Sales enablement is not just a buzzword. Companies of all sizes and industries see results when they have concerted programs and efforts supporting growth and training. After two years of these approaches, organizations see a 48% higher customer engagement rate. Most companies are shifting toward including dedicated sales enablement roles or programs in their organization, but many have yet to make the shift. If your organization is worried about falling behind, start catching up and gaining ground with the right approach.
In this guide, we’ll walk through what a sales enablement strategy is and why it’s so important to know how to build one in 2023. Then we’ll walk through the five simple steps of getting started, which you can use to create immediate change in your organization through better training programs and up-to-date knowledge and resources. Read on to learn how to build a sales enablement strategy.
What Is a Sales Enablement Strategy?
Every sales department has a sales strategy and dozens of other strategic efforts running in the background. Before creating and implementing a new sales enablement strategy, know precisely what it entails and what it’s designed to do. It focuses on providing the resources reps need to sell as effectively as possible. Through this process, you evaluate what resources salespeople currently have, what they need to achieve their own goals (or implement their unique tactics), and the best ways to make those resources available.
Throughout the process of building a strong sales enablement strategy, you’ll:
- Analyze currently available resources to find gaps, errors, and outdated information
- Revise or create a tech stack for salespeople
- Establish best practices for creating, updating, and distributing resources
- Identify gaps in training
- Implement more rigorous, helpful, and convenient modes of training
- Assess your processes for opportunities to automate tasks and incorporate better reporting, AI, or ML tools
How Is It Different From Other Sales Related Strategies?
Many other sales-related strategies focus on revenue and relationship-based results. Your organization’s VP might establish quarterly revenue goals and create a plan for achieving those goals. Your product director might collaborate with sales and marketing to develop a strategy for a new product release. Managers might put together strategies for increasing customer retention efforts. While these strategies are important and will intersect with your sales enablement efforts, they’re different. This approach focuses on empowering individuals and giving them the resources and skills they need to implement those other strategies effectively.
5 Benefits of Creating a Separate Sales Enablement Strategy
When you’re busy focusing on revenue goals and managing employees, urgent matters can shoulder their way in front of important ones. However, setting time to build a better sales enablement framework is essential for your business’s long-term success — even if it means you have less time for putting out fires now. Some of the key benefits of creating a customized strategy for your organization are:
- Updated practices: Current buyers don’t respond well to conventional sales tactics. Instead, they want competent and objective advice, conversations, and a long-term relationship they can rely on. You need — and will benefit from — a systematic approach that eliminates hard sales tactics and emphasizes conversations.
- Removal of old and inaccurate information: Half-hearted sales enablement efforts often leave reps with outdated pricing rules or in the lurch regarding new product features and marketing campaigns. That breeds distrust between customers and sellers. It’s also frustrating (and potentially embarrassing) for salespeople to suddenly be caught out with bad intel. Regularly reviewing, updating, and replacing knowledge banks, so they align with a single source of truth removes this obstacle.
- Unleash employees for self-led learning: Many professionals are eager to adopt new practices and information, especially if it’s going to increase their commissions and closed-won rate. The sooner you can provide a learning infrastructure that gels with their preferred learning styles and availability, the better.
- Get a more nuanced — and more accurate — understanding of your sales teams’ needs: Unfortunately, your first forays might involve a lot of guesswork. While you can request feedback, you’ll mostly be experimenting with new efforts or taking small, incremental steps into new territory. However, once you start working on your strategy and implement a sales enablement platform, you’ll get real-time and historical data that shows you exactly what improvements to make next.
- See the ties between enablement and results: Eventually, any organizational initiative needs to show that it’s making headway. Assess what practices work best and what reps need to keep selling at peak performance; showing how these projects correspond to revenue growth proves the power of sales enablement.
How to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy for Your Organization
Before you begin, set aside an hour to start organizing your approach. While different priorities, tech stack requirements, and stakeholder suggestions might alter the course, creating a basic framework can make your efforts much more organized and productive. Follow these steps to start building your sales enablement strategy for 2023.
1. Define Your Goals
Whether you call it a goal, an objective, or a mission statement, start by creating an overarching goal for this strategy. This should express what your plan is all about to any stakeholder who asks questions. An easy-to-communicate, concise goal will help get organizational buy-in and keep the project tightly focused on enablement rather than general sales.
Identify Key Areas for Improvement
Now, you can start to focus on more granular goals. This might involve going through old playbooks to archive outdated information, ensuring the tech stack is integrated with the company intranet or identifying how current training efforts need to change. At this stage, you might just be brainstorming. What are some known problems with your organization’s sales enablement efforts? If you ask around, what do other stakeholders think are critical issues?
2. Turn Vague Goals Into Measurable and Specific Goals
At this stage, you transform all those problems, vague goals, and wish list concepts into actionable goals. For example, you might:
- Set deadlines for creating new playbooks and resources
- Create SMART goals for how often you want to get salespeople’s feedback
- Set a deadline for getting baseline benchmarks on each rep’s skills and productivity metrics
- Set key performance indicators (KPIs) that have a clear minimum threshold for performance metrics, like closed-won sales and meeting quotas
However, make sure to avoid equivocating these goals with overall goals. When results either fall short or exceed these KPIs, it should tell you what to do next in your sales enablement efforts, not make you think about revenue concerns.
3. Evaluate Your Tools and Make Changes
At this stage in building a sales enablement strategy, you may realize that you may need more than the software and tools your teams have to achieve those goals satisfactorily and measure progress. Consider the business-critical use cases for your current CRM, communication tools, and sales or account management software. Are there places where people are manually making do? Can you work with the providers to personalize the workflows? Or is it time for new tech entirely?
Take your time through this stage, and shop around for platforms that offer a lot of versatility and independent control. Your efforts will evolve, so you want software that can grow with you instead of fixed objects that need to be replaced in a couple of years. For example, if you’re using older tools and CRMs, they might not offer the AI and ML support that has been making waves in the news.
Switching to software solutions that integrate with other tech stacks in your business, automate tedious tasks, and provide intelligent reporting can positively impact your company’s strategies.
4. Prioritize Training for Soft Skills and Active Listening
The most important aspect of sales enablement is good training. The best informational resources and customer testimonials in the world won’t help if your sales reps don’t know how to efficiently build relationships and listen to each customer’s unique pain points. Dedicate a significant portion of your sales enablement’s efforts toward finding the proper training solutions. AI coaches that prioritize soft skills and conversation are one of the best options because this sort of learning platform can:
- Remove the bottlenecks in in-person, one-on-one sales training
- Give each salesperson practice simulations that let them test out approaches and refine their skills
- Provide instantaneous feedback and real-time prompts
- Analyze tens of thousands of data points to evaluate concepts as complex as conversational abilities
- Collect individualized, objective data that reps can use to hone their craft and that sales managers can use to determine individual workloads, career paths, and opportunities as they build effective teams.
AI sales training platforms can incorporate thousands of past training exercises and your company’s unique SOPs to create curated learning courses for every learner.
5. Revise, Revise, Revise
Your strategy will change over time as each new initiative and measure leads to growth, new priorities, and incremental improvements. A constantly revised framework isn’t a bad one — far from it! One that lives and changes with the organization prevents costly or ineffective changes and keeps sales enablement efforts fluid. Mark time on your calendar to review your goals, your progress, and potential changes every week or month.
Make Quantified the Foundation of Building a Sales Enablement Strategy
Sales enablement bridges the gap between salespeople and your organization’s growth goals. One of the most immediately effective changes you can make is implementing an AI coaching platform that puts learning opportunities in the hands of your team.
Quantified’s unique AI coach can assess each employee’s baseline conversational skills. Then it can create a unique learning path focusing on individualized goals and gaps for lightning-fast improvements and growth. Contact us today to schedule a demo and see how Quantified fits into your process for how to build a sales enablement strategy for 2023.