By Christina Aiello (@ChristinaAiell6)
Sales enablement technology is revolutionizing the B2B space by equipping sales and marketing teams with a plethora of predictive tools to help them target the right people, at the right time, with the right message to close more deals.
And there’s plenty of data to prove it. Earlier this year, Heinz Marketing conducted a study of more than 500 B2B professionals to learn more about how organizations were leveraging Sales Enablement. They found that 75% of respondents using Sales Enablement resources saw sales increase, with 35% reporting an increase of greater than 25% from the previous year.
Clearly, it pays off to take some time to learn how to navigate through the best ways to go about implementing sales enablement, BUT, it’s a journey best traveled when you invest in upfront planning and make continual improvements post-launch.
So what does that mean? What separates a successful sales enablement initiative from those that are just so-so?
Here are 9 tips that will help you navigate the ins and outs of a successful sales enablement initiative…
- Give implementation time- Sales Enablement isn’t a one-and-done project; it’s a journey best traveled when you invest in upfront planning and make continual improvements post-launch. For those new to sales enablement, embarking on this journey will mean building a business case, gaining stockholder buy-in, and aligning internal resources. Those who have already begun, know that long-term success comes with program evaluation and re-evaluation every step along the way.
- Walk a mile in seller’s shoes- Spend a day with members of the sales team so that you can see, firsthand, the issues they’re facing. Taking the time to understand what a day-in-the-life of your sellers is like, will help you implement the processes and systems that work best for them. Doing so decreases the administrative burden on the salesperson so they can get back in the field instead of being kept at their desk.
- Take time to understand the current state- Talk to the top sales executives and really understand if there is a gap in information, whether it’s from product management, sales operations, or manufacturing. By doing a better job at communicating with different departments across your organization on what needs to change, you’ll increase your company’s odds of sales enablement success.
- Reinforce your content, adoption will follow– Content is the foundation of sales enablement. Being proactive about how you organize, distribute, and analyze content will set you up for long-term program success. But content doesn’t just mean marketing assets, it also means providing resources your sellers need to work effectively like coaching, access to subject matter experts, guided selling, and sales process reinforcement, etc. AND, what really matters is how you deliver all of it. If you are providing impactful content to sellers in context with what’s going on with their deals, adoption will remain high and your sellers will be more successful.
- Find a team with the right content curation skills – A sales enablement strategy is only as good as the content you put into it, which means that content masterminds like your marketing team, product-marketing team, and subject matter experts need to be on the same page right from the get-go. It takes individuals with the right combination of skill, context, and curiosity to translate data into a useful sales tool. Content curators need to help their teams understand the value of proactively managing and distributing sales content, so their buy-in is positive program outcomes. The sooner you get the right content team on board, the better off you’ll be.
- Establish a content governance policy- Sales enablement teams need to outline a plan to keep content fresh and up-to-date. If you have a content governance plan, your sellers will never have a problem finding the right content at the right time ever again. This reinforcement will help ensure alignment with content owners throughout the process and will help sellers close more deals.
- Consider the context in content- Sales reps spend hours upon hours each week creating content they need, and searching for the content required for unique prospect situations. Presenting sellers with an avalanche of content will not help them move deals along the sales cycle or influence buyers, it will bury them and halt progression. Sellers can be more efficient if content that will mobilize prospects to action is created and delivered to them at the right time in the buyer’s journey. The more selective you are with the content you’re equipping your sellers with, the more productive their engagements with customers will be.
- Leverage technology in your reinforcement strategy- Because sales intersects with so many departments, it’s easy for important information and documents to get lost in the shuffle. You can try to innovate sales as much as you want- you can send them emails, phone calls, documents, and messages but unless it’s the right time to give them those materials, it’s an information overload. A sales enablement tool is a great tool to reinforce your content strategy because it provides a single-source-of-truth to store, update, and track the usage of your content. A single source of truth allows your sales team to increase velocity and eases the burden on content owners because they can manage the entire content lifecycle in one location.
- Integrate sales enablement across the business- Creating an effective sales enablement strategy is a team effort which is why it should include different people from departments within your company. Integrating sales enablement across your business helps ensure that every direct or indirect stakeholder in the organization becomes accustomed to the new technology.
Wherever you are in your sales enablement efforts, there are resources to help you navigate the journey. Check out our newly released Buyer’s Guide– it’s got everything you need to gain executive support, secure budget, or optimize your existing program.
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