Your sales department is a complex machine that requires many things to be successful: a deep understanding of your products and services, the ability to be persuasive and challenging without being too pushy, and a library of resources that encourage continued growth and development. One of these resources is, more likely than not, a customer relationship management (CRM) platform such as HubSpot or Salesforce. When used properly and consistently, a CRM is an efficient way to maintain your prospect and customer database—it becomes an essential element of your sales department.
However, a CRM by itself is lacking. While it enables your team to easily sort through customer and prospect data, it doesn’t empower them to do their job more efficiently. This is where sales enablement comes in.
Sales enablement is a fairly new industry term. Many wrongly assume that sales enablement is simply another CRM; however, it’s a much more powerful tool that allows your sales team to crush their quotas without having to jump through extra hoops to do it.
How Sales Enablement Leads to Increased Productivity
Most people with a CRM think that’s all they need for their sales team to be successful. And while a CRM absolutely helps, it’s not the best way to increase team productivity; in fact, the average salesperson only spends 36% of their time selling (CSO Insights).
A sales enablement platform, on the other hand, is an all-in-one sales application. Rather than needing to find different tools to accomplish certain tasks, like generating reports or creating email templates, you’ll be able to do all of these things in one place with a sales enablement platform.
Think of sales enablement as resting on top of the CRM—it works with your database to help your team reach out to and uncover new opportunities. When implemented correctly, it’s a force multiplier for your sales team, enabling one person to very easily do the work of multiple people.
Sales enablement has three main functionalities that improve your sale team’s efficiency and productivity:
- Schedule automated email sequences.
- Track prospect actions.
- Coordinate customer meetings through calendar sharing.
These features mean that your team is spending more time closing opportunities and discovering new leads instead of on tedious time sinks like manually drafting and sending emails.
From a sales manager’s perspective, sales enablement also gives you the opportunity to better monitor and track your team’s performance. Rather than rely on multiple third-party systems to conduct performance evaluations, you can listen in on prospect calls, view the sales pipeline, and generate detailed reports that quantify your team’s hard work, all through one platform.
Expanded Benefits and Capabilities
Beyond the three main functionalities we discussed above, sales enablement offers many other valuable benefits; below is just a sampling.
Custom Reporting Dashboard
Custom dashboards allow you to combine multiple reports on one page so you can easily oversee details like salesperson activity. With this information, you could give more transparency to the current operations, forecast sales numbers, measure against actual revenues and goals, and so much more.
With the call recording feature, you have the ability to call a contact directly through some CRM’s. This feature will record the call, and the call can also be classified based on its type (voicemail, called, etc.) for ease of organization. For sales managers, call recording can also provide insights into your team’s call performance.
Quotes & E-Signatures
Create and send sales quotes as well as receive electronic signatures all in one system. The ability to quickly send quotes during a conversation with a prospect is invaluable—it allows you to exceed their expectations when your product is still on the top of your prospect’s mind. The ability to manage quotes (and payments and electronic signatures) in one system means you’ll never lose track of a deal as you likely would if you were to rely on third-party technologies.
Organize your day’s tasks before your day even begins. Think of task queues as a custom project management system, where you can assign members of your team actions like follow-ups or phone calls to increase accountability. Task queues, broken down into daily, weekly, or monthly tasks, give you greater insight into what your team is doing day by day.
In various CRM’s, goals give you the ability to provide your team with quotas. These can be created at the user, team, or pipeline level for accurate reporting. While it’s true that you already set goals for your team, entering them into a shared system reminds team members of their responsibilities and encourages teamwork.
Chances are that your sales team already relies on a playbook of some sort—but it might be disparate or hard to find, depending on the size and age of your team. Playbook features allow you to easily arm your team with consistent scripts, positioning statements, and more for their reference. This not only acts as a hub for your legacy team members but also helps new team members get up to speed much faster with all up-to-date information in a central location.
Predictive Lead Scoring
Predictive lead scoring is a great feature that takes traditional lead scoring to the next level. Lead scoring is imperative if you have lots of contact data that your sales team needs to sift through and qualify. This tool uses an algorithm to predict who in the database is “qualified” and “not qualified.” Some factors taken into account are behavioral data, social information, demographics, form fills, and more. While it might not be 100% accurate, it’s still a great indicator of which prospects may have a higher opportunity to close.
Live Chat & Conversation Bots
You can customize a chatbot that will appear on your website and prompt visitors to interact with it. Chatbots help your team accomplish a predetermined goal: qualifying leads, booking meetings, providing answers to common questions, and so on. You can also configure the bot to transfer a customer to a member of your team after reaching a certain point in the conversation.
Sales Enablement Challenges
The most common objection to investing in sales enablement has to be this: “We already have a CRM.” Many people like to think that their current system works as is—whether they work in separate systems or track actions manually, people are generally reluctant to add additional technology that makes lofty promises of increased revenue with little effort. After all, it sounds too good to be true.
Consider this: you want your team to do more, to close more deals, but their days are packed as yours. Hiring another team member could reduce the demand faced by each of you. But, as you know, that process is time-consuming and frustrating, especially when you’re looking for a certain type of person, not just a body to make phone calls.
You can spend a fraction of what you’d pay this person to invest in sales enablement, which will make your existing team more productive and help them achieve their ambitious sales goals.
While a sales enablement platform is easy to pick up and learn, there is the challenge of upfront work involved in creating templates, workflows, and sequences—your team may think it’s easier to just work as they did. However, if you just use a CRM without sales enablement, you’re simply sending emails, all with different templates, with no insights into who is opening or reading them; lead scoring is nonexistent; and manually automating tasks and routing leads is much more complex.
Taking the time to set up the sales enablement system may seem challenging up front, but once it is done, your team will be ready to take advantage of the tools at their fingertips, making them better salespeople.
Another challenge comes after everything is set up, getting your team to use sales enablement consistently. This is not a fair weather program, it requires dedication and consistent use. Encourage your salespeople to get in the habit of logging information and creating communication out of the CRM so the data is available for sales enablement.
Sales managers have the added duty of coaching their team through the sales enablement process. Many sales manager self-sabotage by only focusing on the CRM’s activity metrics; evaluating their team on numbers alone. Truly successful sales enablement focuses on the sales process, however, not performance.
To get the most out of sales enablement the sales manager should be regularly collaborating with the team to improve the sales process, identify opportunity areas, and coach individual teammates on how to better allocate their time. CRM’s alone don’t create revenue, they are a tool to use so it is easier for the team to generate more revenue.
Final Thoughts: Taking the Plunge
Sales enablement isn’t just a new marketing buzzword—it’s a force multiplier for your sales team. When done properly, sales enablement delivers:
- A much shorter sales cycle, since you’re getting the right information to the right prospect at the right time.
- An increase in lead volume, as team members can now perform more activities more quickly.
- Alignment between the sales and marketing teams, effectively resolving any potential for miscommunication. In fact, when your teams are aligned, they are 67% better at closing deals (Marketo).
Without a sales enablement platform, these goals may be just out of reach of your team. But with an implemented strategy, your team will quickly discover valuable new opportunities to pursue as well as ways to work together more efficiently to meet your organization’s overall business goals. All it takes is the decision to make a change as well as the commitment to your new platform—soon, it will work for you.
Contact us today for more information on how sales enablement can increase your sales team’s productivity.
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