It’s one of the buzziest buzzwords in the industry right now: Sales Enablement. Everyone knows you need it. Top performing organizations have it. Nearly everyone has invested in it at some point.
But almost no one can define it.
Fortunately, Tamara Schenk, Research Director at CSO Insights has done it for us. Here’s her definition of the concept in its broader term of sales force enablement:
“Sales force enablement is a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training, and coaching services for salespeople and frontline sales managers along the entire customer’s journey, powered by technology.”
To get a better handle on what that means—and why you should care—let’s break it down piece by piece.
Some organizations attempt to layer sales enablement on top of existing systems without taking a strategic view of the effort. These are rarely successful. They might throw a few case studies at the sales team and admonish managers to provide “more coaching.” Other organizations might invest in a sales enablement platform and/or consulting at the departmental level without engaging organizational leadership in the process.
True sales enablement requires strategic investment from the highest levels of the organization in order to be effective. It requires that the organization look at their strategic goals, their operations, their customer’s buying process, and their own sales process in order to build alignment and develop an enablement system that achieves the desired aim.
At minimum, an effective sales enablement system involves marketing, sales, human resources, and training functions. Not only does it involve elements from each of these departments, it’s imperative that they work together to create alignment among them.
A sales enablement program is not something you can implement once and be done. It requires a systematic, disciplined approach to building, maintaining, and optimizing support for your sales team.
More wins, bigger sales, shorter sales cycles—these are the goals that sales enablement is aimed at. When done well, it can transform mediocre results into world-class performance.
By some estimates, salespeople spend anywhere from one third to half their time actually engaged in selling. The rest of the time is spent in administrative tasks, searching for information, answering emails, and engaging in internal communications. Sales enablement aims to change that, increasing the amount of time salespeople spend on actual sales by decreasing the need for non-sales tasks.
Most sales organizations own a variety of marketing sales content assets such as case studies, product sheets and white papers. Likewise, many engage their salespeople in training, and provide them with coaching opportunities. What sales enablement does is strive to integrate all of those assets into the sales team’s daily workflow so that salespeople get the content, training, and coaching that they need exactly when they need it.
Everyone knows that sales enablement is designed to help salespeople be more effective. Often, however, the role of the frontline sales managers is neglected. In an effective sales enablement system, sales managers are provided with the tools, insights, and specific job-related training they need in order to support, coach, and manage their teams effectively.
Aligning sales process with the customer’s buying decision process is one of the most important things an organization can do to improve sales effectiveness. Aligning sales enablement along that same journey ensures that salespeople and sales managers have the tools, training, and coaching they need to meet prospects where they are and help them make their buying decision.
In order to accomplish all of the above elements of sales enablement, an organization must be well equipped with the right software solutions. Some organizations patch their sales enablement solutions together with a mix of CRM, LMS, and a variety of coaching and sales apps. When highly customized, such a mix can be an effective way to manage sales enablement.
Easier and more effective, however, is the use of a holistic sales effectiveness platform built with sales enablement in mind. At Membrain, our software powers every aspect of sales enablement. Your organization can easily build a sales process matched to the buyer’s journey that is continually optimized for best performance. Then you can embed enablement content directly inside the workflow to prompt and assist salespeople and sales managers when they need it most. Marketing and sales collateral, training videos and coaching conversations can be initiated and accessed within the context of an actionable and informative process - at your computer or on your smartphone – and comes with built-in sales analytics to see how your performance improves over time!
Curious to learn more? Contact us!
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills and processes.
Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn