Sales enablement definition
Sales enablement is more than just a way to drive more revenue for your business. It’s a broader sales strategy that equips sellers with the right resources—from trainings to technology—to target the right customers at the right time in the customer journey.
Sales enablement typically involves both your sales and marketing teams. By equipping these teams with the tools and software they need, organizations can create alignment across the company, strengthen customer relationships, and increase sales efficiency.
Why is sales enablement important?
Engaging with prospects in a meaningful way is essential to building stronger customer relationships and closing more deals. But sellers need the right support and structure to make that happen.
Sales enablement software helps teams gain a competitive advantage because it gives every seller—not just the top performers—the data and tools to lead better buying experiences. In its most basic definition, sales enablement provides necessary and useful information to sellers to do their jobs well. This information can be content the seller provides the customer or the best practices, tools, and resources the seller uses to work more effectively and efficiently. Some examples of sales enablement tools include:
- Trainings about new technologies or product information.
- High-quality blogs, videos, and product guides.
- Onboarding and certifications.
- Standardized reporting.
- Easy-to-use customer engagement tools and processes.
- Access to customer insights.
Establishing a good sales enablement framework helps businesses organize, share, and analyze content so that sellers can keep up with customers’ evolving needs. When done correctly, there are many benefits of incorporating sales enablement into a bigger sales strategy—supporting cross-collaborating teams, sellers and business leaders, and the customer.
Top four benefits of sales enablement
Sales and marketing—the two biggest teams involved in sales enablement—align with the use of shared, centralized data. This also allows sellers to collaborate across teams transparently. Having a sales enablement platform, for example, means marketing information, customer insights, and sales data are readily available in one location—so sellers have access to what they need throughout the customer journey. Because everything is easy to find, valuable content and marketing assets also don’t go unused.
More deals, faster.
Teams naturally work more efficiently with the right sales enablement tools in place. By streamlining workflows, it allows sellers to spend less time on admin work and more time on the relationships that matter, guiding prospects and customers through a smooth user journey. Plus, when sellers have easy access to up-to-date materials and sales data, they can close more deals with greater speed and consistency. Without it, they may end up wasting time searching for what they need across multiple systems or using inaccurate metrics to make sales decisions.
Better customer insights.
Sales enablement software gives marketers and sellers greater insights into the customer journey and content performance. With actionable insights about how users are engaging with content, marketers gain the metrics they need to optimize existing content and create marketing material that fills any content gaps. This leads to more informed selling and decision-making throughout organizations. The right sales enablement system also helps teams track customer interactions and prioritize the users that are most likely to convert—driving efficiency across the board.
Increased engagement and retention.
With access to customer insights and unified sales data, sellers can create highly personalized outreach campaigns and customized buying experiences—inspiring brand loyalty and strengthening customer relationships. Having sales enablement tools also means organizations can deliver a consistent brand experience across multiple platforms, which increases brand credibility and recognition.
Sales enablement best practices
A well-defined sales enablement plan helps teams work more effectively and efficiently. But it’s important to make sure everyone is aligned and knows how to use and access the tools available to them. To begin flushing out your sales enablement strategy, consider these best practices to help with your efforts:
Establish clear objectives.
Sales enablement should sync with broader business goals to create company-wide alignment. This goal-setting process helps get all teams involved and receive input from every level of your organization. When each person knows how their efforts fit into a larger strategy, it leads to greater worker satisfaction—and ensures everyone is working toward the same objective.
Focus on the user experience.
The customer journey isn’t the same for everyone, so it’s important to spend time truly understanding who your customers are and identifying different touchpoints in their experience (including the pain points). Creating buying personas is a good place to start—it not only helps you identify the most profitable buyer types, but it also helps you target the right customers and deliver relevant content at the right time.
Create high-quality content.
Using customer insights to lead content creation and content strategy is an important piece of creating a good sales enablement framework. When content is optimized, sellers are equipped with the right resources for every stage in the customer lifecycle. It’s important that sellers, marketers, and even customer service work closely here to help identify opportunities for new content—especially around common customer questions in the customer journey.
Provide ongoing training.
Trainings are a great opportunity to help sellers stay on top of new business developments, understand best practices, and develop new skills. They’re also a chance to ensure sellers are aware of all the content available to them so valuable marketing assets are being used in the field and sales enablement tools are being put into practice.
Have regular check-ins.
Customers’ needs evolve over time and vary from person to person, so it’s important to have regular check-ins to talk about what’s working well and share user insights. High-performing sales reps can also use this opportunity to communicate some of their own best practices, which other sellers can replicate and use to improve their own performance.
Sales enablement tools
A sales enablement tool is a system or platform that provides insights into the sales content lifecycle, bridging the gap between sales, marketing, and the customer. These platforms help track content performance and the various customer touchpoints in the customer lifecycle. Some of the most popular tools include:
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a key tool in a sales enablement strategy because it helps streamline processes as well as manage your company’s interactions and relationships with leads and customers. CRM software also gives sellers and marketers up-to-date customer data—all in a centralized location—to help them be more efficient and drive more personalized customer experiences.
Automation tools, especially sales force automation software, frees up time for sellers so they can focus on building the customer relationships that matter. Automation tools can help track leads, streamline the sales cycle, provide a 360-degree view of the customer, and measure performance so teams can best manage sales opportunities.
Direct messaging or chatbots.
Having a direct messaging tool on your website allows sellers and customer service agents to engage with prospects and customers in real time. Live chat can be a useful tool for customer acquisition, customer support, and building brand trust. It’s also a way to help collect feedback, which can then be analyzed and passed to marketing and sales teams for content needs.
Cloud-based content management solution.
Sales enablement relies heavily on content, so it’s essential that content is easy to find and access. With a cloud-based content management solution (CMS), marketing assets are housed in a single location and can be organized into relevant categories—like product information, customer testimonials, messaging guidelines, or video assets. This allows sellers to easily find the materials they need wherever they are, helping them target the right buyers and deliver valuable, relevant content at the right time in the sales cycle. A customer data platform (CDP) or a data management platform (DMP), which collect and unify different types of customer data, can also be integrated with a CMS to improve customer experiences and unlock valuable business insights.
Augmented reality for training.
Augmented reality (AR) and machine learning for training can be useful tools in sales enablement, empowering sellers and marketers with the latest product knowledge and technical skills. AR may also be an important step in the onboarding process, helping teams experience all aspects of the business without having to travel directly to the field. With AR, sellers can see existing, learn about new products, and get a better understanding of product parts and how they work—helping them be a better resource for customers and sell more effectively.
Sales enablement and AI
AI and machine learning help teams accomplish far more than they would on their own, transforming business processes and complementing any sales enablement strategy. AI in no way replaces sales reps, but it does help them work more efficiently and close deals faster.
Many sales enablement platforms have AI and machine learning as a core feature in the software, giving sellers and marketers real-time insights, optimized content recommendations, and customer journey predictions. It can also help in different stages of the sales funnel on both the business and customer side.
Primary benefits of AI in sales enablement software
Increased content ROI.
Using AI as part of a sales enablement strategy helps determine what content is performing best. This helps marketers gain the insights they need to make the most of the materials they already have and know what materials they should focus on creating in the future.
AI can make predictions on what content will be most effective at closing a deal depending on where the user is in their journey. By providing the most relevant content recommendations based on user activity, customer engagement and conversions will improve.
More cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
AI in a CRM or sales enablement platform can provide product recommendations based on previous purchases and site activity, turning buying patterns into cross-sell and upsell opportunities. This may also help with customer retention, adding value to the users through fresh and personalized experiences.
AI helps automate a lot of administrative tasks, which frees up time for sellers, marketers, customer service agents and other teams involved in sales enablement. AI chatbots, for example, can be used to create virtual customer service agents that resolve common issues or used within the sales and marketing teams to make better buying experiences. From sourcing and prioritizing leads, to triggering emails and follow-up tasks, to delivering customized learning resources for teams, AI uses data to boost efficiency in almost every area of a business.