Sales Enablement finds its origin back from 1999 when sales firms began rectifying sales problems to prevent red tapes and roadblocks that had often troubles sales individuals from focusing on their tasks. It soon became known that the challenge was widespread across many customer facing industries. This was answered as a sales execution problem by John Aiello and Drew Larsen to make sales efficient and effective.
Sales Enablement can be defined as a strategic process with cross-functional design used to increase sales and productivity by providing users with content and coaching services. This knowledge-based interaction helps sales individuals interact successfully with clients in each stage of the customer journey.
Readers need to understand that Sales Enablement is widely different from Sales Operations and Training. While Sales enablement platforms provides sales individuals with resources, content, and tools to increase sales; Sales operations software’s are used for everyday operations to run in a smooth an efficient manner. On the other end, sales training is used to provide coaching to polish and imbibe new skills in sales individuals.
Importance of Sales Enablement Platform:
With increase in complexity of closing a sales deal, salespeople have to spend majority of their time creating content that have to be send to buyers. However, irrespective of this effort, the quality of content falls short of impressing the buyers. Hence, the need was felt for ways to improve buyer experience and ease sellers effort had to be made.
Sales enablement platform was in existence for two decades, but statistics suggest that as recent as 2017, sales enablement jobs were taken up by around three thousand people only, worldwide. But this has shown an increasing trend of growth of two thousand people each year since then.
With sales enablement platform, buyers are better informed, and they can get product information, pricing, and reviews even before their first conversation with the sales representative. With buyers almost having perfect information, buyers are able to talk to sales representatives about the product from a business perspective and make their decision faster.
With sellers using sales enablement platform, they can apply their thorough product knowledge into understanding customer needs with details. Hence, they can use different ways to engage with buyers. Hence, the readers can understand that sales enablement platform provides content engagement that ultimately affects sales performance.
Statistics suggest that, with successful platform enablement, organizations have seen an increase in revenue of thirty percent and higher. Productivity is seen to improve and sellers and seen to complete their quota as fast as seven weeks earlier. This also helps organizations reduce their turnover rate as employees are satisfied with their work. Overall, most marketers do not know how to measure their engagement and return on their content that can be beneficial for sales. With Sales Enablement Platform, users can unlock these crucial details that increases sales performance.
To make the points concise, we can say that:
- Sales enablement platform helps to create one single source of verified content for an organization that helps sellers and marketers get the right content faster.
- The platform helps deliver sales training that help sales individuals with essentials skills with coaching, videos, and certifications.
- Streamline sales communication from various departments in an organization that helps seller’s close deals faster.
- Aligns various departments in an organization that ultimately helps reduce cost, improve brand image, and increase revenue.
Types of sales enablement platform:
Readers should note that a sales enablement platform should be used only when an organization have formed a strategy and knows their position in the market. This will help create a roadmap of how and when to use sales enablement. Typically, use of sales enablement can be categorised into four segments:
- Laggards – This segment focuses primarily on sales function involving ad hoc processes. The technology features are also limited in this segment.
- Novices – This segment is better defined with strong focus on sales and marketing. Market insights and reports are also available, but the technology is less defined.
- Performers – This sales enablement strategy works on a cross-function basis. The technology stack is advanced and is used to measure effective utility daily.
- Visionaries – This is the premium segment with insights help teams adopt best practices that guarantees effective results.
Now that the readers have an idea on the basic, importance and categories of sales enablement, lets have a look at the best practices that organizations can adopt in 2023.
2023 Best Practices that can be adopted:
- Identify KPIs for maximum success – First the organization need to define their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will increase the sales enablement’s impact. Teams should have a clear knowledge of success criterion and indicators that align to company’s goals. For example, closed deals, customer acquisition and satisfaction, product adoption etc. With defined KPIs, all teams can adopt a unified approach to approach stakeholders and customers.
- Understanding Customer Journey – Sales and marketing individuals can map out a customer buying journey to work on the types of enablement that will best match the customer at various phases. An idea of content and resources will benefit the buyer and for a team, it will lead to successful adoption and utilization of enablement programs.
- Strong Relationship Building – While adopting a collaborative relationship between sales and marketing, roles and responsibilities can be clearly defined with improved communication between both the teams.
- Data-Driven Decision Making – With data and market insights clearly available after adopting sales enablement, one can take informed decisions. The information can help the sales and marketing team get into a customer’s shoes, gain perspective, and achieve deeper insights into finding the best solutions for them.
- Resource Library – With a platform where all resources are easy to access, organized and constantly updated for recent trends, sales representatives have the most recent information at their fingertips. With development in technology, we believe that 2023 is the year with the highest opportunity to capture knowledge about a company on a regular basis.
- Leveraging Technology – With various Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software’s already in the picture, there are platforms available to everyone to develop an appropriate enablement strategy. These initiatives help streamline operations sooner and smoother.
Trends to watch out for in 2023:
After the discussion of best practices, here is a list of the trends that companies should be on the lookout in 2023.
- Sales Content Creation Strategy.
- Adoption of Cloud Space.
- Efficient use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
- Use of AI and Machine Learning.
- Sales Training and Coaching.
With these in-depth discussion of trends and importance of sales enablement, we hope our readers are one step closer to understanding their business requirement and adopting a strategy that works effectively for them.
Shinjini Sarkar, Senior Content Specialist at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions