Without an effective sales enablement strategy, your sales team can say goodbye to meeting quota at the end of the year. That’s because sales enablement is a framework for predictably increasing sales productivity by providing content, training and coaching to sales professionals. Just as steel is the framework of modern industry—enabling everything from overseas travel to seventy-floor skyscrapers—a sales enablement framework should be at the center of your sales team’s growth strategy.
Companies with sales enablement in place see 22.7 percent more quota achievement than those without and a 14.5 percent better win rate, according to CSO Insights’ 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study. The survey additionally found that 61 percent of surveyed organizations had a dedicated sales enablement person, program or function in 2018, compared to only 19.3 percent in 2013. Of that number, 95.6 percent met at least some of their expectations. But only 34.4% of those with a dedicated enablement function met most or all of their expectations, which translated into a 12.5% better win rate compared to the study’s average.
If you’ve had trouble getting sales enablement to demonstrate results or don’t know where to start, we can help. Here are four sales enablement practices your organization can enact right away to empower your sales team and win more deals.
1. Create a Charter
Before you do anything else, establish an enablement charter. It’s not enough to have a formal approach in place—it must be paired with a formal charter. According to 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study, businesses with a formal approach had a 51.2 percent win rate, while those with an added charter had 59 percent. A charter’s purpose is:
- To document the strategy thereby setting expectations for senior executives;
- To outline how enablement is expected to affect sales results;
- To identify challenges that you can expect to encounter as you develop your enablement practice; and
- To define how enablement success will be measured.
In organizations with formal approaches but no charter, sales enablement often lacks executive sponsorship. You want your enablement strategy to be seen as an engine for transformation, and that will only happen with a charter in place, giving the weight of top-level approval to the approach.
2. Evaluate Your Current State
You must know where you’ve been to know where you need to go. Once you have established a charter outlining the rules of engagement, ask questions like the following:
- Do our salespeople have all the skills and resources they need to serve clients?
- Do we foster an environment of open communication?
- Do salespeople share ideas and tactics with one another?
- Do we tailor content to our customers’ journey?
- Do we leverage social media?
- What is our conversion rate in each stage of the buyer’s journey?
- When a deal is lost, what are the reasons?
Once you have an idea of the work you’ve done in the past and how effective it has been, you can now create a winning sales enablement roadmap.
3. Align with the Customer’s Path
During the customer’s path to purchase, your prospective customer: considers the opportunity; researches possible solutions or actions; compares you against your competitors; makes decisions on finalists and ultimately chooses a provider. To win more decisions, an organization must equip all customer-facing roles with the tools and resources necessary to be of help at each step of the customer’s decision process. When a sales organization is aligned with the customer’s path, internal processes are available to guide the customer at every stage, as well as anticipate and preemptively resolve any challenges or obstacles.
In the 4th Annual Sales Enablement Study, CSO Insights found that organizations that did not consider the customer path only saw 44.9 percent quota attainment. By comparison, those with formal alignment saw 57.3 percent, and those with dynamic alignment (i.e., derived the sales process from the customer path) saw 58.5 percent achievement. For sales enablement success, build a roadmap aligned to the customer’s path and your conversion rates in each stage.
4. Inventory Existing Content and Training Services
If you have content that doesn’t directly relate to the customer’s path, buyer roles and other sales strategy priorities, evaluate whether it should be used in your sales process. Do the same with your training services. If your salespeople are being trained ineffectively or saddled with materials that do not help them win more deals, you’re only bogging them down.
You should have some foundational documents that will guide you in evaluating your content and training services, which may include the following:
- Business playbooks;
- Core messaging guides;
- Customer personas;
- Customer journey maps; and
- A central repository with marketing and sales content divided by customer journey stage.
A great sales enablement framework isn’t as hard to set up as you may think. The building blocks of sales enablement include drafting a charter, evaluating your current state, aligning to the customer’s path, focusing your content on what’s most useful to the sales team and delivering practical training that sets sellers up for success.
Miller Heiman Group can guide you through each step of sales enablement—and beyond. Contact us today to get started on your sales enablement journey.