The complete guide to sales enablement: What it is and how to implement it successfully
Sales teams need ammo to close the sale.
If they’re not equipped when pitching a prospect, they might not be able to close. Even worse, the prospect might buy from a competitor who has an inferior product but is more prepared.
To counteract this, successful companies deploy a sales enablement strategy.
This accounts for how marketing and sales departments prioritize and compile everything they need in order to work effectively.
But what exactly is sales enablement, and how can it help your business?
In this post, we’ll show you everything you need to know about sales enablement and how to effectively implement it into your organization.
This is a comprehensive resource. To navigate to the topics which interest you most, click the links below:
What is sales enablement?
Why is sales enablement important?
How to implement a sales enablement process
Why testimonials are essential sales enablement content
What is sales enablement?
Sales enablement is the process of providing sales teams with the resources needed to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. It empowers each employee to perform their role at maximum efficiency.
Below you can see how marketing, sales, sales enablement, and project management fit together.
Marketing executes awareness-based campaigns to drive leads to the sales team. The sales team is responsible for evaluating and qualifying those leads.
Sales enablement activates in the evaluation phase. As prospects are considering or evaluating a purchase with a new vendor, they will need various resources to learn about the product and company.
Some companies hire a sales enablement leader to oversee the department's sales operations. This person would be responsible for implementing a sales enablement program, overseeing the production of sales content, managing all the sales tools, and ensuring sales success.
Equipping your team with the tools they need to close the sale is at the heart of sales enablement. The right sales enablement solution and the right sales leader can do wonders for your organization.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular resources that Account Executives will need to convert prospects.
Types of sales enablement resources
Sales enablement resources can come in many forms, including written content, graphics, videos, and presentations. These can all be effective when done well, as long as the buyer’s experience is central during their creation.
Modern sales enablement isn't just about sales content, though. You need sales enablement software and proper training to ensure your sales representatives are positioned to meet their goals.
It’s important to have an entire library of resources that your sales team can personalize and send to prospective customers.
Each customer might be in a different stage of the buying cycle, requiring a variety of tools needed at your sales team’s disposal.
Marketing departments need to be aligned with the sales team’s goals to identify gaps in the content before it becomes an issue. This requires both departments to work together to identify what is needed in order to reach the sales objectives for the organization.
Some of the most common types of sales enablement resources include:
CRM Software: Customer relationship management software that includes prospect information, sales goals, and closed deals
Sales Playbook: Step-by-step process outline for the sales rep that maps the customer journey and the sales cycle. This is a key asset for sales training.
Product Spec Sheets: Client-facing documents explaining what the product does
Case Studies: A video or document that highlights a specific use case or snapshot of the product in action featuring one of your existing happy clients
Whitepapers: An industry research paper that positions your company as a thought-leader in your space
Testimonials: The recommendation of your product from an existing customer
Videos: Demo videos, sizzle reels, testimonials, and more
There is no singular resource that your sales team will need. Instead, you need a combination of assets that are readily available and accessible for your team to succeed.
These assets should vary by which persona and industry they target, so you can ensure you have a variety of sales enablement resources that can reach potential clients at various stages of their buying cycle.
This might seem like a lot of work, but there is merit to it. Let’s dive in to see why sales enablement is necessary to build out an effective sales department.
Why is sales enablement important?
There are numerous reasons why sales enablement is critical to your organization’s success.
First, sales enablement prepares your team with everything they need to do their jobs. This includes training, product education, resources, and more.
Last year, more than 40% of organizations missed their sales targets — one of the reasons why is the lack of proper training for sales representatives.
You wouldn’t just hire someone and let them figure it out for themselves. Proper sales enablement kick starts your sales team on the right foot.
Second, sales enablement is about providing your team with software and a dashboard where they can access their prospects, goals, and documents.
This software, which is often called a CRM (or customer relationship management software), is essential.
It will serve as a “home base” for your sales team to check their status on open opportunities, new leads, sales goals, and more. In addition, you can upload many of your marketing assets to the CRM, so everything is in one place for your team.
With these tools in place and a proper sales enablement process and training implemented, you will equip your sales team to drive more revenue for your organization.
Now that you know why it’s necessary, let’s dive into the three critical steps you need to take in order to become a more sales-oriented organization.
How to implement a sales enablement process
An effective organization will put sales enablement high on its priority list. Sales enablement provides your team with what they need to do their jobs.
Here’s how to implement sales enablement in three easy steps:
1. Select sales enablement software
This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make during the entire sales enablement implementation process.
Selecting a CRM for your sales team isn’t something that you should take lightly. The software is often expensive, and it can be cumbersome to switch if you don’t make the right decision.
The right CRM can pay off for your business. 57% of high-performing sales organizations implement technology to improve their sales processes and customer experiences.
Some of the major sales enablement platform options include HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive.
HubSpot positions itself as a “marketing, sales and service software” that can be used for inbound marketing efforts as well as a CRM for your sales team.
Marketers can build landing pages in HubSpot, publish them, and immediately watch as leads are sorted and captured in the HubSpot CRM.
Salesforce is the market leader in CRMs and one of the most common sales software used globally.
Salesforce has a suite of other products, including Pardot, Service Cloud, and Customer 360, which provide access to a full-service sales and marketing suite.
Pipedrive is another CRM tool that touts that its users “close an average of 28% more deals after their first year” using the platform.
Pipedrive takes an action-based approach to how the CRM is set up. It helps sales team members focus on the next action they need to take in order to get the prospect closer to purchasing.
Once you select and implement your CRM, it’s time to create and equip your sales team with the assets you need.
2. Create sales enablement content
Next, your marketing team should be focused on drafting, designing, and finalizing a bank of sales enablement content that your team can use.
This includes everything from customer-facing guides, reports, and demo videos to objection-handling documents, success story snippets, and more.
Look at this product demo video for Bitdam:
It quickly showcases the product in action while highlighting the key benefits. This is something your sales team can quickly send to interested prospects.
With the proper resources, your sales team will be ready to sell and reach more people than ever before.
However, that only can happen if they know where the resources are located.
3. Educate and train your sales team
Spend a week educating and training your sales team as they get onboarded, and continue the training during the entire tenure of their involvement with the company.
This training should include workshops with sales experts from outside the company as well as different department heads to open the lines of communication between team members.
In addition, you should educate your sales team on where they can access these assets.
It isn’t enough to merely create flashy videos or customer-enriched case studies. You need to ensure that your sales team knows where they are and how to use them effectively.
It doesn’t do the company any good if the assets are stored in a drive somewhere that no one ever uses. Make it a routine part of your sales enablement training to highlight where your useful sales assets are being stored.
The role of testimonials in sales enablement
Businesses now have many tools at their disposal for creating sales enablement content.
The tough part is finding content that your sales teams can use and that prospects will trust. As a B2B marketer, this can be difficult, to say the least.
Markets are saturated, and standing out is harder than ever. This is a serious challenge B2B marketers face when arming their sales teams with effective content.
Thankfully, testimonials and case studies are a proven solution to combat the growing skepticism in B2B buyers.
Take a look at this video testimonial for Hino Trucks as an example.
Don’t you feel like you know exactly what that business does now?
Let’s take a look at why a testimonial like this one can be such a powerful sales enablement tool.
1. Prospects trust their peers more than marketing collateral
One of the most important goals of any sales process is building trust in your company and product offering with new B2B prospects.
After all, if someone is considering giving you their money, they need to know that they can expect value or a return on their investment.
If your product has solved similar problems for others, you need to show it. Prospects prefer to get validation from relatable peers in their industry.
That’s where bringing testimonial videos from existing customers into the process becomes extremely valuable for your sales team.
Customer testimonials validate all of the existing marketing claims on your site. You can say that your tool has helped businesses grow revenue 200%, but without proven testimonials from real clients to back it up, those are just words.
Take a look at how the software company New Relic backs up its claims by directly showcasing testimonials.
New Relic claims that its software can deepen customer relationships and improve your experiences. The company backs that up with a video explaining exactly how that worked for a specific customer.
This will help your sales team when they’re selling because hard data from existing customers can’t lie.
2. Testimonials quickly highlight the product and its merit
Your sales team will only have minutes to capture a prospect’s attention and pique their interest.
A short, effective testimonial in written or video form can accomplish this.
However, it’s important to remember that today’s prospects prefer video over every other content format when getting information from the vendors they are evaluating. In fact, 74% of marketers claim that they receive a better ROI from video content than static imagery.
Make it easy for them to grasp the product or service with a video.
Take a look at Talla’s video testimonial for Botkeeper:
You can easily grasp everything that Botkeeper does in just 60 seconds.
This testimonial makes it easy for prospects to understand Botkeeper’s value propositions.
3. Testimonials enable you to target personas and verticals
Potential customers want to hear from existing customers. More specifically, they want to hear from other existing customers like them.
After all, every potential client has their own unique set of reasons for seeking out your products and services. That’s especially true if you serve several unique audience segments or partner with clients in a variety of different industries.
Testimonials are an excellent solution to this challenge. The key here is sourcing testimonials that align with each specific vertical or persona.
For example, if you’re a software company offering solutions for small businesses as well as enterprises, you’d want to gather testimonials for both of these audiences.
If you’re a cybersecurity company that helps customers in both the public and private sector, the same rule applies.
Slack is a prime example of creating customer testimonial videos for its different audience segments.
In the testimonial section, you can even sort the “Customer Stories” by industry and company size.
Similarly, Trello highlights all of the different audience segments that it serves, inviting businesses from diverse industries to become potential users of its platform.
Regardless of the exact audiences you serve, you’ll want to make sure that the testimonials you offer address challenges and concerns that are unique to each. The more specific and relevant the testimonials you can give your sales team, the better.
With this approach, you can avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to illustrating your brand’s value.
Instead, you’ll create helpful, specific resources that speak directly to each of the potential customers you want to engage and convert. This is where testimonials become even more effective and valuable in the hands of your marketing and sales team.
Sales enablement is essential for moving potential customers and clients through the buying process. As you prepare your sales team with relevant content, you are equipping them to relay to customers why they should trust your company to solve their problems.
Prospective customers trust existing customers to give them honest, unbiased information far more than they trust your company and sales team.
You can provide this type of information in the form of video testimonials, a powerful tool in your sales enablement strategy.