Over the last several years, many technologies have been developed to help accelerate and automate the sales and marketing functions. First, it was upper funnel tools that help drive customer awareness and consideration through marketing automation. What is sales enablement? This includes tools for salesperson training, coaching, content development, communications and customer engagement, coupled with performance analytics reporting designed to best optimize the sales process. Sales team reporting and analytics. It tracks data not only from the sales team (individually and collectively), but from the customers’ engagement with the content (e.g., what content did they read the most in the deck, which email template had the best response, what message most lead to a conversion). Content Importability: ability to quickly upload your current content into system Presentation Support: ability to present live in person, screen share virtually or on mobile Content Scoring: which content is most effective to getting a desired outcome Machine Learning: system learns over time and makes recommendations Key performance indicators These are example metrics that will come out of a sales enablement platform that needs to be optimized, both at the individual and department levels: Time to Revenue Quota Attainment Sales Cycle—Funnel Optimization Time Spent Selling (vs. other tasks) Content Usage (by sales team and your customers) Product Mix (are we selling most desired products) Expected outcomes According to the market research firm, Aberdeen, who studied the benefits of companies using sales enablement tools vs. companies that were not, you can expect the following results, on average, by using sales enablement tools: 2.2x more effective at linking sales actions to revenues 83 percent more effective at improving productivity with technology 58 percent more effective at finding, training and retaining sales talent 32 percent higher sales team quota attainment 24 percent higher individual sales person quota attainment 23 percent higher conversion rate So, as you can see in the above data, sales enablement tools are well worth the investment and should have an immediate payback, if used correctly by sales managers, the sales team and other stakeholders in the business. Key vendors to consider There are several key players serving the sales enablement tools market, including Guru, Clearslide and CloudMap. With sales enablement tools in place, it has never been easier for sales managers to get visibility into what is working and what is not working in their sales process, and training the best of those activities across the full team. And, it has never been easier to get insights from the actions taken by your customers around your content, to optimize what is most likely going to accelerate conversions from your future efforts.
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Over the last several years, many technologies have been developed to help accelerate and automate the sales and marketing functions. First, it was upper funnel tools that help drive customer awareness and consideration through marketing automation. Then came the middle and lower funnel tools that help drive customer evaluation and purchase through sales enablement tools, which I will talk about in this post. These sales enablement tools can make a material difference in helping you drive revenue faster, consistently across your entire sales team.
What is sales enablement?
At the end of the day, sales enablement tools arm your sales team with the content, guidance and training they need to effectively communicate and close buying customers. This includes tools for salesperson training, coaching, content development, communications and customer engagement, coupled with performance analytics reporting designed to best optimize the sales process. Sales enablement is not about your sales operations (e.g., territory management, capacity management, compensation, systems/CRM/CPQ/SPM, sales forecasting, sales reporting, contract management), which is typically managed by an entirely different sales operations team.
What is the goal of sales enablement?
The goal of using sales enablement tools is to set up a scalable and repeatable process to drive revenues, for the entire sales team to follow, anchored by quantifiable metrics and reporting to help prove the ROI of the sales team as a whole, and the individual salespeople therein. It also serves as the bridge between the sales, marketing, product, and brand teams, to ensure the appropriate documents and messaging desired by marketing, is actually being used by the sales team. It is designed to make sure the customers see the most preferred content, at the most preferred times in the sales cycle, mapping to the customer journey and increasing conversion rates in the process. It is also the best tool to create the feedback loop from customers through the sales team back to the product and marketing teams, so they can make the appropriate changes on their end, based on real time customer feedback.
Primary use cases
There are really three major functional purposes for sales enablement tools:
- Sales content centralization and optimization. This is all about organizing the sales content (e.g., email templates, decks, case studies, white papers, competitor intelligence) so it is easily searchable by all sales team members, in a consistent format controlled and approved by the marketing department.
- Technologies to automate the process….