It’s perhaps an understatement that there’s currently more pressure on sales teams than ever before. Every call, every pitch, every proposal has to count in a highly challenging and competitive environment.
So as a sales leader you need to be able to get the best out of your team by providing them with the resources they need to maximise their potential.
Which is where a sales enablement programme – practical tools and skills provided through content and training – comes in. An effective programme ensures your sales team have every resource they require, at every stage of the sales journey, to get more deals over the line.
But there are other benefits to be gained, as well as a measurable increase in sales – a well structured programme has been shown to develop a more positive mindset in team members, remove unproductive habits and instil calmness under pressure.
However, in a recent webinar poll it was revealed that just 42% of organisations have a formalised sales enablement process in place.
In this blog we discuss:
What is sales enablement and why is it integral to improving sales performance?
In short, the entire purpose of sales enablement is to make the lives of salespeople easier – giving your team access to the right support at the right time in the sales process.
For example, video content on advanced negotiation techniques that your team can access if they’re coming up against a particularly bullish procurement department.
For the best results, a sales enablement programme should involve a mixture of content that can be accessed on demand, as well as regular group and individual training. In short, it should be viewed as a continuous process as opposed to one off training “events”.
Obviously, the size of your organisation and the resources available will dictate the sophistication of your program.
However even the most established and well-funded organisations don’t always get the process right – while those that do benefit from significant improvements in their sales figures.
Why do so many sales enablement programs deliver poor ROI?
Success of a sales enablement programme is dependent on how accessible it is. This covers everything from the platforms used to host the content, to the language and tone used, relevancy to your specific industry and how all aspects of the programme are delivered.
For example, even within one organisation content and delivery may need to be tailored for different regions. The language and delivery used for a US sales team may not be entirely appropriate for those operating in MENA territories, for example. In short, content and training needs to be highly relevant, easily accessible and delivered in language that will engage your sales team.
In the words of Steve Pegler, Senior Manager Sales Enablement for cybersecurity provider Sophos, who we have partnered with on a number of projects: “If it’s not simple and easy to use and doesn’t add value, then it’s not going to be used.”
A highly important aspect of the process is defining the competencies to be measured against, by mapping across the individual stages of the sales process. Input from all stakeholders is required – those that that the program is designed for as well as those that have oversight and sign-off.
Often time, budget and resources are wasted because a sales enablement programme is created by those that think they know what the issues are (who haven’t actually been at the coalface for a number of years) rather than those in the field, who know where support is most required.
The program needs to be complex enough to provide support for the myriad of situations that can arise in landing a sale but not so complex that team members are unable to find the relevant resources when they need them.
What return can you expect on a well-executed sales enablement program?
As we have mentioned, an effective sales enablement programme can help improve the overall confidence and wellbeing of your sales team. Which is great for morale but at the end of the day it’s the impact on sales figures and the bottom line that counts.
As part of Sophos’ sales enablement process, working with SBR, it was identified that the renewals team weren’t maximising cross-selling opportunities. With the right support, Sophos’ renewals team increased sales by 11%.
However huge savings can be generated by speeding up the sales cycle. Often deals can be held up because the sales team need to get input from the legal or technical team. Often these are very minor points that take days, if not weeks to answer.
Answers that could easily have been found within minutes, through sales enablement content.
Reducing these bottlenecks can have a substantial cumulative effect, improving deal flow in some cases in excess of £1m.
To find out more about why investment in sales enablement could have a significant impact on your organisation, watch our recent in-depth webinar, with guest Steve Pegler here.
To talk to us about how we can help you put an effective sales enablement programme in place, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 (0) 207 653 3740.
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