Like any other successful sales leader, you want to enable your sales team – make them more efficient, arm them with the right sales content, and obviously, close more deals.
But how do you “enable” your team?
According to HubSpot, “sales enablement is the technology, processes, and content that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity”. That’s a great definition.
You know, one of the best practices for sales enablement is to use sales enablement tools to help you with that process. According to Harvard Business Review, companies spend $12 billion a year on these tools. But when you start searching for software, things start to get complicated!
Because today, every sales solution out there claims that they are a sales enablement software. But when you start digging into it, you realize that it is an umbrella term that encompasses several technologies.
You might be wondering:
How am I going to choose the right type of software for my organization? Stay tuned!
According to G2Crowd, in order to be qualified as a sales enablement solution, a product must:
- Act as a repository of marketing content to be used by sales representatives
- Track prospect and customer engagement on content and sales pitches
- Allow users to upload a variety of collateral or build content directly within the tool
- Assist in the preparedness of salespersons during presentations or pitches by having easy access to relevant marketing content
Wow, that’s a lot of functionality. Let’s break it down.
1. Sales Content Management
When you think about a sales enablement solution, this is probably the most important functionality, which significantly increases marketing and sales alignment.
Did you know that 65% of content created by marketing is not used by sales reps? Or that 70% of reps said their lack of knowledge was the reason they lost deals?
You have to put the right content into the hands of your sales team for every selling situation, right at the moment they need it. To achieve that, you have to accomplish two things:
- Make it easy for salespeople to find the best content to share from a centralized repository. So sellers spend time selling, not looking for documents.
- Guide your sellers with predictive, intelligent content recommendations.
Remember, sales success starts with the right content and relevant guidance in one place.
2. Sales Content Creation
Alright, having easy access to sales content is important. But what about the quality of that content? Statistics show that 95% of salespeople want more content. Content that will help them position better, and sell more.
But this is crazy:
Your marketing team is already building a ton of content. Why do sales reps need more?
Isn’t it obvious? As we said before, 65% of that content goes to waste, and it is only the 5% that is used at a high frequency! Make sure that your marketing team channels their efforts into building effective sales content that your sales reps will love using. But how?
Your sales enablement software has to make it easy for your marketing team to create engaging and memorable content, with pre-built templates and tailored approval workflows specific to your organization.
3. Customer Engagement
Now that you have amazing content that is very easy to be found by your sales reps, it is time to send it to your prospects.
But after you hit the send button, you never know what happens on the customer side. Did they receive your document? Did they review it? Did they send it to someone else? Understanding how your prospects engage with your sales content is a huge part of sales enablement.
Sales enablement technology allows you to get real-time notifications when prospects engage with your content. So you can see when, where, and how people engage with your sales documents.
This helps you with so many things to close your deal:
- You can hit the perfect timing with your follow-ups, every time.
- You can clearly see who’s involved in the deal. So you know if you’re moving closer to a decision-maker, or getting blocked by a hidden gate-keeper.
- With page-by-page analytics, you can find out what matters most to your prospects.
- By tracking actions like forwarding, downloading, printing your documents, you can gauge your prospect’s interest.
Context changes everything. You can have the right conversation with your prospects at the right time, every time.
Moreover, some solutions enable you to see exactly what team, rep, content, or even sales stages are driving the most engagement. This helps you to identify high performers and institute the best practices across your sales team.
4. Presentation Management
Sometimes you don’t send your sales content but you rather present it. Indeed, an important and exciting aspect of a sales rep’s daily life is to make presentations and demonstrations to prospects. There are three parts of this process:
- Creating the sales collateral you will present. This should typically be handled by your marketing team.
- Deciding which sales materials you will present to that particular prospect. Your sales enablement software should do that recommendation, as we explained above.
- Delivering an engaging presentation. This is what presentation management is all about.
Whether you are delivering your presentation virtually or in person, you need technology for it. We are talking about video/audio conferencing, screen sharing, augmented & virtual reality, and the ability to present from any device (phone, tablet, laptop).
Although most sales enablement software prefers to integrate with existing presentation management solutions, some of them have this functionality built-in. The biggest advantage is that you can auto-log the meeting details and analytics back to your CRM, which saves hours in manual data entry.
5. Sales Onboarding, Training & Coaching
Better sales teams start with better training. A huge part of your sales team’s success depends on how well you onboard, train, and coach your sales reps.
Training and onboarding software helps newly hired salespeople learn the details of your organization’s sales processes, ramps up their selling abilities, improves their time-to-productivity, and gets them up to speed faster.
And after a successful onboarding, coaching software gives salespeople and managers the ability to analyze and collaborate on sales calls and emails to help refine techniques, establish best practices, and improve sales close rates.
This is a highly specialized area, and there are solutions focused only on training, onboarding, and coaching. And most sales enablement software prefers to integrate with these solutions, rather than building this functionality in their own product.
6. Sales Communication
Communication within your sales organization is a critical factor for your sales success. You have to keep your sales reps informed, connected, and up-to-speed with all the right information in all the right places. We are talking about delivering them the latest news and information on competitor intel, market insights, product updates, etc.
And this is not one-way communication. You have to enable your sales team to share assets and information between reps, regions, and managers so best practices can surface in real-time. They should also be able to provide feedback to content creators, peers, and sales leadership on what’s working, what’s not, and what to do about it.
Some sales enablement solutions provide mechanisms to have this kind of enhanced business communication within your organization.
Where Do You Need Help Most?
So there you go. These are the six pillars of sales enablement software. Every solution out there in the market covers some of these pillars. But typically, each solution is focused more on one or two of the pillars.
So, start by evaluating your biggest challenges and decide where you need the most help with sales enablement.
Do your sales reps waste too much time searching for sales content? You may want to look into a solution with a strong content management component. Do your deals fall into the black hole of sales, where you hear nothing from your prospects? Then a sales enablement solution with solid customer engagement capabilities is what you’re looking for.
By understanding what the biggest pain points are for your business, doing enough research, you can certainly find the best sales enablement software for you.