What is Sales Enablement?


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Five years ago Sales Enablement was a fringe term.  Today, it is one of the fastest growing positions within the sales organization.


Sales leaders are asked to increase revenue with the same amount of resources.  This means sales reps must be more efficient than ever before.  The primary focus of sales enablement is simple: Increasing the effectiveness of each customer interaction.

Here is our more formal definition, broken into 5 Key Components:

  1. Get the right sales content…
  2. into the hands of the right sellers…
  3. at the right time…
  4. through the right channel…
  5. to move a sales opportunity forward.

Do you have a full-time sales enablement resource?  Download our Sales Enablement Sample Job Posting and interview questions.  It will help you source and hire the right candidate to increase your team’s productivity.

Many of the newest technologies are directly related to this new position. Gamification, Mobile Content (Tablets), Certification Courses, and Content Management all fall under Enablement.  Sales Enablement helps marry technology and initiatives to the overall sales strategy. Without this keystone position, effectiveness projects are unaligned with sales and become obsolete.  Think of all your unused iPads and ignored CRM initiatives.  This is why organizations need sales enablement.

Sales Enablement Job Posting

Let’s break down the 5 Key Components of the above Definition:

Get the Right Sales Content: There are three key components of sales content: Persona, Buying Stage, and Format.  Sales Enablement should ensure there is an ample amount of each type.  A CFO involved in a late stage deal wants an excel ROI proforma.  A lead development rep needs an awareness webinar explaining a common problem. Sales enablement’s job is to ensure these materials are available, up-to-date, and relevant. But content is not just a physical or electronic document.  It is also the talk track used by sales to present a solution or problem.  Sales Enablement writes and trains on these as well.

Into the Hands of the Right Sellers: Different positions require different content.  For Sales Reps, this means presentations and talk tracks for group meetings.  Or Tablet Content for one-on-ones.  Inside Sales Reps want shareable content and live demos.  Lead Development Reps need nurture emails.  Content should be tailored for each position to maximize customer traction.

At the Right Time: Content should be at the fingertips of sales at all times.  This means being Social, Local, and Mobile.  If a sales rep needs a key document, they should know exactly where it is.  Content Inventory Management is a critical component.  If your reps can’t find it in 30 seconds, they’ll stop looking.

Through the Right Channel: Content should be in the format that customers and prospects prefer.  This may mean employing:

  • A Content App for Rep’s Tablets
  • Email Templates in CRM
  • Printed Brochures for Prospects

Remember, the best channel is the one the customers are most likely to consume. 

To Move an Opportunity Forward: The end game of sales enablement is increased productivity.  If your content doesn’t accelerate the sales cycle, or increase wins, it is worthless.  Make sure your content is designed to answer specific micro-questions along the buyer’s journey.  Inward-out content that only talks about your company will not produce a meaningful result.  Make the content about your customers. 

Sales Enablement is more than just a “Content” job. It is the rising tide that lifts all boats. It tests reps to ensure messaging and skills are learned. It measures adoption of programs and platforms. Sales VPs who ignore this new approach suffer these symptoms:

  • Efficiency projects that fail to achieve ROI Goals.
  • Dependency on several “A” Players to Make the Number.
  • Reps only selling products they are most comfortable with.
  • Product launch failures.
  • Static Revenue per Rep figures.

Hire the talent you need to hit your goals.  Download our Sales Enablement Sample Job Posting.  Give your team the messaging they need to improve their interactions. 

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Zarges
Drew Zarges serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI). Drew helps sales and marketing leaders hit their number through extensive work within these disciplines: Lead Management, Demand Generation and Campaign Planning, Compensation Planning and Specialties.


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