What is Sales Enablement? Definition, Types and Importance
What Is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is defined as the marketing process of creating and providing informative content assets to sales teams with the goal of attaining better and faster sales closures. These content assets can be explainer videos for products, PDF brochures, competitive advantage reports, presentations etc.
Sales enablement is largely employed as a method in B2B businesses, where dedicated sales teams action to convert leads into customers.
With the increase in Covid 19 lockdowns and more businesses being forced to push their operations online, there is an increased impetus on online and mobile-compatible content assets.
Sales enablement is a well-formulated process of empowering your business's sales team with the appropriate resources required for engaging and convincing prospects more effectively, often while the prospect is also viewing competitor's sales pitches. .
The knot which ties the sales and marketing function together is sales enablement, to be precise it's a process that wants the help of those working in and out of sales that means marketing and sales.
Marketing VS Sales Enablement
Since sales enablement requires marketing and sales teams to work together, the question often becomes - who owns which part of the process? Or is it purely a marketing process?
To understand this effectively, let us look at the points of distinction between marketing and sales enablement:
- The key distinction between marketing and sales enablement is that marketing content is intended to spread awareness and get potential sales leads for conversion. Once a lead has been captured and qualified, it is purely the sales team's work to convert them.
Sales enablement is a collaborative process between marketing and sales teams where marketing's work is to 'enable' sales by providing content assets to sales, as per their requirements
- Sales enablement is therefore an extension of marketing content creation, based on the requirements of the sales team. How the assets are used for effective lead conversion is upto the sales team.
- Sales enablement assets are intended for the final phase of lead conversion, and may contain confidential information shared only during one-on-one conversations with potential customers, and not marketed widely to prevent competitor views. These numbers may include revenue, team composition, product roadmaps etc.
What we understand from these distinctions is that while sales enablement is a collaborative process, the senior management needs to draw clear areas of ownership of the process. Sales enablement requirements must comes from the sales team, and then asset utilization for sales is owned by the sales team. Marketing teams are responsible for creating these assets such that they meet the requirements of sales team and acts as a force multiplier during conversions.
Importance of Sales Enablement
Sales enablement collaborative process enables teams to work together to shorten lead-to-sales funnel and ensure optimal marketing-standard content consumption experience for the prospect.
Let us look at all the factors that make sales enablement an important asset for any company:
- - Faster sales closures
Sales closures are much faster when the key points on product/ service features, unique selling points (USPs), competitive advantages etc are made handy to sales executives to be shared with customers/ prospects. This significantly reduces email-response time and increases executive confidence in handling tricky situations.
- - Marketing-sales collaboration and knowledge sharing
Sales teams are often more proficient and up-to-date in understanding customer ground reality and product feature utilization. This gives them a first-hand knowledge on which pitches and feature highlights prospects typically look for more than the others.
Similarly, marketing teams are more proficient in taking a complicated products like softwares and explaining their utility in simplified language. They also are expected to excel in delivering good content experiences that is in line with company's branding and customer experience (CX) standards.
The exchange of this knowledge and expertise among marketing and sales teams through collaboration, is a force multiplier for any company's human talent. This is typically the expected outcome of sales enablement, which happens to also be the most optimal process for team collaboration when it comes to marketing and sales departments.
- - Quality control on customer communication documents
When critical communication is left to individual sales reps, there is bound to be some errors, perhaps more when there is a lack of human resources for adequate supervision.
Creating content assets for sales teams at large is also a way to standardize key information about products, prices and packages. Ofcourse, there is always a need to ensure adequate personalization options by sales reps, which can be achieved through templatization and edit options wherever needed.
Top 7 Must-have Sales Enablement Content Assets
Below are the 5 types of sales enablement content that are a must-have in 2021:
- 1. Product/ service brochure PDFs
Digital brochures that highlight key features in your products/ services that can simply be attached to an email or Whatsapp conversation, are key assets to accelerate conversations, especially with fresh leads/ prospects.
Since only a certain percentage of fresh enquiries convert into actual sales, delivering pre-created content reduces the amount of time you invest early-on.
Pricing of products can be either mentioned in the brochure or left to the sales agent, based on overall strategy.
- 2. Feature-centric customer case studies
Customer case studies that highlight utilization of specific product/ service features are a great way to highlight feature utility. This is especially helpful when sales executives know which feature the prospect is looking for and how they intend to use it.
Marketing teams should ideally create 4-5 case studies for each feature, showcasing multiple ways of utilization. This enables sales teams with additional options and flexibility to choose based on the specific need of the potential customer.
- 3. Signed testimonials and online reviews
Good online review averages in 3rd party platforms are compelling assets for sales prospects, as most customers trust reviews of other customers more than branding content.
Not just 3rd party content, even emails bg customers are authentic sources that can be captured, signed by the customer and then shared with prospects. While this takes more time, given that most websites can easily fake testimonials, it is an authentication-focused approach to gaining prospect confidence.
- 4. Competitor comparisons documents
Your sales teams need to know how your company can deliver a feature or service or even price-point, that no competition can, what makes your product package stand under scrutiny when your competitors are also persuing the same prospects etc.
Apart from sharing this knowledge, it also needs to be standardized. A competitor analysis chart that clearly showcases your strengths over competition (assuming they factual ofcourse) can be a critical asset for sales executives, especially when they are engaged in a battle with agents from competitive firms in big-ticket sales. Furthermore, standardization of this asset helps in ensuring uniformity and consistency of pitches.
- 5. Videos
Videos are an excellent resource for compressing comprehensive information into a short span of time, while aided by voice and visuals.
These assets enable sales in the early stages, where the prospect is still trying to understand the functionality and utility of a complex product/ service, such as softwares, medicines and industrial machinery.