Sales Enablement Best Practices
“Sales enablement” is the term for activities and programs that prepare and support the salespeople. Selling the company’s products should be a team effort; sales and marketing working together to create consistent and growing revenue streams.
Successful sales enablement is much more than online content and managerial oversight of the sales funnel. Successful sales enablement comes from seeing the bigger picture in order to make a strategic and tactical contribution. Here are five best practices to develop better sales teams.
1. Create a collaborative and cooperative environment.
One of the biggest misunderstandings in business is that the sales team and the marketing team are two different entities that operate independently. The exact opposite is the case; marketing and sales must work together to achieve revenue goals. Marketing defines products, markets and audiences and then provides content, training, tools and external promotions to enable the sales team to have a successful meeting with prospects.
2. Provide continual product, industry and audience training
The more training a salesperson receives, the more capable that salesperson becomes when interacting with a prospect. Sales people need to feel enabled when presenting their proposals to the customer and closing the sale. Therefore, providing training about the products, the audience and the selling points will go a long way toward sales success. Training topics can include:
- What the prospect really Sellers tend to sell the product’s features and benefits but buyers think in terms of expanded capabilities; the unique set of problems they can solve by purchasing your product. Training the sales reps to identify customer problems will help the sales situation.
- Industry expertise. The sales reps must know the keywords and terminology their buyers use by being interested and informed about the industry. Sales enablement training should identify the buyer persona and help the sales people understand how to communicate clearly with those buyers.
3. Collaborate to develop sales enablement tools
Sales enablement is not something that marketing imposes on sales. To prevent this perceptions, develop and refine sales enablement tools in a collaborative and open process.
- Observe what your top sales performers do and what materials they use at each stage in the buying decision process. Develop tools from this and share them with the rest of the sales organization.
- Encourage reps to speak openly about what is working and what is not. Use the information to improve the tools and processes.
- Collect competitive insights from the sales team members and share them with the rest of the team.
4. Align content and tools to the buying cycle
The highly-informed buyer is a fact of today’s connected world. Create marketing tools that will help your sales people be more effective communicators with their well-connected prospects at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Evaluate your website from the viewpoint of the buyer’s journey and your sales person’s role in it. Ensure that easily-found tools are there to help them move the sale forward.
- Provide focused and up-to-date content. Give the sales team tools that they will not need to rework to fit the selling situation.
- Use marketing automation tools to pass qualified leads at exactly the right time for sales to capitalize on current interest. Make sure the salesperson is aware of the qualification steps taken and why the lead is qualified.
5. Integrate sales enablement across the business
Effective sales enablement not only brings the sales department’s reps, managers and leadership into the process, but also includes input from the entire organization. Sales enablement should work hand-in-hand with marketing automation, content development, product development and customer service. All team members should be empowered to communicate clearly and openly with one another and encouraged to do so on a regular basis.
In the end, sales enablement is first and foremost about providing superior customer service. It is a team approach to sales that gives everyone in the organization a role in making the right sale to the right customer. Marketing plays a key role by ensuring that the right information and tools are delivered in a way that is relevant to each unique selling situation.
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With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.