You can’t talk modern B2B sales strategies without talking sales enablement. Today’s B2B sales landscape is highly competitive. Your clients have more access than ever before to a wide range of products and services, and it’s significantly harder to build brand loyalty when switching to a competing business is often as easy as a couple of clicks.
It’s on you and your team to put in place tactics that don’t just pull in new customers, but that help build strong relationships with the customers you already have. And to do that, you’ve got to have an effective B2B sales enablement foundation.
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement refers to the strategic use of technology, data analytics, and targeted tools and processes to optimize training and build a better, more efficient sales team.
It’s more than just a buzz-phrase – sales enablement is a leading method of improvement for a majority of top B2B sellers. By 2017, nearly 59% of companies worldwide had incorporated sales enablement into their practices, according to an executive summary report from CSO Insights.
Soon (if not already), sales enablement will be considered an integral part of any successful sales team. If you haven’t already incorporated it into how you train, coach, and facilitate the day-to-day operations of your sales taskforce, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to increase your foothold and lead your team to more sales.
There are a lot of areas that stand to benefit from a well thought out sales enablement strategy. Companies who have incorporated these targeted tasks and tools into their B2B campaigns have found major gains in:
- Training and coaching
- Data use and mining
- Content management
There’s a fair amount of work that has to go into sales enablement implementation, but it’s worth the time and effort. In their 2017 State of Sales Enablement report, SiriusDecisions found that 43% of top performing companies had invested in a full-time sales enablement staff.
The Role of Data and Technology
Data and technology play a large role in almost every single task, tool, and process of sales enablement. And it makes sense, since improving sales almost always requires a close look at past performance and innovative techniques for refining and cultivating best practices.
Chances are, your company is already making more use of its data. There is near limitless value in the information around quota turnouts, individual sales performance, and the behaviors and expectations that define each stage of your buyers’ journeys. Combine this data with integrated technology like artificial intelligence and the sky becomes the limit when it comes to turning data insights into conduits for success.
Technology is part and parcel of a productive sales enablement program. In addition to helping your data do more for you, it can also help with things like virtual training, content automation, and recruitment. 79% of sales teams use analytics technology to increase their efficiency, says Salesforce’s State of Sales report, and if you’re not letting data and tech guide your sales enablement strategy, now is the time to start.
Content Remains King
Your sales team should always have access to the content that they need to increase their sales readiness and add value to every buyer’s purchase. Creating and disseminating this content is a key part of sales enablement, helping you establish cohesive touchpoints that your salesforce can come back to time and again.
To stretch the benefits of sales enablement as far as they will go, work on creating content that provides both training and sales guidance where and when your reps need it. This includes content focused on each stage of the buyer’s journey that can be used to funnel clients through from general interest to completed sale.
There’s a lot to be gained from adding more content to your sales enablement process. Talk to your team about what they perceive to be their biggest barriers in training and sales, and draft content that directly addresses these points. Then make it accessible. Your reps shouldn’t have to scan through their email inbox to find content that’s relevant for a particular situation they’re facing. Instead, content should be stored and delivered in a way that allows them to quickly pull it up, whether they’re at their own office or a client’s office.
Aligning Marketing and Sales
Effective sales enablement requires regular collaborations between sales and marketing staff. The more data you have, the better – and there’s a wealth of important data that can be pulled from marketing.
According to an integrated marketing report from Act-On, companies who closely align their sales and marketing teams experience a 67% higher probability that marketing-generated leads will result in a completed sale. That’s because marketing has a different – but equally useful – vantage point from which to view customer behavior and trends. When prioritized alongside sales data, the information you glean from marketing helps inform sales enablement techniques and, ultimately, leads to more effective B2B sales tactics.
Companies are better when the organizations within them work together. Look to your marketing team for data that assists in filling in the gaps between what customers are doing and why. Then use that information to create more effective sales enablement materials and processes.
Make It Easy for Your Team to Sell More
At its core, sales enablement is all about removing the obstacles that stand in the way of successful sale completions. Think of it like a master class, with benefits for all areas of your sales process.
Customers have high expectations for the brands that they work with, and optimizing the customer experience is necessary if you want to compete. Use sales enablement as a tool to hone in on what your reps and your customers need to take it to the next level. Do it right and you’ll see improvements where they matter most – in your customer relationships, and on your bottom line.
We can help you improve your sales and marketing techniques. Get in touch today to schedule a demo so you can see PFL in action and get connected with a tactile marketing guru who can help you with everything from automating your B2B campaigns to integrating better collaboration among your teams.