What Is Sales Enablement?

Learn how your sales enablement strategy can drive hypergrowth in the digital era.

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Sales enablement provides sellers with what they need to engage their target buyers.

However, dramatic shifts in B2B buying are forcing sales leaders to reassess their sales enablement strategy. 

Consider this:

  • Forty-three percent of B2B buyers desire a seller-free sales experience — a preference that increases to 54% for millennial buyers.
  • Customers who prefer a seller-free buying experience have a 23% higher purchase regret.
  • Buyers with high purchase regret report 14% lower customer loyalty and, more importantly, 53% higher negative customer advocacy.

To meet modern customer buying preferences, you must evolve your strategy in how you support and augment your sales teams and other revenue-generating capabilities.

3 Areas of Focus to Drive a Modern Sales Enablement Function

Leading Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is expected to deliver more value with fewer resources — evolving responsibilities to meet changing demands from commercial leaders. Sales enablement leaders must be skilled at interpreting customer and sales data to drive impactful programs. The function must evolve from a reactive contributor to sales revenue to a key driver of the organization’s commercial success by preparing sellers to be integrated inside buyers’ multithreaded experiences.

Questions to consider when leading sales enablement:

  • How do the structure, budget and staffing of our sales enablement function compare with those of other organizations?
  • What does a world-class sales enablement function look like?
  • How should we adjust our sales enablement strategy to increase the effectiveness of other customer-facing roles, such as customer success and subject matter experts?
  • What key performance indicators (KPIs) should we use to evaluate the sales enablement function’s effectiveness?
  • How can we mitigate sellers’ digital fatigue brought on by a predominantly virtual selling environment?
  • How can sales enablement reduce the impact of above-average sales turnover?

Enable Buying and Selling

For organizations to achieve hypergrowth in the digital era, sales enablement must curate and refine content and resources to make it easier for customers to perform buying tasks, with and without a seller. Sales enablement plays a key role in enabling sellers to engage buyers with technology, guiding their use of digital tools to build customer confidence, drive consensus and highlight supplier nuance.

Questions to consider to enable buying and selling:

  • How can we develop better messaging and content for our customers?
  • What is the best way for sales enablement to collaborate across functions to align initiatives for greater impact?
  • How can we reduce the complexity of our sales enablement ecosystem while improving productivity?
  • What is the best way to measure the effectiveness of seller and buyer enablement efforts?
  • How do we increase seller engagement to reduce sales turnover?

Build Talent Development Programs

As customers learn about and advance purchases through digital channels, sellers need different-in-kind competencies and activities to sell effectively in multithreaded engagements. Sales enablement must adapt training, coaching and onboarding programs to deliver disruptive insights, align diverse stakeholders and help customers make sense of an overwhelming amount of high-quality information. Backfilling and hiring have renewed the importance of onboarding programs that accelerate seller readiness.

Questions to consider when building development programs:

  • How should we structure our sales training programs?
  • Who are the top sales training providers?
  • How do we improve sales manager coaching effectiveness?
  • How should we improve time to productivity for newly hired frontline sellers?
  • What are the competencies of the modern-day seller?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Sales enablement is designed to make it easier for sellers to sell. The sales enablement function is designed to evolve new seller skills, provide content that directly enables buyers and teach sellers how to connect customers to the best tools and resources to assist in the completion of their critical buying tasks.

The goal of sales enablement is to maximize commercial gains and deliver impactful sales enablement support to sales teams to help drive revenue growth at an organization.

Sales enablement includes buying and selling enablement, leading sales enablement and talent development programs. They are all designed to make it easier for sellers to increase buyer confidence and maximize commercial gains.

The sales enablement function is responsible for establishing an agile function and strategy to meet the sellers’ ever-changing needs. They must position sales enablement as a strategic function critical to sales success that helps to interpret customer and sales data to drive impactful programs.

Sales enablement is important as it can lead to closing more high-quality, low-regret deals. It can make it easier to perform buying tasks by providing relevant content and resources and enables sellers to guide buyers’ use of digital tools to further build customer confidence.

The most effective sales enablement strategies include: Creating an annual sales enablement planning cycle and process Executing successful sales enablement programs with change management plans to introduce, reinforce and sustain new behaviors over time Delivering consistent sales enablement support by listing key tasks for each effort, identifying those responsible and accountable, and identifying those to be consulted or informed on changes

Drive stronger performance on your mission-critical priorities.