What Is Sales Enablement? Process, Framework and Tools

Sales Enablement is a term that is used to describe the process of helping businesses to become more productive through agile selling techniques. Sales Enablement is a vital part of every business organisation. It is critical that sales enablement is not only developed and implemented, but also the people and processes are also properly managed.

No matter what company you work for, sales is a crucial aspect of your company and it is a very important part of your business. Sales enablement is a part of that sales process which aims to improve your sales team’s performance and productivity by offering training, tools and other support.

Sales enablement is a term that has become a buzzword in the B2B technology industry. Sales enablement is about delivering value to your client through effective sales processes and sales enablement tools.

Check out businesses with the finest sales enablement programs to discover what selling on steroids looks like. You’ll find a dynamic environment, with many things increasing — such as revenue, productivity, and win rates — and many things decreasing — such as speed to revenue, sale cycle time, customer turnover, and staff attrition rate.

Sales enablement is a roller coaster experience that propels sales teams to peak performance and customers to brand loyalty where it counts.

Aberdeen discovered that businesses with effective Sales Enablement initiatives had the following characteristics:

  • a 32 percent increase in team sales quota achievement,
  • Individual quota performance improved by 24%, and
  • Lead conversion rate increased by 23%.

Furthermore, over 75% of businesses who use sales enablement technologies report increased sales in the last year, with almost 40% reporting increases of 25% or more. And 59 percent of businesses that surpassed their sales goals (72 percent by 25% or more) had established Wales Enablement roles. Only 30% of underperforming companies can make that claim.

Sales Enablement clearly has a wide and strong effect on company performance, which means it is no longer a choice. In today’s marketplace, it’s critical for survival, development, and success. (You can learn more about sales enablement in my new book, Sales Enablement 3.0.)

We’ll go over all you need to know about Sales Enablement in this tutorial.

    1. Definition of Sales Enablement
    2. Framework for Sales Enablement
    3. The Five Steps to Sales Enablement
    4. Sales Enablement Software and Tools
    5. KPIs & Metrics for Sales Enablement
    6. Best Practices in Sales Enablement
    7. Getting Started With Sales Enablement: Key Takeaways

What is the definition of sales enablement?

Sales enablement refers to providing the appropriate tactics, tools, information, and other resources to your sales staff in order to assist them succeed. The emphasis of good sales enablement tools and content is on the customer, allowing sales representatives to target the appropriate customers and improve engagement by providing relevant information.

sales enablement

After twenty years of success in a variety of sales training, productivity, and enablement positions, I’ve reduced my definition to the following:

“Getting the right people in the right conversations with the right decision makers in the right way” is at the heart of sales enablement. Through scalable and repeatable processes, we cut down the complexity of Sales Enablement into tangible concepts that lead to higher revenue.”

It all boils down to increasing productivity via a methodical approach to content support that generates more income. Of course, an emphasis on measurements, monitoring, and reporting to prove the ROI that you and/or your team provide to the business goes hand in hand with that.

Isn’t it easy enough to do? If you think it’s that easy, I’d like to offer you a “renowned” bridge near San Francisco!

The most serious issue with “Sales Enablement” is that there is no universally recognized definition.

The term “sales enablement” refers to a collection of several sales functions.

sales enablement definition

If you ask, “What is Sales Enablement?” you’ll get a lot of different answers. You’ll receive 10 different responses if you ask ten different individuals. Some may argue that it is just a matter of practice. Others would argue that the key to long-term success is onboarding new workers and establishing a strong foundational experience.

Another side will argue that it all boils down to ensuring that salespeople have access to sales tools, templates, and procedures.

Finally, others would argue that it’s about going to whatever length to guarantee that a company’s message and positioning are consistently communicated to prospects and consumers. I’m willing to bet that it’s a mix of all of these factors.

Recognizing the significance of Sales Enablement

As Sales Enablement specialists, we often lament the fact that top executives are unaware of the significance of our work and do not recognize the value we provide. However, we are at fault in many instances for this lack of understanding and appreciation, and here’s why:

  1. We don’t always speak the business language, and we don’t always do a good job of strategically aligning our initiatives with their objectives.
  2. When it comes to defining the intended impact and agreeing on roles and duties, there is sometimes a lack of efficient communication.
  3. Most significantly, we seldom associate our worth with measures related to influencing greater incremental revenue.

One of your main objectives should be to offer a path for moving from being regarded as “training” to being recognized as a real business partner with sales and various lines of business.

Framework for Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is often thought of as a link between marketing and sales, but it is much more. The main tasks of sales enablement — and the roles of its team members — are to develop a procedure, or framework, to guarantee that marketing and sales are working toward the same revenue goals.

A communication feedback loop between sales operations and marketing is required for an effective sales enablement system. Sales teams feed marketing information from leads, prospects, and customers, and marketing responds by creating better content that helps sales teams achieve their objectives and generate more money.

We’ll go through essential functionalities and team structure for your sales enablement framework in this part. Then we’ll get down to business with the procedures and tools.

Who’s in charge of sales enablement?

Almost half of businesses with sales enablement teams, according to CSO Insights, are headed by their head of sales. Sales enablement teams may report to marketing, sales operations, or senior leadership in the other half. Sales Enablement may include a variety of roles, depending on the company or implementation architecture.

What components make up a sales enablement strategy?

The aim of sales enablement is to increase seller productivity and improve the buyer experience by aligning the intersecting aspects of sales, marketing, customer service, product/brand management, legal, and human resources. These are the most common:

  1. CRMs and other technological resources are optimized (sales orchestration)
  2. creation of content (sales communication)
  3. Onboarding, performance analysis, enabling, and mentoring are all aspects of talent management.
  4. Customer satisfaction (buyer journey optimization)
  5. Continual process improvements (sales collaboration)

In certain ways, it focuses on the seller-buyer relationship, as well as the tools, systems, methods, and procedures that improve involvement. It maximizes value (measured in return on investment) for both the buyer and the seller over time.

As a result, one of Sales Enablement’s most consistent tasks is to assist in fine-tuning an organization’s sales process so that it precisely matches with the path of its prospects and customers.

Prospects and consumers become more emotionally engaged in a brand after complete alignment is achieved (company, sales team, product). Win rates, repeat business, referrals, sales cycles, and customer satisfaction all increase as a result.

sales enablement key functions

What should the structure of your sales enablement team be?

Unlike well-established departments like Finance and Human Resources, the structure of Sales Enablement teams varies significantly across companies.

Sales Enablement began as a part of the larger area of Sales Operations or as a function done singly or collectively by other business units (sales, marketing, customer service, etc.) in support of revenue-oriented objectives in the early years.

sales enablement team structure

As Sales Enablement develops, it will become its own department. Some businesses who had it as part of their Sales Operations unit are now running it as two separate divisions inside the sales organization.

TOPO, a research and consulting organization, advises that a company’s sales and marketing divisions take equal responsibility of Sales Enablement and cooperate on it.

They believe that marketing should be in charge of content creation, while sales should be in charge of “operationalizing” the content/communications assets that assist sellers improve customer engagement and discussions.

Examples of sales enablement

Sales Enablement may affect processes and profitability in a variety of ways. Here are a few typical approaches:

1. Create a long-term plan that includes particular tools, procedures, and scalable, repeatable best practices for each position. This may be accomplished by collaborating with the sales team to establish precise objectives, deliverables, milestones, and responsibilities.

2. Facilitate seller and buyer access to on-demand, in-context, and high-quality engagement materials to improve discussions and conversion rates.

3. Break down departmental divisions in your business to eliminate contradictory signals among potential purchasers. It’s critical to have company-wide communication solutions that immediately alert everyone about new resources or process changes.

4. Increase profits and scale expansion by systematizing sales training and coaching to provide best-in-class results.

5. Use cloud-based technology solutions that monitor interaction with branded material to get complete insight into consumer behavior.

6. Usage advanced data analytics tools to provide actionable insights on the most promising or lucrative prospects, as well as sales enablement software to guide the use of the appropriate material for each.

7. Communicate early and frequently with Sales, Sales Enablement, and the various areas of business to achieve engagement, commitment, and adoption.

Let’s have a look at the 5-step sales enablement process now.

The Five Steps to Sales Enablement

The procedures that are essential to Sales Enablement are continuously changing, much like their structure. The sales enablement process focuses on the discovery, mapping out bespoke solutions, and delivering those solutions in the early to middle stages of the sales cycle. Although Sales Operations is usually in charge of the latter phases, such as negotiating and completing agreements. For the whole sales process to function, both the sales enablement and sales operations teams must be closely linked with marketing.

sales enablement process

1. Create strong target customer personas that your sales representative will really utilize.

Your marketing team most likely already has a handful of buyer personas for email campaigns, SEO, or PPC by the time you read this. Are these personalities, however, well-suited for use in sales?

Because your sales representatives are the ones who really speak with prospects and customers, they may have important insights that may be included into these personas. Your sales representatives will be able to do the following after they’ve aligned with the marketing team:

  • Find the appropriate buyers.
  • Create campaigns that are effective.
  • Enhance your sales cycle.

Most importantly, your sales representatives would utilize the profiles created to make sales interactions more effective, resonate with customers, and generate more money than if they sent the identical message to everyone.

2. Match the sales cycle to the buyer’s journey.

Marketing and sales teams must pay attention to the customer’s experience as a result of developing buyer personas.

  • What factors influence a buyer’s decision?
  • What kind of information are they looking for?
  • What sources do they use to get this data?
  • What formats do they consume that data in?
  • What criteria do they use to choose one option over another?
  • Before making a purchase, who do they consult?
  • What are the most common objections they raise?

You may put on your buyer persona’s hat and think like them to optimize your sales process, and then connect your sales process with the buyer’s requirements and queries at every step from beginning to finish.

Even better, you could go directly to the source and get information from your customer-facing sales people as well as prospects.

Check out our webinar on how to link your sales process to the buyer’s journey for more information.

3. Match marketing material to each customer profile and stage of the sales cycle.

It’s simple to match content with each step of the buyer’s journey when you have a customer-centric mentality.

Breaking down the buyer’s journey into three phases is the first step:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision

The second step is to create a content strategy that focuses on answering the most common queries your prospects have. Your strategy should also contain a content distribution plan that pushes information to the channels where your prospects may be found.

Awareness

For prospects who are aware of the issue but not of the potential solutions, content for the awareness stage would be more on the problem or pain points. The following are examples of easy-to-consume items:

  • Articles for the blog
  • Videos that explain things
  • Podcasts or webinars
  • Content for social media
  • Infographics

Consideration

In this stage, prospects are more solution-aware and their purchase intent is rising. At this point, they need more in-depth content than the top-of-the-funnel stuff like blog posts and explainer videos. The meatier content formats would include downloadable resources:

  • White papers are a kind of paper that is used
  • Guides
  • Datasheets
  • Comparisons
  • Ebooks

Decision

Buyers at the decision or purchase stage are close to making a purchase, but they require assurance that they are making the correct selection. The following are examples of content that nudges or supports their decision:

  • Case studies are used to illustrate a point (use cases, customer stories)
  • Reports from the industry
  • Tools
  • Audits or demonstrations
  • Landing pages with a high conversion rate

4. Tailor sales communication tools to better engage customers.

The topic of buyer communication in 2021 may be summed up in a single word: mobile.

Salespeople will increasingly need to communicate with prospective customers through Android or iPhone applications. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram may be included in these applications.

These social media technologies may be used with chatbots, video conferencing, and calendar scheduling systems to expand the number of contact points throughout the buyer’s journey, allowing sales teams to be more productive.

For more ideas on what you might utilize for your sales enablement process, check out our full list of sales tools (updated for 2021).

5. Act as a channel of communication between prospects, customers, marketing, sales, and product teams.

It’s essential to realize that sales representatives can’t handle everything on their own when it comes to sales enablement tools and procedures. Multiple teams and disciplines are involved in sales enablement, with the client at the center.

While sales representatives may have a lot of expertise speaking with prospective clients and resolving their concerns, they must share their knowledge with marketing and product teams. Existing customers may also provide useful information to customer success teams.

These findings should be utilized by marketing to develop or improve better sales enablement material to assist sales teams in achieving their objectives and generating more money.

We cannot stress this point enough: it takes more than qualified sellers to achieve business goals. Top talent needs ongoing enablement and coaching to build knowledge, hone skills, and harness resources to drive customer conversions, sales velocity, and win rates.

To maintain its salesforce in top condition, companies should have seminars, workshops, mentorships, and other training programs in addition to a dynamic, comprehensive, and readily available knowledge base.

Sales Enablement Software and Tools

Without access to the proper tools, sending bright and highly trained salespeople out into the field may not always result in success. Powerful technologies that enhance interactions, reduce sales cycles, or produce important company insights offer a game-changing edge in a highly competitive environment.

Every sales opportunity will be maximized with the proper combination of CRMs, content libraries, and engagement processes.

Videos, articles, infographics, social media assets, slideshows, podcasts, mobile applications, and other types of material may all be found in a unified content library or platform for sales. What makes this helpful, though, is how quickly a sales person can choose the most appropriate piece of information to deliver to a prospect at a certain point of the customer journey.

BI analytics platforms, sales intelligence software, content management tools, CRMs like Hubspot or Salesforce, lead generating tools, and, most crucially, sales enablement software should all be part of your entire sales toolkit.

Here are a few popular sales enablement tools, along with a brief description of what they do:

  • Accent Accelerate: Get complete insight into prospects, sales activity, and customer behavior with Accent Accelerate.
  • Highspot: Delivers information based on AI and machine learning for each unique situation.
  • Klyck: Provides representatives with the ability to create interactive presentations from inside the platform.
  • Seismic is an enterprise content management system that tells sales representatives which material has the most effect.
  • Showpad: Assists your sales staff in locating and sharing relevant information in any scenario.
  • Veelo is an AI-based solution that assists sales representatives in rapidly reaching optimum performance.

Whether you’re searching for sales enablement software or other sales tools like CRMs, there are hundreds of choices available. However, it’s critical to utilize the appropriate sales tools for your business and buyer’s journey.

RELATED: Looking for the Perfect Sales Tech Stack? Here’s What’s Working Right Now

Common Sales Enablement Metrics & KPIs

Depending on how the unit is structured and the areas it is assigned to concentrate on, different companies use different metrics to assess their sales enablement efforts.

Here are 10 metrics that this function usually monitors:

sales enablement kpis and metrics

1. Revenue Timeline (Sales Cycle Length)

The average time it takes to complete a sale is referred to as this statistic. To properly evaluate this, you’ll need a consistent start and finish point for the sales cycle. When a prospective buyer pays or enters a contract, determining the end point is simple. What will, however, be the starting point? It’s up to you and your sales team to determine whether a lead becomes a MQL, a SQL, or an opportunity.

2. Attainment of Quotas

The proportion of team members that regularly achieve or exceed quotas is known as quota attainment. While tracking sales team performance over time inside your business may be beneficial, it is not recommended to place too much emphasis on it when recruiting new sales representatives.

3. Conversion Rate of Leads

This is a count of the number of leads that have been turned into clients or customers. In most cases, the lead conversion rate is given as a percentage.

This KPI may be split down into sub-KPIs for longer sales cycles, such as the MQL-to-SQL conversion rate and the SQL-to-Opportunity conversion rate.

  • The proportion of MQLs that are converted to SQLs throughout the buyer’s journey is measured by the MQL-to-SQL conversion rate.
  • SQL-to-Opportunity conversion rate: estimates the percentage of SQLs that are converted into a high-scored lead in the sales funnel.

The MQL-to-SQL and SQL-to-Opportunity conversion rates are measures for the steps between a new lead and a winning contract that have been closed. These indicators show the quality of each, as well as how effectively your marketing and sales development teams classify leads in order to maintain a high-quality pipeline.

4. Selling Time Spent Actively

The average amount of time that salespeople spend actively engaging prospects. This may also be a metric for how productive they are. When you know who is and isn’t meeting their goals within a specific time period, you can adjust your training and offer better tools to help your whole sales staff perform better.

5. Content Utilization

Is content being used by your sales representatives to educate and convert prospective customers? This measure assesses the effectiveness of each piece of content based on the number of unique visitors, the length of time consumers spend on it, and other measurable criteria.

6. Transition Rates in the Sales Funnel

Transition rates from one step of the funnel to the next (for example, from prospect to marketing qualified lead, from sales qualified lead to won opportunity, and finally from won opportunity to completed transaction).

7. Winning Percentage

This one should go without saying. Simply said, it’s the ratio of closed won transactions to total won and lost deals.

8. Purchase Price Average

Depending on the price of your goods or services as well as how long your clients remain with your business, each completed transaction may result in comparable or different purchase values. The average purchase value is the sum of all the income generated by each sale.

9. Total Number of Deals Closed

This is just the amount of transactions that have been engaged/closed in a certain period, regardless of whether they have been won or lost.

10. Product Combination

The proportion of products/solutions included in a completed transaction is known as product mix.

You can track the success of your sales enablement teams, how much time they spend on each job, and the material they use to move prospective buyers through the customer journey with a variety of additional sales enablement indicators.

Best Practices in Sales Enablement

The choice to use Sales Enablement to help sellers, keep customers happy, and increase revenue comes with the added duty of putting industry best practices into reality.

Here’s how to make sure your Sales Enablement program is best-in-class:

1. Establish clear goals for your Sales Enablement program.

The objectives should be to generate specific, transformational, and quantifiable improvements in the company and its performance, not simply to assist the sales force in general. It may be to enhance profits, upgrade the technological stack, or achieve other strategic objectives.

2. Make Sales Enablement available to all parties involved.

If sellers face obstacles in implementing a program, it will fail to deliver on its promise.

Make sure that all of your salespeople are aware of your sales enablement resources and are familiar with how to use them. Playbooks and engagement materials should be consistent and up to date across the company. To maximize the advantages of Sales Enablement, use excellent communication and training.

3. Make salespeople more buyer-centric by using Sales Enablement.

In the digital economy, where power has already moved to customers, customer centricity has become a success element. Align the program with the buyer’s journey and personalize each interaction to provide the greatest possible buyer experience.

4. Adopt a sales strategy As a corporate mentality, enablement is important.

Encourage a culture in which all non-sales employees consider themselves to be members of the sales support team. In the meanwhile, make sales training a continuous process for your sales team.

5. Increase Sales Transparent, comprehensive, and quantifiable enablement

The sales team should be able to make precise and quantitative evaluations of the effectiveness of each sales enablement initiative. The remainder of the company’s IT stack should likewise be synchronized with sales enablement assets.

6. Enhance and develop sales Enablement procedures are carried out on a regular basis.

This is a field that is constantly changing. Stakeholders should have an open mind when it comes to technology advancements and new methods that may help them enhance their existing capabilities.

You must be prepared to adapt the way you assist your prospects and customers when their mindsets, actions, and requirements evolve. To put it another way, “learn their language.” Don’t hold your breath that they’ll pick up on yours.”

Getting Started with Sales Enablement (Key Takeaways)

Sales enablement success is a team sport!

How do you ensure your salesmen are in tip-top condition and your money isn’t being squandered? Through tools like feedback systems and key performance indicators, you may evaluate your performance.

Working with sales First Line Managers (FLMs) to adopt the appropriate performance measures will provide you with a 360-degree view of seller efficiency in meeting goals and how to enhance further.

With changing consumer habits, sales enablement has become not only useful but also essential, particularly in the B2B sector.

As competition becomes more intense, the need to integrate sales enablement into company culture has grown more critical.

Finally, if your organization considers sales enablement to be the “fixer of broken things,” you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Although sales are not broken, they may always be improved!

The key to positioning sales enablement as a revenue generator rather than a cost center is to work closely with first-line managers and senior sales executives to match sales enablement KPIs with revenue performance.


Also available on Medium.

A sales enablement program is a holistic collection of people, processes and tools that are designed to support sales staff and increase their effectiveness and efficiency. Sales enablement programs are tools that can be used to improve an organization’s sales process and outcomes. A sales enablement program should be designed to support the sales department, sales reps and customers.. Read more about sales enablement roles and responsibilities and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are sales enablement tools?

Sales enablement tools are the tools that help salespeople sell more. These include things like CRM, marketing automation, and customer support software.

What are sales enablement strategies?

Sales enablement strategies are methods used to increase sales. They can be as simple as providing a discount or offering free shipping, or they can be more complex like using marketing tactics and advertising campaigns.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • sales enablement tools examples
  • sales enablement framework
  • sales enablement content
  • sales enablement hubspot
  • sales enablement roles and responsibilities