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The Ultimate Guide to Sales Enablement

At its simplest, sales enablement is giving your sales representatives what they need to succeed. Content on products and services, training, and guidance are all a part of it.

So, you’re wondering, “what is sales enablement?” (Don’t worry, this is a judgment-free zone.) There’s a lot of information out there, but it tends to be complicated and confusing. We’re here to help simplify things for you. Grab a drink and keep reading to learn more about sales enablement and how it can uplevel your sales process.

What Is Sales Enablement?

At its simplest, sales enablement is giving your sales representatives what they need to succeed. Content on products and services, training, and guidance are all a part of it.

Think of sales like a school project. The teacher tells their class to write an essay and gives them a simple end goal: do well. Then, the teacher doesn’t give the students any reference materials, instruction on how to write an essay well, or guidelines.

Some of the students will have experience writing essays. They’ll collect resources to write from and get through the project with minimal trouble. Others won’t know where to find what they need or won’t know how to write an essay. Those students will struggle to pass, and some will fail entirely. Some students might work together to pass while others guard their resources and experience to keep a competitive edge.

A few simple elements would give the class what they need to succeed, both individually and as a group. The same concept applies to your sales team. The right training, up-to-date information, and appropriate strategies can take your sales process to the next level.

Sales enablement means empowering your sales representatives so they can do what they do best: make sales.

Three Principles of Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is a complicated process with a lot of moving parts. That said, a few simple principles can set you up for success.

Commit to a Sales Enablement Process

Your first step, and an ever-evolving part of the process, is to develop a framework. Easier said than done, we know. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it should never be set in stone. If elements of your framework aren’t helpful, get rid of them! Your sales enablement process is supposed to grow and change to meet your teams’ needs.

A few meetings will help you establish the beginning of your sales enablement process. Ask questions that will reveal clear goals and guidelines to reach them. What content does the sales team have access to? Do some team members have access to tools others don’t? Who’s struggling and why? Who’s succeeding, and what are they doing differently?

The answers to these questions will help you lay out a solid strategy to move forward.

Understand & Involve Your Sales Team

At the end of the day, sales enablement is for your sales team. No one else in your organization is as impacted by it as they are. Knowing your sales team and their needs and consulting with them regularly is key to sales enablement.

Your marketing team handles the first half of the sales process, while your sales team takes over in the second half. Basically, your marketing team is doing broad strokes, developing interest, and ferrying people through the sales funnel. That means that they’re priming leads to connect with your sales team and make a purchase.

Sales enablement creates a bridge for sharing information and resources to flow back and forth. Your sales team will have marketing content to build on as they take leads across the finish line. Better yet, your customers will have a clear, unified experience with your brand from beginning to end. Implementing an effective sales enablement strategy will encourage sales and trust in your company.

Higher Engagement Leads to Increased Revenue

The last crucial part of your sales enablement strategy is improving engagement through strategically developed processes, awareness and intention, and technology. These elements feed into each other and can make or break your sales enablement.  

At every stage, your sales team needs room to improvise, evolve, and change with incoming data. Technology comes into play here, helping them track successes, engagement, conversations and plan their next steps. The right system can centralize best practices, resources, and materials to streamline their processes along the way.

Why Is Sales Enablement Important?

Let’s be real. We all want to make money. Companies make money by driving sales. So why is sales enablement important? Because it creates the framework to support your sales force so they can do what they do best: make sales.

We’re in a competitive marketplace, and sales enablement is the tool for giving your sales representatives a competitive edge. Creating a unified method that streamlines the process and information sharing from marketing to closing sales means more revenue.

Who Owns Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement isn’t a one-team project. It’s a cross-functional, collaborative process. Marketing is involved in creating and sharing content. Everything they develop has a measurable effect on sales and revenue. Your sales team focuses on integrating the enablement process and new content into their sales process. They’re also going to be responsible for communicating their needs.

Ideally, you’ll have a sales enablement manager or team. Sales enablement professionals are there to smooth out any wrinkles in the process. We’ll go into their role in more depth in a later section.

Sales Operations vs Sales Enablement

If you’re confused about what’s sales operations and what’s sales enablement, you’re not alone. Basically, sales operations are big-picture processes. Sales operations handle things like contract and administrative matters, system management, and other operations-oriented responsibilities. Sales enablement handles streamlining the actual sales process and supporting the sales team.

To put it simply, sales enablement is customer and sales centered, while sales operations are centered around business, employees, and sales. While they can be a part of sales enablement, they can add a layer of complexity to planning it.

What Is a Sales Enablement Manager / Specialist?

Like we mentioned earlier, a sales enablement manager, specialist, or team can be a huge help. But what does a sales enablement specialist do? At the most basic level, they spend their time supporting the enablement process and the sales team.

In a small company, your sales enablement specialist can focus on collecting content, streamlining information sharing and saving, and managing the relationship between marketing and sales. In a larger organization, a sales enablement team could develop and organize training, manage the customer relationship management (CRM) system, and more.

This versatile team or specialist can cover a lot of different responsibilities while supporting your sales enablement process.

What Is a Sales Enablement Tool?

A sales enablement tool optimizes every step of the process, from marketing to sales to your customer and back. It’s a closed system that tracks performance, engagement, and more. It makes it easy for everyone on your team to access the information, whether that’s content or data, that they need to succeed.

How Is Sales Enablement Practiced?

Short answer: carefully and adaptably.

Sales enablement professionals and tools have to stay flexible to support the process. In a world where data is coming in real-time all the time, strategies need to be able to change at the drop of a hat.

Practicing sales enablement effectively is a collaborative effort. You’ll need professionals in charge who work well with others. They should have a natural drive to collaborate and support everyone involved.

Since it’s such an interdependent process, roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined. You don’t want people accidentally creating duplicate content or stepping on each others’ toes. Implementing the right technology to support the process will help this along. Regular check-ins will help keep things organized and make it easy to change direction when need be.

Finally, you’ll need to have clear performance measures in place. You need to have a simple, easy way to measure when to stay the course and when to go back to the drawing board.

How to Choose a Sales Enablement and CRM Solution    

Choosing the right sales enablement and CRM solution is key. Start by meeting with all of your stakeholders, from sales to marketing. Where are they struggling? What tools do they need or want access to? Do sales representatives in the field need access through mobile apps?

Take time researching your options and their offerings. What covers the needs your teams expressed? What do clients (current and past) have to say about them? Does the option you’re considering have the integrations your teams need or may need?

If you can, give it a test run and view demos to see how it can work for you. Does it create space for collaboration? How does it streamline your processes? Consider how scalable it may be and how it will adapt to changing needs.

Sales enablement can uplevel your sales process, supporting your teams and driving revenue and sales. Collaborating across departments is key to success. The right leaders and technology can take sales enablement even further.

Are you ready to transform your sales process? Contact us today to learn more about our customized software options and how they can work for you!