Sales Enablement

As a Senior Solutions Consultant at Seismic, a very important part of my job is to make sure that the customers I’m onboarding – typically the marketing team – is fully prepared to onboard their customers, usually the sales team. This process often reveals themes and patterns that speak to the larger initiative of implementing sales enablement within an organization.

I can’t over emphasize the importance of training and communicating with your sales force in order to drive effectiveness of sales enablement. If Sales doesn’t know what resources are available to them, or how to best deploy said resources, they’re not going to have a very good experience. The goal of sales enablement is to better align Sales and Marketing, but the process requires a fair amount of planning.

A good place to start is a training session. This exercise will allow Sales and Marketing to get in the same room and begin the process of breaking down the traditional barriers that exist between the two departments.

In addition to the actual training sessions themselves, it’s a great idea to start discussing the concept of sales enablement platforms with Sales. While Marketing will have their own goals with a platform, Sales will be able to provide insights they are hoping to unlock that will make their job easier. Not only does this give you a chance to get them excited about what’s coming, but it’s a great opportunity to make sure you understand what they are looking for in a sales enablement platform and confirm that your implementation is hitting these marks.

I have a few ways that I like to see the initial training scenario take place. The important thing is to ensure that the key stakeholders learn how to take advantage of the resources they need to make them successful.

Before the training sessions, it’s a great idea to send out communications that outline what topics will be covered, additional resources to consume before the training, and provide an opportunity for feedback about the schedule. This way when they arrive for the training they are ready to dive in – and even better, maybe they’ve done a little exploring on their own and will come with questions and new ideas to share.

Below is an example of how a training session can be structured. Each organization will be a unique case but this provides a sales enablement framework from which to operate. These questions serve as topics that will provide the attendees with a well-rounded understanding of the concept of sales enablement and what is expected of them.

  1. What is sales enablement? This can be a difficult question to answer, but it is one that will be asked and is necessary to answer.
  2. How will this affect my particular position? Each person in the meeting will be wondering how sales enablement will affect them individually. Outline what will be expected from inside sales reps, outside sales reps, sales ops, and sales management.
  3. How will this affect my department? Sales enablement is a key way to achieve sales and marketing alignment and as such there will be a shifting of resources and introduction of new technology. Interdepartmental processes will change, so covering new ways of operating is a good way of ensuring buy-in.
  4. What new resources/tools will be available to me? A sales enablement platform is a critical component for success. This platform bridges the gap between a sales CRM platform and a marketing automation platform to unlock important insights and improve productivity. Features include a centralized content repository, in-depth content usage analytics, easily creating custom content, and much more.
  5. What are the goals and likely outcomes of this initiative? Team members will want to know what is expected of them individually, as a department, and how this will affect the company as a whole. There are key KPIs that can measure the success of sales enablement, and outlining them in this training session is a good way to give everyone a clear understanding of expectations.

From a logistics standpoint, it’s always ideal to do training in person if at all feasible. But whether done live or webinar style, I suggest scheduling training sessions to accommodate schedules (to a reasonable degree of course). It’s also a great idea to record the sessions for future reference as well.

Sales enablement is an incredibly powerful way of aligning your sales and marketing teams. But to be successful it’s imperative to get off on the right foot. Holding an introductory training session is a great way to ensure your sales enablement initiative hits the ground running.