Operationalizing What Good Looks Like in Your Enablement Strategy
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In today’s challenging economy, businesses are determined to achieve consistent sales productivity and predictable revenue. This places sellers under increased pressure to consistently perform. This pressure is also felt by enablement as practitioners work to understand best practices for preparing effective reps.
To drive behavior change and enhance the productivity of sales reps, organizations can increase the rigor of their enablement efforts and implement initiatives that directly impact business outcomes.
For enablement practitioners, success comes from aligning with business goals, shared objectives, and ensuring a streamlined prioritization process. The State of Sales Enablement Report 2023 highlights the top three challenges faced by enablement: increasing revenue while minimizing costs, delivering effective coaching, and improving sales velocity. These exist alongside the reported top three goals in enablement: optimizing revenue, increasing consistent rep performance, and increasing sales productivity. By aligning these challenges and goals, enablement can truly embody what good looks like for their organization and impact business outcomes.
Below, find three key ideas for organizations looking to achieve what good looks like in enablement in the year ahead.
Accelerate Sales Velocity by Enhancing Rep and Buyer Confidence
An important part of embodying what good looks like in enablement is providing effective and specific guidance for reps. Effective guidance can come in multiple forms, like easily accessible content, relevant training materials, and responsiveness to the needs of sales teams.
“You want to position yourself as a resource that [reps] can count on to be in their corner, who has their best interest in mind. That way, you’re going to stay top of mind when they need that solution and they’re going to feel comfortable coming to you,” said Jennifer Rizzi, sales enablement and content manager at Squarespace.
One way to establish this trust in enablement from reps is by leveraging an enablement platform to create a single source of truth. With a centralized platform, reps have access to all the resources, analytics, and learning they need to be prepared and successful in a single location.
In fact, according to the State of Sales Enablement Report 2023, enablement technology is widely used by 65% of organizations today, and these organizations are 19% more likely to see an increase in win rate thanks to their enablement tools.
Another important way for enablement to accelerate sales velocity is by preparing reps for real buyer interactions. Reps are often the most direct link to buyers, so gathering information from real rep experiences can illuminate the most effective ways to optimize enablement programs.
“I think listening to your sales team and gathering their input is so important for producing content that really resonates with prospects. They’re seeing what prospects respond to, where they get stuck in the funnel,” said Rizzi. “Lean on their perspective to diagnose what content will help prospects get unstuck and what common questions can be answered more efficiently with content.”
Using real customer interactions to inform program development ensures a solid rationale behind every resource made available to reps. This also helps target recurring issues in sales to cut down time spent navigating common problems, overall improving the buyer experience.
Reps who enter buyer interactions confident that they are equipped to meet the needs of their customers are likely to better engage their buyers’ interest. Engagement is essential to landing deals, and improving engagement can be as simple as making sure reps enter sales conversations with an intentional mindset.
“The best buyer engagement happens when you approach every customer interaction wondering how you can help solve their problems, not how they help you make more money,” said Marcela Piñeros, global head of sales enablement at Stripe.
Shifting from a product-first approach to a buyer-first approach communicates to customers that their individual needs are seen and respected. Preparing sellers for these situations equips them to show buyers that their product will meet their needs and beyond, improving confidence for both reps and buyers.
Equipping reps with relevant resources, preparing them based on real buyer interactions, and improving engagement are all effective ways that enablement can develop confident reps who are ready to accelerate sales velocity.
Drive Consistent Rep Performance by Reinforcing Key Sales Behaviors
Consistent sales productivity is key to reaching ideal revenue outcomes. Ensuring consistency, however, is dependent on a sales team’s continuous skill development. To stay consistent, sales teams must prioritize being responsive to the ever-changing needs of the business landscape.
For enablement, supporting this development through coaching programs helps managers identify key coachable behaviors and empowers reps in the learning process.
To develop coaching that works, enablement should identify individual needs within a sales team. Once these needs are identified, offering coaching opportunities continuously and consistently can ensure development is supported and ongoing.
“Effective coaching is really about meeting people where they are,” said Regan Barker, head of client relationships and sales enablement at Grant Thornton Australia. “Our coaching has to be integrated as a part of their everyday life to make sure that it is effective and efficient.”
Integrating coaching into reps’ daily workflow is an effective way to ensure it is consistently offered. However, in order to successfully implement this style of coaching, it is necessary to evaluate and understand reps’ daily workflow.
“Behavior change happens when we can rely on reps to do the same thing we need them to do every time. To support consistency, you need to be able to scale visibility into what reps are doing day to day,” said Piñeros.
Understanding a rep’s daily workflow also supports an individualized approach to coaching. Individual coaching ensures consistent alignment with team and company goals throughout a sales team.
“Because sales coaching is individualized and inclusive when offered on that one-to-one basis, you can easily identify areas of improvement and ensure that no team members fall into the cracks,” said Annelie Girard, sales enablement manager at PlayPlay.
Offering individualized coaching empowers reps on their development journey by providing continuous support for their learning. It also allows managers to understand what is or is not working for each rep. From this, managers and enablement can identify patterns for targeting further coaching and learning opportunities.
The State of Sales Enablement Report 2023’s findings show that sellers are 40% more likely to be confident in their selling ability when they are coached effectively. This confidence leads to a 14% increase in win rates on average, exemplifying the positive impact of coaching.
Through ongoing learning, enablement can support consistent performance, skill development, and goal alignment within the sales organization.
Improve Sales Productivity with Data-driven Enablement
Improving sales productivity boosts revenue outcomes—this is no secret. The question is this: what is the best way to improve sales productivity? Leveraging data-driven enablement may provide the answer to this question.
Identifying insights that highlight effective enablement strategies improves sales productivity by targeting the most effective ways for reps to win deals. Once these strategies are identified, managers can utilize the data to align their sales team and improve productivity on a larger scale.
“An important quality that I see in top-performing teams is data analysis—being able to prioritize revenue-driving activities against low-impact tasks,” said Girard.
When organizations leverage data analysis to gain insight into best practices, they are 46% more likely to improve their revenue teams’ efficiency, according to the State of Sales Enablement Report 2023.
The type and quality of data are also important when it comes to improving sales productivity. Analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data for key performance indicators will provide the most in-depth and accurate understanding of how best to guide reps to increase their productivity.
Quantitative data points like sales velocity, deal size, and quota attainment all give important insights into sales performance. These quantitative points can then be coupled with qualitative data like customer interactions and interviews to develop a holistic understanding of which strategies are most valuable.
Utilizing data to drive enablement strategies guarantees an evidence-based foundation that generates buy-in and adoption for new initiatives. From this foundation, data-based initiatives improve sales productivity, increasing revenue and helping sales teams reach their goals.
Investment in strategic enablement operationalizes behavior change, accelerating sales velocity, driving consistent rep performance, and improving sales productivity with data-informed initiatives. When it comes to embodying what good looks like in enablement in today’s challenging economy, the focus is on responsiveness and determination that drives efficiency and productivity for sales teams to reach their ideal business outcomes.
Check out the State of Sales Enablement Report 2023 for more insights and recommendations for delivering consistent sales productivity through sales enablement.