Need a fresh start for the new year? Planning for 2023 is well underway, but if you’re a bit stuck, don’t despair.
Much has changed in the world of sales, especially in the last few years. Quota attainment rates have dropped, sales reps are often not living up to buyer expectations, and most B2B sales are now digital – or are preferred to be by sophisticated buyers.
But it isn’t all doom and gloom. There’s one thing that can turn this all around. A solid sales enablement strategy can help solve these issues, especially when combined with integrative elements like sales coaching and tech.
If you think, “Well, I have a sales strategy, why do I need a sales enablement strategy – and what’s the difference?” Keep reading.
Building a sales enablement strategy builds important elements that add up to creating a center of sales excellence. These elements include improving rep confidence, solidifying sales training techniques, and improving sales practices.
Sales enablement works best when it’s deeply integrated within sales. If it sits outside of sales operations, your team is likely to experience misalignment and confusion. Yet despite its many benefits, sales enablement often exists outside traditional sales operations. This, in turn, means sales enablement strategies and sales goals can often be misaligned.
Let's get to it.
What is a sales enablement strategy?
Quick recap: It’s a planned process of supplying sales teams with the information, tools, guidance, training, and other support they need to do their job more effectively.
You need a mapped-out plan for actions to take throughout the year, which can include:
- A library of training playbooks
- In-field resources (coaching, guided selling, consultative selling techniques, etc.)
- Relevant buyer and seller content
Sounds great, right? But it won’t be of much use unless it‘is formalized. Think of it like a user manual; everyone the strategy touches must be aligned with its main goals and expected outcomes.
1. Document the sales enablement strategy
When creating your wider strategy, document it in a shared document. You can share it with relevant stakeholders when you get buy-in and the rest of the sales team.
Include your sales strategies, wider business objectives, and a mission statement, as well as mapping out key stakeholders, measurable outcomes, and more. The following points will help you create this document and give you helpful tips on what to include.
Check that the following questions are discussed and included in the document:
- What onboarding, coaching, and training will you include?
- What does your tech stack look like: which learning management systems and educational software will you use and when?
- What sales methodologies are you going by?
- How often do sales reps meet with coaches and get just-in-time learning?
- Is coaching online, face-to-face, or both?
- What internal and external sales content will you provide to your reps? Does it include playbooks and pitch decks?
- Where can your reps access customer-facing content, e.g., in a content management system? How and when is it updated?
- What KPIs will you use? Will they be broken down into weekly, monthly, and yearly goals?
2. Get feedback along the way
When creating the strategy, ensure you get cross-departmental feedback in the development phase. This will facilitate buy-in and help you build invaluable critique from the start. Ideally, everyone should be on board. As you collate your feedback, consult with sales leaders.
But once is not enough – ensure you have regular internal communications with your colleagues and other sales leaders, which can look like weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly leadership check-ins to help evaluate sales enablement needs.
- Ask them: What challenges are still relevant to address, and how can sales processes be improved? How do they manage sales cycles, target revenue objectives, and KPIs?
- To check alignment, ask yourself: Have you checked in with sales, marketing, customer experience, and product teams to ensure your plan supports their needs?
3. Define your metrics
Sales enablement metrics are different from sales performance metrics, in that they measure how well your sales enablement practices have worked and if your team is actively engaging with materials and processes.
You need to know if your strategy is working, so it’s important to define sales enablement-specific metrics to track the success.
Figures to include:
- Training course completion rates
- Training turnover rates
- Sales rep quota attainment
- Win rates
- Talent retention
- Revenue influence
- Number of closed deals
Continuously review your strategy’s success to help your team understand its effectiveness and see what you can do to avoid mistakes.
4. Map your strategy to the buyer's journey
To be successful, you need to understand how the sales enablement strategy impacts the customer. Be sure to integrate this knowledge into the strategy, taking into account the important touchpoints.
Don’t forget that customers have much more control over the buying process these days. Make sure your strategy takes the customer into account first, and then arm your reps with relevant, useful, and professional content. You need content for training and coaching purposes but also for consumer-facing sales activities.
This is where you can develop your sales playbook with relevant content. Content will consist of any sales collateral reps can utilize in the lead-up to closing a deal.
Since the buyer's journey is fragmented and can have lots of bumps and barriers, the content has to be varied and applicable to all stages of the buyer’s journey.
Make sure you’ve mapped your journey out beforehand and created relevant personas. Also, you should have linked relevant content assets or guides to each stage of the buyer’s journey and taken into account touch points, objections, and questions your customers may have.
- Top of the sales funnel content, such as pitch scripts and educational content
- Middle of the sales funnel content, such as case studies and video testimonials
- Bottom of the sales funnel content, such as buyers guides, price comparison charts, or product related feature checklists
In the best case scenario, you’ll have this all housed in a CMS or sales enablement software linked together with your sales software.
Not sure which content performs best at which stage? Your consumer engagement metrics can help you.
Also, cross-reference your consumer engagement data against sales engagement data to check which reps are utilizing which asset, how often, and with what results, so you can identify successful materials for the exact stage of the funnel and allow reps to deliver impactful messaging at the right time.
Build out a sales enablement tech stack that arms your reps with the knowledge they need to move customers through the journey seamlessly. When the process is deeply ingrained in your organization, the sales team should recognize the buyer’s journey as integral and have the tools to interact effectively every step of the way.
Ask the following questions to ensure you are aligned not only with your stakeholders, but with how the strategy correlates to the buyer's journey:
- Have you checked in with sales, marketing, customer experience, and product teams and consulted your existing customers to map out your buyer’s journey?
- Are you basing your sales enablement strategy on the buyer’s journey?
- Do you have specified content for reps to leverage at each stage?
- Does your current sales enablement tech stack empower reps to have relevant and specific conversations that move prospects through that journey?
5. Get ultimate buy-in
You need everyone on board if your initiative is going to be successful. Remember, sales enablement will be of no use if its siloed: It should be a company-wide, collaborative strategy.
Unless you have alignment with and buy-in of the C-suite and other key stakeholders, you might get resistance to your strategy, and it will be harder to deploy. In effect, budget and funding won’t be (as readily) available.
Prioritize checking in with your stakeholders and sharing your sales enablement plan with relevant colleagues across the board. Let them be included to shape your overarching sales enablement goals and inspire them to think of sales enablement as integral to company success.
Ready to scale your sales enablement strategy?
When it comes to scaling your sales enablement strategy, Pitcher has all the functionality you need to streamline workflows and level up your team’s productivity.
Pitcher has been designed with customer-facing organizations in mind, as demonstrated by its robust content automation and management features. Pitcher's cloud-based, automatic conversion engine can generate content that is tailored to your customers’ unique needs. Enable your teams with customer-specific recommendations by leveraging your CRM data (even when offline).
If your company is interested in learning more about Pitcher’s innovative and accessible software solutions, be sure to request a free demo today.
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