Lead More Confident, Effective Sellers with these Sales Enablement Best Practices
Today’s sellers are constantly riding the winds of change, and let’s be honest—it’s gusty out there. Between an ever-changing market, shifts in buyer behavior, and new positioning or value messaging, the majority of modern sellers are feeling serious strategy whiplash. The old ways of selling aren’t as effective in the midst of macroeconomic disruption—but our sellers can still be effective if we enable them in the right ways.
So as the demand on our sellers changes, our sales enablement efforts must change, too. We have to adapt alongside what they’re experiencing and enable our people accordingly, but we must also find ways to connect those shifts in strategy to larger business goals and combat rep burnout with content and confidence. In a difficult market, this will be every sales organization’s sure shot to succeed.
Sales enablement professionals, now is our time to shine. This modern era of enablement presents a myriad of challenges to sellers, which gives us even more responsibility to educate, train, and ultimately impact the bottom line. Follow this new set of sales enablement best practices to help your sellers gain the confidence they need to thrive.
What is sales enablement?
Before we dive into best practices, let’s get back to basics. What is sales enablement, and how do we execute an effective sales enablement strategy?
The sales enablement function ensures reps possess and master the skills, knowledge, process expertise, and access to assets to maximize every buyer interaction. Every process has gaps, and sales enablement exists to remove roadblocks, help close those gaps, and make people and processes more efficient. We execute this purpose by collaborating with cross-functional GTM partners to provide:
- Internal content like messaging one-pagers, cold calling scripts, follow-up email templates, and buyer personas
- External content like pricing sheets, case studies, testimonials, and templates for different product use cases
- Coaching and training
- Training on new product offerings, communicating competitive advantage, demoing product features, and specific skill training
- Ongoing coaching that reinforces training, or coaching programs geared toward specific skill development
- Sales enablement tools
- Sales enablement and performance analytics
- A standardized process to measure and assess the effectiveness of enablement efforts
When you have these four components in place, you can more effectively adapt your strategy in response to changes in market and provide better support and stability to managers and reps. Download our Enablement Audit Framework template to find out which enablement programs, assets, and other opportunities you can prioritize to take your organization to the next level.
Modern Sales Enablement Best Practices
When we think about sales enablement, we should consider two important factors: how buyers buy, and how sellers learn. The challenge: buyer behavior is almost always changing, and every seller learns differently. Leaning on the following sales enablement best practices will help you proactively assess market trends, respond to changes with agility, and provide ongoing reinforcement to your sellers through various training methods.
- Define goals and objectives
Each training program, piece of content, and strategy should clearly ladder up to a corporate initiative. This keeps cross-functional collaboration aligned and serves as a north star to help prevent rep burnout, especially when sellers feel the weight of strategy whiplash.
- Develop content based on the buyer journey
Consider each stage of the sales funnel: awareness, consideration, buying, and implementation. What questions are buyers asking during each different stage? Let those questions be your guide when developing resources for prospects and training reps on how and when to utilize them.
- Extend the learning experience
My colleague Joe Franks says, “Enablement momentum dies with no long-tail action.” Without participation and follow-up, your training will not stick. Have your people complete pre-work ahead of a training, take a pop quiz during training, or complete post-training certifications—and hold managers accountable to continued coaching on these skills.
- Leverage sales enablement tools
In order to scale your enablement function, invest in sales enablement tools that will help you educate, train, distribute and manage content, and measure enablement effectiveness.
- Track content usage and performance
Measure how often salespeople are using sales enablement, and analyze their performance to determine whether that enablement is successful. This helps you spot gaps, see what’s working, and better understand where your opportunities are.
- Build strong cross-functional partnerships with all GTM teams
Enablement is a cross-functional effort. Work closely with marketing, sales, customer success, and RevOps teams to ensure your enablement strategies are relevant and aligned.
- Identify your top performers’ best practices
Who’s winning big, and how are they doing it? Analyze sales team performance to understand how top performers are putting enablement to use—or if they have some secret sauce you can democratize to empower the whole team.
- Regularly evaluate and optimize your enablement content
Have a standardized process in place to regularly evaluate your enablement materials. What’s outdated? What’s no longer relevant? What’s missing? Don’t wait until performance slips to make changes—be proactive.
- Combat change fatigue
Change fatigue is hurting your sellers. Enablement has the power to bring stability by aligning changes to a bigger story with clear next steps or directions. Try to focus quarterly enablement efforts on a singular theme, like positioning, storytelling, discovery, or other skill sets.
- Drop the buzzwords
Your sellers are human, and so are your buyers. It’s time to stop using trendy buzzwords and industry jargon. Instead of speaking in big, sweeping, strategy language, speak like a teacher. Not only does this make training easier to understand, it also gives your sellers the right language to tell a more compelling product story and make a real, human connection with buyers.
- Measure your effectiveness
You can’t know the impact of your sales enablement strategy if you’re not measuring results. The right sales enablement tool will help you see how and where sellers are thriving, as well as how sales coaching and sales enablement contribute to their success. This is where many organizations fall short, but it’s the only way to see ROI.