Sales enablement is the people, information, data and technology helping more reps meet and exceed quota each quarter. It is a multi-disciplinary function at the intersection of sales coaching, training and content marketing in leading edge enterprises. And it is a current favorite of sales leaders.
- The 2016 Sales Enablement Study from CSO Insights reports that more than half of all enterprises will implement a sales enablement discipline by the end of 2017.
Although sales enablement programs are in full swing in many enterprises, not every sales enablement effort is immediately successful. Failure is often the result of a disconnect between the sales rep's needs and the sales enablement team’s services. But, technologies exist to help bridge the gap.
- In fact, according to Aberdeen, sales teams are 62 percent more likely to achieve quota with sales enablement technology.
Here are three potential flaws in sales enablement programs and the technologies that can fix the problem:
The Flaw: Content Misses the Mark – Content is a big part of any effective sales enablement program. In most organizations the marketing and training departments are responsible for sales content creation, but if the content does not mirror the sales rep’s experience, or the buyer’s purchase journey, then the content is ineffective, and thus irrelevant.
The Fix: Big Data Analytics Inspires Content Creation – Successful sales enablement teams leverage cutting-edge analytics tools to understand buyer behavior, the impact of specific sales tools at different points of the sales cycle, and the most effective mediums including enterprise YouTube, podcasts, PDFs or PowerPoints for closing deals. Sales enablement teams are able to leverage this data to fine tune content, increase content usage rates and provide more effective training to reps.
The Flaw: Tools are not Accessible - Sometimes it’s impossible or unsafe for a mobile sales rep to connect to the company network. Unfortunately, these reps are also unlikely to remember the information they learned in sales training. As a result, sales reps go into customer meetings without critical knowledge, or rely on out-of-date information they have saved to their personal devices. However, these reps need immediate access to training to close their next big deal. Sales enablement programs are wasted efforts when they do not support just-in-time, situational learning and offline access.
The Fix: Offline and Mobile Access –There are solutions that make the most up-to-date information available to reps even when they are mobile or offline. These content delivery technologies allow in-the-moment education for sales reps on the go. By providing offline access to video-based case examples from veteran sales reps, or quick lab reviews and tutorials, sales enablement teams ensure their reps are armed with the best resources and knowledge even when bandwidth fails them.
The Flaw: The Sales Rep Doesn’t Know that Help is Available– Even when sales reps have offsite access to the best sales enablement resources they still may not use them. Ninety percent of marketing content goes unused by sales reps. Instructional videos, podcasts, presentations and learning paths are pointless when the reps do not know the tools exist.
The Fix: Search and Social – Predictive search is one of the most underrated and most effective technologies in sales enablement programs. When reps need information but do not know exactly what they are seeking, predictive search helps guide them to the right tools at the right time. Likewise social media platforms and information sharing services help remote sales workers stay connected to their teams and mentors. Online communities, both formal and informal, are terrific avenues for sharing critical sales knowledge among peers.
The truth is a company can implement the perfect sales strategies and processes, employ the most articulate and relevant trainers, sales coaches and content marketers, and still sales enablement programs can fail to positively impact company revenue. The missing link is often technology.