Sales is the process of selling your product or service in order to scale the business. By definition it’s simple, but by trade there’s so much more to it.
Sales deeply impacts the livelihood of a business. Sales is to business what content is to marketing— it’s what helps propel it forward to new audiences. Sure, companies can be successful simply from organic efforts like word-of-mouth, but most businesses will opt for a sales team to help get their product or service in front of more eyeballs. A sales team, or sales representative, works tirelessly to generate new leads, build a book of business with prospective clients, and maintain existing relationships all for the sake of the company’s bottom line.
Research conducted by Hubspot revealed that 19% of buyers want to connect with a salesperson during the awareness stage of their buying process, 60% want to connect with sales during the consideration stage, and 20% want to talk during the final decision stage. Those statistics speak to the importance of a sales team and how critical it is to nurture leads throughout the entire sales cycle.
A sales team has to be self-motivated, and eager to close deals, but they can’t do it alone. It takes a village— and by village, we mean a proper sales enablement plan— to get a successful sales department off the ground.
What is sales enablement?
We’ve gone in depth about the importance of sales enablement strategies in previous articles, but at its core it’s simple. Sales enablement is the process of providing your sales team with all the tools they need to be successful. Sales enablement can come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common elements of a sales enablement strategy are providing training, curating content and sales collateral, and supplying tools, knowledge, and resources to the sales team so that they can do their jobs to the best of their ability.
You’ve heard the saying “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” because you’ll likely lose. The same goes for sales. If you aren’t equipping your sales team with the right tools for their tasks, goals, or circumstances out in the field, they won’t win. Insert: sales enablement.
How does sales enablement work?
Your team might choose to repurpose existing assets, offer quarterly training, or provide your sales reps with tools— like Beautiful.ai— to create their own collateral. Regardless, marketing and sales generally own all sales enablement strategies and processes, and they must work together in order to create efficiencies. Sales enablement is a two-way street and requires cross-departmental collaboration. The sales team can inform other departments about market-fit, audience personas and demographics, and client feedback, which marketing can then apply to any client-facing assets. Similarly, marketing can lend the sales team resources or design help to bring sales collateral to life.
Sales enablement tool usage was up 567% from just 2017 to 2019, a number we’d be willing to bet has since increased even more in 2021. That drastic jump just goes to show how valuable sales enablement is, and how many companies are adopting it in their business plan.
Why use sales enablement for your business?
Now that you’ve got the scoop on what sales enablement is and how it works, let’s talk about how it can actually benefit your business. Below are four ways that sales enablement can affect your overarching business efforts.
1. Sales readiness
Sales readiness means that your sales team is properly trained and informed, and ready to take on new client relationships. Sales enablement helps ensure that your employees are equipped to succeed. Starting with onboarding and ending with regular feedback and coaching, sales readiness is what keeps your employees motivated and at the top of their game. At the end of the day, every company wants top talent that’s ready to hit the ground running, and a lot of that starts with internal support and processes.
2. Engagement and retention
No, we’re not talking about customer engagement and retention (although that’s great, too). Instead, we’re talking about your employees. Sales enablement is a nod to your sales team telling them you see them, and you support their efforts. When they feel valued, they’re more likely to be motivated, engaged, and willing to go up to bat for the company. Employee churn is expensive, and keeping your sales reps happy, supported, and excited to be a part of the team can help you avoid that.
3. Client-facing wins
Sales enablement affects more than the sales team. The right training, collateral, and information can be repurposed across various departments like marketing and customer success, to ensure that all client-facing communications are aligned. Additionally, the sales team can help inform marketing and customer success efforts based on the feedback they’re receiving from clients. A more aligned approach will undoubtedly contribute to more client-facing wins.
4. Effective use of tools
A proper sales enablement strategy gives the sales team all of the tools and resources they need to move clients through the sales process. By having a solid sales enablement plan in place, you can hone in on what tools are working, and which ones are no longer serving their purpose. Defining which tools are most effective can help your business eliminate any unnecessary costs.
Using a software that wears many hats— like Beautiful.ai— to create various types of sales collateral is a great place to start.