What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is becoming more and more of a common term in organizations big and small. But, just as no organization is the same, no definition of the concept of arming sales to succeed is exactly the same. Some see sales enablement as a role (or team) within the organization, some see it as the technology that does (or should) power content distribution and management, and some categorize it as a hybrid of the two. And, there are many degrees of differences along the spectrum.

At Highspot, we define sales enablement as a strategic, ongoing process that equips sales teams to have consistently effective engagements with prospects and customers throughout the buyer’s journey. In other words, it’s the teams, tools, and technology used in the ongoing quest to help sales close more deals, faster. For what it’s worth, the teams that “do” sales enablement may not have the term in their titles—it could be the marketing team, a dedicated sales enablement team, or even members of the sales team itself who are most involved in activities and deliverables to empower sales.

While technology is an important aspect of sales enablement success, it’s not everything. Technology should be considered a springboard. Without strong process, focus, and intention, the benefits of sales enablement technology are inherently limited. That said, we thought we’d share a couple of customer case studies where the work was put in upfront to build a solid organizational focus, set clear outcomes and objectives, and align stakeholders prior to deploying technology—and how technology has taken their efforts to the next level.

Sales Enablement in Action

With a large global sales organization, Red Hat aligned itself around reducing the amount of solutions its teams were required to access in an effort to provide more selling time and less “searching time” for its reps. Red Hat now uses Highspot as the single source that provides access to all its relevant sales and marketing content—more than 3,000 pieces in total—as well as turnkey analytics for identifying the impact of specific content on sales conversions. The solution is integrated with Salesforce and all the content is available within the CRM system as well as in the standalone desktop and mobile environment, giving sales more choice and flexibility to engage in the best ways for their unique workstyles. With a clear readiness plan that included in-region and online training, Red Hat ensured the success of its platform from launch day forward, and continues to see top-line revenue impact as a result.

Sales enablement at Concur isn’t just about demand generation and lead hand-offs mid-funnel, it goes all the way through to the sale, where marketers feel it’s their job to “make sales smart and keep them smart.” Concur chose the Highspot sales enablement solution for its machine learning, flexible content organization, and a modern design that is easy-to-use and drives fast user adoption. For content publishers, having all the content in a single repository greatly simplifies management, tracking, version control and content mapping to the buyer lifecycle, helping its 1000+ sales reps stay up-to-date and find the right content at the right time. By aligning the organization around the objectives of moving to a platform, and then continuing to promote and advocate for its use, Concur consistently sees a 95% adoption rate by its reps—which means an estimated four hours per week per rep saved.

Applying Learnings

Sales enablement is a process without a defined start and stop. And while “process” can be an off-putting term to some sales reps, process is exactly what both sales and marketing need to optimize a successful, ongoing approach to consistently effective sales engagements.

After hundreds of platform deployments, we’ve identified and isolated the principles that are sure to lead to sales enablement success.