What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is the strategy of providing your organization with the tools, insights, and content to make you more effective in your business development process.

It’s an ongoing approach that involves both sales and marketing leadership to continue to improve your prospect targeting, buyer’s journey alignment, and deal conversions at each stage of the sales cycle.

Why should you implement a sales enablement strategy?

Buying behavior is changing. A sales enablement strategy helps your organization market and sell more effectively in this new business environment.

With the digitization of information and modern (post-covid) business practices, more and more of your potential customers are preferring to research online, build trust socially, and buy from consultative salespeople.  

Ultimately, it helps you enable better selling:

Enabling Buyers – A well-developed sales enablement strategy empowers your prospects to get the information they seek directly from your organization. It enables them to move through their purchasing journey with you as their personal guide.

Enabling Salespeople – Sales enablement provides critical resources to your sales team. Insights into their lead generation activities and pipeline enable them to continually improve their approach using data. Sales enablement tools and content strategy help leverage their efforts to reach more people, more effectively.

Enabling Marketers – Marketing teams are better able to have a direct impact on organizational success through a sales enablement strategy. By partnering with sales to define customer personas, develop new campaigns, and better track leads throughout their buyer’s journey, marketing teams can increase their ability to drive profitable revenue.

What are the functional areas to focus on for sales enablement?

Sales enablement is a broad term used to describe a number of different areas within your sales and marketing strategy. Here are just a few examples of focus areas:

Process Mapping – To truly understand your sales and marketing results, you need to have clarity in your processes. Using historical data and team discussions, mapping your processes will allow you to uncover opportunities for process improvements within deal stages and marketing funnels.

Reporting and Insights – Creating standardized reporting will allow for benchmarking and insights into your performance. This includes creating operational definitions, key performance indicators, and setting up data collection and analysis methods.

Content and Audience Strategy – Your content and audience strategy is going to be a major focus area for your sales enablement. Creating content that aligns with your target audience will help facilitate visibility on search engines, social media, email, and directly throughout your sales process.

Tool Implementation – The tools in your technology stack help you execute your sales enablement strategy. These often include a sales CRM, marketing automation platform, email marketing systems, data analytics software, and tracking/crawling tools.

Keep in mind, that a holistic approach to sales enablement starts with your people and process. You need to first create your high-level strategy before focusing on the finer details.

How do you get started?

You’re ready to get started, great! The good news is that you can make your sales enablement strategy as simple or as complex as you desire. In many cases, I advise clients to start simple and expand the breadth of their initiative over time.  

Here is what I recommend when getting started:

First, you’ll want to consider the team that is spearheading your initiative. You’ll want both sales and marketing representatives. It’s also a good idea to include operational content experts and executive leadership.

After your team is in place, you’ll want to start by reviewing the status quo. Map your sales funnel, review your lead to close rates, and reflect on past performance. This will help you identify where to start your sales enablement journey.

Then, you’ll create the plan. In writing, create a strategy for your sales enablement initiative, outlining the activities the team (persona development, blog writing, webinars, email campaigns, etc.) will be focusing on and the key performance indicators that will be used to measure success.

Once a plan is in place, it’s all about execution and iteration. Have regular check-ins with the team and utilize a data dashboard to monitor progress. Continue to review your data, make changes, and iterate on your plan. It often takes 3-6 months to begin seeing improvement, and upwards of a year to really see significant results.  

And of course, have fun! Enjoy the process of trying new ways to market and sell your business. It’s rewarding, both financially and personally, to develop a successful sales enablement strategy.

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