Sales Enablement Leader

How to transform your sales enablement function to drive productivity

23% of CSOs report plans to permanently shift field sales to virtual sales roles

The ongoing pandemic has forced frontline sellers to swiftly adjust their selling activities for the virtual environment. Sales enablement leaders need a clear strategy to support the sales force in a virtual selling environment. Use this framework to review and align virtual selling with new buying realities, including pre-call sales planning, remote customer interactions and virtual selling enablement.

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    My relationship with Gartner has really allowed me to expand the value that I bring to my organization.

    Scott Leavitt

    Head of Sales Excellence, BASF

    Improve the value of sales enablement support

    Sales enablement leaders play an important role in supporting sellers in today’s complex selling environment. High-performing enablement functions focus on providing targeted support that simplifies the seller experience and reduces seller burden, leading to increased conversion rates.

    Today's seller spend 16.4% of the sales cycle managing internal complexities.

    Sales enablement insights you can use

    Gartner's sales enablement insight, advice, data and tools help sales leaders transform their enablement function from a reactive hub for seller support to a proactive team that drives transformative productivity gains.

    Tap into the latest enablement tools to unlock sales performance

    Sales leaders will need to leverage new technology and tools for reps as they help B2B buyers through the complex buying journey. Gartner can help you develop a vision for sales enablement that includes content, training and coaching.

    Customers are already 57% of the way down the purchase path before they consider engaging with you.

    Align sales enablement with buyer expectations

    Today’s buyers are navigating an increasingly complex purchasing cycle. As they move through the process, they are looking for suppliers to guide them forward and provide value every step of the way. Gartner can provide you with the tools to increase the quality of buyer interactions to maximize sales effectiveness.

    Evolve your sales process to simplify buying

    The complexity of selling has increased significantly, while access and ability to provide value to customers has decreased markedly. Gartner can teach you how sales organizations are better enabling customers to confidently progress through the buying process using tools and support aligned to how they actually buy.

    Distribution of buying groups' time by key buying activities. 17% goes towards meeting with potential suppliers.

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    Sales enablement questions Gartner can help answer

    Sales enablement is straightforward in concept. As the name indicates, it is the process of enabling sales teams to close more deals by providing them with the resources they need to be more effective. Resources may include tools, technology, training, content or actionable strategies to sell your product or service to customers. 

    High-performing sales enablement functions provide specific resourcing and supporting tools to simplify the selling process and reduce the burden on the salesperson. This leads to increased conversion rates.

    Identifying key gaps in sales processes and resources is vital. Much like marketing operations, sales enablement requires oversight into the existing processes, talent, sales techniques and available tools to find efficiencies and improvements. 

    Focus on three key areas to build an effective sales enablement strategy:

    1. Manage enablement strategy, tools and resources: Optimize sales enablement strategy and design to arm frontline sellers and managers with the collateral, tools and technologies needed to sell more effectively and efficiently.
    2. Develop frontline talent: Strengthen sales enablement functions with the knowledge, frameworks and tools necessary to develop frontline talent skills and improve training, coaching and onboarding effectiveness.
    3. Attract- and retain- sales talent: Provide the tactics and strategies needed to hire high-quality frontline talent and lower attrition in the current selling environment.

    Organizations need to invest in sales enablement content that supports the goals of the business and effectively improves—or at least supports the improvement —of sales conversions. A salesperson relies on purpose-built content as a reference or evidence to persuade their potential buyer or customer of the benefits of buying the product or service.

    Essential types of sales enablement content include: 

    • Informative blogs/articles: Information-dense written pieces outlining all critical information about the product or service, as well as the benefits and potential uses for the product/service.  
    • Case studies: Outlines real-world experiences of your product/service from those who have invested in the purchase and examines how the product/service has enriched or impacted their lives/business. 
    • Customer testimonials: Grabs of content operating as positive reviews for your product/service/organization. These need to be authentic and should not be paid or fictional, as testimonials are one of the highest builders of trust in your product/service/organization.
    • Interactive content: Bundled content in packs or microsites that are specific to a customer or audience segment to drive greater engagement with on-site content. This drives longer on-page time spent, as the content is designed to keep readers on-site longer through recommended content segues and related information.  
    • Email campaigns: Integral to each specific phase of the sales funnel journey. Targeted email campaigns can be the clincher in securing a sale. Whether it’s an email at the initial “research” phase of the funnel that outlines the background of your organization and product or a customer-retention email after the sale, these campaigns must be purpose-built for specific audience segments. 

    Content is an integral element of an effective sales funnel or customer journey map. This audience-specific content is strategically designed to push potential customers through each phase of the sales funnel journey.

     

    Deploying an operationalized sales force will improve efficiencies within your sales department. It’s key that all members of the sales force be equipped with vital information about the product or service and adhere to the strategic processes designed to enable them to close deals. 

    It’s also imperative that leadership teams and executives buy in to the importance of sales enablement. Without these decision makers on board, deploying a sales enablement program in your organization will be difficult. Sales deployment decisions can often be made in silos without a thorough understanding of the return on investment of the enablement program. Chief sales officers (CSOs) need to communicate and diagnose the challenges faced by their sales forces on areas like role clarity, strategy or KPI designs.

    The size of your sales force is also critical to its success. If you’ve got an audience or potential customer base that requires 20 salespeople, you cannot be successful with having only 15. 

    Organizations usually make cuts to staffing in sales departments if bottom lines aren't being improved and KPIs aren't met. Businesses cannot afford to have sales forces that don’t close deals. The top two drivers of sales force size are financial constraints and economic outlook, ranking higher than customer needs and market expansion.

    Sales enablement is about equipping your sales force with the right resources and tools to more effectively close deals. 

    Of the demographic surveyed, 89% of customers reported that the information they encounter during purchase decisions is of high quality. While this is fantastic feedback for the content creators in your organization, having it all so readily available can be damaging. 

    This high-quality information overwhelms buyers, as each source of information provides equally trustworthy information that is often conflicting.

    This is where strategic sales funnel/customer journey mapping content is vital. Overwhelmed customers find it hard to make informed trade-offs and are 153% less likely to make a high-quality, low-regret purchase.

    Ensuring that your content is strategically aligned with the relevant phases of the funnel will ensure customers are receiving the right information at the right time in their decision-making process. Even if they’re consuming trusted or “good” information, if it is received at an inappropriate phase of the sales funnel, it can significantly reduce the likelihood of a sale.

    Testimonial

    How do we help support your sales team?

    Chris Fris, VP, Global Sales Strategy and Operations at Ryder Systems, Inc. shares how a Gartner expert helped him wade through a myriad of systems and enablement products to determine what would be most useful to the sales team.

    Gartner topic experts

    Gartner's sales experts support a range of activities around sales enablement. Meet a few of our leaders.

    Michele Buckley
    Sr Director Analyst

    Danielle McKinley
    Director, Advisory

    Shayne Jackson
    Sr Director Analyst

    Doug Bushee
    Sr Director Analyst

    Brian Cain
    Sales Manager

    Scott Collins
    VP, Team Manager

    Tom Cosgrove
    Sr Director, Advisory

    Dave Egloff
    Sr Director Analyst

    Tessa Flaherty
    Sr Principal, Advisory

    Gartner is a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 14,000 organizations in 100+ countries.

    Gartner for Sales provides sales leaders with the insights, advice and tools they need to address their mission-critical priorities.