The lines around what sales enablement means are fuzzy, but most sales leaders will agree on the goal of sales enablement: to provide sales reps with all possible resources to help them drive more sales.
You likely have a sales enablement strategy in place to achieve this goal. It probably includes some combination of educational resources, training, sales technology, content, and sales playbooks.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is empowering sales teams with the right content, leadership, tools, and training they need to sell at the most efficient and productive level. This equips sales people with the right ammunition at all stages of the buying cycle, for any customer type, and for any of their product’s solution areas.
But the success of your sales enablement strategy doesn’t depend on the granular details, which are easy to replicate from one strategy to the next. Ultimately, the success of your sales enablement strategy depends on how clearly you define the vision and scope of sales enablement, and how well you execute on it.
4 Best Practices for Creating a Sales Enablement Strategy
Here are four best practices to ensure your sales enablement strategy is successful in 2021:
1. Create a Sales Enablement Charter
A sales enablement charter outlines the purpose, scope, and goals of sales enablement within your organization. Without this document to keep your sales enablement strategy focused, your enablement team is likely to be pulled in various directions and become a dumping ground for activities that no other team wants to do.
A sales enablement charter should include the following:
- Mission statement: Highlight the goal of sales enablement in your organization. This could be more logos, more upsells, better training and onboarding, or all of these.
- Key stakeholders: Identify which of your teams sales enablement will support and collaborate with, apart from sales. Stakeholders may include customer support, product, marketing, and people ops.
- Measurable outcomes: List key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your sales enablement program. Examples of KPIs include adoption of sales tools, sales readiness, usage of enablement content, and increased seller productivity.
- Scope of enablement: Define which activities fall within the scope of sales enablement and which activities should be undertaken by other teams like product, marketing, human resources, and learning and development teams. For instance, training and onboarding sales reps might fall under sales enablement, but career development might be the responsibility of human resources.
Susan Savona, vice president of global sales enablement at Monster Worldwide, suggests keeping your sales enablement charter short and to the point, so readers can quickly gauge the role of sales enablement in your business.
The better readers can understand your sales enablement vision from your charter, the more focused they will be on enablement activities that matter.
2. Align Sales with Your Marketing and Product Teams
A sales enablement strategy can quickly fall apart if your sales, marketing, and product teams operate in different planes, in terms of goals, strategy, and understanding of target buyers.
A lack of alignment between marketing and sales may result in marketing efforts not generating high-quality leads for sales to pursue. On the other hand, a misalignment between sales and product may cause reps to short sell your product, or sell product features that are nowhere close to completion.
Some ideas to make sure your marketing, product, and sales teams are on the same page:
Marketing and Sales Alignment
- Allow both marketing and sales teams to contribute insights about what the buyer journey looks like. This ensures marketing content covers each stage of the buyer journey: awareness, consideration, and purchase.
- Assign similar goals for marketing and sales activities such as qualified demos, conversions, and upsells. This prevents marketing from focusing on vanity goals such as traffic, social media shares, and clicks.
- Allow both teams to discuss campaign and content ideas in a Slack channel or shared Google Doc.
- Facilitate smooth sharing of content between marketing and sales. Create a shared database of sales-relevant marketing content and a system to inform reps as soon as marketing releases a new case study or a blog post they can share on social media.
Sales and Product Alignment
- Clearly define the target market for your product for sales reps, using the same personas that your product team uses. Mention size of teams for target businesses, type of company, industry, and so on.
- Create a sales-oriented roadmap—one with fewer details and dates—so reps don’t sell features before they’re ready.
- Let reps share feature suggestions as encountered on sales calls. Be sure they’re aligned with your long-term product vision before you work on them.
It also helps to allow sales managers to drop in on weekly meetings with product and marketing teams—to understand where they’re headed and glean any useful insights for reps.
At the end of the day, each of your teams wants to enable sales in some way. Ensuring your sales, product, and marketing teams are tightly knit is the best way to reach this shared goal faster.
3. Make Your Sales Training More Engaging
Coaching and training are essential components of every sales enablement strategy. But when coaching is “traditional, lecture-style, and one-size-fits-all,” sales reps are likely to lose interest. This can hamper the effectiveness of your sales enablement plan.
Ben Cotton, former sales enablement manager at HubSpot, suggests personalizing it to make sales coaching interesting. “Meet with reps individually to answer their questions, analyze their needs, and ask them to create their own program from a menu of topics,” he says.
Cotton also suggests stepping away from “slide-heavy” and “overly structured” training sessions and keeping more time for “white-boarding, discussion, and coaching.” This ensures trainers focus on areas that reps care about.
Personalized sales training coupled with a focus on discussion helped HubSpot achieve a 31% improvement in quota attainment, according to Cotton. Sales training can be a valuable sales enablement tool, provided you make it beneficial for agents first.
Discover how Whatfix’s Digital Adoption Platform can help your organization create continuous employee training and development programs with in-app guidance, personalized workflows, and self-help knowledge bases.
4. Increase Adoption of Sales Technology
Most sales reps say sales technology such as customer relationship management (CRM) and collaboration tools are a big part of their daily and weekly work, so it makes sense to feature sales technology and tools in your sales enablement strategy. But sales tech can only be helpful to your reps if they adopt it well, or use its features on an ongoing basis. Otherwise, it can be a hindrance to their workflow and your sales enablement efforts.
To ensure sales reps use sales technology as intended, improve training and onboarding for these tools. Traditional training and onboarding rely on one-time demos and a static library of self-help content. This can be unhelpful, as sales software such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are loaded with complex features and difficult to master in a single sitting.
To help reps better retain features and actions within sales apps, offer personalized, real-time, and ongoing training, so reps can learn how to use an app at their own pace. Offer different training modules for sales reps according to their role, and allow reps to access training material in real-time, so they can quickly reference how to perform key actions in an app while they’re using it.
A digital adoption platform (DAP) such as Whatfix can help you implement such personalized, real-time training at scale. DAPs offer in-app guidance for sales tools in the form of step-by-step walkthroughs, popups, and tooltips. It’s the best way to help your sales team learn how to use complex sales technology and make your sales enablement strategy a success.
Sales technology can help you meet your sales enablement goals, but as one LinkedIn report rightly states, “it’s not just about purchasing technology, it’s about integrating the tools effectively into the selling process.” That’s the only way to make sales technology valuable for your sales reps and your sales enablement efforts.
A DAP helps your sales reps better understand key features of sales technology and how to integrate it into their workflow. Employees can learn how to use sales software such as Salesforce through real-time walkthroughs and tooltips. They can also easily access training material through the Self Help widget. Additionally, you can also customize training content for reps according to their role and level of seniority.
Using a DAP for sales tech training helps you reduce training time for sales tools, deploy new tools faster, and increase the adoption of sales technology. Ultimately, it helps you make sales tech more valuable to your team.