How to Implement Sales Enablement

Content about improving sales processes, and particularly inbound sales, is incredibly saturated. There’s no shortage of sales strategy advice and supporting content available for savvy businesses to learn and improve from. However, there’s not a ton of information on the actual execution of those strategies. 

December 24, 2019
6 Minute Read

Marketing

Content about improving sales processes, and particularly inbound sales, is incredibly saturated. There’s no shortage of sales strategy advice and supporting content available for savvy businesses to learn and improve from. However, there’s not a ton of information on the actual execution of those strategies. 

Sales enablement is one of these very strategies; it’s a shift in strategy and focus that serves to unite sales and marketing teams, empower sales with proper resources and documents, and ultimately, reduce sales cycles. 

But where do you start with a sales enablement strategy? What are the steps to making it all work?

Determine Your Sales Enablement Goals

To understand how to implement sales enablement, you should consider your objectives and work backward from there. The core deliverables from sales enablement are:

  • Faster sales cycles: availability of information and assets/content provided through sales enablement naturally creates faster deals (and happier sales teams).

  • Improved data: tools and tech provide greater access to data through marketing automation. Contacts and lists are more detailed and consistent across departments.

  • Marketing and sales alignment: internal data and deal transparency result in proper, appropriately-timed hand-offs between marketing and sales, as well as sales and service.

  • Enhanced sales training: sales enablement streamlines onboarding new sales reps, and creates a level playing field for top sales performers and newer hires. Reps have access to the same content and resources, as well as contact and market information.

With this understanding, it’s time to focus on the actual implementation of sales enablement.

How to Implement a Sales Enablement Strategy

Step 1: Review Your Sales Process and Synchronize Teams

The first step in any successful sales enablement implementation is reviewing current processes for gaps or improvement areas, as well as opportunities. To get started, you should: 

  • Identify where and how marketing is collecting information for sales, and how your sales team utilizes this information.
  • Identify the apps, extensions, and other tools are your reps using at various stages in the sales cycle.
  • Identify both cross-team and individual key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics.
  • Determine how often sales, marketing, and service teams are meeting to review deals and opportunities.
  • Review data from current assets and sales communications.
  • Map information from all of the above to your ideal buyer’s journey, from first contact to final agreement or sale.

This is the perfect opportunity to audit the sales and marketing assets your team is currently using, and get a clearer idea of what assets they could and should be using. 

A complete content audit of your marketing information and sales process will help you create a resource library, providing your sales team much of the firepower they need to close a deal.

Step 2: Set the Team Up for Success with Sales Enablement Tools

Before you open conversations about changing the sales process or realigning teams, you can use this opportunity to better equip your team with efficient sales tools. 

From your audit of current tools, sales feedback, and personal research, you should be able to clearly determine sales tools that are worth the investment (free or premium). Introduce these tools, their capabilities, and how they should be utilized for maximum effect, and work with your sales teams to holistically adopt these tools. 

Listen to feedback from your team on tool performance and capabilities (particularly if the tool is offered at various pricing tiers, with different services unlocked at different tiers), and make adjustments as needed. Don’t shoot your sales team in the foot by limiting them to the free version of an otherwise incredible tool. You may also want to limit consideration to tools that are championed by a majority of the sales team.

Tools to consider include:

  • Sales and marketing CRMs, such as HubSpot’s all-in-one marketing automation platform
  • Sales intelligence and marketing intelligence software
  • Sales team communication, such as Slack
  • Content analytics
  • Content sharing and management
  • Proposal software, like Proposify or PandaDoc
  • Sales training tools and programs
  • Sales email apps

Step 3: Build Out a Sales Content Library

One of the foundational elements of sales enablement is content — that is, equipping sales with powerful content that is tailored to specific pain points and stages in the Buyer’s Journey (Awareness, Consideration, and Decision stages), as well as social proofs like case studies, testimonials, reviews, and media assets.

In some cases, businesses will already have these assets created and in regular use. In this situation, the first step to supporting your sales team with sales enablement is mapping that content to the Buyer’s Journey, and helping your team understand the value and intended result of each piece of content. 

Is the content an in-depth blog post intended to encourage readers to learn about possible solutions—or a webinar recorded to compare service types?

For sales purposes, these two types of content should be delivered at relatively specific times in the Buyer’s Journey — the blog post early on in the Awareness stage, and the latter during the Consideration stage. It doesn’t make sense to share high-level information, like a service page or most blog articles, during the Decision stage for the sake of sharing something. Doing so can actually work against a team, and give recipients the impression that their rep or your company isn’t finely attuned to their needs.

Instead, you should use this as a chance to either:

  • Identify gaps in your content library, and go forward with a plan to create those pieces of high-value content
  • Review and revise existing content with information gathered from reps, customers, and essentially any sources connected with your brand.

Step 4: Manage the Team with Sales Enablement as a Core Strategy

Companies that try and fail to implement meaningful sales enablement often do so because the strategy does not have comprehensive support. Sales enablement is a foundational strategy — it’s a potentially major shift in business culture that champions: 

  • Collaboration
  • Alignment
  • Information
  • Scalability
  • Transparency

To properly and effectively introduce a sales enablement strategy, you may need to reconfigure your internal management style to support those values.

Below are a number of management approaches that businesses successfully implementing sales enablement use; the implementations you consider should depend on team availability, growth goals, and existing processes.

  • Rework the sales manager role to incorporate the strategies and tasks of sales enablement, including guiding the process, actively monitoring its progress, and building a sales content library.

  • Hire a full-time sales enablement manager or specialist to spearhead all sales enablement projects, such as a sales and content audit, or development of new sales assets, campaigns, and sales technology stacks. This person may also be the foundational member of a sales enablement team. Later hires can be individuals that specialize in sales tech and analytics, content marketing, media production, and sales service/support.

  • Onboard an external specialist to ramp up sales enablement over a period of time, setting the framework for your team to take over at a later date.
  • Work closely with marketing and sales to divide sales enablement tasks and processes between themselves (for example, sales dedicates time to asset ideation, researching new technologies, and reviewing data, while marketing handles asset creation, marketing information, and integrations with current sales and marketing software).

However you choose to implement sales enablement, it’s important to note that the strategy as a whole is very iterative. Like all things in the digital marketing space, sales enablement is something to grow from. During implementation and regular execution, analyze how sales reps are using contact information to improve their emails and outreach, and keep track of sales and marketing initiatives to drive the process.

With this information, you should use the formative knowledge necessary to implement a strong sales enablement strategy. If you get lost in your implementation, just remember to zoom out and focus on the objectives:

  • Faster sales cycles
  • Improved data
  • Marketing/sales alignment
  • Far improved sales training
Everything you do within your sales enablement strategy should support one — if not more — of those four deliverables.

Need help introducing a complete, no-fuss sales enablement strategy? If you’re serious about getting started, reach out to Tobe Agency today! We’d love to talk.

Content about improving sales processes, and particularly inbound sales, is incredibly saturated. There’s no shortage of sales strategy advice and supporting content available for savvy businesses to learn and improve from. However, there’s not a ton of information on the actual execution of those strategies. 

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