Whether it involves training, sales tools, or onboarding strategies, sales enablement wears many hats – but it all comes down to one core concept: making your sales team more successful.
61% of sales reps believe selling is harder than it was ten years ago. Sales enablement is all about providing your salespeople with the proper support and resources to sell effectively. It’s a joint partnership between your marketing and sales teams that provides a roadmap away from being a vendor and toward positioning yourself as a trusted partner.
Without sales enablement, your sales team will lack the confidence to engage their target buyers. With it, your company can achieve your sales quota in a predictable, scalable, and repeatable way.
Here are five ways you can build a sales enablement strategy for your start-up:
1. Create Sales Content that Follows the Buyer’s Journey
Modern salespeople have to understand the buyer’s journey so they can personalize the buying experience. Buyers are smarter than ever and are seeking out publicly available information before ever reaching out to a sales rep. One way to get ahead of this trend is by creating content that’s the best in the industry and putting it out there for everyone to easily find.
High-quality content is a force multiplier that, when leveraged correctly, can provide an immense amount of value in a controllable and scalable way. A natural launch point is creating public blog posts rich with fresh industry research that your audience will find useful. Naturally, you’ll want to capture their contact info by pushing a “must-have” whitepaper or masterclass webinar that has an irresistible value proposition. Then, your BDR team can go to work qualifying them and scheduling a call.
The key here is making the buyer’s experience the foundation of your sales enablement strategy. It’s about providing your sales team with resources the buyer finds relevant and valuable, and, more importantly, providing the right content at the right time. The best salespeople know that high-quality content can often do the talking for them and won’t hesitate to offer it out with each and every touchpoint. Identify specific triggers and touchpoints, then engage your customers and craft content specific to them and where they are in the buying process.
2. Provide the Best Sales Enablement Tools for the Job
External content is essential, but providing internal content like industry research, customer personas, email templates, and sales scripts is equally important. The sales team needs to know exactly what motivates their clients and what keeps them up at night. A well-researched customer persona is invaluable to new hire onboarding and to keeping your sales team customer-focused and solutions-oriented.
Providing the right tools makes it easy for your salespeople to do what they do best. The last thing you want is a team of seasoned closers bogged down in unnecessary admin work. Do your homework and find tools that will not only save time but also give them key insights that help close more deals. A few great tools to get you started are:
- DiscoverOrg and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which absolutely crush it when it comes to prospecting and gathering actionable sales intelligence.
- VoilaNorbert takes prospecting to a new level by finding and verifying the right contact information and enriching the data you found prospecting to include titles, locations, and social media profiles.
- Mailshake allows you to input the customer’s data and set up an email outreach campaign on autopilot.
- Mediafly’s sales enablement platform connects content management, interactive presentation tools, and sales readiness technology with the goal of improving sales efficiency and effectiveness and closing more deals.
Providing the right material and tools is the fastest way to boost your sales team’s performance. Maximize the time your team has to sell, and you’ll reap the rewards.
3. Schedule Ongoing Sales Training & Rehearsal Time
The average company spends $10-$15K hiring a sales rep, but just $2K a year training them. Don’t fall into that average category. Invest the time and resources into making your team a driving force for your company’s bottom line.
What’s the alternative?
Without the proper education on how to use these great tools and resources, even the best salespeople will come up short of their goals. We like to think people will rise to the occasion, but more often people fall to the level of their training.
However, one initial, classroom-style training won’t cut it – sales enablement’s magic really comes out when you leverage ongoing training sessions. At a minimum, your team should be training quarterly, and ideally weekly. It’s also a good idea to set aside time to exercise what was learned. Go over scripts and practice objection handling and closing tactics to make sure training is continually reinforced. Deploying a learning management system (LMS) that allows you to distribute and track completion of interactive, microlearning modules is proven to be much more effective with sales reps retaining substantially more knowledge.
4. Optimize Your Sales Enablement Strategy Through Data
A defining characteristic of sales enablement is measuring its effectiveness. As entrepreneur and author Seth Godin puts it, “What you measure gets paid attention to, and what you pay attention to usually gets better.”
Creating the best sales enablement strategy boils down to creating a data-driven culture that’s fueled by buyer insights and data. One that values technical insights, coaching, and constructive data-backed criticism.
It’s not enough to have the data – once you’ve acquired it, you have to use it. Take any team of sales reps, narrow down your top-performing reps, and figure out what sets them apart. Dissect their greatness and look for any bright spots in their strategy that can be shared back to the rest of the team. Here are a few crucial metrics you can start tracking right away:
- Sales cycle length: The amount of time from getting a lead to when the deal is closed. Understanding the average length gives you key insights into determining how your sales team can win more deals, faster.
- Time actively spent selling: Breaking down what portion of their time is spent selling and what they do with the rest of their time. Again, the goal is to dissect greatness and get people out of the weeds of admin work and on the phone.
- Average win rate: The percentage of opportunities created and quoted that are actually won. It’s a simple measure of effectiveness that helps you draw conclusions on what factors are contributing to the wins and losses.
- Content insights: What sales content your sellers are leveraging and how your buyers are interacting with that content; what impact your content has on revenue. Understanding what content works and what doesn’t can help you optimize your content strategy, reduce marketing spend, and increase your win rate.
Some other critical ones to look into are time to revenue, average deal size, number of reps achieving quota, and sales funnel transition rate.
5. Appoint Sales Management to Oversee Progress
Setting up your sales enablement strategy and forgetting about it sounds ideal but is rarely a viable option. Sure, there are things you can automate, but to truly be successful, you have to have the right people in place to make sure everything is running smoothly.
British advertising tycoon David Ogilvy once said, “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.”
While finding the right people isn’t always easy, it’s well worth the time invested.
Depending on the size of your start-up, it can be worthwhile to use tools, agencies, and freelancers to fill any skill, knowledge, or budget gaps. If you can afford it, get yourself a dedicated sales enablement manager and an analytics guru. Bring on a marketing manager, to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. Lastly, don’t forget to involve the company’s founders, so the strategy and content created align with the company’s vision and long-term goals.
Achieving sales growth in a start-up company is crucial for long-term growth, survival, and overall success in today’s economy. Sales enablement is a powerful part of that equation that, when approached correctly, will have you closing more deals, more quickly.
How are you investing in your sales team’s success? We want to hear from you! Join the conversation on social.
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