Sales enablement means different things to different companies, but essentially it's a systematic approach to increasing sales productivity by supporting reps with educational content that can then be shared with leads and opportunities. Ultimately, sales enablement is customer enablement. If you can gather immense insight in your buyer personas from inbound marketing efforts, the same can be said about your customers from inbound sales efforts, but only if the sales content is online.
Sales-enablement tools of the past
Back in the day, before inside sales and the inbound methodology, sales reps armed themselves with static and clunky tools such as trifold posters, data sheet print-offs and in-person demos. This was also when cold calls and door-to-door selling were effective methods of customer acquisition. These tools focused on the company and product themselves. They spoke at prospect, rather than with the prospect.
But selling has changed drastically. No longer are company- and product-focused sales tools effective in the sales process. It’s knowledge that closes deals, causing sales-enablement tools to evolve from advertisements to educational content.
The case for digital sales-enablement tools
Sales-enablement tools are critical to the success of your sales team for two reasons: 1) They move prospects through the buyer’s journey via education. 2) They help educate your sales team on how best to facilitate the buyer’s journey. But both only come when your tools are online. Let’s look at a couple different scenarios to demonstrate the benefit of making your sales enablement digital.
Gather insights using digital body language
How would you like to know each time a prospect opens a PowerPoint presentation, clicks on a link in a battle card, or spends a specific amount of time on certain pages in a white paper? By utilizing links and digital formats, you can. Let’s talk through an example:
Billy is a sales rep at a software startup and the marketing department just handed off a perfect-fit SQL to him. So far, the SQL has only received automated emails from the workflow in which he or she was enrolled. That means Billy’s outreach is the first opportunity to gather deeper insight on the SQL’s interests. Billy decides to send the SQL an email including multiple resources that are hyperlinked within the copy: three blog posts relating to the content on which the SQL converted, another related content offer and an invitation to subscribe to the blog. Based on which links the lead clicks, Billy will be able to gauge their interest levels.
Increase authority during the buying process
Want to increase authority with both your prospects and with Google? Make sales-enablement tools available after the presentation of a PowerPoint deck or a video. This can not only impress your lead due to ease of availability, but also help your domain authority and search ranking. Think about it this way:
You just got off a call with a lead-management software company you’re considering buying to help your own sales team. You were impressed and want to share the deck with the rest of your team, including your CEO, but the rep never sent you a copy for reference. So you decide to consult Google and still can’t find anything. Now you’re annoyed and your team members are disappointed because they were looking forward to checking it out. Plus your CEO thinks you have given time to someone who cannot provide the adequate resources to make a sale.
Or, you decide to consult Google, and after a couple minutes of digging you finally find the deck. You send it around to your team and CEO. They all click on the link and view the deck. From there, some people click on different hyperlinks and CTAs within the presentation that direct them to various site pages. You’ve just helped that company increase its domain authority and use of inbound links. To top it off, you’re satisfied and so is your team, increasing the probability your company purchases the product.
Make updates without sacrificing data
I am a huge proponent of marketing and sales alignment, and creating digital sales-enablement tools are a great way to bring both teams together for common goal. While both teams are always working to grow the business and increase recurring revenue, it can be difficult to get them to work together. But if you require sales enablement to be online, sales has no choice but to work with marketing to make this possible. Both teams will need to collaborate on content, format and location.
Additionally the content of certain tools is subject to frequent changes, especially with software/technology companies. By having these tools be digital, you can easily update and alter them as needed without losing any data or value attached to them. But in reality, you—the sales rep—wouldn’t be the one altering content. Rather it would be your marketing team, causing sales and marketing to work together again to make sure the tool at hand is as effective as possible. It also helps your sales reps focus on selling, instead of equipping themselves to sell.
Do yourself a favor and start migrating your sales-enablement tools into digital, bite-sized, educational tools that your marketing and sales teams work together to create and leverage. A great tool is the Sales Content area of the HubSpot CRM. If you'd like to learn more about sales enablement and utilizing the HubSpot CRM for these purposes, let us know in the comments below.
What types of sales-enablement tools do you use? Tell us a story about how sales enablement has helped you close a big deal. We'd love to hear!