The sales process has changed. Today’s modern buyer is digitally connected and performing more independent research throughout the buying journey before engaging with a seller. Consequently, organizations need to adopt modern selling techniques to develop relationships with buyers based on value.
In order to achieve this goal, salespeople need access to new types of content, training, and communication that they haven’t needed in the past. Hence, the rise of the sales enablement role.
However, in order for sellers to effectively find, connect, and engage with modern buyers, sales, marketing, and sales enablement leaders must create a sales enablement strategy that provides the right training, has access to various types of content, and leverages cross-functional collaboration to help sellers at every stage of the sales cycle.
What is Sales Enablement?
Here is our sales enablement definition: is a function inside a company that strives to make salespeople as efficient and effective at selling as possible. Sales enablement leaders must be able to streamline all the content and tools a seller needs throughout the sales process to help them find, connect, and engage with buyers.
Simply put, sales enablement is the process of enabling salespeople to sell more.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”#SalesEnablement is a function inside a company that intends to make salespeople as efficient and effective in #selling as possible. Do you have this in your #company? #SalesLeadership #OrganizationalSuccess @M_3Jr” quote=”#SalesEnablement is a function inside a company that intends to make salespeople as efficient and effective in #selling as possible. Do you have this in your #company? #SalesLeadership #OrganizationalSuccess @M_3Jr”]
How is Sales Enablement Beneficial in Social Selling?
The modern buyer actively seeks information to solve their business pain points and to identify available solutions. They’re searching for this information on Google, social media platforms, and within their professional network.
Therefore, sales teams and individual sellers who are able to leverage these channels, either by search engine optimization or social media marketing, have a distinct advantage over the competition. Sellers who actively engage on social media are able to develop thought leadership, grow their network, and develop more relationships so that when buyers are searching for solutions to their pain points, those sellers are top-of-mind.
But how do sellers leverage social selling?
Content for Sales Enablement
Content for sales enablement comes in all different forms. The three most common types are:
- Ungated: such as blog posts or podcasts that don’t require a form completion to access.
- Gated: this includes eBooks or whitepapers that require a form submission to access the full document.
- Vaulted: this is content that is only accessible internally or by sharing a specific link to a prospect outside the organization.
Sellers need this content to initiate conversations, help inform buyers along the buying decision, and to engage with the increased number of buying influencers involved in a deal. After all, there is an average of 6.4 decision-makers who are involved during a longer sales cycle.
However, sales reps can’t produce this kind of content themselves. They need to focus on revenue-generating activities by nurturing sales leads and engaging in sales conversations. Yet, according to CSO Insights, salespeople are creating approximately 21% of the content they need.
How to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy
You might think that marketing should create the content that the sales team needs. And, while that’s correct, marketing is used to creating content that builds brand awareness, or top-of-the-funnel, content. This uses one-to-many messaging.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Who makes #content for #sales in your organization? Enable sellers with content for #SalesEnablement so they’ll have more time focusing on lead generating activities. #Leadership #SocialSelling @M_3Jr” quote=”Who makes #content for #sales in your organization? Enable sellers with content for #SalesEnablement so they’ll have more time focusing on lead generating activities. #Leadership #SocialSelling @M_3Jr”]
On the other hand, sellers need content with one-to-one messaging that addresses the specific challenges their prospect faces. This requires more middle- and bottom-of-the-sales funnel content that addresses the specific needs of the different decision-makers.
Therefore, an effective sales enablement strategy shares the needs of the sales team with the marketing department to create the right content.
For example, a prospect may ask your rep for a total cost of ownership and ROI analysis to share with her CFO. If sales enablement has not provided that type of content, a seller will either try to throw something together very quickly or will share the wrong type of content, such as a case study.
Either way, the prospect will come back and say that’s not what they need and that they need something better to show the CFO. Now, the prospect is frustrated because she doesn’t have the necessary materials to send to the other decision-makers, which leaves the door open for the competition to come in, provide the right content, and win the deal.
An effective sales enablement team is in tune with the specific needs of the sales team at each stage of the customer’s buying process. This may also include content for specific verticals or company sizes. In order to create the right content, sales enablement must connect with marketing on these specific needs so that sellers always have the right materials.
For more sales enablement strategies, check out this video where Vengreso’s CVO and Co-Founder, Viveka von Rosen, interviews Ardath Albee, Interim VP of Marketing at Modus Engagement on how to create B2B Content for sales enablement strategies.
7 Tips for a Successful Sales Enablement Strategy
There are seven elements that an organization needs to create and implement a successful sales enablement strategy.
1. Definition of the WHY
Before you take action on your sales enablement strategy, sellers must understand the value that sales enablement provides to them.
Help your sellers understand why content is important for each buyer persona at each stage of the funnel. Additionally, help them understand that as they become active social sellers, their need for content will increase exponentially because they need to actively share new content and be ready with specific pieces when engaged by prospects.
Beyond content, a sales enablement strategy includes everything sellers need to increase their number of sales conversations and improve their win rates. This includes onboarding materials, training videos, and ongoing coaching to help them improve in specific areas.
2. Executive-Level Commitment
A sales enablement strategy can only have sales enablement success if you are backed by company executives. There will be times when you’ll need to purchase sales enablement tools to implement your strategy more efficiently or add technology to your stack that can help you scale your sales enablement training or onboarding process.
To earn executive-level commitment, you must present current gaps and challenges within your organization’s sales process. Then, provide specific details on how sales enablement will solve those problems to increase performance.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”There are 7 elements that make a #SalesEnablement strategy successful. Find out what these are from @GoVengreso’s CEO and Founder, @M_3Jr. #SalesLeadership #Marketing #DigitalSelling” quote=”There are 7 elements that make a #SalesEnablement strategy successful. Find out what these are from @GoVengreso’s CEO and Founder, @M_3Jr. #SalesLeadership #Marketing #DigitalSelling”]
3. Documented Sales Enablement Plan
A documented sales enablement plan is essential for its success because it is the foundation of your strategy to close the gaps between your sales team and their selling efforts.
To create an in-depth plan, you must review the entire sales cycle and the experience of individual sellers, as well as the team as a whole, to identify gaps. This is their entire experience as a rep at your organization. It includes everything during the onboarding process, to training materials, and receiving ongoing coaching to develop specific techniques, as well as their experience finding, connecting, and engaging with prospects. Once the gaps are identified, the sales enablement plan can specifically address plans to improve.
A documented plan also helps in transparency and productivity within the organization. When the different departments in the organization know their function in supporting sales, cross-functional collaboration is a more seamless process.
4. Cross-Functional Team Approach
As mentioned earlier, sales enablement streamlines different functions of a company’s divisions that help the sales team become more effective. As a leader, you should know when you’ll need the help of a specific department.
For instance, maybe you need to connect with HR to revamp your onboarding process. Or, sales may be getting feedback that a specific element of your product needs to be redesigned, which means you need to connect with product development. Or, perhaps you need to connect with legal to clarify some of the language in your contracts.
Sales enablement is responsible for providing sellers with everything they need, which means collaborating with every department in our organization in a seamless and efficient manner.
5. Commitment to Produce Content
Social selling requires informative content that addresses the needs of the modern buyer. If the marketing department is not committed to producing regular content for the sales team, sellers will be forced to create their own content. This can lead to inconsistency of messaging, which could confuse prospects. This also pulls them away from engaging with prospects.
An effective sales enablement strategy places an emphasis on creating all types of content the sellers need to nurture prospects along the buying process.
6. Technology to Support Your Plan
To scale sales enablement, you will need technology to support it. There are many sales enablement services and software that help you structure your program and can be included in your sales plan. For instance, some technology is designed to be the center of sales enablement and hold all your content, training materials, and playbooks. Others can help you share content with a specific prospect. Others drive collaboration between the sellers and between sales teams, and others manage versions and modifications of documents.
A sales enablement platform can simplify the activities of your sales team by making it easier to find content, training materials, and even gamification leaderboards if they are a part of your strategy.
7. Integration with Learning & Development
Some people have the impression that sales enablement is focused only on training. But in reality, sales enablement encompasses everything needed to help the sales team, of which training is only one element. Of course, training is vital to an organization’s success, however, a complete sales enablement strategy encompasses the other parts already discussed.
Usually, this means that as your sales enablement program improves, your training and onboarding will change as well. As with everything, sales enablement is an ongoing process of improvement and is not something that is done once and finished. Consequently, every aspect of sales enablement must be integrated with learning and development to ensure that sellers understand current techniques, how to use the different tools, and are given ongoing coaching to improve their sales performance.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Training is vital to an organization’s success. However, a #SalesEnablement strategy encompasses more parts than that. – @M_3Jr, CEO and Founder of Vengreso. #B2BSales #DigitalSales #SellingWithLinkedIn” quote=”Training is vital to an organization’s success. However, a #SalesEnablement strategy encompasses more parts than that. – @M_3Jr, CEO and Founder of Vengreso. #B2BSales #DigitalSales #SellingWithLinkedIn”]
What’s Your Sales Enablement Best Practice?
Sales enablement is all about a commitment of processes and resources to make your sellers more effective. With a successful sales enablement strategy, your sellers will have access to training, ongoing coaching, and content to share with prospects at every step of their buying process. This is key to an efficient sales organization.
Are your sellers making the most common digital selling mistakes? Download the State of Digital Selling with LinkedIn to learn the ten actions sales leaders can take to improve win rates.