You’re probably here because you want to build a successful sales enablement strategy for your business.
You’ve come to the right place!
Read on to discover how to create effective sales strategies through the power of enablement and turn your team into an all-star performance machine.
What is a sales enablement strategy?
So, “What does sales enablement do, anyway?” It’s the right question to ask, but to answer it, it makes sense to first discuss the definition of sales enablement.
At its core, it means training your sales team to sell as effectively as possible.
Sales enablement techniques include using coaching, relevant content, training, and technology to help sales agents onboard, improve their sales skills, and sell more and faster.
A sales enablement strategy incorporates initiatives that enable teams to enhance their existing sales repertoire.
This could take the form of team sales training, working with marketing to implement helpful resources, or integrating sales collaboration tools into your tech stack, among other things.
As a constantly iterative approach to sales, a sales enablement strategy must be regularly assessed to determine whether the tools, content, and resources selected are actually helping your sales team convert more leads.
The role of sales enablement leaders is to increase the productivity of their sales teams in a measurable way.
To achieve this, they need to implement a sales enablement strategy.
As you might expect, traits of a sales enablement manager include a high level of organization and a keen interest in data analysis.
A successful leader also has excellent people skills and emotional intelligence, meaning they know how to get the best out of their sales teams.
It’s their job to head up your approach.
Let’s now move on to looking at the different elements of a sales enablement strategy, including training and content, tools, and metrics.
What are the elements of a sales enablement strategy?
The following five sales enablement functions make up the core of a strong sales enablement strategy:
Let’s kick off with content.
Marketing and sales content is an integral element of successful sales enablement.
To help your sales team add value to every potential customer interaction, they need content for each stage of the customer journey.
Typical types of content involved in a sales enablement strategy include case studies, testimonials, product sheets, messaging guides, articles, email templates, ebooks, reports, and whitepapers.
This valuable content works to equip sales teams with confidence in the product or service, while simultaneously delivering reassurance to prospects.
Content that supports and assists your sales team with closing more deals can include:
- Product walkthrough videos: In-house demos of key product features.
- Datasheets: For use cases and specific product results.
- Customer testimonials: Materials that demonstrate why customers choose your business together with the relevant product or service benefits.
- Slide decks: Presentations including information on market trends, industry challenges, and how your products solve customer pain points.
- Ebooks: Downloadable guides on how your sales team should handle particular customer call scenarios.
- Battlecards: Information on how your sales team can improve their objection-handling skills.
Often, businesses will have a whole host of sales resources, but they might not be easily accessible, and some content will undoubtedly be out of date.
To pull your company’s most valuable resources together, consider creating a sales playbook.
Start by taking a thorough look at all your business’s available materials.
Sort through them and begin building an effective sales playbook that makes it easier for sales reps to find what they need.
Creating a comprehensive sales playbook as part of your sales enablement strategy will help your teams to reach their targets and improve your business’s overall ROI.
If you’re thinking about how to create a sales playbook for your business’s needs, assess the type of content you’ll need for:
- Different prospects’ pain points
- Varying levels of urgency in terms of sales scenarios
- External-facing content like datasheets and case studies
- Internal-facing content like training videos and internal messaging.
Your sales team should be able to instantly access the right content from anywhere and at any time.
It’s much easier to pull together such disparate content if you use a document management solution like PandaDoc.
With PandaDoc for sales your team can create, collaborate on, and share all kinds of critical documents, all in one place.
2. Training and coaching
Training and coaching are also vital pieces of the sales enablement puzzle.
Through effective coaching, salespeople develop the soft skills needed to understand their prospects and ultimately close more deals.
Begin training from your first onboarding sessions, and seek to create sales training that gets reps excited with collaborative learning. Decide whether face-to-face, e-learning, or a combination of the two is most effective in your company.
One of the benefits of continuous sales coaching is that your team receives the support and guidance to upskill and improve their performance.
It’s important that leaders keep tabs on all pipeline deals so they can deliver useful coaching sessions at the optimum time.
For example, tasking a new sales agent with sending a customer quote together with a CRM alert.
This could include simple steps on how to generate rapid quotes and instructions on how to follow up.
When it comes to rapidly generating quotes, PandaDoc CPQ is a godsend for sales teams.
It lets you pre-configure and customize quotes with ease, so you can present the right offering to prospects, quickly and easily.
Use tools such as your CRM or other sales enablement software to create a centralized content location for all your up-to-date training and coaching documents.
This way, you can keep your content library updated with market and industry changes, together with changes to your organization’s ICPs.
Don’t forget to include ongoing tech stack training programs in your strategy.
After all, the best digital sales enablement tools are only as good as the team using them.
To develop an intelligent strategy, you need a clear understanding of your sales team, the business’s overall goals, and your prospects’ buying traits.
Seek to establish where your salespeople get stuck within your sales processes and uncover areas requiring additional support.
Typical types of support may include more topic-specific training, personalized coaching, or discussing new pieces of content.
Successful sales enablement requires a strategy that consolidates different elements and aligns them with your business’s goals and North Star.
To verify this, ask yourself the following:
- Do you have specific content for reps to use at each stage of the buying journey?
- Have you synced with marketing, sales, CX, product teams, and your customers to map out the most effective digital journey?
- Is that journey the best design point for your current sales enablement strategy?
- Does your current sales enablement tech stack provide reps with what they need for valuable conversations that move prospects along that journey?
You’ll find a plethora of tools and software options to support your business’s sales processes and enablement strategy.
These will offer different functionalities, with choices including communications, content management, prospecting and sales management tools, CRM (customer relationship management) systems, and coaching tools, to name just a few.
Optimized tech empowers your team to work more efficiently by shortening the sales cycle and closing more deals.
However, take the time to thoroughly research whether bringing in specific tools will facilitate greater efficiency without creating additional work or generating too steep a learning curve while your team gets to grips with them.
It’s essential you have the tools in place to measure the success of your sales enablement strategy.
Metrics reveal where you need to provide more support, which allows you to deliver, for example, actionable eCommerce marketing strategies to drive more sales.
Typical metrics to measure sales enablement include average sales cycle length, closing rate (win rate), average deal size, and sales productivity (individually and for the entire team).
For instance, the average deal size metric helps you expose potential sales cycle bottlenecks.
You might discover that automating sales processes is de-personalizing the customer journey and that you need to iterate this automation process.
Sophisticated tools like best-in-class CRMs enable you to monitor the content you send out.
Discover which team members utilize content, calculate the proportion of prospects that read your emails and open links, work out how many emails your team sends before getting the first call, and find the average number of calls initiated before closing a deal.
The benefits of sales enablement
Some simple benefits of sales enablement include:
- Shortening the sales cycle
- Closing bigger deals
- Allowing for more cross-selling or up-selling opportunities
- Growing your sales team
- Reducing customer churn
- Reaching new audiences and markets
- Building longer-lasting and more valuable client relationships
- Improving the buyer experience and reps’ sales performances.
Let’s look at a few of these in more detail:
When you arm your sales reps with proven sales enablement tools, your business as a whole becomes less dependent on allowing top performers to carry the burden.
This support helps the entire team to meet sales targets.
In addition, creating valuable onboarding materials speeds up the hiring and onboarding process, while getting new reps ready to take sales calls earlier.
This can help your business to scale and grow with greater efficiency and success.
Stronger sales insight
Leveraging the power of data with a robust sales enablement strategy can create a force to be reckoned with.
Use sales enablement technology to gather valuable insights around prospects’ preferences, pain points, and target buyer personas, and help your sales team reach out in a more personalized way.
Sales enablement data includes important information about firmographics, channel analytics, prospect interest, goal completions, and content performance metrics.
With the best data insights, intuitive sales enablement tools, and instant access to marketing and sales collateral, sales reps can move through the deal process faster.
When your sales enablement data is integrated with your CRM system, you can easily action every process change — there’s no need to worry about contrasting data sets or to spend time manually updating different software.
This means your sales team can spend more time selling than they do on manual data entry.
Improved alignment with marketing
It’s a given that sales reps become more successful when they can give prospects the most relevant information at the most relevant point in their journey.
An effective way to achieve this is through an ongoing collaboration between your sales, marketing, and product development teams.
For instance, when sales reps work with your wider marketing team, they can glean a more comprehensive understanding of the buyer’s journey — not to mention, they’ll be equipped with crucial marketing materials that they can use to close deals.
Moreover, working with the product development team gives your salespeople a better understanding of the product or service’s key features and selling points.
This can aid and improve sales pitches.
Coordinating these valuable interdepartmental partnerships has the effect of improving the alignment of your sales, marketing, and product development teams and boosting morale across each.
How do sales enablement and marketing work together?
As we touched upon, when sales enablement and marketing form an alliance, your sales team is at a huge advantage.
Not only will you save time with sales enablement strategies, but you can also create more valuable content and pitches for prospects and customers.
Educational content is an integral part of lead generation and the sales nurturing process.
For example, top-of-sales-funnel content that you push out on social media can educate prospects and provide value.
This strategy shows that your business is an industry leader and can deliver the solution your prospects are seeking.
Some examples of sales enablement content that’s perfect for social media include:
- Ebooks and webinars
- How-to videos
- Case studies
- Customer reviews and testimonials
Free, downloadable content is ideal for funneling social media users to your business’s landing pages. From there, opt-ins can be passed to sales for successful conversions.
Essential types of sales enablement content
So, which type of sales enablement content should your organization consider creating or repurposing for an effective sales enablement strategy?
We’ve already covered how to create a sales playbook, so let’s lean into some other content formats.
Blog posts and articles are probably what most people think of as sales enablement content.
As they’re educational and informative, they simultaneously teach prospects and encourage action.
Sales reps can point potential customers towards blog posts to show your business is a market leader and knows all there is to know about the industry.
Comparison-style blog posts are ideal for calling out your competition and ensuring prospects see you in a favorable light.
These types of blog posts educate prospects about what else is on the market, while indirectly encouraging them to think that your company will meet their needs the best.
Case studies are often at the core of a successful content marketing strategy.
Comprehensive case studies generate interest from audiences keen to buy.
These prospects are at the stage of seeking reassurance from like-minded businesses or individuals who’ve had their problems solved by your solution.
For this reason, they should be an integral element of your sales enablement strategy.
To create relevant and valuable case studies, keep it simple and pull together a few industry customer stories that exemplify the challenge-solution-result framework.
You can use case studies in different formats to test user engagement. For example, try video interviews, quote graphics, and press releases.
Make sure case studies are stored in an easily accessible central location so your sales reps don’t waste time searching for them.
Ebooks and whitepapers
This type of longer-form content is excellent lead generation material that marketing teams can use to qualify leads.
Just in case you need a refresher on lead generation vs sales prospecting process, that guide has you covered.
Similarly to blogs, ebooks seek to persuade readers by alleviating their pain points.
To create meaningful whitepapers and ebooks, liaise with your sales team to establish the best topics and current industry problems.
Just make sure this type of content is easy to read and digest — you want to avoid walls and walls of text!
Competitor analysis is always a worthwhile endeavor and should be utilized as part of your sales enablement plan to benchmark your business’s sales operations.
It’s vital your reps know what your organization’s specific differentiating factors are and how your prospects compare you to competitors.
Consolidate competitor analysis data into an easily accessible and simple battle-card format for your sales team to use.
Parts of your sales enablement efforts probably include sales scripts.
However, because real-time prospecting won’t necessarily align with these, it’s best to create talking points instead of rigid formats.
This way, your sales reps have the opportunity to flexibly pivot conversations and be more personable.
Ultimately, these resources should result in unique sales enablement lessons learned by every member of your team.
Because email is a frequently used customer interaction route, including email templates in your sales enablement strategy is beneficial.
Some ideas for email templates include prospect check-ins, initial outreach, follow-ups, lead-gen email sequences, and targeted campaigns.
As with content for whitepapers and ebooks, ask for feedback from your sales team — they’ll have the intel on what works.
Be sure to use email analytics to consistently iterate and analyze results.
Key metrics in the sales enablement process
Following on from analyzing sales enablement results, we turn now to sales enablement metrics:
Your sales team’s closing rate reveals your overall success in converting leads into paying customers.
If your sales enablement strategy is effective, you’ll experience an uptick in your close-deals rate.
Remember, however, that closing rates are not a direct measure of sales enablement, and this metric can be influenced by many variables.
It may be wise to use this metric to take a closer look at individual sales reps’ performances.
Sales cycle length
To monitor your sales cycle length (also known as deal velocity), you must first think of your sales cycle as consisting of different moving parts.
These moving parts include demos, meetings by decision makers, free trial offers, and more.
If your team typically experiences short sales cycles, this indicates that your sales reps are doing a good job of communicating your business’s value propositions.
Content performance KPIs are perhaps one of the most significant sales enablement metrics.
Analyzing content performance shows you where and how a piece of sales collateral is being utilized.
For example, you’ll be able to establish if your sales reps are aware of a specific content piece that could be helping them with their conversation rates, such as optimizing your proposal content with sales enablement technology.
Monitoring content performance can uncover valuable insights — specifically, what’s positively impacting sales opportunities, not to mention measuring the value of the information available to your prospects.
The metrics we’ve looked at so far are relevant after the completion of a sales cycle.
Leading indicators, on the other hand, enable you to forecast future performance in your organization.
Much as quota attainment is a key indicator for sales rep performance, leading indicators measure the sales activities you predict will help you to reach your sales targets.
Examples of leading indicators include:
- Percentage of sales reps completing a specific course
- Number of sales reps attending a training session
- Level of customer engagement after reading sales content
- Number of pieces of content created in a time period
- Time saved after a process adjustment
- Number of new reps onboarded per quarter
- Ramp time for new hires.
For example, sales enablement tools that analyze your reps’ content engagement will help you work out the value of this to your sales enablement strategy.
How to build a sales enablement strategy
It’s now time to build your business’s sales enablement strategy.
To reiterate, sales enablement helps your team to:
- Positively engage with more prospects
- Access the best content to help them close more deals
- Better understand their target market
- Obtain usable data and insights
- Automate repetitive sales processes.
Here are the steps to get going:
1. Create a sales enablement charter
A robust sales enablement strategy begins with the right framework for the task.
Seek to define your expectations, aims, processes, and business needs.
To formalize this, you should create a sales enablement charter.
Without one, your sales team might have trouble organizing sales processes like pitching, nurturing, and closing deals.
Tailor your sales enablement charter according to your business’s specific challenges, SWOT analysis, industry, and overarching company strategy.
As a constantly iterative document, your sales enablement charter must contain S.M.A.R.T. goals to help you remain strategy-focused.
2. Get your sales team involved
It makes sense to involve your team in developing your sales enablement strategy.
Also, you could bring in CX and marketing for valuable feedback gleaned from their unique points of view.
Look to discuss:
- Tools they think would improve and streamline the sales process
- Daily challenges that might be stopping them from reaching their sales targets
- Skills, data, and information they might need to help them optimize their sales approach
- Tactics they feel are currently successful with prospects
- How your product is positioned in the marketplace compared to the competition
- What they feel might improve your company’s position in the market.
As your sales team will be handling daily prospect calls, they’re the ones with a frontline understanding of the best strategy to use moving forward.
3. Bring in the stakeholders
By involving the relevant stakeholders in developing your sales enablement strategy, it’s easier to attain buy-in and break down departmental silos.
Consider the stakeholders who should be included, together with their roles.
Ensure you bring in the C-suite early on to get commitment from your executive team before your strategy gets fully underway.
4. Map out the customer journey
At the center of your sales enablement strategy are your customers.
After all, without them, there can be no strategy.
Consider your buyer’s journey to see where there’s potential for sales to fall through and where you could provide helpful information during the sales process to avoid this.
5. Conduct necessary training
Once you’ve consolidated the previous steps, it’s time to train your sales team.
Activities here include creating relevant content (which you should have previously identified) and compiling all collateral in a central location for ease of use.
Training-wise, you’ll need to coach your team on effective sales processes, how to react to industry trends, respond to customer objections, use sales enablement tools, and analyze data.
What are sales enablement tools?
Sales enablement technology, a sales enablement toolkit, sales enablement software — call them what you will, these are the tools to optimize your strategy and equip your team with the resources to close more deals.
For instance, PandaDoc’s sales enablement software helps you scale your business by creating automated workflows.
Not only this, but if you need to generate professional documents for signatures, sending, and tracking, you can do so.
Cross-team collaboration is a breeze. PandaDoc facilitates communications with your team directly in documents, no matter where in the world you are.
If you need to comment on specific points or resolve feedback, you can easily do so without leaving the document.
Using a sales enablement tool like PandaDoc allows you to guarantee an on-brand customer experience as well, which is key when you’re dealing with professional clients.
Remember we mentioned (a few times) about a centralized location for your sales and marketing collateral? PandaDoc has you covered.
It provides a central repository for your team to locate the content they need quickly.
Must-haves in sales enablement software
Most sales enablement software solutions exist to improve your sales team’s effectiveness.
This includes monitoring how quickly you onboard new hires, training attendance rates, sales rep performance data, and more.
To discover the best-fit sales enablement software for your business needs, look for these must-have functionalities:
Your first port of call is analytics. Ensure your intended platform includes comprehensive reporting, tracking, and analytics features.
It’s essential your sales enablement tool gives you uncompromising access to sales team metrics, utilized content, and how these influence results.
For instance, insights into deal-close likelihoods or the specific behavior patterns and actions that incite deals are incredibly meaningful.
PandaDoc, for example, offers an array of thorough analytics features.
You can discover information on how often each document or link was viewed, the time spent viewing a document, and the last time it was opened.
You can also get insights on which pages users spend the most time on, how much time they spend per page, the number of page views, and the document status (i.e., opened or completed).
A robust sales enablement tool should provide your team with in-platform sales dashboards.
By making proper use of this data, you can work to prioritize leads and forge better prospect relationships so your team can close more deals.
A steep learning curve with new software is never a good thing, so another must-have feature is gamification.
This function allows you to level up your sales training using interactive games and quizzes.
Created to improve your team’s sales process knowledge, gamification makes learning fun and information easier to retain.
Workflow automation removes some of the burden from your sales teams.
Sales enablement solutions will often automatically take care of time-consuming data entry processes by generating frequently used templates, ensuring your team doesn’t have to draw up new documents for each customer.
Another example of PandaDoc’s sales enablement software features is real-time document notifications.
This means your sales reps instantly know when a document is opened, read, commented on, or completed.
Interoperability is a key feature — and not just for your CRM.
The best sales enablement software integrates with all your favorite tools.
For example, PandaDoc seamlessly integrates with more than 30 business tools, including payment tools, storage software, administrative and design tools, and CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce.
It also allows you to create custom workflows across 1,300 apps.
Sales enablement software should also have a content management feature that consolidates and organizes all sales content for team members to access when they need to.
If the tool is too complex or reps can’t find the content they require, you may lose out on valuable opportunities to close a deal.
Optimize your sales enablement strategy
A properly thought out and implemented strategy will boost productivity and grow your customer base through sales enablement.
Your business’s sales enablement strategy should evolve over time — it’s certainly not a one-and-done process.
Through sales enablement best practices, you can measure as you go and learn what’s working and what isn’t.
Encourage a feedback culture within your sales team so they feel they can be honest about your sales enablement tactics.
When sales reps are armed with data-backed and easily accessible content, they’re more likely to add value throughout the prospecting process.
Moreover, effective content integration increases sales reps’ confidence in supporting prospects’ needs and positively influences them to become loyal customers.
All of which serves to improve your business’s bottom line.