This post was originally published by Arti Brannon on lessonly.com.
As a former inbound sales rep, I’ve experienced my share of sales training, and I can confidently say that it would be impossible to do my job without quality sales enablement (and also hours and hours of practice).
First things first
But, before I go any further, I want to first clarify what is sales enablement vs. sales operations: We define sales operations as the “boots-on-the-ground team that is closely aligned with the daily activities of the sales team.”
Now, let’s talk about enablement. You may have already come across a sales enablement definition like, “The activities, systems, processes and information that support and promote knowledge-based sales interactions with clients and prospects” (from the Gartner sales enablement description here). We like to think of sales enablement as the strategic alignment between the people and technology that drive sales success. If you want to really dive into the difference between sales ops and sales enablement even more, check out this post.
So, how do you do sales enablement?
Chances are, you may already be employing a sales enablement strategy even if you don’t have sales enablement roles in your org at the moment. Functions like communication, training, and content management can be owned by a combination of technology like Google drive, processes like live training, and project owners like sales managers, marketing teams, and operations leaders.
What sales enablement software will do is be the glue in your sales enablement plan. When your project owners are spending more time on live training, communicating the same info to reps individually, or manually deleting old versions of docs, it might be time to look into dedicated tools.
Whether you lead a growing sales team and are considering making the some of the first additions to your tech stack, or you already have 12+ different tools that a new software purchase will need to work well with.
When it comes to software buying, investing wisely is king! What’s interesting about the most recent SalesTech Benchmark Survey by Smart Selling Tools, is that 97% of the responding B2B businesses from a variety of industries intended to spend about the same or even more on sales tools in 2020 (and this survey was compiled before the pandemic became a driver for investing in remote work). And, just as a quick sidebar, of all the sales tech categories, sales enablement software enjoys the highest perceived value and satisfaction ratings.
It’s all about ROI
The bottom line is you need tools that drive revenue for your business. The sales enablement tech landscape is vast, so let’s start by reviewing some ROI criteria to consider.
1. Employee satisfaction
Let’s face it, whether you’re setting targets to reduce churn among sales reps, or looking for ways to improve team morale, keeping your finger on the pulse of this handy metric can help you assess the overall health and culture of your sales org.
2. Team performance
Making sure your revenue-driving teams have the technology they need to do their jobs should be a no brainer. This is about whether they can pitch your newest products with confidence, send the most accurate docs to prospects to shorten deal cycles, and have all the relevant info they need to create delightful buying experiences.
3. $$$ (aka, revenue)
This powerful metric needs no introduction—more closed sales, higher deal sizes, shorter sales cycles. Enough said.
4. Efficiency + scalability
Freeing up time for your sales reps to sell and everyone else to focus on the more strategic functions of their roles matters. Most sales enablement platforms should be able to speak to this win, win, win scenario!
5. Sales readiness, training, and coaching
Training, coaching, and measuring sales readiness is a core component of the sales enablement framework. Platforms like Lessonly by Seismic help make continuous training and practice simple for your sales teams. While you can track progress and gain insights into your sales reps’ skills right in the tool, many teams also leverage a conversation intelligence tool like Gong or Chorus to analyze calls, measure performance, and identify skills gaps to inform your ongoing training.
6. Content management
With content management systems built with sales teams in mind, you’ll find you can do more than just store and pull digital content. Sales enablement tools like Seismic and Highspot will integrate with other core tools, like your CRM and email, to make sending content, reporting to Salesforce, and delivering relevant feedback to marketing a breeze.
My hope is that you take the information in this blog post—so the definitions and the six key ROI-driving pieces of the sales enablement puzzle—and run with it. Just remember sales enablement systems take months to develop; therefore, they are always changing. The future of sales enablement imagined for a company now is in no way the absolute future that it will be. But you have to start somewhere, right? Happy enabling!