When do I need sales enablement? This is one of the most crucial questions that emerges when embarking on a sales enablement journey. Because a sales enablement solution drastically alters the way an organization conducts its sales and marketing activities, it is imperative to understand exactly when you need sales enablement.

when do i need sales enablement

To begin understanding the answer to this question let’s take a look at the steps a typical organization will go through before they begin to think in terms that will ultimately answer the question: “when do I need sales enablement?”

Most organizations—whether mature, or fast-growing startup—will begin with document management. This is the simple process of storing and managing the documents that an organization uses in its day-to-day activities. This will typically be an unsophisticated process without much strategy or initiative behind it. Document management is a process that streamlines the storage of records, content, and other assorted pieces of collateral.

Document management is more of a procedural process than one that solves big problems or effectively reduces inefficiencies and increases productivity. An organization that is focused on document management typically has more important areas to focus on: product development, ramping up sales, creating a marketing team, ensuring excellent customer service, building a company culture—or the organization may be in an old industry that has yet to take to newer trends.

Customer-Relationship Management Software (CRM)

CRM software was one of, if not the first, technologies to transform the way organizations do business in the digital age. A CRM system allows an organization to manage their sales efforts and customers in a centrally-located database.

A CRM platform, in today’s day and age, is absolutely vital for nearly every organization. And because of its vital importance, most organizations nowadays utilize a platform. DestinationCRM has found that 91% of organizations with more than 10 employees have adopted a CRM system. So why do so many organizations use a CRM, and how does it fit into answering the question ‘when do I need sales enablement?’

A CRM enables sellers to have a clearer picture of the many different opportunities they have open, the stage each deal is in, and a rich history of analytics to study. Not only does a CRM platform offer a comprehensive way to manage sales data, most CRMs have a large array of add-ons, applications, and plug-ins that increase the efficiency of the system and remove the need for sellers to switch between many systems.

This is a great leap forward for many organizations and requires thoughtful implementation and management. The benefits of a CRM are great and they will greatly increase the efficiency of sellers. However, a CRM generally leaves out the other side of the equation: Marketing. A CRM is a great first step, but it’s just that. On the path to sales enablement the needs of both Sales and Marketing need to be considered. In the next section we will discuss the next evolution in Marketing’s world.

Content Management

While etymologically similar to document management, content management is actually a more in-depth and strategic process that solves more issues than document management. Content management is a crucial step in answering when you need sales enablement. When an organization begins to take content management seriously, they are beginning to think about the big knotty problems that ultimately lead to sales enablement.

Content management goes further from document management’s “what content are we storing” to “why, how, and where are we storing content.” Simply ensuring content is stored somewhere does not mean that it is easy to find, stored in the correct place, that it is being used, or that Marketing can easily update the content.

There is one statistic that helps illustrate the importance of content. Salesforce has found that “85% of marketing’s content is never used because reps can’t find it, don’t know what content to use when, or lack the confidence that it will help advance their deals.” If sellers don’t have any faith in an organization’s content—because it’s hard to find, they don’t know it exists, or they think it is ineffective—then Marketing is failing at their jobs in some way, because they exist to support Sales.

Content management begins to take into account how and where content is stored so that both Marketing and Sales can work more efficiently. See, proper content management isn’t just about ensuring it’s stored in one central location, it’s about ensuring that the content is stored in a logical way.

When Marketing is ready to tackle the problem of content management, they will begin surveying how Sales accesses content, how many hurdles they have to jump, what pieces of content are used most, and how often they are accessed.

Using that information ultimately results in a more streamlined, efficient content strategy that gets more effective content to sales quicker. Content management is one of the tipping points where the answer to the question “when do I need sales enablement?” begins to approach “now.”

Content Creation/Automation

This section is the meat and potatoes of when sales enablement really starts to make huge strides for an organization. Creating content is a pain; it takes time, research, money, and it still might end up collecting digital dust in a digital filing cabinet. Sales constantly needs content that is as up-to-date as possible, but due to the laws of physics, Marketing only has so much time to create that content, and it’s not nearly enough time.

If you find yourself saying ‘we know where content lives, Sales can track everything they need through a CRM, and our content is smartly organized, but creating personalized/effective content is now our biggest problem,’ well then you are the perfect candidate for sales enablement.

Sales enablement empowers both marketers and sellers to create personalized, dynamic content that speaks directly to buyers’ needs. SiriusDecisions reports that 82% of decision makers believe sellers are unprepared. That means buyers think sellers aren’t going to come prepared with content that understands their unique situation.

How do you combat this problem with out inventing a 25th hour in the day? By leveraging a sales enablement platform that gives sellers and marketers the power they seek. Marketing can’t spend all day creating one-off requests, but Sales needs to have personalized content to send to buyers.

A sales enablement platform solves these issues by providing a content creation and automation tool that gives each team exactly what they need. This tool gives Marketing peace of mind by letting them create ‘templates’ that have certain assets and information locked from editing. This assuages any compliance or branding issues that may arise. However, they can give Sales the freedom to input data from any source they have that would speak directly to the buyer.

This self-serve content creation/automation tool saves countless hours and dollars. Sales enablement is all about unlocking this kind of efficiency and this area is one of the greatest examples of that tenet.

When Do I Need Sales Enablement?

Like most things in life, every situation is going to be unique. But, the answer to this question is most likely sooner than you think. A sales enablement platform is a game-changing tool that unlocks new efficiencies for Sales and Marketing.

No matter where your organization is, be it just beginning to understand document management, implementing a CRM, thinking about content management, or ready for content creation and automation, sales enablement is something you should consider.