Sales teams are one of the most potent weapons in the corporate leadership’s armoury. The performance of these sales teams is a competitive edge that directly results in greater revenue and market share. Sales enablement is the resources, technology, content, and training that make sales teams perform better, making it one of the most strategic and high ROI decisions executives can make.

Talented football players alone do not make a winning team. They need to be trained in a system by a brilliant manager. They need the best kits and shoes. They need great training facilities. They need intel about their opponents. Salespeople are no different. With the right training, tools, and intel, they can locate better prospects and convert them faster at a higher rate. The result is an organization which sees its competitors in the rearview mirror.

Sales enablement is resources that help your sales team. Chief among those resources is three kinds of information:

  • Sales collateral given to buyers that explains your product and positions it
  • A playbook and internal culture & tools related to optimizing sales
  • Customer data that allows you to turn prospects into profitable relationships smarter and faster

Sales collateral is critical because it assumes there is a competitive scenario. You must have better-branded content smartly positioned. This does not just happen. It requires investment in branding and ensuring that the look and feel are integrated across web, print and social channels. People who decide and influence sales decisions often check digital assets during the sales cycles. Smart collateral with integrated branding is as important as tactical sales activation.

A sales culture is a set of institutionalized best practices supported by internal collaboration and sales tools, as well as sales management and governance. How do you set quotas, manage sales teams, measure the sales funnel, and when a deal at a stage in the funnel has been there for too long? And how do you address that? Sale is a well-oiled ecosystem run by smart managers who run a tight ship using best practices and tools.

Where the greatest opportunities lie in sales enablement and in generating outsized revenue is using smarter customer data to dramatically accelerate sales. Many organizations including your competitors have the first two kinds of information covered but they have not yet invested in smarter customer data.

Data-driven sales solutions now exist that enable you to do the following:

  • Target strategically by using business records of potential customers. Slice and dice using over a hundred fields to narrow down targets
  • Leverage advanced insights and AI to deliver empathic communications customers find relevant
  • Create alerts for you to be able to respond first to market and changing customer intent, with a real-time sales leaderboard of high conversion targets.

With the right data-driven sales solution your sales team can move forward with precision, scale, and purpose. The data acts as a dramatic force multiplier so you choose better leads, know how to reach them, and what your content should say so that it dovetails into customer intent.

Without sales enablement, your sales organization will have a few star performers with a long tail of average performers. With sales enablement, all salespeople have the best practices, knowledge, solutions, content, and resources required to be successful. You have a more productive sales team and build a smarter pipeline that converts faster and at higher rates.

To enable successful sales enablement, do the following:

  1. Separate strategy from planning. Too many sales leaders focus on plans, a set of actions that deliver results according to Job Descriptions. They need to spend critical time aligning with executive leadership, jointly building a growth strategy, and deciding which battlefield to focus on with which pieces.
  2. Have a culture where salespeople work in a cross-functional manner with technology and marketing for effective sales.
  3. Focus on the buyer journey and not on mindlessly pushing deals through the sales cycle. Use ethnographic research to understand user behaviour. Identify how and when to approach them. Use human-centered design to achieve this.
  4. Focus on top-of-mind branding as much as sales activation. This mix should never fall below 50% of the budget. At the heart of top-of-mind branding is high-quality content powered by sophisticated branding at all customer touchpoints and channels.
  5. Sales training around the latest customer insights, and sales techniques and creating emotional connections with customers should be a constant occurrence.
  6. Choose a data-driven sales solution to power your sales efforts.
  7. Have a sales enablement person or team that ensures governance around the first six items in this list.

Sales enablement has a direct often significant impact on revenue. Understanding how to incorporate it into your sales efforts will give you a highly productive sales team and deeper insights into customers you can enable for upsell, cross-sell, and even identifying new products and service ideas. It has the potential to become the engine of your growth and a key competitive edge.