For many of us in sales, we have heard the term sales enablement increase in business conversations. These two words may seem simple enough, yet they tend to leave many of us scratching our heads. At its core, the concept is simple. Sales enablement is equipping your sales team with strategic resources they need to excel, such as sales software, content, analytics, and beyond.
Globally, sales managers and executives are focusing on refining their processes to gain an advantage. In competitive markets, reliable sales enablement processes and tools can be one of the biggest differentiators in edging out alternative solutions and closing deals.
As it relates to digital transformation, B2B sales enablement solutions are often buyer-focused. The underlying goal is to help sellers target the right buyers and engage them effectively throughout the buyer’s journey. Successful sellers understand that buyers are looking for sales consultants or trusted advisors to help them navigate through their pain points. Securing the right sales enablement tools for your team allows sales reps to shine by showing expertise and credibility thanks to cross-functional marketing support, insightful analytics, and training.
It Starts With Marketing and Sales Alignment
Aligning marketing and sales is an essential component of the sales enablement process. B2B selling is about being timely and opportunistic. Since purchase research is now more autonomous than ever, to be successful sales and marketing should work together to identify touchpoints and pain points to engage with a message that resonates.
Sales and marketing alignment do not equal sales enablement. However, alignment is necessary for enablement success. Poor alignment around goals, strategies, and measurement can derail sales enablement efforts. In contrast, strong alliances create a team that dramatically impacts the sales team’s productivity and outcomes.
Think of sales enablement as the bridge between marketing and sales. While marketing plans and executes strategies to reach, engage, and convert prospects, the sales team puts many of the marketing team’s tactics into play. The messages, content, and offers that marketing creates enable sales to do better jobs of engaging the right prospects at the right time.
Choosing Your Sales Enablement Tools, and Practices
Once you’ve completed your internal evaluation and have cross-functional support in place, it’s time to select your tools. Finding the right sales solutions depends on your specific business type, industry, operational structure, and sales strategy. There is a wide array of solutions that promise to improve your team’s performance and efficiency. Most will fall into the following categories:
- Sales CRMs
- Sales Intelligence Software
- Content Management/Sharing Platforms
- Customer Experience Management
- Sales/Marketing Automation Software
- AI and Predictive Analytics
Connecting the Puzzle Pieces
Sales enablement, when done correctly, involves change management and a team in place to ensure the sales team adopts new solutions, processes, or tools. Working for FinListics Solutions, a sales enablement organization, we’ve implemented a CRM that allows us to align our marketing and sales efforts.
In real-time, we can track our marketing strategies and pull analytics to ensure that marketing is targeting our buyer personas and producing quality leads. Taking this step has allowed us to quantify our approach, improve lead quality, and move potential customers through the pipeline effortlessly.
Additionally, we use our sales enablement platform (ClientIQ) which provides comprehensive insight into:
- Financial data
- Peer Comparisons
- Segment Analysis
- Executive Compensation
- Performance Drivers
- Goal Setting
Armed with these business insights, sales teams can quickly put together a compelling business case that is meaningful to the client. Undoubtedly, sales leaders are on a mission to close bigger deals faster and increase efficiency. Solutions such as ClientIQ reduce research time by 50 percent and provide robust insights that enable sellers to speak in a language buyers can understand. In essence, this is what sales enablement is meant to do.
Sales enablement solutions are only helpful if salespeople adopt them and understand how to get the most out of them. To this end, it’s beneficial to have dedicated people in place to keep things on track and running smoothly. Implore C-Suite involvement. As with any major business initiative, it’s essential to set the example from above.
Organizations that understand the complexity and the need for more intuitive sales processes are the forerunners in today’s marketplace. Changing sales strategies or models, investing in sales enablement tools, and education are some of the most valuable investments business leaders can make to catapult their sales teams from mediocre to dynamite.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
Sales Enablement has many moving parts as you can see. You can’t adopt a set it and forget about it mentality. Every company and industry has unique needs. There is no one size fits all in terms of sales solutions and sales enablement. Communication is the key to get the most out of your tools. Sales enablement is a process that is continually building upon itself — requiring a commitment to oversee the sales and marketing strategies, continued education for sales teams, and being open to changing internal processes when there is a shift in the market or when you have outgrown them.
Struggling with step #1? Here's how to build a strong client relationship through the alignment of your sales and marketing teams.