2020 completely changed how companies had to sell and exposed teams operating with inefficiencies and outdated strategies. Simply put, the teams that couldn’t adapt to the digital trends accelerated by COVID-19, lost to their more nimble competitors.
Companies in 2021 and beyond don’t have to suffer the same consequences as long as your business is prepared to upgrade the sales and marketing workflow, which as a byproduct improves the customer experience and helps you scale revenue.
According to research reported by Learning Hub, "Organizations with sales enablement achieve a 49% win rate on forecasted deals, compared to 42.5% for those without and [most businesses] see a significant impact on sales as a result of sales enablement." In fact, "76% of organizations see an increase in sales between 6% to 20%."
From helping the sales team be more effective remotely to aligning the sales and marketing teams, leveraging sales enablement in today’s environment is essential to your business's growth for three core reasons:
- It helps your sales team automate repetitive tasks and spend more time selling.
- It provides valuable resources to help reps improve pipeline velocity.
- It creates a framework for ongoing experimentation so you can learn about what resonates with your prospective customers.
WHAT IS SALES ENABLEMENT?
Sales enablement has become such a convoluted term (it could mean tools, technology, coaching, content, automation, etc.). So let's start with a clear definition. Sales enablement is the ongoing collaboration between marketing, sales, and customer success to develop sales-centric resources that enable the sales team to work more efficiently and close more deals.
This could be in the form of:
- Automated email sequences
- Videos to humanize your sales team
- Case studies
- Product comparisons
- Competitive research and internal battle cards
- Customizable sales decks tailored by persona, industry, etc.
- Interactive Tools (e.g. applications, live chat/chatbots, proposal technology, etc.)
With 2020's forced shift into a virtual sales world, arming your sales team with the right resources is more important than ever to stay competitive and close deals.
HOW TO LEVERAGE SALES ENABLEMENT TO SCALE REVENUE
The primary goal of sales enablement is to help your sales team spend less time on repeatable tasks and more time connecting with prospects and advancing sales conversations with powerful resources.
According to HubSpot, 'time stealers' can hurt your revenue more than you may have realized. "Salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects. They spend 21% of their day writing emails, 17% entering data, another 17% prospecting and researching leads, 12% going to internal meetings, and 12% scheduling calls."
It also helps you replicate the performance of your best sales reps. Include them in the development of these resources to help share their superpowers with the rest of your team.
Do they have specific templates, sequences, or scripts that perform well? Great! That knowledge should be translated into shareable internal assets for everyone to benefit from.
As an added bonus, ZoomInfo reports that companies that are able to align sales and marketing efforts achieve a 38% higher sales win rate.
SALES ENABLEMENT BEST PRACTICES
As with any sound business strategy, following best practices allows you to maximize your potential in that area and reap the most benefits from the plan and tactics you put into action.
Define an Owner
Research shows that more than 50% of functions are assigned to the head of sales (identifying needs, prioritizing resources, conducting training, etc.). Otherwise, they're typically assigned to marketing, executive management, or sales operation.
Typically, marketing 'owns' the creation, but there needs to be alignment and accountability between marketing, sales, and customer success. This way, there's more ownership over the impact of the sales enablement program and how engaging it is with consumers throughout their buying process.
Audit Existing Content
After alignment, assignments, and accountability, do a content audit to uncover what already exists and map it to your buyer's journey (60% of B2B content never gets used — this is a massive waste of resources). You'll be surprised to find that you have a plethora of undiscovered resources in the palm of your hands — and already in-house, no less!
When starting a new sales enablement initiative, sales teams will often clamor for several assets. Start by developing an inventory of requests and prioritizing those requests using the ICE framework — the Impact, Confidence, and Ease of implementation.
This means gathering up and reporting all the ideas your team suggests for your business's growth and prioritizing it with the help of data analysis and past tests.
Speak Your Customer's Language
Ditch the industry buzzwords and speak to your prospects using words they'll understand. Sales enablement will only be effective if it's useful for prospects, so it's critical to use customer insights.
Ideally, your marketing team is already talking with customers on a monthly basis, but at the least, your marketing lead should:
- Ask your sales and CS reps to compile the top 10 most common questions they get and be sure that those are answered.
- Review CS chat transcripts to uncover common pains.
Your marketing team will then utilize these frequent questions and pain points to create content that speaks to current and potential customers in their language, ultimately showing that you intimately understand their biggest problems.
Leverage Sales Enablement Software
Tools like HubSpot can provide task management and act as a central source of truth to host all resources so you can designate specific team leaders as the only stakeholders who can update templates. This level of version control brings an end to the one-off decks that reps create in a silo which erodes brand continuity.
It also means that your sales enablement resources are now supercharged with some of the most powerful attribution reporting on the planet allowing you to have full visibility into how it’s performing. Which leads me to the next point…
Measure Effectiveness (& Learn!)
Both in terms of internal adoption/usage and the impact on performance (close rates, pipeline velocity, etc.). This will provide insight into what resonates, helping you refine your sales pitch, website content, etc.
As salesman and author Dale Carnegie once said, "The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way." Meaning, you will not maximize your business's potential unless you take the time to measure effectiveness and learn from past successes and failures.
In the end, the most important steps include getting started, letting your team build some traction, generating data, and evolving from there.
Work With a Team of Fractional Revenue Leaders
2020 shifted how sales teams operate, and the organizations that can tightly align their sales and marketing teams and embrace a digital-first sales process will be the ones who win over the next few years. The ones that don't will continue to fumble potential deals that they could've closed.
In fact, this need to align sales and marketing into a unified revenue engine has become so prevalent that we've doubled our own revenue over the past 12 months. If you're looking for a team of fractional revenue leaders to help you scale, give us a call.