Sales Enablement: These 3 Traps Lurking in Your Program!
The early beginnings of Sales Enablement date back to the second half of the 2000s when pioneering companies began to explore ways to enhance collaboration between Marketing and Sales to boost sales performance. Twenty years later, the adoption rate of Sales Enablement has skyrocketed: +343% in the last five years according to HubSpot. It must be said that this approach provides a relevant answer to several competitiveness issues:
- Sales resources are scarce and expensive, especially in France. According to Michael Page, there is a shortage of over 200,000 sales profiles in the country. Sales Enablement optimizes the Sales workflow by relieving them of non-sales-related tasks. The result: improved productivity and better retention of salespeople who multiply opportunities to generate variable income;
- The emergence of a ‘super B2B buyer’ persona, who is better informed, more demanding, and more sceptical, requires the company to equip its salespeople to meet these expectations;
- The Sales-Marketing alignment is an ongoing challenge that has persisted for decades. By centralizing KPIs and increasing the connections between the two teams, Sales Enablement works to create this crucial synergy.
In this article, the editors take a look at 3 pitfalls that can limit the contribution of your Sales Enablement programme.
1- The Sales Enablement tool does not stand alone
Implementing a tool without putting the necessary organisation in place is a waste of time, money and energy. According to a Sirius Decision study, 65% of content produced by marketing is never used by salespeople. For HubSpot, this figure rises to 90%. Worse still: according to Data Dwell, 28% of content produced by marketing is not even accessible to sales reps. Finally, 40% of sales reps create their content “for no other reason” (HubSpot).
By deploying a Sales Enablement solution, you’re simply addressing the problem of access to content, not its quality. Here are a few actionable ideas for generating Quick Wins on this point
- Include your salespeople (or sales managers) in the editorial workflow. They will contribute to the brainstorming on marketing content themes thanks to their feedback from the field. After all, they are in direct contact with prospects. They know what’s at stake, what the problems are, what they’re afraid of and, above all, what they say;
- Multiply the communication links between marketing and sales, with a Slack channel for example;
- Make salespeople aware of the importance of giving feedback on content created by marketing. The argument is simple: their feedback helps to refine the content, and the more relevant the content, the more they will sell;
- Standardize the names of uploaded files for sales reps. Avoid cryptic names such as “52325.ppt” and prefer explicit names that encourage clicks, such as “Business Case – How customer X gained 10% in turnover thanks to our solution”.
2- Your Sales Enablement tool needs to be “marketed” to salespeople
Historically, technology has largely favoured marketing to the detriment of sales. Since the end of the pandemic, we have witnessed an accelerated digitalisation of the Sales effort, with a development that can be disconcerting for professionals.
To encourage the adoption of your Sales Enablement solution, you’re going to have to make an effort to raise awareness and follow the best practices of any transformational project.
- Make the link between the adoption of the tool and the improvement in the individual performance of each salesperson, with a positive effect on the variable;
- Demonstrate the tool to illustrate the Sales issues it addresses;
- If you have a large sales force, rely on ambassadors who can promote the tool to their colleagues;
- Opt for a Sales Enablement vendor that offers a state-of-the-art onboarding and Customer Success phase.
3-Take advantage of the KPIs generated by your tool to spread best practice
The second generation of Sales Enablement solutions incorporates native KPIs that enable sales and marketing managers to monitor their activity. You’ll be able to identify best practices so that they can be applied across the board, as well as areas for improvement and any friction that may be undermining Sales-Marketing alignment. Here are a few concrete examples.
- Investigate content that is rarely used by sales staff: access problems? Poor quality content?
- Identify the content most used by sales reps: what features do they have in common? What format? What content? What tone? Size? These characteristics can be generalised to the following content;
- If your tool includes a training module, make the link between the completion rate of training courses and sales performance. This will enable you to assess the ROI of your training and/or coaching programmes.
In short, Sales Enablement needs to set in motion a mindset of continuous improvement based on Data to unlock the full potential of the Sales – Marketing pairing.