Sales enablement best practices can be boiled down to one central idea:
Cooperation and collaboration between sales and marketing.
So many of the best practices we’re going to show you today revolve around this simple concept.
The best part is:
You’ll profit greatly from making it happen.
According to the TAS Group:
- Misalignment between sales and marketing technologies and processes costs B2B companies 10% of revenue or more per year.
- Companies with good sales and marketing practices in place generated 208% more revenue from marketing efforts.
- When sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
It literally pays to get this right and we’ll show you how below.
9 Sales Enablement Best Practices
1. Hire Good Salespeople
Sales enablement is certainly about lifting up sales reps who are struggling.
But it’s also about making your good salespeople even better.
And to be honest…
The direct path to having great salespeople on your team, who are crushing their sales targets and filling their pipelines month after month, is to hire good sales reps from the start.
Certain credentials to look for in good salespeople:
- A sales background.
- Some skills in marketing or customer service.
- People skills and other soft skills like listening.
- Some technical expertise.
- And goal-oriented.
You want sales reps who will comfortably and confidently sit in the driver’s seat and pursue their leads with everything at their disposable.
But they should also be team players.
After all, we already demonstrated how important it is for sales and marketing to get along in the intro to this post. If they don’t play nicely with others, they’ll likely cause more problems rather than putting forward solutions.
Hiring good salespeople from the start will make it more likely your organization operates smoothly, especially when implementing your sales enablement strategy.
2. Define the Objectives of Your Sales Enablement Program
Sales enablement should never be started without clear objectives.
Having a goal like “increase revenue” or “enable our sales reps to sell more” is woefully insufficient.
This is one of the most important sales enablement best practices.
The ability to define clear outcomes you’re trying to achieve makes it more likely your program will succeed. Even more, you’ll be able to actually measure the success of your program.
We recommend starting with a goal such as “increase active selling time.”
The reality is, most salespeople spend roughly 30% of their time selling.
The rest of their time is chewed up completing manual tasks, much of which can and should be automated and is usually unnecessary for salespeople to do.
Anything that can be cut or streamlined should be.
And any tool, technology, or process that can help salespeople spend closer to 40% of their time on selling will improve your revenue, their productivity, and the overall well-being of your business.
By setting tangible, actionable, measurable, objectives that salespeople and those helping them are in control over, you end up reaching your organizational goals faster.
3. Put the Customer’s Experience Ahead of Everything Else
Sales enablement is centered on helping salespeople close more sales.
In order to do that, the sales enablement tools they use should revolve around improving the total customer experience.
Because that’s the golden goose of sales.
Screw up the customer experience and you can say goodbye to your customers.
51% of customers who had a single bad experience switched companies, according to New Voice Media. In 2015, companies lost $62 billion in revenue because of poor customer service.
But there’s a happy flipside to these statistics.
40% of happy customers spend more money with you after a positive customer experience and 65% would recommend the company to others.
This is not an area for guessing either.
You should have hard data on whether or not your customers are satisfied after interacting with your customer service team.
Then, you can use that data to guide your customer service teams on one hand and your sales team on the other to make as positive an impact on customers and leads as possible.
4. Create and Use High-Quality Content
High-quality sales enablement content is one of the pillars of sales enablement. It’s versatile and effective.
Content can educate potential customers, providing them with a better understanding of your products, your company, and the benefits you offer them. But content can also be used to build goodwill and trust in you and your brand.
And, content makes you look like an expert and a leader in your industry - raising your authority in the minds of prospects.
But in sales enablement, content is no longer just for wooing prospects…
It’s also used to educate the sales department and provide them with content to share at just the right moment in the buyer’s journey.
Blog posts are probably the #1 piece of content.
We would say case studies come in a close second.
Then you have educational white papers or ebooks.
Those are the big 3 of content, both for sales teams and sales leads.
In addition to those, marketing may create product sheets, sales scripts, and social media content.
It’s all about whatever content helps move a lead closer to the sale and helps salespeople close a deal.
5. Create Content for Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
There should be a concrete content strategy that doesn’t produce content just for the sake of it, or because we told you to, but because it will deliver value and move the needle forward at various stages of the buyer’s journey.
We briefly touched on this in the previous sales enablement best practice but it deserves its own section.
Prospects need to see the right content at the right time to make the decision to buy your product. So each piece of content should be designed for different touchpoints along the journey. And, if you have different buyer personas, you’ll need different content for each of them.
Prospects at the top of the funnel aren’t ready for product sheets, for example.
But they would probably love an article describing what your product is and why it’s beneficial for them. They would also appreciate general content about your industry that helps them do whatever they do better.
As they get closer to the middle of the funnel, they may want to read posts comparing your product to your competitors. Or case studies that detail how other buyers satisfied their needs using your product and the results they achieved.
Webinars and white papers are also appropriate for prospects in the middle.
As they move nearer to making a decision, you can finally deliver product sheets, pricing pages, and other explicit documentation that puts all your cards on the table.
Creating this content is difficult, though.
It requires marketing to work closely with the sales team to figure out what content is necessary and when it should be used.
But if you get this right, you’ll close a lot more prospects. In fact, 95% of buyers buy from someone who gave them content at each stage of the buying process.
6. Alert Your Sales Team When New Content is Produced
If you don’t tell your salespeople content has been produced for them to use, they won’t use it. They won’t even know it exists.
Whenever marketing publishes a new post, blast it out to sales reps.
Same goes for case studies, videos, and everything else.
You can take this a step further and give your salespeople context surrounding the content, maybe even adding suggestions as to how to use the content in the field. You could also highlight certain passages that present key information they should focus on.
Beyond just alerting your salespeople that content is available for them, you should also gather up all of this content and put into a usable knowledge base your reps can access at any time.
7. Use Solid Sales Enablement Tools for Communication
Communication is what sales is all about.
And customers like to communicate in all sorts of ways.
Luckily, there are many sales enablement tools that help improve communication.
One we highly recommend is Tellwise.
It combines phone, text, email, and presentations into a single platform accessible from your CRM.
One of the coolest tools they offer is their “live activity feed.” It watches what your customers do with your content.
So when they’re engaging with a piece of content you sent them, whether it’s a video or blog post, Tellwise will open up a live feed wherever you work - Outlook, Gmail, Salesforce, etc. - and tell you exactly when and how they’re using your content.
If you see them interacting with your content, you now have an opportunity to instantly reach out to them and talk with them when they’re most interested and engaged.
8. Use Sales Enablement Tools for Everything Beyond Communication
There are so many other great tools outside of communication that salespeople greatly benefit from.
Building a solid technology stack enables your sales reps to consistently hit their targets, move prospects through their pipeline, and meet organizational goals.
For example, a tool that’s used by many sales teams is Clearslide.
It’s committed to “creating amazing customer experiences” so that every interaction with customers counts.
Clearslide helps sales reps manage their presentations and allows them to drag in everything from web conferencing to email campaigns.
It also features something we mentioned earlier in the 6th sales enablement best practice on this list:
A knowledge base.
But Clearslide’s knowledge base is a vast cloud content library that houses your sales content, marketing materials, various tools, and customer-facing materials.
Sales teams can draw from this wealth of knowledge to prepare for big meetings, write an email, or impress a prospect in the middle of a conversation.
The more tools salespeople have at their disposal, the more productive and persuasive they’ll become.
9. Interview Sales Reps for Superior Content
We’ve harped on this point repeatedly, but we really want to drive it home.
Salespeople are the best resource for creating sales enablement content.
They’ll tell you how they’re persuading customers now. What they need to persuade them better. The challenges they face when selling. And so much more.
Their feedback is invaluable.
If marketing is having a tough time coming up with content, all they have to do is turn to the sales team for direction.
Of course, you could also request your sales teams to write up their own blog posts. Or produce rough drafts that marketing smooths out.
However you decide to create sales enablement content, make sure your sales reps are at the center of the process (alongside the customer, of course).
A Bonus Sales Enablement Best Practice
Here’s a truth of the digital age that you can’t ignore:
Humans prefer visual content over any others.
Our brains soak up pictures and videos. We can’t get enough.
This goes for both your sales reps and potential customers.
So when considering the content you create, how you disseminate it, and how you communicate with prospects, you should rely on multimedia content much more than text-based (when possible).
This tool is available, by the way.
It’s called CloudApp.
And we’ve been ranked by G2 Crowd as one of the top sales enablement tools.
Give your salespeople better content for learning and selling that their prospects will love consuming.
Discover how CloudApp creates better sales enablement content today.