For years, sales leaders have been looking for ways to help their sales force be more effective, and for many, the answer was to create a sales enablement team or function. But with the post-pandemic buying and selling environment changing rapidly, I’m seeing an “enablement spring.” Clients who had held off standing up a sales enablement function ask how to stand one up, and those who already had sales enablement ask how to build on what they already have. But what exactly is sales enablement? Why should your company invest in this area? And how do you get started selling the idea internally?
What is sales enablement?
A few months back, I wrote a post titled Sales Enablement, by Any Other Name, Would Still Drive More Revenue. In that post, I wrote about the different names I see for functions or teams focused on enablement efforts. But regardless of what the function or team is called, concentrating on ensuring sellers have the knowledge, skills, content, and technology to perform is a legitimate and growing area of commercial operations. It’s an opportunity to help your sales force be more effective, not just through technology or training but with a complete package that includes content, technology, communications, sales process, and training to enable your sales teams to drive revenue.
The right sales enablement strategy will include tools such as:
- Training — such as onboarding programs, webinars, and other learning events that address competency gaps within the sales teams.
- Technology — such as enablement platforms that provide a single source of truth for sellers and provide capabilities that improve buyer engagement
- Content — such as blogs with helpful tips and tools designed to help buyers build confidence in their decisions
Why sales enablement?
Sales Enablement brings together best practices, tools, and processes to help your sales team be more productive. In essence, it’s an opportunity for you to help sellers be more effective.
Sales enablement can:
- Reduce costs by freeing up time to spend with buyers by automating, simplifying, and eliminating redundant tasks
- Increase revenue through increased adoption of sales technology, sales content, and sales processes
- Reduce seller drag (demotivating activities) and increase seller motivation
Building the business case for sales enablement.
- First, ensure you clearly understand what sales enablement is and the value it brings to the business.
- Next, ensure that you clearly define sales enablement’s roles and responsibilities. Be specific about what the team (or you!) can and cannot do.
- Next, ensure you and your team clearly understand the day in the life, month in the life, and quarter in the life of a salesperson at your company.
- Then, build the business case using data on seller burden, seller drag, time to performance, content utilization, tech adoption, and other metrics where sales enablement has a significant impact.
- Finally, be prepared to argue why the company should prioritize sales enablement over other organizational initiatives, such as a new CRM or marketing campaign. Building a business case for sales enablement will help get buy-in from senior management, who must decide how best to invest their resources across multiple teams within their organization.
So is it time to stand up or invest in sales enablement? If you’re experiencing higher than average turnover, if sales cycle time is increasing, or if seller productivity is falling, the answer is yes. Whether or not your organization has an official sales enablement function, now is an excellent time to address the topic and either consider standing one up or identify ways to improve on what you already have. Hint: Revenue Enablement
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