Sales enablement is one of the most effective ways to prepare your sales reps to sell your product. In fact, 65% of sales leaders who have a dedicated sales enablement person or team outperformed their revenue targets, according to a recent HubSpot report.
At its core, sales enablement is the knowledge, content, and tools you provide your sales folks. These resources enable them to successfully sell your product and help you reach your revenue goals. Sales enablement training encompasses everything from providing salespeople with product information to creating custom training courses for them.
But successful sales enablement training isn’t just providing a list of resources and leaving your sales reps to their own devices. It’s about providing the right resources, encouraging collaboration, and empowering your salespeople.
You probably know sales enablement works, but its benefits go beyond a boost in revenue. A well-designed training program can help you break down departmental barriers, increase sales efficiency, and improve the customer experience.
Sales enablement improves alignment between departments by creating a standard process that is used company-wide by multiple departments. With structured sales enablement, you establish a sales enablement team that involves people from marketing, sales, product departments, and customer success or support. Everyone on the team understands what their responsibilities are, where they fit into the sales enablement program, and where to go to get the information they need.
For example, imagine the marketing team is working on a blog article about a pain point that your product solves. With a fully realized sales enablement team, they don’t need to guess what features they should talk about. They know they can pull up the sales enablement resources created by the product team and find all the product info and talking points they need.
This level of content accessibility is especially important for remote or hybrid teams and global companies where teams are spread out over different locations.
With a sales enablement program in place, people know where to find the information they need because there’s a single source of truth. Most companies use a tool for their single source of truth. Learning management systems (LMS) can be a foundation for all company training and knowledge sharing, making it easier for people to collaborate with each other.
Sales enablement equips your representatives with the skills that help them close deals quicker, especially when training is tailored to their specific needs and pain points. This involves assessing your sales reps’ needs, giving them feedback, and assigning training that helps them fill skills gaps, or meet their career goals.
Sales enablement training increases sales representative efficiency in three primary ways:
1. Upskilling and reskilling
You can upskill and reskill your reps based on gaps in their knowledge. Use 1:1 coaching, role-playing exercises, call shadowing, and self-directed learning courses to help them expand their skill set. You can even have in-house subject-matter experts create courses and coach learners.
Let’s say your C-suite has shifted the company’s strategic plan to include product-led growth, a major shift from the previous service-led mindset. In this scenario, your team would need to learn a lot about your product in a short amount of time. With a self-directed reskilling course, you could get your sales, marketing, and customer service teams up to speed fast, and your product team can lead the way.
2. Knowledge acquisition
Sales reps who know the product are better equipped to sell it. Reps can look at prior case studies, watch product demonstrations, and use templates to understand the messaging and content that resonates most with their target audience.
For example, you may have a sales rep that has a lot of great sales experience, but they don’t fully understand your customers’ needs. You can have them shadow a more senior sales rep or use 1:1 coaching from their manager to help them understand their new customers better.
3. More effective onboarding processes
Sales enablement gets new reps up to speed quickly with courses and other resources tailored to their needs. For example, if you’re onboarding a sales rep with 15 years of experience, they likely won’t need the same training as a new rep with just two years of experience–but both may need product training. You should look at each new hire’s skillset to determine which courses and resources in your library would benefit them most, rather than requiring everyone to take the same courses right when they join the company.
360Learning’s learning platform enables organizations to learn in the flow of work. Our solution auto-recommends relevant courses based on funnel stage, client type, and/or brand competitors. Reps are notified of these learning opportunities depending on what they’re looking at in their dashboard, so they always receive recommendations based on what they need, at the time they need it.
Look at each new hire’s skillset to determine which courses and resources in your library would benefit them most, rather than requiring everyone to take the same courses right when they join the company.
As a result of effective sales enablement training, customers are able to interact with more knowledgeable and helpful sales reps. Sales reps understand customer pain points and know exactly how their product can address them. This creates a better customer experience that leads to greater customer loyalty, and increased revenue for your business.
Sales enablement also helps sales reps offer more value in their pitches and conversations. Your sales reps are better equipped to sell not just the features of your product, but also the value of those features. Tailoring messages and conversations based on where the prospect is in their customer journey provides a more personalized experience. For example, if a prospect is interested in your product and has specific needs or pain points they want addressed, you can send them a customer case study highlighting a relevant use case of your solution.
Sales enablement also helps with consistent messaging to sell your product. Using sample scripts, email templates, and other resources, your sales reps will understand what content, language, and messaging will resonate most effectively with potential customers.
There’s also the added benefit of improved customer onboarding and product training. Sales enablement helps you leverage your internal product experts to create resources your customers can’t live without.
As an example, heating and cooling pioneer Mitsubishi Electric needed a way to make customer education more effective for the engineers who use its training courses. But the company was struggling to engage learners and give them valuable information they needed to know. By using 360Learning’s platform to author courses for their customer training, Mitsubishi Electric achieved 99% customer satisfaction by developing more in-house content and creating a more collaborative learning environment for its customers.
The key to a successful sales enablement training program is understanding what tools, resources, and training your sales reps need to sell your product. Then you can create courses and other training initiatives that give them the skills or knowledge they’re missing to sell more effectively.
First, determine what you want to achieve with sales enablement training. Focus your goal on a sales process–related objective or key performance indicator (KPIs). You can define your metrics for success based on sales team pain points, areas of sales that are least effective, and/or sales rep behaviors that need improvement. Having a clear and specific goal will help you determine what solutions will work best for your needs.
Some common sales enablement objectives and KPIs that companies want to improve are win rate, sales cycle length, and deal size. Many teams focus on shortening the sales cycle length so reps can close more deals, faster.
Once you’ve identified the KPI you want to improve, then define your target goal. For example, if you’re working on shortening the sales cycle length, your target goal might be to shorten the average sales cycle by five days. Next, identify the steps you need to take to achieve this goal. If you want to shorten your sales cycle length by five days, then you need to first identify how many days it currently takes, and then assess what your sales reps need to meet this goal.
To help you meet your sales enablement goal, determine what your sellers need to know. For example, if sales reps are losing customers at the “prospecting” stage, you can create courses to a) help sales reps better understand the customer profile at that stage and b) give sales reps more techniques to move customers along the funnel.
Communicate with your reps to understand what they might be lacking in terms of resources or skills to meet their goals. Collect feedback directly from them, conduct a training needs analysis, or run assessments to identify skills and knowledge gaps. This will help you determine what kind of training content should be prioritized to boost your sales team’s performance.
Assessments enable you to measure the effectiveness of your training based on how sales reps have performed in existing courses. For example, if a significant percentage of your sales reps are performing poorly in a course on “Understanding Prospects,” it could mean they’re having trouble understanding the material, or that the way the course is designed is unclear. This signals there is a problem with the training, so you can investigate and revamp the course accordingly.
You can also review sales conversations and reports to better understand where your reps are losing prospects. This is done most effectively with an automation solution, and with 360Learning’s platform, you can integrate with Salesforce and sync data between the two platforms to correlate your training initiatives with sales team performance.
When planning your sales enablement strategy, look at how each step in your customer journey aligns with your sales process.
Customers have different needs and pain points throughout the buyer journey. For example, you might use content marketing to generate leads and nurture them through their consideration stage. Then, when a lead becomes a prospect, reps can reach out to educate them about how your product solves a specific problem or addresses an important goal.
Build a content library for sales reps to refer to, for every stage of the customer journey. Categorize the library by stage so sales reps can easily and readily access what they need for each customer. Host your content library in your LMS or in a platform that integrates with your LMS so you can easily incorporate enablement materials into training courses.
For example, at the consideration stage, share useful top-of-funnel content like blogs and articles that address common problems that your product can solve. Then as potential customers move through the funnel, you can provide them with resources that talk more specifically about what your product can do for their organizations, including what features it has and the tangible benefits and results they drive.
When planning your sales enablement strategy, look at how each step in your customer journey aligns with your sales process.
Evaluate your sales training program on a regular basis so you can identify areas of improvement and continually adapt your strategy to what your company—and sales reps—need.
After you implement your new sales enablement training program, you should schedule meetings once per quarter to discuss whether you’re on track to meeting the goals you’ve set, the impact of your program, and how to improve it. For example, you may need to adjust your goals to be more realistic, or add new courses to better skill your sales force.
These discussions should involve representatives from your sales enablement program, including relevant team members from sales, marketing, product development, and probably customer success or customer support.
During these meetings, you can also go through feedback that your team has given on training courses. An LMS can streamline this process by enabling learners to give feedback directly in the course, and the author or other stakeholders are automatically notified.
Make adjustments to your sales enablement training program based on this feedback. If there’s something missing from your program or if salespeople aren’t using what you’ve provided them, you can use this information to make changes that improve training for them.
Centralizing your sales enablement training program means that anyone who needs access to the materials can readily access them. Sales enablement creates consistency and cohesiveness across your sales team and other departments, making it easier to prepare your salespeople to sell your product.
You can create effective sales onboarding experiences, automate certain sales tasks, upskill and reskill your salesforce, and monitor the impact of your sales enablement program. And with 360Learning, you can easily analyze your training program to see what courses are especially effective, and which aren’t working for your reps.
Want to see it in action? Book your personalized demo to see how 360Learning can streamline your sales enablement training.