How to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy From Scratch

Samantha Pratt Lile
June 4, 2021
 min read
How to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy From ScratchHow to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy From Scratch
Table of Contents
‍“Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return on investment of the selling system.” -Scott Santucci, growth enablement specialist and former Forrester research director

Traditionally, successful sales tactics relied on grabbing potential customers’ attention and telling them all the reasons they should buy a product, pressuring them to make a decision on the spot. The stereotype of the fast-talking used car salesperson wasn’t always so far off… but that was then.

But it’s 2021, and this is not your father’s sales environment. Successful sales strategies are now customer-centric. Modern consumers have a whole world’s worth of information at their fingertips, and they do their homework.

An evolved market requires evolved sales strategies focused on engaging and developing positive relationships with customers and offering them legitimate value. Likewise, building a successful sales team now requires equipping salespeople with the tools they need to succeed in the modern marketplace.

Sales enablement functions within a company to provide sales teams with all the tools and information they need to close more sales as effectively and efficiently as possible. This can occur through a variety of methods, including continuous coaching, data analysis, supplied content, technological tools and building a centralized database of all the information a salesperson might need along the selling journey. 

Combined, all of these tactics form a sales enablement strategy, which is important because it saves companies valuable time on sales and marketing efforts by continuously providing coaching and resources to meet the demands of an ever-changing market.

Of course, plenty of companies and sales managers might be left wondering how to build a sales enablement strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Every company should customize its strategy according to its market, product and target customer. 

Teams can build sales enablement strategies from scratch by including the following elements and best practices:

1. Know your product, company and market

To best engage with prospective clients, a successful salesperson needs to know as much as possible about the products they sell, the company they represent and the market they are targeting. Of course, that’s a lot of info, and often it frequently changes. An effective sales enablement strategy should provide a centralized location where representatives quickly and easily can access all the information they might need.

2. Set your goals

For success, a sales enablement plan should establish specific objectives. A goal of “more sales” is far too broad and generic to be practically useful. Instead, set objectives that will help to achieve the ultimate goal of increased sales. For example, the plan might include objectives of qualifying X number of leads each day, engaging with more target audiences via Instagram or improving telephone communication skills. 

3. Focus on the customer

Any successful sales strategy in 2021 must focus on the customers and their buying journey, not on the salesperson, company or product. Consumers are looking for salespeople who will walk them through the buying journey, focusing on how they specifically can find value from the product or service being sold.

4. Promote engagement

Modern consumers don’t want to be talked at during their buying journey. Instead of telling prospective customers all the reasons they should make a purchase, talk with them about their specific needs and what sort of value they are seeking from the product or service sold. Engaging customers as much as appropriately possible is a vital element of any successful sales enablement strategy.

5. Commit to content

More than 21% of all retail sales in 2020— amounting to more than $861 billion at U.S retailers alone— were conducted online. And when it comes to digital sales, content is still king. Successful sales enablement strategies should include providing sellers with relevant and up-to-date content to use when engaging potential buyers. Connecting a sales team with content to share and social media posts with which to share saves representatives from wasting time doing research that could otherwise be spent following up on leads and closing deals.


6. Utilize tech tools

A modern-day sales team needs the necessary technology to carry out its sales enablement strategy. The plan should include what software and other apps or tools the team will use to carry out its program, including (but not limited to) productivity apps, document workflow management software, free PowerPoint alternative presentation design software and a centralized database where representatives easily can find all the information, resources and tools they might need. 

7. Analyze data

Data analysis is a necessary element of any modern sales enablement plan. After all, if you aren’t relying on data to better understand the market, you can bet your competitors are. Some of the more useful data is not only information on the demographics of potential clients, but also on what sales strategies have brought the greatest success within the company and the larger market. 

8. Continue coaching

It’s not enough to provide onboarding assistance and training to newly hired salespeople. An effective sales enablement strategy requires consistent sales coaching across time. Whether the coaching involves skills development, product information or sales funnel knowledge, it has to occur on a continuing basis and each session should focus on specific objectives. 

9. Unify the team

Even if sales and marketing operations are completely split among teams, it’s vital that they work together to qualify more leads and close more sales. A cross-functional team approach consisting of mutual respect and understanding, as well as open communication, is key to the success of sales enablement strategies.

10. Document the strategy

No sales enablement plan is complete if it hasn’t been documented to not only keep everyone on the same page, but ensure a continuous process is consistent across teams and among newly hired representatives. While various elements of the strategy will be documented in different ways, a visual presentation offers an effective option to illustrate the entire sales process. users can even take advantage of customizable presentation templates created by professional designers, including specific templates designed for onboarding, training and illustrating operations or marketing plans.

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager. Examples of her published work can be found at sites including the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Buzzfeed.