Sales enablement is a strategy and system that improves your sales person or team performance by providing the tools, processes, and professional development needed.
As a business owner or senior leader, you might have a sense that your sales function is underperforming. However, you might not yet know the telltale indicators that scream “pursue sales enablement now!”
Let’s take a quick look at five signs that indicate your sales team needs a strong sales enablement program.
Your Sales Team Isn’t Selling
Sales staff often underperform because they’re so busy searching or recreating sales content that they don’t have time to actually do their primary job — which is to sell. When sales content is scattershot, unorganized, and not searchable, sales staff spend way too much time seeking and too little time closing.
According to a Forbes survey, sales reps spend nearly two-thirds of their time — on average — on non-revenue-generating activity. There are a number of “time sucks” that contribute to this inefficiency, and searching and recreating sales content is a major source of waste. RingDNA states that sales reps can spend as much as 30 hours a month searching for and creating their own sales and marketing content.
This imbalance between searching and creating sales content and actually selling is a major red flag and a sure sign your team needs sales enablement.
Marketing and Sales Are Strangers
If you get your marketing and sales teams in a room, ask a simple question: What is a lead? If they cannot answer — or if multiple definitions start floating around the room — your marketing and sales teams are not aligned, which is another telltale indicator that you need to implement a sales enablement strategy.
Misaligned marketing and sales teams can cause many problems, including poor lead handoffs and disorganized, inefficient sales content, which leads to our first red flag mentioned above.
While marketing and sales are certainly different animals, these two functions MUST be aligned and work hand-in-hand. If not, you’ll see each function working on parallel paths with little to no crossover, which invariably leads to poor performance and weak closing rates.
A key element of a strong sales enablement system is creating a service level agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales that defines terms, establishes clear processes, and builds an ecosystem where these two functions work as one.
Your Sales Cycle Is Too Long
Sales cycles vary by industry. As an owner or senior executive, you need to establish a benchmark for your industry’s sales cycle. You likely already have a sense if the time from the top of the funnel to the bottom is too long. Whether it’s too long or you want to simply make it shorter and more efficient, sales enablement can help by introducing clear processes and procedures that create sales efficiencies.
Sales enablement efficiencies will help qualify leads faster, disqualify leads sooner, align marketing and sales, and streamline handoffs between these two departments, all of which will truncate the sales cycle, leading to increased revenue and a happier, more engaged sales team.
You’re Tracking Everything and Learning Nothing
Even with the most sophisticated CRM or expansive enterprise sales software, you can still get lost in a sea of data. If your data outputs are robust but your insights are weak, you have a tracking problem. Sometimes tracking everything is as unproductive as tracking nothing.
If your sales program doesn’t have key performance indicators (KPIs) established, sales enablement is a must. Part of the sales enablement system is designed to make data highly actionable. KPIs are the top data categories that are essential to the success of your sales team. KPIs will change over time, but they will always be the leading indicators of performance, helping you to focus your analysis and guide necessary changes in your sales programming and sales team behaviors.
You Have High Sales Staff Turnover
It takes significant time and treasure to hire and train a sales representative. Having a rep quit or get fired is a devastating setback: Not only do you have to engage an expensive and time-consuming process again, but it’s highly disruptive to the strong, efficient sales culture you’re attempting to establish.
If you’re constantly losing sales staff, it’s time to look in the mirror — it’s likely your sales program, not them. You’ll get some lemons, for sure, but high staff turnover is nearly always a sign that your sales system is broken.
Sales enablement can help you attract new sales talent, develop it properly, and retain it longer. A major element of strong sales enablement programs is the investment in perpetual training and professional development, which is critical to building and maintaining a sales culture that engages sales professionals the right way.
Happy sales team members will stay and produce, but they need a strong support system to keep them engaged and loyal to your brand.
Sales enablement works — that's a fact. But constructing the right support infrastructure and then executing it successfully over time is challenging.