The sales enablement industry has grown exponentially over the last decade. Once considered a “nice-to-have” within an organization, enablement now serves as a critical function for companies that want to stand out from the competition and empower sellers for success.
Even though more companies have adopted sales enablement, sales leaders still have a ton of misconceptions about what it really is, what it takes to launch it within their organization, and what their sellers really want. And those are just to name a few — trust me, we’ve heard them all.
So, to help set the record straight and shed some light on the sales enablement world, I sat down with some of my teammates in Seismic’s go-to-market (GTM) organization. These folks talk to sales leaders, enablement practitioners, and sellers on a daily basis. In this post, I’ll share 8 common myths that often come up during their conversations with other organizations.
1. Sales enablement is all about making sure sellers have access to the right content
Many organizations believe that sales enablement is just making sure that sellers have access to the right content. After all, an important part of every seller’s job is to provide prospects with helpful content that keeps them moving through the sales process. However, enablement is more than just content.
The real sales enablement meaning is the overall strategic approach companies take to ensure that sellers have what they need to properly engage prospects and customers throughout the buying process. Effective sales enablement ensures that sellers have the right resources, process, technology, and content to do their jobs effectively.
2. Organizations need a lot of materials in order to use a sales enablement platform
Once leaders understand that sales enablement content is just one part of a larger strategy, the next myth is that they need a lot of it to warrant purchasing an enablement platform. Companies often assume that if they only have a small amount of sales enablement materials stored in a few different places, that should be easy enough for sellers to locate, right? Here’s why this is wrong.
The Aberdeen Group estimates that sales reps spend an average of 440 hours searching for content. In reality, nearly every organization can benefit from an enablement platform, as it provides a central and collaborative space where sellers can quickly find anything they need, from pitch decks and pricing info to sales enablement training lessons and playbooks. And while you may only have a small content library today, as your organization and the content it creates grows, so will the need for a sales enablement platform.
3. Sales enablement is only needed for big initiatives
It’s easy to feel that sales enablement is a massive undertaking. And as a result of this misconception, many companies only prioritize big initiatives like new product launches or pricing updates that take place a few times a year.
These large initiatives absolutely require sales enablement, but organizations shouldn’t stop there. Instead, the best programs enable reps to develop knowledge on best practices, sales skills, and current processes. This is a great way to ensure that reps have ongoing access to knowledge they may need to revisit throughout their interactions with prospects.
4. Companies need a dedicated sales enablement role or team
Many leaders that we talk to also express concerns that they don’t have a sales enablement director or department to lead the charge. They’re worried that they won’t have the bandwidth to develop their team’s strategy, create content, or keep track of progress over time.
If your organization doesn’t have a sales enablement team — have no fear. We’ve seen some of the best programs implemented in organizations where enablement is a shared responsibility between sales, marketing, and product teams. The key to success is finding champions, subject matter experts, and enablement advocates within your organization and facilitating ongoing communication between them. As long as everyone has a clear understanding of priorities and a willingness to roll up their sleeves, you have the foundation needed to move things forward.
5. Sellers don’t want to adopt another new piece of technology
We know sellers are busy, and the idea of rolling out yet another tool may seem cumbersome. Many organizations assume that sellers are hesitant to learn how to use an entirely new tool and prefer to work across the disparate systems they’re already familiar with.
We’ve found that sellers actually want — and embrace — tools that make their jobs easier. They don’t want the bells and whistles, but they do want a tool that’s simple to understand and use. In order to achieve high rates of adoption we suggest:
- Creating an initial plan that ensures you can iterate and adjust over time instead of trying to do everything at once
- Clearly communicating the “why” to sellers – this includes goals, benefits, and the plan for moving forward
- Giving sellers the ability to access enablement when it’s best for them instead of forcing them to review content at a specific time
- Working with internal evangelists and experts to share success stories
Never stop growing.
6. Sales enablement tools and other systems are the same
When purchasing an enablement tool, we’ve seen buyers fall into two situations. The first scenario is that buyers think it’s best to purchase a tool with the flashiest features or cheapest pricing. On the other hand, they often receive pushback from other internal teams at their organization that encourage them to leverage a combination of tools they already have in place.
While a learning management system (LMS) or other HR tools may work for talent and development teams, we’ve seen that go-to-market (GTM) teams benefit from using a system that’s purpose-built for their unique challenges and roles. And when it comes to selecting the top sales enablement tool for your organization, there are a number of important considerations to make. While features and pricing are important, we believe it’s equally important to work with a vendor you trust to help your organization navigate the enablement journey. It’s also crucial to evaluate what your current enablement needs are and where you hope to be in the next 6, 12, and 24 months. This will ensure that you select a vendor and tool that can support your short and long-term growth goals.
7. Purchasing a sales enablement tool is a complex decision
On average, there are 27 interactions between a buyer and seller with 11 people influencing the buying decision. This makes it easy to fall into the trap of “analysis paralysis,” where each stakeholder feels like they need to evaluate every option in the enablement marketplace before making a final purchase.
We know that investing in a sales enablement tool is an important decision, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a lengthy and complicated process. Instead, we recommend following these steps:
- Create a list of wants and needs.
- Get recommendations from other leaders experiencing similar pain points.
- Research and establish a short list of vendors
- Once you identify your top platforms, talk to the experts from each and ask to speak to some of their current customers.
- Create a mutual action plan with your top vendor to ensure you’re both working toward the same goals.
8. It’s too difficult to measure the impact of sales enablement
Many sales enablement efforts fail because organizations don’t know how to measure the impact of their program over time. Companies spend a lot of time and resources to invest in an enablement tool, add their enablement materials to it, and turn it over to their sellers to use. However, all this effort is wasted if you don’t take the time to review your efforts.
The right sales enablement platform makes it easier to review key data points that you can tie back to key business objectives. For example, you can review what type of content has been sent the most by sellers and engaged with by prospects in successful deals. By identifying these pieces, your team can create similar assets to use. Or, you might see that reps who completed a new lesson on negotiation skills had a higher close rate than their peers who didn’t complete the training. Measuring and reporting on these activities will make it easier to determine if your sales enablement investments are paying off and where there’s room for improvement.
The truth about sales enablement
While every organization has unique challenges and needs, one thing is certain — sales enablement has never been more important than it is today. Whether you need to easily manage enablement content, deliver training and coaching at scale, or rethink your overall strategy, we’re here to help. The Seismic Enablement Cloud™ is a scalable solution that’s intuitive for the world’s largest enterprise and nimble for small teams, too. So, are you ready to grow your business? Click here to get a demo.