Do you think that your business is operating as efficiently as it could be? Are your employees actually using the resources available to them? Are you consistently meeting sales quotas? If you can't firmly answer 'yes' to all of those questions, you may need to implement sales enablement solutions.
Sales enablement practices work to ensure that the salespeople in your business have all the resources they need to get leads and execute sales. These can help your business run more efficiently and boost your sales revenues to potentially new highs.
But what is sales enablement? And how can sales enablement solutions help your business function better?
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is a kind of organizational strategy that is meant to assist and support your sales team. This support helps them convert more leads into actual buyers. In any department, you would expect those with more resources and tools to do their job efficiently, consistently, and to a higher quality standard than someone without those resources.
Sales enablement wants to bring more resources to the sales team. This means orienting other business departments to ensure that the sales department gets the resources needed to pursue profitable leads. Doing this gives them the tools they need to succeed, like marketing material and higher-quality leads.
Who's In Charge of Sales Enablement?
In essence, sales enablement works by getting marketing teams and sales teams functioning together. This way, marketing can directly support sales. Why is this communication important?
Marketing gathers so much information about your customers which can be useful for the sales department. These can include helping sales reps access promotional material and product resources that help representatives work with leads to create better sales.
Turn that around, and sales can recommend marketing new kinds of promotional material to pursue. From the many options available, like blogs, videos, product guides, and more, customers may be more responsive to some or looking for new material. Sales can tell marketing where these content holes are.
By increasing the flow of communication between sales and marketing, both departments can support each other and work more effectively at their own jobs. While the marketing makes material, sales prove this material works, and both departments operating in synchronicity will benefit from this arrangement.
What Benefits does Sales Enablement Bring?
Sales enablement works for many reasons. And these benefits can be translated into measurable metrics, which create a more effective workplace. A sales enablement strategy should do more than provide data to salespeople. It should make it easier for sellers to employ the right selling strategies, make better use of resources, and create more efficient workflows.
Sales enablement can help standardize how sales reps report their selling activity. A sales report will need to look different depending on what kind of business you have. Usually, it includes how many deals are won and lost. They also record the lead generation rate and include other important activities your salespeople need to get done in the day.
After this data is gathered, this can be reviewed, and ineffective processes can be audited and addressed.
Data should also be collected on the kinds of customers the sellers work with. Are they people who fit your core demographic and are more likely to become profitable clients? Employing a lead rating system will put higher-rated leads in front of sellers.
A sales enablement strategy should also organize sales and marketing content effectively. Resources are great. You need them to educate your customers on your product, and they often play a major role in closing a sale. This content includes whitepapers, eBooks, demos, pricing info, briefs, and other tools salespeople may need.
But all the content in the world won't help your sellers if they can't find and deliver it to leads. To stop this from happening, you need to keep the content organized.
Automating Simple Work Processes
Sales enablement strategies can also offer opportunities for you to take some simple tasks off the plate of salespeople. For example, you can automate lead follow-up. Emailing leads that haven't responded to an email after a set number of days or weeks for lead follow-up can be time-consuming, and salespeople may forget to follow up on these leads. Templates created by a sales enablement software can be tailored to individuals and put on timers.
These same automated emailing processes can be used to make prospecting leads easier as well. These can allow potential customers to set up meeting times through email by picking open times on their sales rep's calendar without having to talk directly to the individual. Live chat on a website, run completely by a bot if you use a good sales enablement software, can quickly answer consumer questions, and generate quality leads.
Sales enablement can offer a variety of core benefits to a business, which can make each seller in your team more effective. They can focus on talking to quality leads and making sales. This is because a sales enablement strategy has cut out time-consuming automatable work, resource hubs are easy to navigate, and it's easy to choose the right sales strategy.
Signs Your Business Will Benefit from Sales Enablement Solutions
Now, at the end of the day, what you really want as a business owner is for sales to increase. More sales equal more profit, and that makes everyone happy. Every element of your business should be focused on providing more value to customers and supporting the sales team. This ensures you aren't wasting resources on work that doesn't feed back into making your business profitable. All these aspects are essential for a business to grow.
Create an environment where the active participants in a sale (i.e., the salespeople) and the passive participants (the marketing people) work together to create success. This way, all aspects of your business are geared towards curating sales. A great way to start interlacing the workings of these two departments is by employing a sales enablement strategy, as has been discussed in this article.
However, you may not know if sales enablement offers solutions to hiccups you're having in your business. Here are some of the major signs that your business could benefit from sales enablement solutions and strategies.
1. Quotas Aren't Being Met
If you have quotas for your salespeople and they consistently aren't being met, then you may have a problem with the workflows of your salespeople. Too much time is being spent on activities that have little to nothing to do with actually selling. Or salespeople's time is being spent on leads that are low quality. This can create a high percentage of leads that just don't go anywhere. Overall, this means that your salespeople aren't nearly as productive as they could be.
The best way to increase productivity is to automate work processes that don't need to be handled by people. Many simple tasks can be done with chatbots and automated emails. Another way to eliminate unnecessary work is by qualifying all leads. Automation will take some of the busy work your employees may be doing off their plate, while more consistently completing that work. A bot will never forget to email a client as long as it's told to, after all. This means they will have more time to work and pursue leads that are more likely to result in sales instead of chasing or hunting leads.
Rating leads as they come in can also save valuable seller time. By organizing potential clients by how well they fit your key demographic and how likely they are to purchase your product or service, your salespeople can make more informed choices about which leads they pursue. The best leads will be more likely to result in good sales, so sellers should prioritize these potential clients.
2. Lead Conversion Rates Aren't Increasing (Or have Decreased)
Your salespeople may be reaching the quotas outlined, but overall, the sales rates aren't increasing, maintaining, or increasing in a way that is helping your business grow. Stability is great, but you may be seeing a sales plateau that looks like it may turn into a decrease in sales over time. If your business may be facing stagnation, then sales enablement could help breathe a productive life back into your sales department.
Sales enablement can help you understand the processes and salespeople workflows that have created current sales numbers. This can offer you the opportunity to find out where your sellers are more and less effective. You can give sellers training to help fill in skill gaps.
On top of that, sales enablement is designed to create more resources to help salespeople make more sales. By tracking each step in the selling process and analyzing how compelling the marketing materials are, you can see the real effectiveness of these resources. The more valuable the marketing content becomes to potential clients, the better salespeople can use it to produce sales.
Then, by automating certain work processes, you can free up more of your salespeople's time so they can focus on getting those sales.
3. The Sales Process is Outdated
So many companies still use a one-size-fits-all or shotgun approach to lead generation and selling. As the market has become wider over time, this approach has become less effective. Nowadays, people expect your product or service to consider what their individual problems are and how your business helps them overcome these challenges. If your salespeople are still using these strategies, they likely aren't selling as effectively as they could be.
Customizing the buyer experience is a vital part of updating the sales process. This can be done with sales enablement by using marketing data, analytics, and analysis to categorize a sales lead. It may even outline certain steps a seller can take to maximize a deal by recommending selling personas. This can help you understand your customer before a seller spends even a second talking to them. This way, the selling conversation can be customized to the person, boosting the likelihood of a sale.
4. Current Shared Resources are Difficult to Find, Aren't Used, and Aren't Effective
You likely have a lot of resources that are supposed to help salespeople do their jobs effectively. There are pieces of content like product demos, videos, product guides, outreach programs, promotional sales, and more that have to be easily accessible to be useful during a sale. If these resources aren't easy to find, your salespeople can't effectively capitalize on them.
Compounding that, if the content doesn't effectively deliver information to your customer, you have a doubled issue. Even when a customer does see a demo or gets their hands on a piece of promotional material, it doesn't relay the right information. This is often where businesses lose a potential customer.
Sales enablement can help solve both of these problems. When you implement a sales enablement strategy, the idea is that you will be tracking the success rate of your salespeople and sales material. If many people get to the selling stage when they receive a demo but never reach the sale step, there may be an issue with the material itself. By identifying the issue, you can take steps to fix it. Through addressing the problem, it should no longer negatively impact deals.
However, your problem may be getting the content to leads. Sales enablement should also implement organizational strategies which make delivering content easier. Then, sellers can use it effectively during the selling process.
5. New Salespeople Onboarding Takes Too Long
You want people you hire to get to productive work as quickly as possible. In reality, most training procedures take several months to complete, are very costly, and the training is not effective. What new hires learn is quickly forgotten or not very well understood, to begin with. This makes for an ineffective worker that has to get more training or quit within a year.
Sales enablement doesn't just facilitate sales; it helps make selling a more straightforward process. It's a system that should have targeted strategies built-in, which helps sellers deal with a swath of situations. Resources should be well-organized, and sales representatives trained to know when to use them. A sales enablement software can keep track of data from previous meetings and can automize certain work processes.
This system helps sellers learn because the system is easier to navigate, the amount of busywork is reduced, and the new workflow is easy to understand. The software can even indicate when specific sales personas will be more effective with different leads. Resources will continuously build understanding and reaffirm what was learned during training. Continued use of those newly mastered concepts will become ingrained in new employees' heads and help them become more effective salespeople.
6. Sales Are Not Effectively Facilitated
Does your business have an issue with prospects getting stuck at some points in the selling process? When these potential clients get locked up somewhere in the selling process without ever becoming real sales, you'll probably never close a deal there, losing out on potential profits.
Sales enablement can offer your salespeople organizational tools which can help them keep track of leads. It can also keep track of how long it's been since they've been contacted and save important client notes. A sales enablement system can also automate sending follow-up emails if you don't hear from a client for a certain length of time. This ensures that no lead is left behind.
Understand Your Company's Weaknesses and Make Necessary Improvements
Even the best and biggest companies out there have weaknesses and strengths. If you are striving to be better, that means being able to identify these weaknesses and continuously working to eliminate them. To ensure that your sales enablement solutions are effectively changing things in your business for the better, you'll need to go through some trial and error.
By carefully cataloging all sales information, you can analyze what works for your business and figure out why other processes are working as well. Sales enablement can offer many solutions that can help address and fix these problems.
Make Sales Enablement Solutions Work for You
Sales enablement strategies can be used to boost your business to new heights of success. They offer a structure for your organization that supports sales associates at every stage of the selling process. While this concept will remain consistent, each company will need to implement a sales enablement system that's unique to their needs.
To successfully implement a strategy, you should ensure that the goals of the new program are well defined. Having a clear framework that defines your sales enablement strategy is vital for smooth implementation. All sellers should be able to understand what they are meant to do quickly. The more complex the system is, the more difficult it will be to implement.
Ensuring understanding is a key next step. This can be done by setting up specifical goals that will test the effectiveness of your new processes and how the workers are implementing it. The key performance indicators can be tracked alongside quotas, productivity levels, and consistent lead quality. Keeping track of these indicators can help you see how sales enablement has helped your business. In the long run, this data will also reveal where the system can be improved.
Keep communication lines open with your team. From the very start, ensure that sellers understand why the new system is important. People who understand how something was made, the effect it can have on them, and the benefit it brings to the business are more likely actually to implement it. Give them the freedom to ask questions.
The effort to increase communication should continue past implementation. After a few weeks, get some feedback from your sales team to see how they feel about the current system. They can tell you where easy improvements can be made to make it more effective in a real-world application. On top of that, try and get the sales and marketing departments on the same page. Because content creation is the role of the marketing department and the salespeople using this content, open communication between these two groups is vital to a successful sale enablement program or strategy.
Overall, though, no one will engage with a new system if they have no idea how to use it. Training is also crucial if you want to successfully implement a sales enablement system. Have continuous coaching that reaffirms the value of the new system, where people can ask questions. Coaches can teach people how sales enablement will make selling easier while solving many issues sellers encounter daily.
In a selling environment where many sellers have become remote workers and may stay that way even once a "new normal" is established, finding ways to better support the sales team is increasingly important. If your team isn't reaching the sales goals, or if you want to push growth, these tips can help you implement a sales enablement strategy. Sales enablement can create the resources and structure to enable sales, even if your team members are all across the world.
Finding the Right Solutions for Your Business
Sales enablement solutions and strategies may be just what your business needs to get to the next level. However, sales reps can't perform better if they aren't given the resources needed to get better deals. By having the marketing and sales departments work together, you can create the structure salespeople need to make those deals happen. These customers may even become brand advocates and tell even more people about your business, building up the inertia of success.
If you think your business could be operating more effectively, have better sales numbers, higher conversion rates, or your business is facing issues listed in this article, then you may want to implement some sales enablement solutions. These may be just what you need to take your business to the next level and reach higher profits than ever.
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