Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales coaching and customer experience company.
Sales enablement includes human and technological factors that improve sales team performance and increase revenue, such as equipping staff with the right tools to have meaningful conversations with clients or customers.
Ultimately, sales enablement is about efficiency and effectiveness. According to research from Highspot, 80 percent of businesses with a sales team of more than 10 people already engage in some sales enablement techniques. While that’s a good start, without creating a comprehensive strategy, they may not get the most out of it.
With that in mind, here are four ways to promote successful sales enablement in your organization.
1. Design and Implement a Formal Strategy
Tamara Schenk, research director at CSO Insights, defines sales enablement as “a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training and coaching services for salespeople and front-line sales managers along the entire customer’s buying journey, powered by technology.”
Getting the best out of sales enablement takes time and careful execution, but it pays off. In fact, a study published by CSO Insights tells us that organizations that design, develop and implement a formalized sales enablement strategy are 10 percent more successful in terms of revenue plan attainment than those that do not put together a strategy.
During the design phase, consider how your business currently operates and where there is room for improvement. Do staff need better access to content? Do staff need better sales coaching? It is also important to understand that sales enablement is cross functional and should be fluid, rather than a one-off process.
2. Build Training Into Your DNA
When it comes to improving selling activities and motivating staff to meet quota, sales training plays a crucial role. If you have a training program in place, conduct an audit to see if it could use a revamp. It’s time to move away from outdated models, where training takes place over a couple of days or once in a blue moon. Instead, training needs to be much more frequent because the required knowledge changes too often.
Training programs come in all shapes and sizes but in order to be effective, they need to be part of a wider sales enablement strategy. The main elements of your training program should include a consistent onboarding process for new employees, which managers or senior sales reps can lead, supplemented by outsourced consultants. On-going training programs should also include the right balance of in-house systematic sales coaching as well as a regular skills development drive by third-party consultants. Finally, it’s key to include a reinforcement element to your training program so staff retention rates are optimized, which will in turn improve your training ROI.
Salespeople need to be up-to-date on new features and products, so they should regularly meet with the product team. Leaders within the team also have to actively engage in sales coaching, reinforcing newly learned knowledge and helping staff teach their colleagues.
3. Embrace Useful Technology
In addition to improving sales activity itself, it is important to have the highest quality sales in a short amount of time. For this reason, as an organization, you need to embrace and invest in technology that helps sales reps work more efficiently.
For example, your sales team might benefit from better internal communication channels between departments such as sales and marketing. Some companies do this through cross-functional meetings. Teams’ productivity can also improve with better software, which can increase the speed of their activities. The right CRM system can certainly have a great impact on reducing data entry time, improving sales prospecting, information sharing and much more.
4. Think of Sales Enablement as an Equation
Finally, in the Miller Heiman Group white paper, Elevate Your Game and Win More: The Four Critical Insights of Selling Today, we explain that sales enablement can be thought of as an equation: (A x Q) /T)/D = $. Sales enablement is about your sales activity (A) multiplied by the quality of that activity (Q), divided by the time taken (T). This is then divided by distractions (D) and that gives you your revenue ($).
In the end, sales enablement is about maximizing the result of this equation. Many companies implement some aspect of sales enablement but fail to get real results because too many senior managers believe it’s just about training, according to Tamara Schenk from CSO Insights.
To be successful, sales enablement often requires a company-wide transformation, which can only be achieved with top management buy-in and better alignment on the scope of enablement to avoid a disconnect between sales leadership.