How many times have you heard the old adage “It’s not what you say, but how you say it”? If you’re anything like I was during my middle school years, the answer is probably plenty! Well, in today’s increasingly competitive sales and marketing world, it’s not just how you say something – but how you sell something that really matters. And that’s precisely why sales enablement is no longer just an emerging idea within sales (and marketing departments) – but a must have for companies that want to achieve a sustainable competitive edge.
It’s Not What You’re Selling – It’s How You’re Selling It that Matters
According to a recent study conducted by CSO Insights, sales enablement adoption has been steadily growing for the past four years. The percentage of companies with a sales enablement function has grown from 19.3% in 2013 to 32.7% in 2016. And while growth is strong, according to these figures that leaves 68% of companies still wondering just what sales enablement is and what it can do for their organization.
So, let’s break it down: at its core, sales enablement is a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to equip sales with the ability to have relevant conversations with customers/prospects to establish stronger, more long-lasting relationships.
Meaning, it’s no longer only about what you have to sell, but it’s how you sell it that can give you an edge. That includes fostering relevant conversations with the right content that’s specific to the selling solution, delivered at the right time, in the right place and tailored to the unique needs of your buyer. While this might seem like a daunting task, the benefits are pretty hard to ignore. We’re talking the opportunity to increase:
- Sales efficiency
- Existing client sales
- New account acquisition
- Customer win rates
- Average deal size
While at the same time decreasing:
- Sales cycle length
- Customer turnover
- Client interaction prep time
Incidentally, these benefits are in-line with what CSO Insights found to be the primary goals of companies with sales enablement programs. And, let’s not ignore the cross-functional aspect of this definition. Yep, that means that for sales enablement to be truly successful, sales and marketing must work together. And there are significant payoffs to this collaboration by these two departments. In a recent blog post, HubSpot noted that companies with good sales & marketing practices generated 208% more revenue from marketing efforts and when these teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
Where the Rubber Meets the Sales Enablement Road
With a better understanding of what sales enablement is and what it can do for your organization, let’s take a closer look at some sales enablement examples:
Vendor Maps: Interactive maps that display where sales teams are located throughout specific territories or geographies.
Solution Playbooks: Presentation slides and PDFs to help guide the conversation and win new revenue with existing clients or prospects.
Sales Apps: Mobile, interactive applications that outline company solutions, services and relevance to your customers.
Virtual TSS: Promote education and training related to specific solution areas and offerings via a virtual environment.
Savings Calculators: Interactive digital calculators that illustrate savings and ROI with real client or prospect data.
Hopefully, these will spark some ideas at your organization! If you’re ready to learn more, get in touch with us. In collaboration with our partner, StudioNorth, we’ve developed a proven approach to create many of the sales enablement tools mentioned above. Drop us a line via email or get touch through one of our social channels! We’re here to help.
Author: Andrea Davis, VP and Market & Customer Insight Practice Lead, Outlook Marketing Services