Sales Enablement: How to Effectively Increase the Sales Productivity of Your Team

Author: 
Kamal Ahluwalia

Despite the ever-increasing connected world and the wealth of information at our finger-tips, the modern day sales cycle has become more difficult to implement. Companies are increasingly challenged to condense sales cycles and increase sales productivity and deal velocity. Sales enablement is designed to address these challenges.

This article will define and explain why sales enablement has become such an important topic throughout the business world. In addition, it will provide tips that help create a path for companies to follow as they attempt to implement sales enablement strategies.

What is Sales Enablement?
The term “sales enablement” has been around for years, however its definition varies in scope. This term is best defined as a process carried out between sales, marketing, and other areas of a company to more effectively produce content, knowledge, and tools to be used throughout the sales cycle. With these resources teams are able to initiate more productive interactions with buyers and drive revenue growth. 

There are many different aspects of sales enablement that come together to form the overall strategy. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating a more efficient and continual method of training members of the sales team that aide in knowledge retention.
  • Getting the most relevant content to the sales team at the right time and in the easiest manner possible. Communication between the marketing and sales teams is of great importance in this respect.
  • Incorporate analytics to learn which content resonate with potential customers, then reincorporating that information into improved tools, content, and training.

Modern day sales enablement is a closed loop system. Content is organized into a central portal that allows for easy access by marketing teams. The sales teams are then able to locate with relative ease the information they are searching for and pass that information on to the client. The analytics system put in place will tell which tools and content perform best. This information is recognized and reincorporated into the first phase of the cycle.

Why All the Trouble?
How important is developing a sales enablement strategy? Well let’s first look at the numbers...

According to the Aberdeen Group, best in class companies are twice as likely to have undertaken a sales enablement solution. These companies reach their quota goals 50 percent more often. Is this correlation or causation? We lean towards the latter. Sellers are better able to engage their costumers as a result of a top down sales enablement strategy.

It is widely recognized that a unified, top-down sales strategy saves resources. Shown by SeriousDecisions, Inc in their “Calculating the True Cost of Content” presentation: the amount of useful and effective content increases by 300 percent after companies optimize content performance through sales enablement. Without the use of these strategies, much of the content that is created by marketing teams is left unused. The investment that goes into creating this content is wasted. Highspots “the Definitive Guide to Sales Enablement” states, that according to various studies, sales teams do not use 65 percent of marketing content. The amount wasted is nearly two-thirds, the knowledge either being unusable or unfindable. Sales enablement aims at relieving this problem. By corralling the information into an easy to find location, sales teams are able to effectively search for what they need. In addition, the analytics on the back end are able to further refine the process by finding what content works best in every situation. As a result, pitches and presentations can become scalable and easily repeatable, further eliminating waste.

Sales enablement allows sales teams to reach their quotas in a much more efficient and predictable way. The tools and content that the analysis shows to work are able to be used repeatedly in future sales cycles. The companies that implement these strategies are able to mass-produce efficient selling teams, rather then relying on a curtain few individuals with natural ability. The best training methods are standardized and continuously used. The right content is found for each kind of potential costumer and, as a result of the nature of a closed loop, is improved in an endless cycle through the application of analytics.

Tomorrow: 7 Ideas to Master Sales Enablement

Kamal Ahluwalia is Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Apttus.