By Jillian Eyl (@MsBiz_Chicago)
The proliferation of the Internet has transformed B2B sales. Prior to the rise of technology, buyers relied on salespeople to provide much of the information needed to make a purchasing decision.
Now, buyers can access product information, reviews, and pricing at the click of a mouse. As a result, much of the purchasing decision is made long before buyers ever raise their hands to show interest in a particular product or solution.
In fact, CEB studies show that 57% of the buying journey is complete before buyers ever interact with a sales rep.
To thrive in this challenging sales landscape, marketers have invested billions of dollars in sophisticated marketing automation tools to influence buyers during the early stages of the buying process. Despite these steep investments in marketing automation, converting a potential customer into a paying one remains as difficult as ever. Salespeople are under increased pressure to influence the buying process but often lack the resources needed to add value and provide guidance, especially during the last 43% of the buyer’s journey.
Shaping this buying journey starts with effective sales enablement. You may be thinking, “What exactly is sales enablement?” Great question! It took me two years working in both Sales and Marketing at SAVO to settle on my own definition of this emerging and evolving discipline. Drumroll please…
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is a strategic approach to unite stakeholders in sales, marketing, and operations around the common goal of providing salespeople with the right resources, processes, and technology needed to sell effectively.
Okay, admittedly, that’s a mouthful. In layman’s terms…
Sales Enablement makes it easier for salespeople to sell and buyers to buy.
Let me provide a bit of background here. If you’ve ever been in sales, you’ve likely felt that there’s not enough time in the day. With so much to accomplish each day, lacking an easy way to access marketing content (that probably exists somewhere but you aren’t sure where to find it and end up staying awake until midnight to scrape together your own less-than-impressive presentation) can be frustrating. Not to mention, lacking the right resources also makes it difficult to work productively, stay on-brand, differentiate from competitors, and provide value-add to clients.
Organizations combat these drains in sales productivity by investing in sales enablement programs that allow sales teams to get their hands on expert knowledge and tailored content they can pass along to the customer, saving them from creating their own content and giving them more valuable selling time.
Effective sales enablement strategy allows companies to systematically improve sales productivity by ensuring that reps have the resources needed to take control the final 43% of the buying journey. Instead of spending this pivotal time working on non-selling tasks, salespeople should be focused on providing value during client conversations and fostering client relationships… And this is what sales enablement is all about!
Want to learn more about building a successful sales enablement program? Download the full CSO Insights Key Trends Analysis for detailed results on the 2015 Sales Enablement Optimization Study.
PS… Sales enablement strategies come in all shapes and sizes. What’s your definition of sales enablement? Is there something I missed? Do you have any tips for implementing an effective sales enablement strategy?
I’d love to hear your comments below!
You may also be interested in: