This article provides pointers to white papers, blog posts, eBooks, and Webinars on sales enablement best practices. The list of topics include:
- How to Structure Your Sales Enablement Team
- Finding the Best Sales Enablement Vendors
- Finding Sales Enablement Analysts
- Evaluating Sales Enablement Tools
- Sales Enablement Solution Design
- Sales Enablement Deployment Design
- Measuring Sales Content Performance
- Measuring Seller Readiness
- Measuring Sales Enablement Solution Health
- Putting It All Together
How to Structure Your Sales Enablement Team
Making the decision to invest in sales enablement is a huge step towards truly accelerating your customer acquisition efforts but how do you structure this organization? What are their core objectives and responsibilities?
Sales enablement is different than sales operations. According to SiriusDecisions, the difference is as follows:
“Generally, sales enablement focuses on on-boarding and certification, sales asset management, sales communications, and coaching and training skills. Sales operations, on the other hand, handles planning, territory optimization, compensation, sales analytics and technology.”
With this in mind, learn about the three core areas of responsibility lay the foundation for how to structure and staff your sales enablement group. The roles and responsibilities will vary based on the size of company, sales and distribution model, and markets served but these three areas will remain constant.
Finding The Best Sales Enablement Vendors
The sales and marketing technology landscape is incredibly crowded. Based on chiefmartec.com’s excellent research, as of January 2015 there were 1847 vendors in this space, up from an already incredible 947 vendors in 2014.
In the sales enablement category, there are 52 (some have been acquired since the report came out) companies listed. With so many companies, just researching the top sales enablement tools and software is difficult which is why this easy to use directory with a summary of each vendor’s offering (in their own words), their contact information, and a screenshot of their current web site is incredibly useful.
Finding Sales Enablement Analysts
In a market as dynamic as sales enablement, independent research and analysis is important as companies formulate their long-term strategy. Independent firms can also be helpful when selecting and evaluating sales enablement tools. In addition to reports and consultations available exclusively to their clients, many analysts share insights publicly via LinkedIn, Twitter, and their blog.
Identifying the right analysts and finding their various online resources is not always easy. So we have compiled a list of analysts (in alphabetical order) from leading firms that have sales enablement as an important part of their practice.
Evaluating Sales Enablement Tools
In today’s marketplace there are an increasing number of vendors with similar marketing messages. In practice vendors have significantly different strengths and weaknesses. While reviewing vendor product sheets is a good way to get started, ultimately you will want to dive deeper in to the relative performance of each feature important to your team. Beyond any particular feature, ease-of-use is an important consideration as the platform will only be successful if adopted by your sales team. With a systematic approach to evaluating vendors important differences can be identified and you can determine the best fit for your organization.
Sales Enablement Solution Design
When you are developing your solution, the Design stage is particularly important—it lays the foundation for the project. We have found that these four steps reliably lead to a solid design:
Sales Enablement Deployment Guide
There is a tremendous amount of value that you can unlock through sales enablement. But it is important to keep in mind that you don’t have to “boil the ocean” right away. The most successful deployment projects we have seen deliver value quickly by starting with the most painful problems that hold back your sales efforts. Once the system is up and working successfully, it is much easier to extend it into new areas and to support additional roles in the company.
Measuring Content Performance
When it came to content, we used to rely almost entirely on anecdotes and guesswork. That is no longer good enough – content is at the heart of the sales and marketing process and we must know how it is being used and how it is performing.
Marketing Automation tools made that a reality for marketing content. They let marketers analyze and optimize content marketing efforts during the first half of the sales cycle, providing analytics to show how effectively content moves customers through the funnel. But until recently, as soon as a deal was handed off to the sales team, it entered a content black hole.
There has been no way to answer very basic questions about sales content. Do reps have what they need? Do they use it? Do customers pay any attention to it? Does any of this actually generate real revenue? Even in our increasingly data-driven world, sales content has remained back in the days of guess and hope. But an emerging set of Sales Enablement platforms has changed that. They manage sales content throughout your sales engagements and use analytics to give you full visibility into how that content performs.
This guide walks through eight reports that answer the key business questions about sales content and shows how to use them to optimize the way your company engages with customers.
You can also watch our Webinar on Advanced Content Analytics.
Measuring Seller Readiness
There are ten reports that will allow you to analyze and optimize your training investments. Each one answers an important business question. Together, they paint a complete picture of the training that you have, how it is being used, whether it is effective, and how much business value you are getting from it.
Measuring Solution Health
The solution that you have implemented is not going to do much good for the company if it isn’t being used. We have found that it is most useful to measure that in three ways:
- Adoption. How many people have ever used the solution. If the solution requires users to sign up for an account, the number of accounts that have been created is a simple way to measure adoption. If you are using single-sign on, where accounts are automatically created as needed, you can use the number of people who have visited the enablement platform at least once.
- Breadth Usage. This is another fairly simple metric, showing how many people used the solution over a period of time. Our primary view is the previous 30 days, which is usually a good way to understand normal usage. Patterns of use will often vary quite a bit over a single day or week, and those numbers can be affected heavily by a short-term event like a holiday or the end of a financial quarter. But if the solution is a core part of their work, looking at a 30 day period gives a reasonable picture.
- Depth Usage. This metric can take more thought to compute than the other two, which don’t vary too much from one company to another. The goal is to measure how many people have used the product to accomplish something of value. We use a standard set of depth metrics that work reasonably well across many different organizations, but you may find it worthwhile to develop your own custom depth metrics to measure the activity that you are most interested in encouraging on the platform.
Putting It All Together
Fixing the Sales Content Problem
Watch a Webinar with SiriusDecisions’ Jim Ninivaggi talking about how to address the sales content challenge in sales enablement.
Highspot in Action
Watch a 5 minute video on the Highspot sales enablement platform.