Sales Operations
May 28 | Blogs
What is Sales Enablement & Why is It Key to Your Success?
Estimated read time 7 min

Ready for a scary statistic? Each year, over 50% of salespeople miss their quotas. As a business, sales is your lifeline. It’s the de facto force behind every conversion and dollar in your bank account. But for sales teams to win effectively, they need to be set up for success, right? After all, if you want someone to complete an assignment, you need to give them the tools and resources they need. A teacher gives you a textbook to use for homework. So, why wouldn’t businesses give salespeople the right tools to effectively secure conversions?

This process is called sales enablement. And it’s often the difference between missed quotas and end-of-the-year confetti parties.

What is Sales Enablement?

Your sales team is the foundation of your revenue, profitability, and growth. Sales enablement is the process of providing sales teams with the right tools, resources, strategies, content, and data to help them execute more sale conversions. In turn, this helps salespeople deliver more customers to your company.

As you can probably guess, sales enablement encompasses a wide variety of tools and data, so it can be tough to pinpoint exactly what you need to deliver to your salespeople. After all, you don’t want to overburden them with materials and data. Instead, sales enablement should focus on delivering high-quality, high-impact data that helps shape, inform, and enable decision-making and prospect conversion.

How Sales Enablement Bridges the Gaps Between Sales, Marketing, & Customers

Sales enablement is tied in directly with sales-marketing alignment. The way buyers engage with your company is dramatically different than it was a decade ago. 67% of the buyer’s journey is now completely digital, with almost 87% of B2B buyers admitting that online content has a moderate to major impact on their purchasing decisions. In fact, the average B2B buyer is 57% of the way through the decision-making process before they ever engage with sales.

In other words, marketing materials have a major impact on the sales journey. Your buyers are consuming content, watching webinars, downloading whitepapers, and enjoying case studies before they ever contact a salesperson. That’s not to say that sales isn’t still important: 65% of buyers believe they find value in their sales interactions. But effective selling requires salespeople to understand where buyers are at in the funnel, what types of content they’ve consumed, and how that content is shaping their decisions and opinions before the sales call.

This is where sales enablement shines. While marketing-sales alignment primarily refers to breaking down communication barriers and tech silos, sales enablement forces you to take a sledgehammer to content and data barriers. 64% of decision-makers say they refuse to engage with salespeople who don’t personalize communication. Your salespeople need to understand where buyers are at in the buyers’ journey, what types of content they consume, and (eventually) shape the very content decision-makers consume.

By leveraging sales enablement tools and baking sales enablement practices into your business, you bring marketers, salespeople, and customers closer together — helping your business grow in the process.

Types of Data and Materials That “Enable” Sales Enablement

Let’s look at some common types of data and materials often involved in sales enablement processes. Again, the exact materials and data you leverage will largely depend on your organization, existing tech stack, budget, and overall IT architecture. And you should absolutely reach out to industry-specific experts or professional services, a resource like Delegate could help you discover and evaluate the right business applications or tools for your needs. .

1. Scripts

For sales teams looking to boost personalization, better align marketing strategies and sales results, and provide a buffer for salespeople, sales scripts are an amazing resource. But let’s talk about the elephant in the room: “blandness.” The call scripts and sales scripts of the past forced salespeople to replace genuine, interest-driven conversation with robotic, copy-cat lines. That’s not how modern sales scripts work.

For starters, sales scripts aren’t set in stone. And salespeople should be allowed to abandon a script if the conversation takes a turn. Furthermore, scripts should have multiple avenues available for salespeople to follow depending upon the conversation flow. In fact, organizations should be leveraging multiple sales scripts, each with a degree of personalization, based on funnel stages, marketing content, and branding.

2. Content

Are you ready to break down the walls separating marketing and sales? Let’s talk content. Traditionally, marketing makes content to convince customers, and sales has the responsibility of converting customers once they’re in the sales pipeline. But let’s turn this process upside down. What if marketing and sales aligned on content? This gives sales the opportunity to understand how content is influencing decisions, and it allows sales to use content during calls and emails to nurture prospects.

There are degrees to this strategy. Some companies involve sales early in the content creation process, while others simply relay completed content to sales teams. Again, you need to find the strategic layout that works best for your company.

3. Competitor Research

Chances are, your business doesn’t exist in a black hole. You have competitors. And they’re hungry for your prospects. During the buyers’ journey, B2B prospects consume a significant amount of content from a wide variety of competitors. In fact, decision-makers say vendor websites are a significant source of information during their purchasing process. So, if your salespeople want to convert, they need to understand what they’re up against. You need to analyze your competitors’ price, product, and digital footprint.

Sales usually knows which competitor names come up the most in conversations. These names should be your starting point. Coordinate with marketing to create deep-dive intelligence on your competitors — which gives sales the fuel they need to win conversations centered around those brands.

4. Videos

85% of people want to see more branded videos in 2021. It’s safe to say video content is one of the most impactful strategies in your marketing arsenal. But it can also be the secret sauce in your sales pitches. Like content, videos give salespeople another layer of value to throw at prospects, and consumers are glad to receive it.

Most consumers feel a stronger connection with a brand through videos. Well-crafted videos convey the sense that a company wants to educate its customers, provide solutions to problems, make personal connections, and perhaps even entertain. The emotional response this evokes, combined with the fact that video has become the media of choice across all age demographics, explains why people can’t seem to get enough of them.

5. Customer data

To win customers in today’s hyper-competitive, personalization-fueled ecosystem, you need salespeople to have access to customer data at their fingertips. What types of content did this prospect view? What were their pre-purchase behaviors? And which touchpoints converted prospects to a call opportunity.? Often, sales and marketing teams can work in silos and on separate CRMs resulting in message misalignment and disconnected buyers’ journey.

In order to create a seamless sales enablement experience for buyers, sales operation managers must ensure that the technology stack is well-integrated and holistically connected to existing marketing tools. This means that any sales enablement activities or content, in addition to nurturing campaigns are captured in each prospect’s profile, enabling a more targeted sales engagement.

Managing Sales Data for Sales Enablement

In past posts, we’ve covered the Salesforce data lifecycle in length. But it’s important to understand that sales enablement also requires its own data lifecycle composition. You need to build systems to capture, store, maintain, utilize, and sunset data according to policies and controls. We strongly urge you to see our post on Salesforce to learn more about this subject.

For the purposes of sales enablement, every company should have policies and architecture to handle:

  • Data capture (i.e., what types of data does your sales enablement team need?)
  • Data storage (i.e., what systems, servers, or cloud solutions will hold your sales enablement data?)
  • Data maintenance (i.e., how will you maintain your sales enablement data at scale?)
  • Data reporting and analysis (i.e., how will you analyze and report on sales enablement data in a way that informs metrics and decisions?)
  • Data archival and deletion (i.e., how will you sunset data according to regulatory burdens and customer preferences?)

Again, you will likely need help building this process out to scale, so you should lean heavily on your data management partner.

Ready to Build A Customer-Winning Sales Enablement Strategy?

Are you ready to secure more conversions, generate more interest, and create a more holistic, customer-centric sales atmosphere? We can help. At Delegate, we bridge gaps between data management, sales and marketing strategies to create core efficiencies that accelerate high-growth companies. Contact us to learn more.