The Ultimate List: 22 Sales Enablement Best Practices
by Mathias Thulin, on May 22, 2018
Sales enablement is defined as the strategic and continuous process that enables sales teams to have more eﬀective engagements with customers throughout the buyer’s journey, by supplying the sales organization with relevant content, effective communication tools, and insights.
Would you like to increase your win-rate from 25% to 30% by having small improvements to your sales team effectiveness? Then here is the ultimate list of sales enablement best practices for you to follow!
Strategy Best Practices
1. Build A Plan Aligned With Your Maturity LevelSales enablement is an ongoing process that evolves in stages, based on the maturity level of your organization. No matter which stage you are in now, you have to plan what your actions should be to reach the next level. Analyze your current situation, define your goals, set your KPIs, and roll-out this plan within your organization.
2. Have Clear Metrics Tied To RevenueTo get sufficient attention and budget from top management, you have to show the clear connection between sales enablement metrics (such as completion of sales training, content utilization) and sales results (such as lead conversion, opportunity creation, deals closed, upsell & retention rates, etc.) And then look at how your program influences these metrics.
People Best Practices
3. Assign An OwnerPutting your sales enablement initiative into action can be hard. Therefore, assigning a dedicated owner to drive this program forward is always a safe bet. This individual should have experience both in product sales and marketing, and be able to understand the buyer's journey.
4. Build The Right TeamThe best people to drive your sales enablement initiative are flexible, teamwork-oriented, and have a sales background with skills in marketing & customer success. They have to fully understand your buyer’s daily difficulties, and with a consultative approach, they should be able to deal with these highly educated consumers who enter the sales funnel further down the decision-making route. In most cases, you will need to hire new people for this program.
Collaboration Best Practices
5. Share Your Goals With The Entire CompanySales enablement is more than sales and marketing alignment. It’s a holistic story. Make sure you share your sales goals for the year with the entire company, not only with the marketing department. Customer service, accounting, finance, legal and other corporate teams can actively contribute to customer engagement and loyalty.
6. Coordinate Teams Across OrganizationActually it’s not only about sharing sales goals. Legal, finance, support, and all the other influencers want to help drive sales. They just don’t know how to do that. So sales enablement has to coordinate teams across the organization to more effectively support your sales goals. This typically requires bringing stakeholders together and getting input from the entire organization.
7. Build A Clear Governance ModelRunning an initiative across several departments is not an easy task. You need a governance model that includes all parties who lead your sales enablement program from ideation to action. This typically includes the Sales Enablement Lead (the owner), and the executives of sales and marketing departments. These people have to prepare a formalized documentation that will be a guideline for various people involved in the program.
8. Encourage Sharing Best PracticesSales is a very dynamic environment with buyers’ behaviors varying across industry, company size, and buying stage. In order to improve performance, the best sales reps constantly communicate with their peers about what works well. Therefore, it is crucial to provide a collaboration platform that allows sales reps share and discuss data around sales results, content, customer behavior, and best practices.
Training Best Practices
9. Integrate Training Into ToolsTraditionally, companies would train their sales forces once a quarter on new products, methodologies, features, resources, and sales techniques. Those days are long gone! Modern sales requires “just in time” training, and successful organizations have to integrate training into their sales tools so that sales reps know exactly what will be most effective throughout the entire sales process.
10. Train And Coach Sales RepsIn order to be well-rounded and able to manage in a sales enablement environment, sales reps need to adopt skills in marketing, product and industry. Even if you integrate training into the the tools they use, sales reps will need coaching to adapt to this new way of inbound sales. In order to succeed with your initiative, consider implementing a coaching program.
Content Best Practices
11. Maintain Content In A Centralized DatabaseMajority of the content goes unused by sales, largely because they simply cannot find it! Collecting all content in a single hub, whether it’s a simple file sharing system or a modern content management solution, allows sales reps to organize and customize content by product line, industry, content type and sales stage. This will definitely help streamline your sales process.
12. Leverage Marketing ContentProbably, your marketing team is working hard to produce relevant content that maps the buyer’s journey. Having this content available in a central database is one thing, but actively using it is another! Make it a priority for your sales team to leverage this content, by plugging in articles, whitepapers, videos, infographics, etc. to support every stage of the selling cycle.
13. Informs Sales About New ContentOne way to encourage your sales team to use the resources that are available to them, is to have the marketing team send newsletters when new content is available. It’s also a good idea to advise the sales team on the importance of the latest content and how it will enable them to sell more effectively.
14. Give Feedback To MarketingMake sure to be a trusted partner with your marketing team. Tell them what’s working well and what could use some improvement. Be proactive. Make suggestions on content topics and tools. They want to create materials that will facilitate sales efforts and your partnership with them will be a win-win for everyone.
15. Drive High Quality Content CreationGiving feedback on what works well is one level, but actively providing input for content creation is another level. Your sales team can give insight into the types of conversations they’re having with prospects. For example, have content that answers the questions prospects ask at every stage of the buying cycle, or highlights the most popular product features with customers.
16. Maintain Continuity & Consistency Among ContentKeeping sales materials up to date has always been important for sales teams. But now with sales enablement, it becomes critical to maintain continuity and consistency among all marketing and sales content. Many sales executives report that they have inconsistent and irrelevant content. Consider implementing tools and processes to overcome this problem.
17. Have Content For ObjectionsThis is no-brainer, but many times, sales organizations procrastinate on preparing an asset for common objections sales reps hear everyday that are completely manageable to address. If you still don’t have one, start tracking common objections today, and create a content that will respond to challenges that your sales reps always have it on hand.
Technology Best Practices
18. Integrate Your Tools To Save TimeMost organizations have multiple portals or tools where sales reps are supposed to go to find what they need, and reps are spending between four to eight hours a week switching between different tools. Depending on your maturity level and goals, invest appropriately in technology to integrate your sales tools to save your sales teams’ precious time.
19. Use Sales Enablement ToolsThere are many different types of sales enablement tools available (e.g. content management, sales intelligence, document tracking, sales engagement) that will reinforce or rapidly extend the impact of your sales enablement plan. The right technologies can seriously boost sales efforts because they help with forecasting, goal-setting, tracking, management and more. Evaluate different types of tools, and see which ones you can use.
20. Use Technology WiselyNever forget that technology can never be the savior for your sales enablement efforts. By its very nature, technology focuses on the automation of mundane, repeatable steps and elimination of avoidable actions in your sales process. Analyze your customer journey, and implement sales technology wisely, where you really will see the benefits. Do not waste your resources just for the sake of using technology.
Measurement Best Practices
21. Rely On Data For OptimizationSales enablement is too important to go unmeasured. Having systems in place that enables data-driven analysis of what content, strategies, and processes are most effective in various situations lifts the performance of the entire sales team. This means tracking the metrics you have defined on how your sales enablement program influences conversion rates along the entire lead to revenue process.
22. Continually Observe And Evaluate Sales Reps
Traditionally, sales leaders observe and evaluate sales reps, only during the onboarding process. However, sales enablement requires continuous monitoring and comparison of individual and team results. This helps develop better training and coaching programs by identifying activities, content and tactics that drive successful customer interactions.
The rewards of a sales enablement program can be great. Companies implementing a sales enablement program see significantly higher revenue attainment. So start implementing these best practices today, and enjoy the results!