Only 35% of salespeople believe that marketing knows what they need.
Companies that use technology effectively are 57% more successful at sales training and development than those who don’t.
Similarly, sales reps spend only 37% of their time actually selling.
There are many more stats which describe the importance of having a sales-enablement strategy in place.
This burgeoning discipline has become a crucial factor in ensuring and maintaining the long-term success of your business.
But, it seems that many business owners aren’t exactly sure what this term actually means, let alone how to implement it as a strategy.
So, here’s a quick Sales Enablement 101.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Although it does sound like something pretty straightforward, sales enablement is defined in different ways depending on whom you ask.
A loose definition would be that it’s the implementation of different processes, strategies, and tools which will allow your sales team to be better at their job, that is, to sell more and sell faster.
In other words, if you want your sales team to crush their sales goals, you need to provide them with fresh and accurate intel, valuable content, and the right tools.
This means that you can’t blame your sales reps for not closing enough deals if they don’t have resources with which they will engage prospects throughout their buyer’s journey.
They can’t be responsible for poor-quality half-baked leads that marketing sends them or for not being efficient if they have to perform a great portion of their work manually.
What Sales Enablement Is Not
As the complexity of sales enablement might lead some to believe that it’s just the latest industry buzzword invented to additionally mystify the sales process.
Also, many times, certain sales initiatives taken without any particular strategy or plan are referred to as sales enablement simply because the main idea behind them is to “enable” and improve sales.
That’s why it’s important to distinguish between what sales enablement is and what it definitely isn’t.
As we’ve agreed (and will later elaborate on) that sales enablement encompasses different strategies including onboarding, high-quality content creation, and using different technologies among many other things.
By no means can we call switching from an outdated way of doing things to implementing modern solutions or the very sales training process sales enablement.
This concept is way too complex and consists of a number of different tactics which means that it can’t be reduced to a single component.
So, sales enablement isn’t just about training, automation, or CRM.
It also isn’t something that works as a one-size-fits-all approach.
Sales enablement isn’t a one’s person or department’s job – it’s a synergy of different processes and strategies that every person in an organization has to apply and adhere to. Only a joint and orchestrated effort of sales, marketing, product development, and all the other organizational units and their working together will result in hitting sales goals and increasing the bottom line.
How Sales Enablement Will Help Your Business and Its Growth?
Now that we understand that sales enablement boils down to providing your sales reps with the right information and getting them in the right conversations with the right people on the right channel and at the right time.
Given that a lot of “rights” have to fall into place and click in order to close any deal, it’s clear how fundamental the role of sales enablement in streamlining this whole process is.
In this section, we’ll discuss why sales enablement is crucial for the growth of your business and mention a couple of useful tips on how to put it to work.
1. Make the Most of Your Data With Analytics and Reporting
All parts of the sales process heavily rely on large amounts of data.
But, a constant flow of uncategorized and unprocessed data is a huge productivity killer because it takes sales reps hours to analyze and make the most of it.
That’s where sales enablement comes in handy by standardizing reporting and giving a whole new meaning to all the raw data and turn it into a really valuable asset.
It’s best to introduce a set of standardized reports such as:
Each sales rep’s call log report;
The number of given demos;
The number of won and lost deals;
The number of generated and converted leads.
Autoklose, for example, offers advanced, real-time analytics of all your email campaigns. All your open, click-through, and response rates in one place at your fingertips. The Autoklose Real-Time Reporting feature gives you a detailed and granular insight into the performance of all your campaigns and allows you to tweak them if necessary.
With the latest update, our Dashboard gained a number of powerful features and functionalities, so that now it shows top 3 warmest prospects, top 3 clicked links, top 3 converting templates, as well as various campaign stats, and recipient statuses.
Sales Process Audit
After you’ve established the analytics and reporting process, it will be easy to see when something is off in your sales process. For example, sometimes your sales reps give a number of demos which fail to materialize and turn into conversions.
Instead of relying on the guesswork, this issue requires a sales process audit, which is exactly what sales enablement experts do. A data-driven investigation of the problem will identify the areas that need to be improved.
The problem might lie in the fact that your message isn’t well-formulated, or maybe, your demos aren’t effective – we discuss some really great tactics in our B2B-Sales Handbook.
Here’s a hint: if your sales reps do all the talking and believe that long demos are important, they’re wrong. The trick is to do the bare minimum, intrigue their prospects, and get them to ask a lot of questions.
This is one of the most difficult parts of the sales process.
As lead generation is a big challenge to every sales rep, it seems almost counterproductive not to go out of your way to nurture and qualify every single one you manage to attract.
And that’s a big mistake. Not every lead is fit for your company, and the earlier you realize that the better as you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy that you’ll be able to invest into those who are just the right fit.
Sales enablement provides you with a lead scoring system to help you distinguish between qualified and poor-quality leads. This simply means that if you offer products or services to small companies, businesses with more than 50 employees will be disqualified from the process at an early stage.
Autoklose features a lead scoring scale to help you rank your prospects, and it operates based on the number of points assigned to every lead. For example, when a prospect opens your email, they’re given 5 points and every next time they open it, they get 1 point. Clicking on your link carries 10 points, etc.
2. Optimize Your Content
Content plays an important role in sales enablement.
That’s why you need a lot of high-quality content to engage your prospects, educate them, and warm them up.
That’s the job of your content marketing team.
But, in many companies, it’s sales reps who produce personalized content – email copy, for instance, and though they’re in most cases more than capable of performing this task, that’s not what they should be doing.
As a matter of fact, surveys say that they spend 30% of their time on this task, which is a significant distraction.
By letting your sales reps write their sales emails or other pieces of content, you’re dragging them away from their main job and that’s selling and making money.
What’s even worse, in almost 70% of cases, all that content goes unused because they can’t find it among their numerous documents and files.
When it comes to sales enablement, this strategy is supposed to organize your content library and help sales reps easily find relevant resources when they need them.
So, you should have your content marketing team to produce the right and high-quality content, and focus on:
Ebooks and whitepapers
Long and detailed blog posts
Social proof is a powerful motivator in sales.
That’s why customer case studies are particularly important as they’re considered more credible and trustworthy than branded content. When you show your prospects case studies featuring your previous customers and their success, they find it relatable.
There’s no need to brag about all the amazing things you can do for your prospects; let your happy customers do that instead of you.
Another important type of content that will make your sales reps’ lives easier and streamline the sales process are email templates.
According to the latest reports, email holds the second spot when it comes to connecting with your prospects – phone still tops this list.
But, many sales reps find themselves staring at the white document trying to come up with meaningful, personalized, and compelling copy that their prospects won’t turn a blind eye to.
You can only imagine how much time they waste on this given the number of prospects and follow-ups that they have to attend to on a daily basis.
That’s why automating and streamlining this process is of vital importance for their effectiveness and efficiency. Content writers who are good with words can create persuasive copy and allow for additional customization.
With such email templates or even better email sequence templates, your sales reps will have valuable material to work.
For more ideas, check out our blog post on how to create these sequences in which you’ll find customizable, ready-to-use email templates.
Other useful resources for this are our latest ebooks B2B-Sales Handbook and the Ultimate Cold Outreach Playbook, in which you can find different tips on this same topic, as well as proven and tested customizable email and follow-up templates that our sales reps have been effectively using for some time.
Finally, check out our Free Email Template Library where you can find even more examples for your sales templates.
Here are some tips for creating valuable sales-enablement content:
- Audit your existing content. Before you start investing in new blog posts, reports, videos, or e-books, revisit your existing ones and see whether you can update and refresh your articles. Work with your sales reps and identify pieces of content that are closely aligned with your prospects’ questions and use them for specific stages of the buyer’s journey. It’s a good idea to create a list of most common questions and issues for every stage of the buyer’s journey and use them as guidance for improving your content. In some cases, your content will have to be tweaked in order to be used within the desired context.
- Leverage internal documentation. Although frequently neglected, this is a great source of inspiration for relevant sales enablement topics. Namely, although your internal documents usually aren’t meant to be shared with your prospects, and aren’t polished for this purpose. But, if you analyze and audit them, you’ll find the ones that address specific questions about your products or services, and that can be reworked and shared with your audience.
- Let sales reps lead the way. Salespeople are in direct contact with your customers and they know what types of content are useful for explaining certain features or benefits to potential customers. That’s why you should team up with your co-worker from the sales department and create sales enablement content together. Sales and marketing alignment will help both teams understand the other one and provide valuable insights into the processes necessary for content-centric collaboration.
- Identify the content that you can present visually. Your prospects’ hectic schedules don’t always allow them to consume lengthy blog posts or other text-based content. That’s why creating visually-oriented content is a must. Videos and infographic can be great additions to your top-of-the-funnel resources. Besides, explainer videos can do wonders for explaining complex concepts in a simple way. To find out other types of video that you can use in your sales-enablement content strategy, check out our blog post on the topic.
3. Implement Different Productivity and Automation Tools
As you know, the point isn’t in working harder but smarter.
Why spend hours if not days and weeks doing something that a set of tools can do for you?
Naturally, we’d advise you to make sure to switch to sales email marketing automation.
With Autoklose, you can automate a large portion of your sales process – we introduced a number of different integrations with various tools to help you have everything in one place.
You and your sales reps can automate prospecting by taking advantage of our huge 30-million B2B lead database which is regularly cleaned, verified, and updated, to filter leads relevant to your industry, area, position, or any other parameter you can think of.
Or you can simply upload their own contact list.
An intuitive email campaign editor is full of useful features – lots of customizable email template sequences for different business situations, the Autoklose Template Analyzer which warns you about spam words and gives you all kinds of optimization tips, or the VideoGo option with which you can easily record and add personal video to your emails without leaving the campaign editor.
Finally, you can easily schedule your campaigns and be sure that your follow-ups will reach only those who haven’t replied to your emails and thus prevent sending out the same email to the contacts who already replied.
Our real-time granular analytics is perfect for gaining a deep insight into the performance of your campaigns and individual team members.
Apart from automating your sales email outreach, it’s a good idea to streamline your LinkedIn messaging and presence on that professional social network.
Namely, Alfred is a useful little tool that will help you with all your daily LinkedIn interactions, messages, lead generation, and prospecting.
It’s also our personal recommendation to automate the meeting & appointment booking with Calendly. Eliminate the annoying back-and-forth emailing with your prospects until you book the meeting. With Calendly, you allow them to pick an available slot in your calendar and book it without having to wait for your reply.
And you know what?
We love the tool so much that we’ve actually integrated it into our platform! So, as of now, you’ll have an opportunity to book your meetings easily with Autoklose+Calendly.
Together with lifelong learning, which we also discuss in our B2B-Sales Handbook, constant training, and effective onboarding, the factors mentioned above – detailed analytics, content optimization/organization, and automation, are essential elements of a viable and successful sales enablement process.