Everything you do to help your sales team reach their goals is sales enablement, but have you thought about putting an intentional sales enablement strategy in place?
There are lots of good reasons to do so.
HubSpot research found that 88% of those who use sales enablement processes believe it is moderately to extremely important when making a sale. Belief is one thing; results are another... The same study found that those who leverage the power of sales enablement are 11% more likely to exceed their sales goals than those who don’t have a dedicated sales enablement team in place.
So why do only 37% of sales and marketing team members leverage its power?
This disconnect might come as a result of an existing skills and information gap on the part of sales professionals. Or perhaps marketing leaders and sales managers fear that implementing such a plan might be too difficult or require a major overhaul of their current approach.
It’s not as daunting as it may seem. We’re here to help your industrial and manufacturing sales and marketing teams take the first steps.
A sales enablement plan or sales enablement strategy is a deliberate process of supplying sales teams with the information, tools, guidance, training, and other forms of support they need to help them do their jobs more effectively.
Sales enablement allows sales professionals to:
Engage more with prospects and in ways they prefer
Obtain better information and utilize content to help them close deals and improve win rates
Gain visibility into their target markets and get usable insights and data
Use advanced analytics to optimize their pitches, phone cadence, and other sales processes
Automate recurring processes to free up more of their time
Sales enablement may mean different things to each organization, but the basic steps and objectives remain the same. Here is a five-step plan to help you set up an effective sales enablement strategy for your team.
1. Define Sales Goals With a Sales Enablement Charter
A good sales enablement strategy starts with the right framework defining your expectations, goals, specific processes, and unique needs. This framework is outlined in a formal document that acts as your sales blueprint called a sales enablement charter.
Without such a charter, sales teams are likely to have haphazard, disjointed approaches toward how they engage, pitch, nurture, close, and follow through on sales leads.
A sales enablement charter should be customized according to your unique strengths and challenges, industry, and business strategy. It also needs to define S.M.A.R.T goals based on your overarching mission. This charter will be fluid and constantly improving as it is implemented.
2. Define Sales Enablement for Your Team: What Do They Need?
Strategic sales enablement is all about the sales team, so you need to involve them from the get-go. It’s also wise to involve the marketing and customer experience teams from the start because the three should work hand-in-hand.
Get answers to the following questions:
What pain points and challenges do reps face that actively keep them from realizing their full potential?
What tools do they feel are necessary to streamline the sales process?
What skills, information, and data do they need to help them optimize their sales approach?
What are they doing that works well with prospects?
How do they feel our product is positioned in comparison with our biggest competitors, and what can we do to improve this position?
As the people on the frontlines every day, salespeople and customer service reps have a wealth of actionable information on how to fine-tune your buyers’ journey and realize more growth potential. And marketing professionals have the data, insights, and creativity to bring a strategy to life.
3. Get Stakeholders on Board
Decide who the stakeholders are in the sales enablement plan, and what their role will be. This step is specifically designed to break down silos between the various stakeholders in sales, marketing, and customer experience teams.
The importance of alignment between these teams cannot be overstated. HubSpot and other sales enablement pioneers have been championing unification between sales, marketing, and customer service teams into a single entity called revenue operations or RevOps. You may eventually want to move toward this type of approach by taking incremental steps now. Getting everyone on the same page is the first step.
Similarly, this is the stage where you bring the C-suite on board. Without the executive-level commitment, you will struggle to pick up the support you need to carry the plan to success.
4. Define Customer Journey Maps & Touchpoints
Customers are the focus of every sales enablement plan. You will need to map out the customer journey and tailor your enablement strategy to this path. Sales reps need to be empowered on how they respond at every point where they interact with the prospect and to take control of the sales pipeline.
IDENTIFYING KEY DECISION MAKERS:
Gartner released information specific to the B2B buyer’s journey and found that the typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers. What’s more, each of them independently gathered four or five pieces of information — all of which might conflict with what others in the group gathered! The B2B sales cycle for complex industries clearly presents additional challenges that most consumer-facing salespeople don’t need to overcome.
The study also found that B2B buyers spend only 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers. The other 83% of their time is spent doing independent research, meeting with internal buying groups, and other activities.
Have you updated your sales processes and approaches to adapt to these changing dynamics? Sales reps need to read into how and when each of their customers want to engage with them and know how to speak in their language on their terms.
5. Provide Robust Sales Enablement Services & Content
With an actionable plan and full insights into both the sales team and customer journey, you can now define the specific actions you need to take to prepare and enable the sales teams, including:
Create Sales Content and Make it Accessible
Data, information, and knowledge are all invaluable to sales reps. However, 65% of sales reps say they can't find helpful, relevant content to send to prospects. From customer-facing information to industry-related data to help with engaging prospects, decide what content you need, and in what form.
It's a good idea to compile everything into a sales playbook that is easily searchable to serve as an integral part of the sales process. A sales team that works closely with their marketing team can gain a distinct advantage by informing which types of content will be of greatest value and interest to their prospects.
Types of sales enablement content might include:
“How-to” guides or eBooks
Sample social posts
Free assessments or demos
Video tours, demos, product features, etc.
Clients and customers today expect more from sales professionals than a quick email or phone call. They want and deserve the best in industry knowledge and tailored brand experiences. Not only do these types of content demonstrate your organization’s knowledge and thorough grasp of customer pain points, they offer ways to generate more sales qualified leads when gated with a form.
Train the Sales Team
In addition to information, determine what skills and methods sales reps need to be more effective in their work. Sales techniques that worked a decade ago may no longer resonate with prospects. Training can include:
Coaching on effective sales processes
Training on how to use sales enablement tools
How to prepare, analyze, and use data to make use of special insights
Determine which tools are best to support and empower your sales team. Tools without the right sales team enablement will only get in their way, but the right tools can have a powerful and transformative effect. Some of the tools you should consider using are:
Your new sales enablement plan is only as good as the extent to which you implement it. Once you have the right momentum and are getting measurable results, you need to keep reassessing and optimizing the various components so that you become better along the way.
Or, you can get the right partner to help you develop a proven sales enablement strategy and increase your revenue. Weidert Group works with you to help align your teams, establish goals, and design an actionable process that your sales teams can use to achieve them. We’ll also help you develop and implement an inbound marketing strategy and all the content to go with it.