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sales enablement training plan

How to develop a sales enablement training plan for your business

Let’s get one thing straight before we begin. Sales enablement training plan is no longer an option. It is a requirement. It serves as the foundation of your company’s sales force and has a significant impact on lead conversions, revenue growth, and other vital metrics that your sales staff can produce.

Even as we speak, firms are transitioning sales enablement from a component of marketing, sales, or customer support to a distinct role in its own right. In fact, according to a 2019 sales enablement survey conducted by Quark, an omnichannel content automation platform, firms in the financial services, high-tech, and telecommunications industries experienced the most adoption of sales enablement processes and strategies.

But why is sales enablement critical for businesses? What kind of effect does it have?

Because of low entry barriers, increased competition, increased information access to buyers, higher bargaining power for buyers, and other factors, there is increased pressure on the sales team to customize its conversations to sell better and achieve its goals, whether it is to generate more revenue, shorten the sales cycle, or retain more customers.

Sales enablement comes into play to help sales teams work more successfully and efficiently. Sales enablement might mean different things to different businesses, but it all boils down to increasing seller productivity and improving the buyer experience.

CSO Insights and Highspot published a report in September 2019 that examined the impact of sales enablement on businesses throughout the world. It discovered that organizations with an unstructured and random sales enablement process in place had somewhat lower than average win rates and quota attainment than companies with a formal and strategic sales enablement approach, which had higher than average win rates and quota attainment.

A formal sales enablement strategy, of course, works proactively to ensure that a company’s sales process works in tandem with the customer’s buying process, resulting in greater results. As a result, according to the survey, organizations that linked their sales process with the customer’s path had 17.9% better win rates and an 11.8% rise in quota attainment.

What sales enablement is NOT 

There are numerous misconceptions concerning sales enablement.

“I spoke to my peers about misunderstandings they have faced in their businesses,” wrote Brian Lambert, senior director of enablement and preparedness at Spectrum, who also gives significant expertise about what sales enablement is and is not, in a 2019 article. It’s enlightening. Some believe that sales enablement is a task that salespeople should improve on, such as sending better emails or filing expense reports. Or they believe it is a job title – a re-branding of the training team, or a technological roll-out for sales teams that must be spearheaded by the sales enablement team.”

Here are several more:

  1. Sales enablement is more than just content. You may have excellent marketing content that makes compelling justifications for why a buyer should buy your product or service. However, unless your sales team is trained to use the content in the appropriate context and at the appropriate time, it may be ineffective.
  1. Sales enablement should not entail operating tools, technology, and information in silos. Are you consulting with your sales staff to determine what information they require, what tools they are comfortable with, and how they want data and information supplied to them?
  1. Sales enablement is not a reaction to a sales team’s urgent demand. If the team waits for the salesperson to return with a request and then gives information based on specific use cases, it is not an efficient sales enablement process. It is about being proactive and consistent in determining the sales team’s needs and difficulties, buyer expectations, and overall corporate goals, as well as presenting material and data in a way that accelerates the buyer’s journey down the funnel.
  1. Sales enablement is more than just relying on reports. The marketing team will study the data and reports. The responsibility of sales enablement is to create material based on the reports and send it to the seller to assist him or her in closing more deals.
  1. Sales enablement is not about assessing sales team productivity, but about discovering how tools, technology, and content have helped sales teams achieve their goals more effectively.

Lambert notes in the same article that sales enablement leaders can be successful when they focus on overcoming specific sales difficulties recognized by sales leadership and have executive backing to fix them. “For example, if salespeople are falling short of the quota, sales enablement can help align to increase quota attainment,” he continues. But not in a haphazard, one-time fashion. Instead, they should engage sales leadership with a well-thought-out strategic portfolio of activities and programs co-created with sales leadership and supported by executive sponsorship.”

How to Get the Best Sales enablement training plan

  1. Create particular goals that are in line with the company’s overall revenue and growth targets. Then, establish what collateral sales enablement teams will need to generate to assist sales teams in meeting these goals. The collaterals can be as high-end as developing product and service material, competition mapping, researching potential buyer behavior, and giving actionable information for sales teams to shorten the prospect’s buying path.
  1. Establish clear roles and responsibilities for the sales enablement team. Because sales enablement is a relatively new idea, it frequently clashes with the sales operations team. While both sales operations and sales enablement teams in many firms answer to the head of sales, the former plays a role early in the buying process. Sales enablement training plan is concerned with information, training, and the sales process, whereas sales operations, is concerned with negotiating and deal completion. The sales enablement team’s responsibilities include content planning, sales communication, customer analysis, identifying successful customer interaction tools, performance analysis, and so on. While we’re on the issue, the sales enablement team must be represented by a leadership team capable of managing its contact with other divisions inside the firm.
  1. Sales enablement cannot function in isolation. It must work with other departments within the organization, like human resources, marketing, customer service, and legal, to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals. For example, the sales enablement team must collaborate with human resources to ensure that competent salespeople are recruited to assist organizations in meeting their sales goals.
  1. When a new employee joins the firm, the sales enablement team is responsible for training the sales representative on the company’s products and services, optimal and contextual use of collaterals, and effective sales methods to employ depending on prospective buyer analysis and other factors. In another case, the sales enablement team must collaborate with the marketing team to ensure that the material it provides is easily accessible to buyers across a variety of channels.
  1. Sales enablement is not a one-size-fits-all, one-time event. Keeping the buyer experience and buyer journey at the forefront, sales enablement must ensure that, on the one hand, high-quality content such as blogs, white papers, webinars, and SEO content that cater to different buyer audiences is created, and, on the other hand, customized training material such as presentations, performance insights, case studies, and other material for sellers to align with the buyer’s needs is developed. Sales enablement teams’ content and information must be relevant, effective, and tailored to their internal (sales teams) and external (prospective buyers) audiences. More significantly, continual training is required to keep sales teams on top of their game.
  1. With the sales enablement industry expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2024, there are various products on the market to help those who work with or in the sales function. While the solutions are promoted to achieve specific goals such as sales asset management or sales analysis, the ultimate goal of these tools should be to help salespeople sell easier and better, as well as find the most efficient approach to meet the company’s revenue goals.
  1. Before investing in the right technology, whether it’s sales acceleration tools, sales intelligence tools, content management systems, or CRMs, ask yourself these questions: is it aligning with the process you’ve laid out, is it easily accessible and navigable, does it ensure that all content is available in a central location, and is your sales team comfortable using that particular tool or technology?
  1. Assess the impact of your sales enablement collaterals on the performance of your sales force. It’s not simply about assessing vendors’ efficiency and determining how effectively they meet their goals. It’s also about determining the measurable impact of training, team coaching, and sales assets on sales targets. Our content utilization, time to revenue, sales cycle, average win rate, and other indicators can be examined by sales enablement teams. 

Consider the following example. According to SiriusDecisions’ 2020 Planning Assumptions research, firms frequently have a large amount of sales assets, with just 45% of the material explicitly tied to deal progression and 42% linked to won transactions. Rather than wasting time and resources generating sales materials that may or may not be valuable, businesses can identify assets linked to won transactions and create more related content that is more likely to be effective in deal closes.

To summarise, it has been demonstrated time and again that, when done well, sales enablement can have a noticeable impact on buyer experience, hence boosting a company’s revenue and growth. What we must remember is that sales enablement cannot be done in isolation, and it is not a one-time event. It must be aligned with the company’s overall objectives, the messaging, content, and process must resonate with every team in the organization, and training and coaching must occur on a continuous and contextual basis to have a good influence on sales. 

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