A sales enablement strategy can help your business succeed by equipping your salespeople with as many tools, skills and resources as possible to thrive in their jobs.
This could prove to be particularly important in 2021 and beyond, as businesses, industries and entire economies across the world grapple with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So what are the key components you should have in place to succeed with your sales enablement strategy?
Understanding the 'why'
To get the best results out of your sales enablement strategy, it's important to start from a position of understanding. Everyone involved in making the plan a success - starting with your salespeople - needs to have a clear view of why it's being introduced, how it's going to work and what the company can expect to achieve from it.
It's vital that your frontline reps who are trusted with getting sales over the line understand the thinking behind the strategy, but it's just as important that the initiative has executive-level backing. This will help to ensure that managers can make decisions and take actions with confidence that they're supported from the very top of the business.
To get executives on your side, you'll need to present a strong, data-driven case for why sales enablement is the most effective solution to the company's biggest challenges.
Invest in training and education
Experienced sales professionals should already have the basic skills and knowledge required to do their job well and convert leads, but if you want your team to excel and drive the business to the next level of success, you need to support them by investing in dedicated training.
If your sales enablement program involves the introduction of new tools - a more powerful customer relationship management system, for example - your staff should be given the knowledge and the time to get the best out of them.
Your strategy might also involve putting some new sales techniques into practice. If that's the case, your salespeople should be given sufficient time and opportunity to get to grips with these methods. Otherwise, you could find that tactics designed to revolutionize your sales function have little to no impact.
A multi-pronged approach
For the entire business to benefit from a more effective sales operation, various departments and stakeholders need to get involved in supporting sales staff and ensuring they're properly equipped to do their jobs.
Sales enablement might depend on steadily nurturing and honing your employees' skills from the moment they start working with you. This means the HR department has an important part to play, since they oversee the process of onboarding employees and making sure new recruits have a clear idea of what their job will entail and how the company will support their development.
The product team can also contribute to sales success by making sure that any feedback sales reps hear from clients - whether good or bad - is noted and acted on in the product development process.
Finding the right software
There are numerous software packages and tools available to support your sales function. Evaluating the many available options and picking out the right ones for you might seem like a daunting task, but it's worth taking the time to do it properly, since your final decision could dictate how effectively your sales team works.
Finding a project management platform that works for your staff, for example, could prove crucial to your success. As well as enabling communication and collaboration between individuals and teams, using a shared system will help to ensure that everyone has access to the data and insights required to do their jobs effectively.
Dedicated software could also support your efforts to train and upskill your frontline sales reps, ensuring they have everything they need to reach their full potential.
Great marketing content
The marketing department is responsible for generating high-quality leads and passing them on to the sales team to close, and so has an extremely important role to play in sales enablement.
In the modern era of inbound marketing - which is all about forming positive connections with your audience and getting leads to come to you - you need high-quality, relevant content that answers your customers' questions and solves their problems.
This is a critical element of sales enablement. A potential customer who already feels well-informed because they've downloaded a 'how to' guide, watched a product video or read a case study will feel much more confident to go ahead with a purchase.
While it's true that the sales team is ultimately responsible for converting leads and bringing in new business, pretty much every department within your company can contribute to enabling sales and laying the foundations for success.