ahead of the competition.
We've outlined what a Sales Enablement Plan is, why it's important, and eight best practices you can use to develop one that helps your company improve sales performance and increase revenue.
- Determining Your Goals
- Understanding Your Sales Reps
- Investing in Training
- Collaborating with Marketing
- Considering Your Customer
- Implementing Sales Enablement Technology
- Tracking and Measuring Sales KPIs
- Being Prepared to Adapt
As you start creating an effective Sales Enablement Plan for your business, don't forget that successful sales enablement strategies should directly address your company's goals and objectives and continually evolve to address your sales needs and meet changing market demands.