5 Keys to Successful Sales Enablement Initiatives

October 22, 2016
by M Seymour
  • 5 Keys to Successful Sales Enablement

The Five Keys to Successful Sales Enablement Initiatives

Over the last few years, the term sales enablement has exploded, but the reality is that it’s a catchall term. Different people think of it in different ways. A marketing organization might refer to sales enablement as equipping their B2B sales reps with content.  A cloud vendor might define it as some sort of technology to help sales reps sell.  Sales management might view it as sales training.  And a sales rep might think of sales enablement as those annoying emails they don’t read.

We believe that sales enablement is a series of activities to enable your sales rep to effectively talk to your customers. Chances are you have something that looks like sales enablement in your organization already; maybe it’s a sales academy or a marketing tech initiative.  But even if you have something, chances are its fragmented. You can up your game by examining the five keys to successful sales enablement initiatives.

1. Focus on Incremental Value

Starting a sales enablement initiative can feel a bit like boiling the ocean.  Different stakeholders are going to have different priorities (see above), and you are not going to be able to accomplish all of them from the start .  It’s key to focus on one or two key goals, and execute around those.  If you read this blog regularly, you know we are big on priorities and sales enablement is no different than content marketing.  If you spend a little bit of time doing a bunch of things, you are going to end up doing them poorly.  Pick one thing to start, do it well, and then add more.

2. Coach them up

The reality is that for any sales enablement initiative to be a success, it means taking your ordinary sales rep and making them extraordinary.  Considering that 33% of sales reps leave in their first year, you are going to always have to be coaching them.  This coaching should include traditional sales training, JIT sales training and peer/manager coaching.  No sales enablement initiative is going to be successful without this component.  It’s also worth shadowing and interviewing reps to understand what they are doing now, what works for them and what doesn’t.

3. Make it easy

What do you want your sales reps doing?  Selling or figuring out internal systems, processes, technology and so forth? When sales reps spend more time selling, they will sell more.  So you have to make sure your sales enablement efforts focus on making a sales rep’s life easier.

4. Dedication

Dedication comes in two categories, first being dedicated to your incremental value – don’t get sidetracked by constant requests from sales management. Dedicate yourself, but second also have a dedicated sales enablement team (or multiple) to drive the initiative.  When you do things part time, you do them poorly.  Make sure you have people who are focused on the elements of sales enablement.

5. Measure everything

Chances are your sales enablement function is going to start to look like an overlay or be a relatively new charter, it’s imperative that you understand the current state – what do your sales reps do?  What does marketing do?  Sales ops?  What are the metrics they look to, and how can you improve them?  What else should you be measuring?  By measuring your impact now, it will help to justify current and future investments.

 

 

 

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