Sales Enablement seems like just any other technical term or jargon that sales professionals use. But, it’s not. It’s a process used by companies to provide salespeople with the right tools, training, and content.. It helps generate results from your sales organization in a way that the team can be highly productive, collaborate better and be more result-oriented in their approach.
In current times, the term sales enablement is a bit misunderstood. Some organizations interpret it as a practice while others consider it as a must-have department, and then there are those who’ve adapted it as a process enabler in their sales department.
Now, every interpretation mentioned above is correct in some or the other way. Sales enablement is a process of creating high-quality and easy to use assets for the sales, support, and growth teams, thereby enabling them to engage and convert buyers more efficiently.
Roughly summing up sales enablement:
“It is the process of providing your sales team with the right set of information, tools, and content that will help them communicate and sell efficiently.”
It has been more than a decade since this term came into existence. Over time, the process has had quite an impressive evolution overall and in this blog, we are going to talk about what’s new and trending in Sales Enablement in 2019.
Trend 1: The sales enablement department
The top trend is to have professionals from within the organization take ownership of sales enablement.
What’s changing on this front in 2019?
Previously, the scope defined for the sales enablement department was quite limited and didn’t have clearly defined responsibilities. Hence, it was a part of either the sales, marketing, or customer support departments.
But to win more customers and grow your business in 2019, you will have to create a separate department with defined duties, roles, and responsibilities.
Now the bigger question: Who do you include in the sales enablement department?
Sales enablement department can be created with talent from both the sales and marketing departments. Your team will have to create premium assets and content like scripts, email templates, brochures, use-cases, and other supplementing collaterals for sales departments, so it will only make sense to include people with a deep understanding of your target audience and products/services.
While hiring talent for this function it is best to have a team which is handy with tools and technology and can, therefore, implement the same across other teams and manage it.
Pro Tip: Try to amalgamate sales enablement into your corporate culture. Ask sales and marketing for content materials like outreach templates, whitepapers, competitor battle cards, use case decks, etc.
Trend 2: Sales activity data integration using smart customer data platforms
In order to have all the relevant data to resolve your customer’s exact query, your sales team will need a data-driven support structure. As mentioned earlier, sales enablement is a process of creating a data-driven support structure and content assets which compliment the selling process. This means this department will be accumulating all the relevant data regarding sales performance, sales productivity, and sales activities.
You will have to store this data at some place and make it easily accessible for your team members.
In most organizations, the data is scattered across multiple platforms, thereby making it harder to both access and assess.
This challenge creates a need for using solutions to unify the data, gather insights, and make well-informed decisions. Having such a solution will empower the marketing team to align their multiple marketing campaigns with the sales team in a way that helps the sales team target ideal customers at the right buyer journey point effectively.
But how to unify the data? The answer is CRM (Customer Relationship Management). CRMs are the platforms/solutions that help unify all the customer data and their interactions within your organization. This will give you a chance to understand your consumer’s behavior and orient your strategies accordingly.
Trend 3: Artificial intelligence to prioritize accounts
For most of us, Artificial Intelligence is still a term that sounds like rocket science. But it is already here and impacting the decision-making process of both individuals and business consumers.
If you use Google maps for getting from point A to B then you are already entrusting Artificial Intelligence with your commuting decisions and safety.
For sales teams, Artificial Intelligence along with machine learning can help prioritize the accounts to target.
But how will AI help?
AI algorithms will study your accounts, read customers’ buying signals, their communication with your organization, personal data, and much more. Based on this data, AI algorithms can help predict the lead’s next moves and also give you an idea of the customer’s buying pattern and habits.
Moreover, it can make sound recommendations on the content, services, and offers to be forwarded to a particular customer.
In short, when AI is combined with sales enablement, it can help your sales and marketing teams achieve a multifold revenue increase.
Trend 4: Training and coaching sales enablement strategy to personnel
A healthy sales enablement department can drive the sales team to its full potential and increase brand loyalty. But how do you achieve it?
By forming the department? Assigning all the responsibilities and explaining individual roles to all the team members?
Well, of course, all those things, but there’s more to it. To function properly, this department needs to keep an eye on the implementation process. You will have to make sure that all the team members are using the created assets in the right way and with the right customers at the right stage.
Train your sales team while keeping your customer journey in focus by writing standout sales pitches, email templates, and call scripts. By integrating all the data in one place, you can access the right data at the right time to make informed decisions.
For instance, sales representatives can’t send emails meant for the customers at the decision-making stage to the new leads they just discovered.
And to make sure everything is done in the right process, you have to train them. And give them guidance whenever needed.
Trend 5: Account-based retargeting/upselling
Account based retargeting is the process of targeting the already existing customers to upsell your product. In the B2B industry, this practice is commonly used by the sales teams as their customers are always looking for more value and that is exactly what upselling does.
Imagine your team is being handed a list of hot leads which are ready to be converted. A 2-minute phone call with them with the right message (content) will close the deal.
Wouldn’t you like achieving your monthly target before the month ends?
It’s not an impossible task, as many might think, but rather an easily achievable task.
The marketing team will just need to backtrack your website visitors who spend more than a certain number of minutes on your site or pricing page, or assess usage patterns of your potential customers who are currently under a free trial or free plan. Note all these visitors on a list and forward it your sales team for nurturing.
That’s your standard account-based retargeting procedure but the right offers, content, etc will make all the difference in the success ratio.
Pro-tip: Try to gather data on what your customer is lacking or where does your customer face a problem with your product. It would help you pitch them the right product in the right manner.
Trend 6: Smaller and efficient sales teams
From decades, the sales team has always been given the utmost importance. Why? Because they are at the frontline of the business. They are the first face of the company.
In most organizations, the sales team is larger than the other teams. It’s simple. More salespeople mean more sales.
But, that may not be true for most organizations.
Well, with all the above-mentioned trends, it seems like the future of sales teams can be summed up as: Smaller, but more efficient.
With data integration, smart customer data platforms, AI and machine learning in the play, fewer people would be able to do the same job.
Summing it up…
The major focus should be on the kind of assets your sales enablement department will produce and consume. Make sure it’s customer-centric.
While rolling out sales enablement processes ensure that you are setting up clear and measurable Key Performance Indicators for this team and make sure that they track it religiously. These indicators might include content usage, sales funnel transition rate, customer acquisition cost, average sales cycle length, the average per sales deal cost, etc.
You know data is everything and when you analyze the above stats you will be able to identify the loopholes in the current system and find room for optimization. Always remember that it is a long term process and you need to keep updating your models and systems along with the growth of your organization.
So, are you ready to build a sales enablement team? How are you planning on measuring performance?
Leave your answers in the comment section. Let’s start an interesting and helpful conversation.