What do you want your sales team doing every day? Selling! Closing deals! Hitting targets. Sales teams that aren’t closing, aren’t talking to prospects (calls, meetings, demos), aren’t bringing more prospects into the pipeline aren’t doing enough to hit targets.
But in order for your sales team to maximise the time they spend selling, you need to ensure they have the support they need. That is where sales enablement comes into the picture.
What is sales enablement?
Depending on the size of your company, sales enablement is either its own team, taken care within the marketing team, or an agency/freelancer manages this function. Sales enablement does everything that the sales team needs to make sure they can spend as much time as possible working on leads, the pipeline and talking to prospects. In some cases, sales enablement also supports a team that generates leads for business development managers.
Sales enablement can include the following outputs and key performance areas:
- Sales data and reporting: analysing sales activity and generating reports that influence sales strategy;
- Continual renewal and analysis of the sales process and strategy;
- Work with marketing, external providers or internal teams to generate leads or qualify them (unless your sales team does that themselves);
- Create, organise and optimise sales content (everything from lead generation tools to sales pitches and product demo decks)
How to use sales enablement effectively?
Start with a review of what you’ve got:
- Do you have a standardised reporting process (usually part of a CRM)?
- Does your team have a way of generating leads and qualifying prospects?
- Does marketing generate inbound leads through an active pipeline?
- Does your team have all of the material they need to pitch at prospects (from sales documents to FAQs to pitch decks and case studies)?
Using this review, make a list of what you need.
Next, assess the resources you’ve got in place to fill these gaps. Make sure you’ve got a budget and/or team members or suppliers who can deliver what you need. And if not, source/hire people who can deliver.
Now you can start filling the gaps in your sales process.
Have sales content created, from demo pitch decks to case studies, and use content marketing to increase the number of leads in your sales funnel. Other ways to bring more leads into the pipeline is to use automated prospecting - using LinkedIn and automated online lead nurturing and Live Chat features on websites.
Make it as easy as possible for your sales team to have conversations with decision makers and internal influencers booked, while they’re also generating their own leads. At the same time, make sure they’ve got everything they need when pitching or sending proposals to potential clients. Time they need to spend creating sales enablement material themselves is time they’re not spending generating leads and closing deals.
And finally, make the reporting process as smooth as possible for sales managers. Put processes and systems in place to collect data, generate reports and use those reports to influence the outcome of sales processes and strategies.
When you use sales enablement effectively, you can reduce the sales cycle, increase the number of deals in the pipeline; therefore driving up closure rates and hitting targets earlier every quarter.