Sales Enablement is so much more than content creation. There is a somewhat dizzying array of important items to consider:
- The impact that external factors, such as market and technology changes, have on buyers and in turn your on content,
- Rapidly changing buyer needs and expectations,
- Shifting competitive landscape,
- An evolving product and/or service suite,
- Training and updating the sales force
- Identifying the best means to deliver content,
- Ensuring that sellers use content and use it properly,
- Ensuring that sales managers proactively coach sellers,
- Aligning comp plans with sales enablement objectives,
- Utilizing metrics to optimize results,
- Automation, etc.
All of these items must be addressed to ensure that we optimally enable the sales team. This requires an appropriate long-term view and infrastructure for Sales Enablement. It is shown in the diagram below.
Lets look a little more deeply.
The role that Executive Management plays cannot be underestimated. More than exercising leadership, they must take ownership of Sales Enablement and take responsibility for its deployment and results.
Sales managers are the lynchpins of the sales operation because they must make sure that Sales Enablement objectives are achieved by the way they manage and coach their sales teams. An essential responsibility is to provide salespeople with proactive management by making sure that they are at peak performance when executing your sales process and their use of the appropriate content based on where the buyer is in their journey.
Marketing must keep their finger on the pulse of external factors impacting your company, buyer needs and their personas, etc., and lead the effort to translate that information into valuable market and buyer information for sellers, along with the provision of content.
In my view, the Content Development team must be comprised of representatives from:
- Marketing, who will likely manage efforts, and who have well defined view of the market and your buyers,
- Sales, who brings an even more personal view of buyers, and
- Product/service people, who have a clear view of the capabilities your company’s solutions provide to help buyers solve their problems.
This team should report directly to Executive Management.
Further, the Content Development team should analyze the insights gathered by Marketing about external market factors and your buyers. That information should be translated into the resulting challenges and difficulties confronted by those buyers. They should then identify the capabilities that your products and services provide. The links between those buyer challenges and difficulties with your capabilities defines the solutions you bring to the marketplace. That information should be built into a Sales Enablement knowledge library. Here the objective of providing the sales team with the right information at the right time in the right format is achieved. The information should be properly formatted to provide:
- Training for new sales people,
- Training for the sales team when new solutions or updates to solutions are ready for the market. In fact, I encourage my clients to define a solution as the combination of the capabilities you provide to your buyers + the tools you provide to your sellers to sell the solution, and not release the solution to the marketplace unless those tools are developed.
- Properly formatted pre-call planning information for sales people that will enable them to construct their call introduction, prepare for their need development discussion, qualify their buyer, and take appropriate next steps. This is an imperative. I believe this is often overlooked by Sales Enablement teams and is big mistake. In sales situations, a buyer looks at you from three perspectives: Your people, your solutions, and your company (stability, etc.). Commonly a buyer’s first interface is with your people, and specifically a sales person. Therefore initial sales calls – and the decisions the buyer makes about your sales person – is critically important. The seller must quickly establish their personal sincerity and competency, be able to conduct an effective business conversation, and provide insight that the buyer believes is of significant value. The call planning tools we provide, mapped to the sales process, are an imperative.
- Easy (automated) generation of post-call sales cycle control emails. Upon completion of a successful call a seller should always send such an email. This item is all too frequently overlooked and is of incredible value. A well constructed sales cycle control email:
- Differentiates the seller,
- Functions as an internal sales vehicle for the buyer,
- Paves the way to introductions to other key buyers, and
- Shortens sales cycles.
A very high percentage of sales people do not send them because of the effort and time required to construct them. However, if automated it can literally take only a few minutes.
- Content to support key sales cycle steps (which could include proof, ROI, implementation plan, etc.)
In my view, if this big picture for Sales Enablement infrastructure is followed companies can achieve the results that the Aberdeen Group found: 56% of Sales Enablement practitioners are seeing greater growth rates in their annual revenues.
What an exciting time!
Founder & CEO
Bob Junke is the Founder and CEO of Adventace®. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Create the High Performance Sales Environment® and creator of the Adventace Sales Management System™, a Salesforce-based application that enables a high-performance sales environment. You can learn more about him at Bob’s Bio, and reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 724-443-2383.