“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” This nugget by Abraham Lincoln perfectly sums up the concept of sales enablement in that it is intended to accomplish a set task strategically and effectively. You can bet that those four hours spent sharpening that ax surely made Honest Abe’s job of cutting down the tree much quicker and much more efficient.
What Does It Actually Mean?
Companies are always looking for solutions to the sales challenges of today. But, continuing with the ax analogy, when an individual is given a ‘blunt ax,’ so to speak, they simply cannot be expected to chop down as many trees in a set time frame.
So, how does 21st-century sales enablement (SE) fit into 19th-century Kentucky exactly? Well, SE is not so much the ax as it is the strategy of sharpening it. It encompasses a number of support mechanisms that empower salespeople to sell better, to sell faster, to sell more. Research shows that 65% of over-performing sales teams have a dedicated sales enablement team.
Successfully engaging potential customers through the use of smart sales tools is at the heart of what sales enablement is. It is not one single set of tools, techniques, or technologies that defines SE, but rather: "A strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training and coaching services for salespeople and front-line sales managers along the entire customer’s buying journey, powered by technology," as defined by CSO Insights.
A few factors integral to sales enablement include rep training, content development, sales software usability, performance measurement, and customer focus.
Let’s cut into these.
- Rep Training - Sales leaders need to assess how effective their training programs are, ensuring that they have the correct customer and product knowledge on hand to ensure optimal sales readiness.
- Content Development - It‘s up to the marketing team to develop quality content that engages the prospect’s interest and that meets them where they’re at in the buyer’s journey. Sales and marketing need to work closely and communicate effectively to ensure that content is aligned and continually updated.
- Sales Software Usability - Sales reps need integrated sales software that keeps all product and customer information and sessions in a single and easy-to-use platform in order to shorten sales cycles and up their wins. Sales software further support reps by providing dynamic ways to present content.
- Performance Measurement - Sales performance needs to be constantly monitored, with sales enablement strategies adjusted according to performance stats. Sales software that is able to deliver real-time visibility into customer engagements is particularly useful. In-depth analytics that allows sales teams to see what customers are engaging with, which content they find helpful, and which sales techniques are most effective are a must for reps who want to optimize their pitches. Analytics can also work to monitor sales rep performance and identify any individual issues impeding sales and impacting revenue.
- Customer Focus - Deploying effective, easy-to-use customer support solutions are essential. Smart sales enablement software, such as ScreenMeet, makes it easy for reps to answer any questions customers may have while they’re browsing online, and facilitate them with online shopping navigation via co-browsing and video chat.
Who is Responsible for Sales Enablement?
In order to ensure success, it is necessary to outline a responsibility framework, so every link in the sales chain can see where they fit into the sales-enablement picture. Here, the RACI framework is a helpful and commonly used guide as it outlines who or which department is responsible for what in the sales enablement process. Bear in mind though, that it may look slightly different depending on your company size.
- Responsible: Sales enablement lead.
- Accountable: VP of Sales Enablement or VP of Marketing.
- Consulted: VP of Sales, content creators, sales operations.
- Informed: The broader sales enablement team, sales reps, and other senior marketers.
Why is Sales Enablement Important?
As mentioned earlier, sales enablement is important in that it ensures you don’t lag behind your competitors. But it’s not just about not falling back, it’s also about pushing ahead.
Companies with formalized sales enablement strategies attain better growth and register higher win rates than industry age-rivals with a less structured approach. Many companies fall prey to this lack of structure, and according to a Seismic survey, 80% of companies feel their cross-functional team collaboration is either informal, ad-hoc, or non-existent. This, while 78% of executive buyers claim the quantity of content provided does not meet expectations, and 90% of marketers don't know how to measure content ROI or the influence on deals from sales.
A formalized sales enablement strategy often tackles such issues with tools that enhance interdepartmental collaboration and communication. Besides more sales wins, sales enablement also comes with a string of noteworthy benefits such as stronger customer relationships, higher quota attainment, improved rep retention, a better chance of attracting top sales talent, and better performance from underachievers. In fact, ScreenMeet clients who have deployed our sales enablement tools have increase their average order value (AOV) by 30%.
This Highspot infographic sets out what is achieved with and without sales enablement.
Best Practices for Optimized Sales Enablement
Among the many best practices for optimized sales enablement, two crucial practices come to the fore: Hiring the right people and providing constant sales team training.
You may have the best sales enablement tools and resources, but bad hires will undermine all your efforts and cost you money. Make sure your organization refines its recruitment strategy and employs the right people with skill sets that’ll complement your sales enablement endeavors.
Rep training should also occur on a continual basis for it to have maximum impact. The sales world is fast-paced and reps need regular training to keep up with new products, changes in offerings, sales enablement software updates, and evolving customer needs.
Leverage the Use of the Best Sales Enablement Tool
In addition, leaders and managers cannot forego the benefits that come from using the right sales enablement tools for their business. ScreenMeet is a dynamic solution trusted by companies such as Choice Hotels, Zenni, and OpenTable. In fact, 85% of our business comes from Fortune Global 2000 companies. Entities that have found our solutions to be effective in optimizing their sales enablement efforts, while empowering sales, service, and support teams to deliver meaningful one-on-one interactions.
It offers great sales support in the way of seamless integration with leading CRM software - keeping everything in one place, with all the data you need available on a single platform. ScreenMeet is also easy to use for customers requiring video chat and co-browsing assistance with online shopping, as it does not require them to download an App, and reps can simply share a link to connect. Reps can also highlight and annotate as they share the customer’s screen, quickly pointing out useful information and navigation points that may help to seal the deal.
ScreenMeet not only functions as an excellent sales support tool but can also be used internally by organizations looking to improve sales software training sessions. Use our live video chat and screen sharing features to enhance engagement while ensuring that geographic distance challenges are not an impediment to ongoing training.
Sales enablement is not just every manager’s favorite buzzword. Its effectiveness is backed by hard stats that show how enabling reps with online customer assistance, relevant marketing content, product information, and training, to shorten sales cycles and up their wins.
Ready to sharpen your sales ax? Enable your reps with ScreenMeet’s smart features by booking a demo today and discover first-hand why sales teams and customers love meeting on the screen to connect and collaborate.