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How to Implement a Sales Enablement Strategy

Steve Surdez

Sales enablement is a strategy and process that empowers your sales person or team with the tools, processes, and knowledge they need to do their jobs more efficiently and with a higher rate of success.

The sales enablement data being shared by organizations is very positive, and it’s easy for companies to see — conceptually and statistically — why they should adopt a sales enablement program. However, how to get from conceptual understanding to the rewards is a bit less clear for many.

Launching, managing, and improving your sales process is always challenging. Companies often struggle to identify what they already have in place, what needs to be added, and, finally, what they need to do to maintain the program once it’s active.

Let’s take a look at key areas that need to be addressed to launch your new sales enablement program and ensure it’s executed consistently and adjusted periodically to evolve with your company and customer needs.

Step One: Create Your Sales Enablement Working Group

You need to build a trusted work team to spearhead the program. Sales enablement is not just about sales and customer service — building a strong support system requires multi-functional input, and therefore requires team members from across disciplines. Gather the best and brightest from the following functions:

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Human Resources

Note: Every business is different. Please use the above as a general guideline; your team might be made up of a different cross-section of functions.

Part of this effort will be — for lack of a better term — ”selling” your sales enablement initiative. It’s not enough to select talented staff; they need to believe the project is important and has value so that the working group’s tasks are prioritized and remain on equal footing with their other responsibilities.

Step Two: Identify Your Sales Enablement Leader

You not only need a talented team, but you also need a strong, capable leader to direct the working group’s activities and to manage the program post-launch.

The cold reality is this: The leader might need to come from outside of your organization if the right person doesn’t already exist or emerge from your working group team. Use the working group formation process and the early phases of their work to identify and groom an internal leader, or determine that you need to go outside the organization to get this talent.

Step Three: Audit Your Sales Process

Your sales enablement leader and the working group need to conduct a sales program self-assessment. It’s very important that the assessment’s scope matches the cross-functional, interdisciplinary nature of the sales enablement philosophy.

In other words, your audit needs to examine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your sales program within the broader context of your customer experience and larger business processes.

Your audit should focus on the following areas to obtain a full sense of where your sales program stands currently and where it needs to go:

  • Is your sales process defined and understood?
  • How does your sales process align with your funnel and your customer behaviors?
  • Are marketing and sales aligned or disconnected?
    • Are leads universally defined?
    • Do you have a lead scoring system?
    • Is there a lead handoff process? If so, is it effective?
    • Are there bottlenecks that lengthen the sales cycle?
  • What reporting systems exists and are they communicating and integrated?
  • Are your customer personas defined?
  • Have unique buyer’s journeys been mapped and documented?
  • Is your sales team empowered with the right tools?
  • Do they have access to the content they need for each phase of the buyer’s journey?
  • Is there an easily searchable content library?
  • Are there technology gaps?
  • Is training consistent and effective?
  • Is professional development a priority and is it effective?

What’s more, if you have the human capital and the resources, conducting customer surveys about the sales process and customer experience can be invaluable to shaping your sales enablement program. Obtaining firsthand input from those who have actually experienced the sales process is a huge help to building your enablement program the right way.

These are just a few of the areas your internal sales audit should explore and document.

Step Four: Create Your Sales Enablement Launch Plan

Using what you’ve learned from the internal audit, create a documented launch plan, including the audit findings, your action plan, the appropriate budget data, a clear timeline for every phase of the project, and an outline of how the program’s success will be measured.

This launch plan then needs to be shared with the entire organization for review and refinement. Once approved, it becomes your sales team’s marching orders until determined otherwise.

Your plan should also include defining how you’ll measure the program’s success. This means developing key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll track over time.

KPIs vary by industry and need to be customized. What’s critical to one company’s sales efforts might not be to another business that’s smaller or larger or operating in a different industry.

A few KPIs to start with could be:

  • Churn rate (how many customers you lose)
  • Lifetime customer value (how much revenue you get from repeat business and referrals)
  • Lead-to-opportunity percentage
  • Opportunity-to-closing rate

These KPIs are a good starting point, but it’s important to note that KPIs need to evolve, so this is not a one-time exercise.

Find the right KPIs for your business. Track them. Adjust them over time. And share them with your sales team in a way that’s motivational and easy to understand.

Step 5 and Beyond: Monitor, Analyze, and Adjust

Sales enablement is not a “set it and forget it” project. Your business will change; your customers will evolve; your market could shift.

What works well for a few years won’t work well forever.

This is why creating the right metrics, using the right tools, and remaining persistent — being able to recognize the process doesn’t end and still having the determination to keep going — will make or break your efforts to empower your sales program.

Successful sales enablement is about strong internal, cross-functional coordination and communication that empowers people — your sales team and prospects — to connect in a meaningful way more consistently.

This increase in engagement, relatability, and connectivity results in the formation of trust with your brand and the delivery of consistent value to the customer. The result is higher sales conversions, bigger deals, and stronger customer lifetime value.

Agencies like ours can lend a hand. Just reach out and we’ll get back to you quickly. We’d love to hear more about your business and where you’d like to take it.
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