While sales enablement is a relatively new concept in the history of sales, it's quickly become a critical component to many SaaS and enterprise businesses. Sales enablement does just that – it enables sales teams to be more efficient, more productive, and thus more profitable.
Many companies are adding sales enablement roles to their sales support roster to empower their sales team, but some struggle to prove the value and business case for their efforts. However, as is true with any business function, you can prove the value of sales enablement as an essential component to your sales operations. Use this process to build a business case and show your ongoing value.
Educate Leadership on Sales Enablement
To prove the value of sales enablement, you must first educate your leadership team on the functions of a sales enablement team and define specifically how you will support sales. In short, sales enablement is the function of creating an infrastructure and toolset for sales teams to sell better, more and faster.
The role of sales enablement is entirely support and advocacy – this team knows the sales process inside and out, deeply understands both rep and customer pain points and creates efficiencies and improvements to expedite the buyer journey. While each sales enablement team will cater to its sales team's needs and process, the team's functions can include:
- Training: Sales enablement teams are essential players in new sales rep onboarding. They're acutely in tune with the buyer journey, product or service being sold, and sales process. They use this knowledge to partner with and ramp up new team members. They can also research competitor training methodologies to ensure the company's training processes are optimized.
- Content: Sales enablement supports sales through the creation of content that sales reps distribute during the sales process. This can include case studies, white papers, decks, demos, videos and other digital content.
- Coaching: Sales enablement partners with sales to share competitive insights and coach reps on close strategies. This can take place through large-scale initiatives like sales education seminars, as well as individual interactions with reps who want to strategize the best way to win a specific account.
- Cross-team alignment: Sales enablement plays a key role in ensuring the entire sales process is streamlined. This means they have a keen eye on the entire customer experience to empower alignment across sales, marketing, support and other departments that touch the CX.
Sales enablement should be positioned as not only a valid function, but critical to the success of your business. A company without sales enablement often leaves sales reps to fend for themselves, which hampers productivity and consequently minimizes revenue generation. As you're building a business case for this team, position it as essential and have a plan to track its success.
Define and Track Key Metrics
As is true with any sales function, the best way to track the value of sales enablement is through data and metrics. Specifically, there are four categories to consider.
1. Rep revenue generation: As a sales support role, sales enablement teams should empower sales reps to sell more. These metrics can include: sales per rep, number of new customers per rep, number of reps who exceed quota, and number of upsells or product add-ons.
2. New rep training time: Sales enablement shines in the onboarding process. This team knows the product and sales process inside and out and helps new sales team members to close deals faster. Track the time it takes for a new rep to close his or her first sale to show value.
3. Lead-to-close metrics: To prove sales enablement speeds up the buyer journey, track timeline metrics like average days to close, days between a demo and close, and number of leads that close after engaging with sales-enablement content like a demo or custom deck.
4. Qualitative and quantitative rep feedback: While the value of sales enablement should be apparent in sales data and process metrics, individual reps should also be able to speak to how sales enablement helps their process. Survey your reps on a quarterly basis and share the results with leadership to show your value and identify areas for continued improvement.
Sales Enablement and Social Selling
Perhaps the most impactful initiative a sales enablement team can take on is integrating social selling into the sales process. Social selling gives sales reps digital tools that increase efficiency and productivity, allowing reps to stay focused on high-probability leads and expedite the buyer journey.
New sales enablement teams should create and execute a social selling strategy as part of the team's initial rollout. The strategy should include defining the appropriate toolset for your sales organization (this should align with the company's business objectives), integrating those tools into the sales process and existing sales technologies, training sales reps to maximize those tools and finally measuring success ongoing.
As additional evidence for the need of the sales enablement function in your organization, consider who would lead social selling implementation and management were it not for your team. Without sales enablement, the task falls to sales leadership, whose time is better spent leading and coaching reps to meet business objectives. Ultimately, all parties – sales leadership, sales reps and executive leadership – will be served by the sales enablement function.