Sales Enablement has emerged as one of the most pressing priorities for the modern marketer. According to HubSpot’s 2016 State of Inbound report, 32% of marketers rate it as a major focus for 2017. Overall it’s the fifth highest priority for the sector, the first time Sales Enablement has ever appeared in the survey results.
In the same report, only 2% of Inbound Marketers and 3% of Outbound Marketers said sales enablement was overrated.
From relative obscurity Sales Enablement now occupies a large space on the Inbound Marketing radar.
What is Sales Enablement?
In short, Sales Enablement means equipping your sales team with the content and resources they need to make more sales. They are literally ‘enabled’ to close more deals and generate more sales.
This is especially important in today’s competitive environment. The growth of Inbound Marketing has led to an explosion in lead generation, yet research suggests that 67% of sales professionals do not meet their monthly quotas.
Clearly there is a gap growing between the leads Inbound Marketing creates and Sales’ ability to close them. This is where Sales Enablement steps in.
“The theme of education and training is hard to ignore, but sales enablement is an especially important element of preparing sales teams to become more successful,” says Sharmin Kent of Octiv. “By focusing on the tools salespeople need to conduct engaging and productive conversations with decision-makers and stakeholders, sales leaders can prepare even the most inexperienced sales professionals to move prospects smoothly through the sales process.”
The Key Ingredients of Effective Sales Enablement
Research from the Aberdeen Group shows that best-in-class sales organisations that are supported with sales enablement tools and strategies see nearly three times more reps achieve quota.
However, the study also shows that, on average, only 47% of B2B organisations have a central library of marketing-approved assets for different selling situations.
While it may be the job of the Sales team to close leads, it’s Marketing’s job to help them by providing useful, valuable, strategic and insightful content. Content Software developers BrainShark offers the following advice:
Develop: Ensure sellers have the appropriate skills and attributes to engage in effective sales conversations;
Position: Deliver content to sales that consistently meet buyers’ needs and brand guidelines;
Align: Provide relevant and actionable information to sales reps to help engage prospective buyers;
Locate: Allow sales reps to easily locate or receive recommended content for upcoming sales conversations;
Engage: Support content sharing and distribution platforms to measure buyer and sales engagement; and
Assemble: Enable sales reps to configure, price and quote proposals quickly and efficiently.
Content Is King For Sales Enablement
Forbes Insights reports that 59% of top performing companies now have a defined sales enablement role. When surveying these companies about the specific features and capabilities they find most beneficial in sales enablement process, the most frequently cited answers all related to content:
Sales content analytics that help identify the best content to drive results
Seamless and fast access to sales content in the field
“Content facilitates effective sales conversations,” the report states. “Top-performing sales organisations know the key role it plays in sales productivity.”
“They focus on creating content that is relevant to the needs of the customers they call on, and recognise the value in using content to communicate the company’s value story and in being able to proactively provide content recommendations to reps in specific selling situations.”
“Creating the right content and ensuring that sales reps can find it when they need it is a significant challenge for some companies. Getting that activity right is the secret to success.”
Looking for Sales Enablement Content Ideas? Start here.