What is sales enablement? Definition, benefits, and strategies

Posted October 25, 2023

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By Serena Miller

Editor, Sales Best Practices at Outreach

Sales representatives play a leading role when it comes to achieving your organization's revenue goals. But even if your company is lucky enough to have a sales team full of talented, motivated individuals, they won’t accomplish much without the right resources, training, and cross-departmental support. When organizations empower their sales reps to succeed, they’re better positioned to establish meaningful customer relationships, close deals, and drive lasting financial success.

Sales enablement is all about equipping your sales force with everything they need to meet and exceed your organization's objectives. Beyond improving performance, empowering your sales team keeps them motivated and engaged, fostering a loyal, results-driven workforce. Let’s take a look at what sales enablement involves and explore how it can serve as a catalyst for business growth and employee satisfaction.

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement is the process of giving your sales team everything they need to effectively close deals. The goal is to create an environment where sales professionals can thrive, with all the knowledge and resources they could want readily available. It's a strategic practice that helps unite stakeholders at all levels behind the goal of increasing sales and driving revenue.

Sales enablement relies on support from team members across the organization - especially marketing professionals. Sales enablement also involves training your sales team on how to effectively communicate and position your company's offerings to prospects. And it relies on reporting and analytics capabilities as well, enabling sales reps to track their progress towards sales goals in real time. To streamline and optimize these practices, organizations should adopt a dedicated sales enablement platform to serve as a centralized hub for all sales-related resources, training materials, and data, fostering a more efficient and aligned sales operation.

Why is sales enablement important?

Sales enablement helps sales personnel act as educated, credible, and persuasive representatives of your organization, leading to more closed deals and a wide range of additional benefits. Here are a few of the most impactful:

  • Higher deal velocity. Sales enablement accelerates the sales cycle by equipping sales reps with the right resources and training, enabling them to engage with prospects more efficiently and close deals faster.
  • Better customer experience. Informed, confident sales reps deliver a superior customer experience. They can better address customer concerns and provide solutions tailored to client needs, increasing satisfaction across the board.
  • Increased revenue. Sales enablement puts sales professionals in the best position to succeed, leading to higher conversion rates and increased revenue.
  • Enhanced alignment with marketing. Improved alignment between sales and marketing ensures that sales teams are always armed with relevant content and messaging, leading to a consistent brand image and a more informed customer base.
  • Stronger reporting capabilities. Sales enablement prioritizes access to robust reporting and analytics capabilities, so sales teams can monitor their progress in real time, identify areas for improvement, and continually adapt their strategies for optimal results.

Which team members own the sales enablement process?

Sales enablement is a collaborative practice driven by the collective efforts of both marketing and sales teams. The synergy between sales and marketing is the linchpin of a robust sales enablement strategy, ensuring that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time.

Marketing teams play a pivotal role in creating content and messaging tailored to address the pain points of your organization’s target audience, while sales personnel are on the front lines, interacting directly with customers and prospects. This gives sales reps first-hand perspective on what types of content resonate best with potential clients - a perspective that can prove invaluable to marketing efforts. Marketing personnel can use insights from sales to refine their content creation efforts, ensuring they align with the immediate needs of prospects and the sales team.

Marketing must ensure that these materials are easily accessible, up to date, and in line with the organization's branding and messaging guidelines. Marketers are also responsible for delivering valuable insights into market trends and customer behavior to guide sales strategies. Sales personnel should then review these insights and actively engage with the materials provided by marketing, adapting them for specific prospect interactions and using them to effectively communicate the value of your company’s products or services.

Sales leaders set the direction for sales enablement efforts, working to ensure that their team is well-trained, adequately resourced, and aligned with the company's goals. Some organizations appoint a dedicated sales enablement manager to establish meaningful goals, manage content libraries, spearhead training efforts, and continuously evaluate the effectiveness of existing sales enablement initiatives. A dedicated manager ensures that sales enablement receives the focus and attention it requires to maximize its impact on sales performance and your company’s bottom line.

5 actionable sales enablement strategies

If you’re ready to start putting the principles of sales enablement into practice, start with these 5 strategies that any organization can implement.

1. Set meaningful goals

Begin by setting clear and actionable goals that guide the sales team towards achieving specific, measurable objectives. These goals should be tied to metrics that everyone agrees are relevant, ensuring a shared vision of success. Companies should leverage their reporting and analytics capabilities, developing standardized, clear reports that surface these key metrics, number of qualified leads, conversion rate, and customer acquisition cost (CAC). When all team members have access to this data in real time, they can quickly pinpoint areas in the sales pipeline that act as roadblocks.

Leaders shouldn’t establish these objectives on their own. Instead, the process should be transparent, giving sales and marketing personnel at all levels the chance to provide input. Organizations should continue to solicit feedback as they regularly review and adjust sales goals to better meet internal needs and adapt to an evolving business landscape. Incorporating input from sales personnel into your organization’s strategy demonstrates that your company truly values their perspective, making it much more likely that they buy into the goals your organization sets.

2. Produce and optimize content targeted to your audience

Creating content that speaks directly to your target audience is a foundational part of any successful sales enablement strategy. The goal here is to provide potential customers with content they genuinely find useful and interesting thanks to valuable information that addresses their specific needs and pain points. Organizations should seek to create content that both attracts potential customers and continues to engage them as they move through the sales cycle.

Produce content that actually meets the needs of your organization’s target audience by following these best practices.

Develop buyer personas

Start by developing comprehensive buyer personas that represent your ideal customers. These personas should include detailed information about your target audience's demographics, behaviors, and motivations. These personas serve as a foundation for crafting content that directly addresses the unique challenges and desires of in-market customers.

Identify preferred channels

To ensure your content reaches its intended audience, you need to deliver it using their preferred channels. This means understanding where your potential customers spend their time online, whether it's using social media platforms, participating in industry forums, or looking at specific publications. Tailoring your content distribution to align with these preferences is a must for effectively engaging with your desired customer base.

Address audience needs

The content you produce should directly address the needs and questions of your target audience. This means creating educational and informative materials that provide practical solutions. Marketing professionals should regularly audit their existing content as well, ensuring that it’s well-organized, still addresses your customers’ needs and interests, and remains aligned with your organization’s current brand, values, and thought leadership.

Provide easy access for sales

Sales reps must have seamless access to all the great content your marketing team produces. A centralized content repository ensures your sales team will be able to find the content they need whenever they need it. This saves time for sales professionals and keeps them informed, making it easy for them to build credibility with prospects.

Leverage engaging content types

No single type of content will appeal to every prospect. Some will prefer instructional videos, others want in-depth whitepapers, and others still search for relevant blog posts. Producing content in a variety of formats also lets you lean into the strengths of each type. Case studies, for instance, offer real-world examples of how your products or services have solved problems for existing customers. Video demonstrations and interactive content can capture the attention of prospects who aren’t interested in reading a long-form article. And webinars can dive into important subjects in detail while remaining engaging and understandable.

3. Implement training initiatives

Even the best sales reps will find their skills growing rusty without the right training. Companies that practice sales enablement seek to provide sales team members with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their roles. Collaborate with experienced sales and marketing professionals within the organization to develop training content that is both informative and practical. Once your training program is off the ground, continuously assess its effectiveness and make changes as needed.

Encourage ongoing learning and skill development to keep the sales team competitive and up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. To keep your employees motivated and engaged with the material, offering a variety of training options so that team members can learn in ways that best suit their individual preferences and needs. This might include covering the cost of seminars, hosting internal training sessions, or offering relevant online courses. Companies should also give sales professionals flexibility in when and where they engage with training materials, so they can learn at their own pace and aren’t overwhelmed with an intensive, timebound training push. A learning management system (LMS) can help accomplish both these aims, letting administrators and managers build personalized learning paths for team members while giving them access to training materials through whatever device they prefer.

4. Focus on collaboration and culture

Sales enablement relies on collaboration, particularly between marketing and sales. Companies must clearly define the responsibilities of each team and promote open communication channels between them. By fostering a collaborative and communicative culture, organizations can break down silos and enable more effective sales efforts.

Begin supporting collaboration by conducting regular cross-departmental meetings to facilitate knowledge sharing and maintain alignment with organizational objectives. Encourage marketing and sales teams to work together on defining target audience personas and messaging, ensuring that both teams have a vested interest in sales success. Your organization can also implement a feedback mechanism that lets team members provide input on the effectiveness of sales enablement materials and processes. Lastly, adopt a sales solution that supports cross-functional teams, providing a central location for both marketing and sales personnel to collaborate.

5. Leverage the power of technology and automation

Organizations can benefit from incorporating technology and automation into every part of their sales process. A sales enablement platform can transform a traditionally labor-intensive and time-consuming endeavor into a streamlined and efficient operation. Sales enablement platforms let sales reps access resources quickly, collaborate more effectively, and surface meaningful insights. They can also improve your organization’s lead scoring system, so your sales professionals can spend their time on the most promising prospects. In short, the right platform can revolutionize your sales efforts, boosting efficiency and your organization’s bottom line.

The benefits and features of sales enablement tools

A comprehensive sales enablement platform offers an array of distinct advantages for businesses aiming to enhance their sales efforts. These tools equip sales reps with critical insights and data, enabling them to make informed decisions and prioritize their efforts more effectively. By harnessing sales intelligence, organizations can identify high-value prospects and tailor their outreach with precision.

The best sales enablement platforms include coaching features, empowering sales leaders to guide and mentor their teams. Sales managers can provide valuable feedback, get a bird’s eye view of sales efforts, and keep all their team members on track. A sales enablement platform also streamlines and automates communication with prospects while facilitating personalized, multi-channel outreach, improving response rates and engagement. This saves sales professionals valuable time and ensures that they maintain a consistent and meaningful connection with potential customers throughout the sales cycle. These solutions automate repetitive tasks as well, such as content distribution and reporting, so sales reps can focus on closing deals.

Companies should carefully evaluate their unique needs and select a sales enablement platform that aligns with their goals and budget. Choose a complete platform that provides the features covered above: advanced sales intelligence, robust sales coaching tools, and comprehensive sales engagement capabilities. Ensure that the platform is user-friendly and intuitive, and offer comprehensive training to team members to smooth the transition.

Practice sales enablement at your organization with the right solution

Boosting your organization’s sales numbers goes far beyond increasing your sales budget year after year or increasing the size of your sales team. You can keep costs down and close more pipeline by giving your sales professionals everything they need to realize their full potential, like great content, comprehensive training, and the right tech. That last bit is perhaps the most important - an exceptional sales solution is what pulls it all together, unlocking seller productivity, increasing deal velocity, and surfacing the most winnable opportunities.

Outreach is a sales execution platform that helps organizations implement every part of an effective sales enablement strategy, from setting more accurate goals through robust sales forecasting, to supporting insightful rep coaching, to maximizing customer engagement throughout the entire sales pipeline. Outreach solves the challenges sales teams face every day, helping them navigate ever-changing markets to build pipeline and manage deals to close.

Start enabling sales success at your organization by requesting a demo of Outreach today.


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