Taking the right approach to sales force enablement can have a profound impact on the success of your sales organization. In a survey by Demand Metric, 75 percent of companies reported that having a sales enablement strategy makes a moderate or significant contribution to the company.
There can be many moving parts to a sales enablement strategy (i.e., training, content, tools and support), so it’s important to create a plan that aligns with your organization’s goals – and then set forth on executing it. Keep these five keys in mind when developing your sales enablement strategy.
1. Identify Your Unique Challenges and Pain Points.
There is no one-size-fits-all sales enablement strategy. Your organization is unique, and you must take time to gauge where you are today – and your goals for the future – so you can connect the dots with your strategy. Evaluate the challenges your sales team currently faces by asking the following questions:
- Are there specific market changes that are forcing them to adapt?
- What is creating friction inside of the sales process?
- How is the buyer’s journey changing?
- What information do prospects and customers already have by the time they engage with your sellers?
- Are your sellers capable of having strategic business conversations with the right people?
Finding the answers to questions like these will give you a starting point for where to direct your focus.
2. Understand the Characteristics of Your Top Performers.
You likely have some members of your sales team who are already performing at high levels. Work with them to see what is contributing to their success and what kind of tools or training would make them even more successful. Remember, instead of trying to clone your A-players, work to understand what the role itself requires for success. What hard skills and soft skills does someone need to perform at high levels in the role? Develop a top-performer profile, and then work to hire individuals who fit that mold using behavioral interviewing techniques and assessment tools.
3. Provide Training and Support That’s Immediately Applicable.
Provide your sales team with tools they can put to use right away in order for your sales enablement strategy to be effective in both the short and the long term.
That requires starting with the fundamentals and not overcomplicating the process. Give your team a launching pad by training them with a standardized sales process, and layer on advanced selling skills gradually.
Keep in mind that your sellers will be more likely to buy into your sales enablement program if they can see the personal payoff. Show them the immediate value the training will bring (i.e., how it will help them increase their sales), and they’ll be much more engaged and motivated.
4. Align the Entire Organization with a Sales Focus.
Your sales team doesn’t operate in a silo. It needs support from every other department in your organization in order to be as successful as possible. Imagine how much more productive your organization would be if your marketing department understood the sales process and provided marketing materials for every step of the buyer’s journey, for example.
When you’re building out your sales enablement strategy, keep in mind that it will benefit you to have other departments trained in your sales process and empowered with a sales-focus mindset. Doing so will ensure that everyone is working together toward the common goal of increased sales.
5. Reinforce Best Practices, and Remember to ABO (Always Be Optimizing).
A sales enablement strategy is often about making big shifts in your culture and daily operations, and these kinds of shifts don’t happen overnight. They require commitment on the part of senior executives, and creating a position for a sales enablement manager will help you make sure that you have someone who will have a vested interest in continually testing, upgrading and enhancing your sales enablement strategy.
Don’t think of building a sales enablement strategy as something you can check a box and be done with. Create a plan that allows you to gain some early wins, and then work consistently to build and improve upon your progress. Remember to reinforce any training that you deliver with refreshers and coaching, and continually check in – using metrics, surveys, and other ROI tools – to see where you can be optimizing.
Focus on building a sales enablement strategy that grows with your organization. With the right planning and execution, you can make sales excellence the new normal for your team – today, tomorrow and into the future.