How To Create a Sales Enablement Strategy To Improve the Sales Process

How To Create a Sales Enablement Strategy To Improve the Sales Process

In today's business landscape, your sales team is probably operating remotely and connecting with prospective customers digitally. This calls for an update to your sales enablement strategy. Digital sales enablement ensures that your marketing and sales teams can work together effectively. It also makes the entire selling process more efficient and helps your team transition to the digital-focused environment they're now working in. Ultimately, it helps your sales team focus on what they do best so that they can close more deals and increase revenue for your company.

What Is Digital Sales Enablement?

Digital sales enablement is the strategic, ongoing process of making sure that your sales team has easy access to all the resources they need in the new digital sales environment. This means putting all of your content, data, and training materials into a single platform that sales reps can access from anywhere. When your sales team has the resources they need, they can perform better and make more sales.

Collaboration between departments is essential for making this work. Sales enablement needs to be a joint project of your sales and marketing teams. These two departments should be able to make adjustments as they pass feedback back and forth. Your marketing team creates content, which the sales team shares with leads. Then, the marketing team makes adjustments based on sales' reports of how well the content performed. A digital sales enablement platform makes this collaborative process smoother.

Why Is a Sales Enablement Strategy Important?

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Creating a cohesive sales enablement strategy ensures that your sales team has the materials they need to connect with leads and sell successfully. It also makes the entire sales process and the team's operations more efficient.

Lets Your Team Spend More Time on Sales

Your company needs a sales enablement strategy to stay competitive in today's sales environment. A digital sales enablement system will keep all of your sales content in one place that's accessible from anywhere. This means your sales team won't have to spend time looking for the right piece of content or dealing with paper documents, which frees up time for them to spend on building customer relationships and actually making sales. The average sales rep only spends about one-third of their time actually selling. Digital sales enablement tools can increase this percentage.

Enables Faster and More Efficient Onboarding

Training and reference materials are important components of sales enablement. Onboarding new salespeople takes time. More than 42% of new sales reps take at least 10 months to perform well enough to actually contribute to their company's overall sales targets.  A digital sales enablement platform shortens and streamlines this process. Your new reps will be able to follow the buyer's journey from both the sales and the customer perspectives, which will let them efficiently develop an understanding of your product's features and benefits. They'll also be able to watch what your more experienced and successful reps are doing through the platform's metrics reports. This is another effective way for your new team members to get up to speed and understand what works when selling to your customer base.

Allows for Customized Training As You See Gaps in Sales Process

Most ongoing training for sales only takes place once a year. Given how fast the world and customer preferences change, this isn't often enough. With your digital sales enablement platform, you'll be able to create updated training materials as soon as you see the need. Then, your sales team will be able to complete these brief training sessions from anywhere. Frequent, flexible training is much more useful than longer, less dynamic alternatives.

How To Build a Successful Sales Enablement Strategy

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Before you invest in digital sales enablement tools, it's important to think about how these tools will become part of your overall sales enablement strategy. Building a thoughtful strategy ensures that your sales team will be able to use their new tools to become more efficient and more effective while adapting to the modern sales landscape. The following steps will help you get started with your strategy.

1. Identify Holes in Your Sales Process

Start by taking a close look at your existing sales process. Your sales enablement strategy is an opportunity to smooth over any difficult points in this process. You'll need to identify those problem areas so you know what to adjust.

Review Your Process To See What's Missing

Looking at your sales enablement process alongside your buyer's journey is a great way to identify gaps. Your sales reps need the right information to share with prospective buyers at the right points in the journey. Aligning your process with your buyer's process is associated with an 8.1% better success rate in winning new customers. This is also a good time to audit and catalogue your content. Understand what material you have available and look for areas where prospective customers could benefit from more content.

Track Metrics To See Where Your Team Falls Short

Once you've followed your buyer's path, look at performance data to see where your team might be falling short of its potential. For example, review cases where a lead tried your demo, and compare those that did or did not choose your product. These patterns might reveal a problem that your sales enablement strategy can fix. For example, if a step in your process takes too long and causes leads to lose interest, you can use your sales enablement tools to speed things up where it matters.

2. Use Data To Inform Sales Strategy

Like most parts of business, modern selling relies on good data. Your sales enablement strategy is no different. There are a few key points to keep in mind.

Don't Overwhelm Your Sales Team With Information

Data is great, but too much data or the wrong data is much less helpful. The sales and marketing-related data points that might be relevant to your sales team are virtually unlimited, so it's important to narrow down the key points for your team to focus on. The goal of digital sales enablement is to increase sales by freeing up time and energy for your sales reps to focus on selling. Getting useful insights from data takes time. Your sales team doesn't need to get bogged down in data that's irrelevant to their roles. Instead, they need the details that will help them understand customers’ needs and answer prospective customers' questions and concerns. Design your digital sales enablement tools to highlight these points.

Establish Goals and Identify KPIs

Of course, your ultimate goal is to increase sales. However, your strategy will be more effective if you choose narrower goals to focus on. This might mean focusing on a certain lead demographic or a certain point in the sales funnel to improve performance. Then, identify which metrics are the best suited to measure success in these areas. You might consider operational goals like decreasing the time your sales reps spend on administrative work in addition to more results-oriented KPIs like conversion rates.

Define Success at Each Level

You can't tell if you've succeeded if you don't clearly define success ahead of time. Setting specific numerical goals, like closing the deal with 10% more buyers at the decision stage or sending 20% more follow-up emails to prospects, make measuring progress simple. Since sales enablement is an ongoing, constantly adaptive process, you can make quick adjustments if you aren't meeting your goals.

3. Provide Content to Sales Team with Context

Content management is a key part of digital sales enablement. Your digital sales enablement tools should make it easier for your sales reps to access the right pieces of content at the right time. Seeing all the content that's available in one place makes it easier to see where a particular item fits into the overall picture and when it might be the most useful.

Leverage a Content-Aware Strategy

It's important that your sales reps know what content is available to them and how it performs. In many companies, sales teams produce as much or even more content than marketing teams do. Since content is coming from multiple departments, it needs to be organized in a central content library. Sales and marketing both need to see what content exists so they can avoid duplicating each other's efforts or producing content that isn't really useful. This awareness also needs to be combined with analytics that show how each piece of content performs. This lets the sales team choose the most effective content to show to prospective buyers and helps members of both teams produce better content.

Identify Which Content Can Be Used Throughout the Sales Funnel

Content remains essential throughout the sales funnel, but sales teams don't always make good use of it. As much as 90% of marketing content doesn't get used by sales, and only 9% is used more than five times. This can happen because of a disconnect between teams in which the content marketing is producing isn't what sales is looking for. However, many companies don't make all of their content easy to find, so sales reps overlook it or can't access it quickly enough. When a lead expresses curiosity or asks for more information, the sales rep needs to respond with the relevant piece of content as quickly as possible.

Email templates are another incredibly useful piece of content that can help your team spend less time on connecting with leads while doing so effectively. Even if your sales team doesn't directly use top of the funnel content like social media or blog posts, they should be aware of what that content looks like. This is the initial impression or general sense of brand awareness that new leads will have, so being familiar with it will help keep the buyer and the sales rep on the same page.

Recognize That All Material Your Business Uses Is Sales Enablement Material

Your digital sales enablement process will usually focus more on in-depth, later stage content like case studies and white papers. However, it's important to recognize that all of your business's content and data is potentially relevant for sales enablement. Your sales team needs access to all the content your company produces, as well as the analytics data on how that content performs. This also extends to information from other teams, like user experience.

4. Enable Your Sales Team by Providing Them The Right Tools

At 68% of companies, sales teams need to sort through five or more storage sites to find all the content and data that's available. The two major components of your digital sales enablement process are the sales enablement software itself and your content library.

Digital Sales Enablement Platforms

There are several platforms that make it simple for your sales team to track leads throughout the buyer's journey and customize the messaging that customers receive at different points in the process. These tools help your sales reps work more efficiently by keeping their customer details and communications organized. Some of these platforms include:

Content Library

Your content library is a centralized place to store all the content your sales reps need to access. You can do this in Google Docs, a company Wiki, or in a customer relationship management tool. The best platform for your content library will depend on the types and quantity of content you're working with and which platforms your company already uses. The important thing is to have everything easily available in one place.

Remote Access

Like many white collar employees, sales professionals have embraced the shift to remote work. Now, 96% of sales teams operate either entirely or partially remotely. Your sales enablement process needs to fit this digital environment. Your team will need to access their materials from wherever they're working at the moment, so your system needs to support convenient remote access.

Change Management: How to Transition Your Team to Embrace a Change in Strategy

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Your company might already be using a fairly centralized and effective process for managing the sales process. If this is the case, adopting a digital sales enablement strategy might be a small refinement of your system. However, in some companies, this will be a more dramatic change. In this case, good management is essential for creating a smooth transition.

Activate Leadership

Start by making sure that all the relevant leaders in your company understand why digital sales enablement is important and what sort of system you're planning to move toward. This conversation will naturally center on the heads of your sales and marketing teams. Depending on the scope of the change at your company, you may need to appoint someone to run the digital sales enablement project and coordinate between the two departments.

Align All Teams

Sales enablement is ultimately a collaboration between sales and marketing, so these teams need to agree on the new strategy. Communicate the same information about the importance of the transition to both of these teams. Make sure to bring in support from any other teams or departments that might be involved as well. For example, if you'll need IT support or approval to set up a new software program, ensure that that team stays up to date on the project. Make sure that all of the teams involved are aligned on what the terms and metrics they're using mean and how content will be tagged and organized. You'll lose the value of a centralized content library if sales and marketing are using different tag formats and can't find each other's content.

Shift From Traditional to Digital Sales Force

While sales has traditionally been a face to face business, 70% of B2B decision makers are now open to a fully remote purchase experience. Becoming a digital sales force can be difficult for reps who are used to tradition, but it's necessary to keep up with changing buyer expectations. With buy-in from sales, marketing, and any other related teams, you'll be able to run a smooth and effective transition.

How Steel Croissant Can Help

Transitioning to digital sales enablement isn't just about purchasing or installing new software. It involves a comprehensive strategy that includes all of the content and data from your sales and marketing teams. Designing this strategy can be complicated. Steel Croissant can deliver a complete strategy that's customized to work for your team's unique needs. We'll provide a clear roadmap for the content you should offer throughout the buyer's journey to ensure that your sales and marketing teams stay perfectly aligned. Contact Steel Croissant to discuss your digital sales enablement strategy today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Sales enablement is a strategic approach that equips sales teams with the tools, resources, and training necessary to enhance their efficiency and effectiveness throughout the sales process. It is essential for businesses as it ensures that sales representatives are well-equipped to engage with prospects, deliver compelling messages, and ultimately close deals. By aligning marketing, sales, and customer success efforts, sales enablement contributes to a more streamlined and cohesive sales process, fostering better customer relationships and driving revenue growth.

Assessing the need for a sales enablement strategy involves evaluating the current state of sales processes, identifying pain points, and understanding the challenges faced by sales teams. Analyze sales performance metrics, gather feedback from the sales team, and assess the alignment between marketing efforts and sales execution. A need for a sales enablement strategy becomes evident when there are gaps in communication, knowledge transfer, or when sales teams encounter difficulties in effectively engaging with prospects.

A comprehensive sales enablement strategy should include several key components. These comprise sales training programs, content creation and optimization, sales technology integration, and the development of buyer personas. Additionally, fostering collaboration between marketing and sales teams, providing ongoing coaching and support, and implementing feedback mechanisms contribute to a well-rounded sales enablement strategy that addresses the diverse needs of the sales process.

Sales enablement enhances the onboarding process for new sales representatives by providing structured training programs, comprehensive sales playbooks, and access to relevant resources. By offering insights into the buyer's journey, value propositions, and effective sales techniques, new hires can quickly adapt to the company's sales culture and approach. Sales enablement also facilitates continuous learning through ongoing coaching, enabling sales reps to stay updated on product knowledge, market trends, and best practices, ensuring they are well-prepared for successful customer interactions.

Businesses should monitor various metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the success of their sales enablement strategy. These include conversion rates, deal velocity, sales productivity, and win rates. Additionally, tracking the usage and effectiveness of sales enablement tools, as well as obtaining feedback from both the sales team and customers, provides valuable insights. Regularly assessing these metrics allows businesses to fine-tune their sales enablement strategy, ensuring continuous improvement and alignment with overarching business objectives.