What is Sales Enablement?

Christian Blott

O Over the past 5 years, the alignment of sales and marketing has become a top priority for many in charge of growing their organization’s business. To do so, business development leaders are breaking down silos of data and creating a collaborative relationship between marketing and sales teams (with the proper systems and tools in place), as a proven way to generate top line revenue.

That said, while this approach to sales and marketing alignment has become more mainstream in ag, the “newer” and even more effective concept of sales enablement has not. This may be due to the rather nebulous nature of the concept. Our goal is to better define what it means so that agricultural leaders can understand how sales enablement can truly supercharge their sales efforts.

In its simplest terms, sales enablement is the ongoing process of providing your sales team(s) with the right tools, systems, and content to allow them to close more deals. This means less time focusing on where to find content, what data to manually enter and building custom content, and more time having valuable conversations with leads that move them closer to a sale.

Three Aspects of Sales Enablement

Given the above definition, there are three core aspects that fall under the umbrella of sales enablement:

1. SYSTEMS & PROCESSES

The entire sales and marketing process should be driven by data. However, without a properly-designed, well-calibrated system in place, you will generate data that is siloed, immobile, and potentially useless.

As Salesforce would attest, the Single Source of Truth (SSOT) is your company’s CRM. Your CRM must be aligned to your sales process to produce the kind of data from which you can derive actionable insights. When you have a clear sales process in place with data points for each step, you can create reliable reporting on:

  • Deals Won/Lost
  • Sales Activity (Calls, Emails, Tasks)
  • Low Conversion Points in the Sales Pipeline
  • Pipeline Velocity

Unless your processes are aligned to data points, it will be incredibly difficult for you to optimize your sales efforts. The diagram below showcases what shared data looks like, and how it can be aligned across the sales and marketing teams. Leveraging data points for prospects at each stage of the buyer’s journey, whether top of funnel or bottom of funnel, is key to providing better customer experience.

Sales Enablement Diagram

2. TOOLS & PLATFORMS

Sales enablement focuses on freeing your sales team to spend more time having conversations, instead of performing tedious administrative tasks. The fact is, those seemingly simple tasks can easily add up to more than 20% of a sales rep’s week—a very unnecessary time drain when many of these tasks can be automated.

So, what are some tools you can use to increase efficiency or add automation?

  • Meeting Scheduling: Many CRM’s allow you to sync your rep’s calendar, which makes getting a meeting with a prospect as simple as sharing a link. This makes things easier for your lead, as well, as they have the power to select a time that works for them.
  • Sales Intelligence Software: Finding the right contact information for your prospects can be time consuming—but not if you have a solid sales intel tool. These tools can quickly extract information from the prospect’s LinkedIn profile and roll it right into your CRM.
  • CRM Automation: Setting up workflows in your CRM allows for repetitive internal procedures to be automated, and reduces the risk of operator error while also saving time for your team.
  • Sales Engagement Platforms: CRMs often act as a database, which can be slow and inefficient for sales reps when attempting to communicate with leads. In essence, Sales Engagement Platforms roll up your CRM, inbox, phone, content resources and more, to create a streamlined interface and process around all selling activities.

3. RESOURCES

70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer ever reaches out to sales.

That means your sales team needs the right content for that last stage of the buyer’s journey. Often sales reps will have resources that they have been created without the help of marketing, and will keep it in their own siloed folder so that is inaccessible to others on the sales team. This creates challenges for the whole sales team, as they are not aligned on sales resources and likely spend a huge amount of time trying to find content.

This is a core aspect of sales enablement: centralizing all sales content in one location so the sales team can find resources quickly and share them with leads.

These content libraries can often live in your CRM or on a Sales Engagement Platform. Here are some examples:

  • Case Studies
  • Customer Testimonials
  • Webinars/Videos
  • Demos
  • Detailed Product Sheets

What is the End Game?

Trick question—because there is no end game. Sales enablement is the ongoing effort of improving the capabilities of your sales team—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t milestones to aim for. Here are three simple ones you can use as you start to develop your sales enablement capabilities:

1. Data-Backed Metrics: Is the CRM the Single Source of Truth? Would you trust the data to make data-backed decisions? Having a Sales Dashboard with reliable data is a key first step.

2. Resource Centralization: How long does it take for your sales reps to find the right piece of content for a sales interaction? As a general rule of thumb, it should take no longer than two minutes for a rep to find the right sales resource.

3. Holistic View of the Customer Journey: Can your sales rep pull up their phone and see a prospect’s entire customer journey? From the moment they had their first interaction with your company all the way down to the purchase decision? This is a key gauge of sales and marketing alignment.

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