If you work in sales or are a small business owner and responsible for sales, chances are you’ve heard the term sales enablement. Although it’s a relatively hot topic, there seems to be some confusion around whether it’s just another buzzword or a specific practice or approach that delivers real benefits and results.
Well, yes, it is a real approach and yes, it can and will deliver results if truly adopted and actually implemented. But first, let’s define sales enablement so we can then explore how it can support achievement of sales goals. Then let’s look at the top three reasons you should adopt it to drive results.
Simply put, sales enablement is the process of providing the sales team with the information, content and tools they need to be able to sell more effectively and successfully engage the prospect/buyer throughout the sales process. But more than that, it is a way of thinking. It is a strategic approach to driving sales — qualified sales that increase your customer retention rate and sustainable revenue. I LOVE it because it aligns with my life philosophy and approach, which is “Plan your work and work your plan.”
Now, what it is NOT: Sales enablement is not a specific step-by-step plan. So don’t be fooled by an application or software that claims it can provide sales enablement for you because you still have to do the work to develop the strategy and plan, including tactics or activities. Take into consideration that this will depend upon your organization’s size, resources, industry and life cycle.
All organizations — no matter their size, industry or life cycle — can benefit from adopting sales enablement. Strategic planning is a partner to success. I want to stress the point that even small business owners can and will benefit from adopting sales enablement.
These are my top three reasons you should adopt sales enablement at your organization:
Plan your work and work your plan. Always have a strategy and plan so your team members know what you want and expect. Engage them in the process. Ask them what is going well and what could be better. Make sure they know exactly what the sales goals are and how their activities contribute to achieving those goals. During your planning session with team members, ask them vital questions to learn what obstacles they face and what their prospects are telling them they need from your products/services. Be sure to include your entire team in the process, including marketing and sales support. When people take part in the process to develop a strategy and plan, they buy in and deliver higher-than-expected results.
Training is key. What if we train them and they leave to work with our competitors? The better question to ask is, what if we don’t and they stay? Yikes! Training is a key component of a successful sales enablement program. Now that a strategy and plan have been developed to ensure success, empower your team with the knowledge and skills for successful outcomes. Your sales team relies heavily on you for direction. It is up to you to guide, lead and point team members to victory with proper training and encouragement. Review your current training material to ensure relevancy and refresh with new content. Consider a monthly training workshop as a part of your sales meeting. Use articles, videos and guest speakers or hire a professional trainer to customize a program for you and your organization.
Tools can help unlock opportunities. Your sales process and the team will be successful only if you have the right tools in place for salespeople to do their job — and that is to sell. For example, you need collateral that is powerful in messaging and easy to present that provides your team with the ability to have natural, engaging conversations with prospects. Another great example is a “qualifying questionnaire” that supports conversational discovery to properly qualify a prospect to either be placed in the pipeline as a qualified lead or not.
Adopting a sales enablement approach or philosophy is just good business and an effective way to drive sustainable revenue. In essence, it is your personalized, customized “road map” to sales and revenue goal achievement. So, I will leave you with this question: Do you want to enable your team to drive sales?