First, a reminder of the sales enablement definition
Sales enablement is the “strategic use of people, processes, and technology to improve sales productivity and increase revenue. (If you haven’t read our guide to sales enablement, take a look at that here). Sales enablement isn’t just about the tools used, but it isn’t just about the practices used either. The sales enablement jobs and sales enablement tools your company needs to function fluidly and must work in sync.
Sales enablement systems take months to develop, therefore, they are always changing. New knowledge and new communication methods always lead to new products. The future of sales enablement imagined for a company now is in no way the absolute future that it will be.
The essential sales enablement tools and jobs
Sales enablement jobs are almost as vague as sales enablement itself. These positions can live in marketing or sales departments and consist of anything it takes to boost the movement and closing of deals. For example, a sales development representative, or SDR, could be considered a sales enablement position because this person tees up ideal prospects for account executives to talk to. A writer, even though oftentimes housed in a marketing department, could also be considered a sales development role. Whenever a writer or designer is creating sales enablement materials to assist in pipeline movement, that’s sales enablement. There’s no defined sales enablement salary because it really depends on the role at hand.
Sales tools generally constitute software, but software can be extremely complex in its own right. Sales tools examples include pipeline management, content measurement, communication cadence, director feedback, and plenty more. The top sales enablement tools incorporate all of these things, some more highly functional than others.
This feature assists managers in the organization of current deals. On any given day, a myriad of deals are opening, some close within hours, some take months. With a pipeline management system, the organization becomes simple. Sales representatives can even customize their sales funnel.
If your marketing team is busting out one resource after another, it’s nice to see what’s working. There are entire systems created for the creation, distribution, and assessment of content. When the focus is sales enablement, these systems excel in lead-tracking and data. For example, say you’ve created a resource that’s 20 pages long. With a system revolving around content measurement, you can see if people accessing the resource are dropping off after page 12.
A great sales enablement platform will make communication…. communicate! Let’s be real, it’s so difficult to convey genuine sentiment with cadence emails or automated language. No matter what the sales enablement market size is, any decent sales enablement product is going to keep a sales rep on-track with prospects.
Among sales enablement best practices is the classic feedback opportunity. A sales enablement app that keeps open the line of communication between a rep and a director is greatly useful in a big company.
A regular sales team has a manager, but an extraordinary sales team has a coach. If you really want to maximize sales performance, change the focus of your team. Instead of using negativity and penalties, coach your team into solving problems and making improvements in areas ranging from missed sales to lack of preparedness. You can use training and coaching to spot weaknesses and work past them. When your reps are struggling, challenge them and bring them to the level where they can succeed. You can use strategic coaching to enable sales in certain areas and skills coaching to help them in areas of personal weakness.
Just like with any other skill, you will only get better at sales with intentional practice. Most people don’t like practicing because it can be repetitive and boring. Some people also feel uncomfortable or embarrassed when practicing scenarios with their peers. Practicing in real life is worse because of the stress that comes with trying to make a sale. That’s why it’s important to commit to practicing with your sales team in a way that offers support and encouragement. Make sure each member understands that the point of practicing is to be the best it can be and structure the practice in a way that will highlight the sales team’s strengths. While most people don’t like being recorded, it can be a great way to highlight speech and body language habits. It’s also a great way for reps to focus on a sales pitch, down to the emphasis of each word, to enable performance and boost confidence.
One thing that remains vacant in sales enablement software is training. This makes complete sense because how is a sales enablement software supposed to know how your company’s processes and procedures work? Computers can’t do it all. This is where training software usually fits into the frame. Training sales representatives doesn’t end after their first week. Sales reps not only need excellent onboarding training, but ongoing training must be part of the lesson plan. New knowledge is constantly changing the way we do things; the way we sell things. It is completely necessary to keep learning materials (how-to’s, product knowledge, resources) updated. Without a modern learning system, these things become difficult to update and redistribute.
Enablement software best practices
With so many advances in technology, there’s no reason not to use software to improve everything from sales content to training. The right software will be a comfortable fit for the company culture while providing valuable support that directly helps you meet goals. Sales enablement software provides all the technology, processes, and content your sales team needs to perform at maximum potential.
Many times we wait until late in the sales cycle to identify all the stakeholders, which can set us up for failure. Sales reps use familiar points of contact and make a habit of dealing with the same people when they are engaging in sales attempts. If you identify others who also have a stake in the outcome, you’ll be more successful in the long run. You can also work to identify who has the power to make decisions in the company and use software to plan and manage your stakeholder engagement activities. By analyzing the data with special software, you can approach deals with important sales strategies.
Software tools can also help you geographically organize your sales force. So much time and so many resources are used so that a sales force can go from one place to another in the most efficient way possible. Special map content quickly shows where each sales rep is traveling, and one of the key features includes the ability for individual reps to check-in. The tools and apps will also organize the sales content so reps can keep track of when they last visited a specific customer, and help them easily identify where they might find a new prospect and customer within the geographical area.
The purchase process is a journey that almost never goes in a straight line, which is why you should use a sales enablement platform to target your buyer’s journey. In order to keep the customer on the right path for a successful sale, the software enables reps to follow the customer’s journey and create content at each stage. The basic steps during the sales processes generally include the same four steps: identify the problem or need, consider the different available options, make a decision as to which option is best, and then evaluate the final choice or outcome. This last step is often ignored but is just as important in sales because you want to earn loyalty. Sales enablement software allows sales teams to collect, store, and analyze sales content so everyone can make the best decisions at every stage.
Providing onboarding to your new sales reps is an important part of the process in making sure they will be successful. The right software will let them work on specific sales modules to develop the skills they will be using every day. Good onboarding brings new employees up to speed quickly and establishes sales quotas and company structure details. Good onboarding also leads to better retention, as sales reps will be more likely to stay with an organization that gives them the support they need to be confident in what they are doing.
Benefits of sales enablement tools
The most obvious benefit from the use of sales enablement tools is the vast amount of information your sales force will have access to in order to meet your objectives. Once you decide which goals are the most important and start using your tools to do the tasks you need, you will be able to stop worrying about the details and focus your energy on the real job of selling. Teams will work smarter not harder, and your increased productivity and efficiency will give your sales team the confidence to achieve more.
In the past, sales performance management was data-driven, but now data creates a deeper, richer picture. Teams can now track the sales cycle and have software provide sales reports which can be analyzed in more ways than before. Sales teams will also gain insight into what makes the customers really tick, and by understanding their motivations, will be more successful at meeting their needs. Sales content can be tailored to each customer’s needs and interests, increasing the likelihood of making a sale.
There are several ways sales enablement tools can provide lead generation, such as tracking current sales activity and profiling customers and potential customers by using different criteria. While many sales and marketing teams work hard to generate new leads, it’s important to concentrate on existing customers. Sales enablement tools can provide a variety of interesting content to your current buyers that is relevant to their individual interests and needs. This makes it easier to keep their attention without pushing for a sale.
By tracking sales funnels, you can follow the customers’ journeys from the first contact to the time of decision making. The top of the sales funnel is so wide because this is where the sales and marketing teams bring awareness to potential customers that their product or service exists. New, potential customers may hear about you from social media, advertisements or even other satisfied customers. The funnel gets smaller and smaller as you narrow down your audience to the people who are really interested in what you have to offer. Sales enablement tools will help you find the cracks in the funnel so you can narrow that difference between prospects to customers and keep a wider group of people who are interested in your product.
The sales force is a team made up of sales and marketing employees who are working toward the same goal. No longer is a management solution necessarily a directive toward the other employees, as much as it is a way to organize the sales process so everyone can be successful. By providing the tools employees need to succeed, you can encourage a more level playing field for your team so that they can work as a team to close more deals. By using content management, you can have access to data that has been analyzed to give your team the information they need so they can get more sales without wasting their time on unsuccessful attempts.
Seismic is here to help support all of your sales enablement efforts. See if Seismic is right for you.