Sales enablement is one of the fastest growing business disciplines and adoption is still increasing dramatically year on year. In fact, according to research from CSO Insights, 59.2 percent of businesses have a dedicated sales enablement programme, function or person in 2017, compared to 19.3 percent in 2013 and 32.7 percent in 2016.
Yet, despite increased adoption and the potential to improve sales effectiveness, the majority of enablement initiatives are unsuccessful, with only 34.6 percent meeting or exceeding expectations. Here, we take a look at what world-class companies are doing differently and how they are using sales enablement to stay ahead.
An Enablement Charter
One of the ways world-class performers are able to stand out from the pack is through the creation of a formal sales enablement charter. This should essentially be treated in a similar way to a business plan, outlining what enablement is, what it will look like at your organisation, and what the objectives are.
According to the recent CSO Insights 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, the percentage of salespeople achieving quota at organisations with a formal sales enablement charter stands at 73.6 percent. The average quota attainment across the study was 57.7 percent and this represents a 27.6 percent improvement.
This research highlight the ability for a formalised charter to improve sales effectiveness and this is likely because the process of actually creating a charter helps leaders to improve their understanding. Furthermore, the charter itself also serves as a useful document to refer back to when challenges are encountered.
Effective Sales Training
Sales training and sales coaching are two of the most obvious enablement elements, but not all companies achieve the level of effectiveness that world-class companies achieve. Top performers recognise the importance of using the customer journey as a design point for their training programmes and this is something you should try to replicate.
Meanwhile, when it comes to sales coaching, only formal and dynamic approaches have been shown to have a significant impact on results. Despite this, the majority of sales organisations have either a random (34.7 percent) or informal (35 percent) approach, meaning over two-thirds are failing to get the most from their coaching activities.
The aforementioned Sales Enablement Optimization Study found that companies that deliver high-quality onboarding training can improve quota attainment by as much as 21.3 percent. Moreover, formal coaching led to an average win rate improvement of 13.5 percent, while dynamic coaching resulted in a 27.6 percent improvement.
Social Selling Success
Finally, social selling – where salespeople leverage social media to forge deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers – is one of the most important emerging sales trends and world-class sales organisations are adopting social selling behaviours two years earlier than average performers.
Not only do the best companies allow their salespeople to use social media in this way, and allow them a certain degree of freedom and individuality, they also understand the importance of aligning social selling with their wider sales and marketing strategies. This ensures that the core messages delivered to customers are consistent.
“World-Class performers have a clear strategy on how to align social selling,” says Tamara Schenk. “However, they also allow themselves to remain playful with social techniques, learning new things every day. This way, they can improve, refine, and adjust their approaches on an ongoing basis.”
Sales enablement is a rapidly expanding discipline, but only around a third of initiatives are meeting or exceeding expectations. World-class performers are creating sales enablement charters to guide their initiatives, focusing on delivering customer-centred training and coaching, and are two years ahead of the pack when it comes to social selling. As a result, they are seeing tangible improvements to sales effectiveness.
Miller Heiman Group’s various Be Ready workshops and events cover a wide range of sales topics, including training, coaching and sales enablement, with valuable insight from expert speakers. For more information about upcoming events and to register your interest in attending, click here.