So you’ve tried everything from rebranding to cold calling to email A/B testing, but your sales numbers just aren’t going up.

At your wits’ end, the phrase “sales enablement” enters your awareness. It sounds complicated—and possibly expensive—but at this point, you’re willing to try anything. Now here we are, and you’ve come to the right place.

Keep reading for a quick and easy breakdown of what sales enablement is, the benefits of a sales enablement strategy, and a 6-step guide to implementing a sales enablement strategy.

Whether you’re a one-person sales team trying to sign one more big fish or you’re in charge of improving a big team’s conversion rate, you can benefit from implementing a robust sales enablement strategy.

What Is Sales Enablement?

In a nutshell, sales enablement refers to the use of systems, materials, tools, training, coaching, and other resources to enable salespeople to succeed in their roles.

What does success in sales look like?

  • Improve sales productivity
  • Systemize sales process
  • Continuously optimize sales processes
  • Build better customer relationships
  • Close more deals
  • Close bigger deals
  • Foster customer loyalty

The end goal of sales enablement is to empower sales reps to offer (prospective) buyers more value at every stage of the sales funnel, build better relationships, and raise conversion rates.  

Successful sales enablement initiatives equip sellers not just with tools and resources to sell effectively, but also with proven processes and playbooks that can be repeated with a measure of predictability.

Effective sales enablement is more than strategy—it’s a system.

As such, systemizing the sales process isn’t quite as simple as buying a fancy CRM, throwing together a couple of shiny new case studies, or doing a sales training or coaching session and calling it a day.

While these are all great starting points, they’re also bandaids that won’t create the systemic, organization-wide change required to foster true alignment between sales, marketing, and operations.

To quote James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, “You do not rise to the level of your goals—we fall to the level of your systems.”

Benefits of Sales Enablement

A successful sales enablement strategy holds the following benefits:

  • Removes silos and improves inter-departmental collaboration
  • Ensures that salespeople are equipped with the training and knowledge they need to succeed, improving quota attainment
  • Drives more effective content creation
  • Increases organizational alignment (gets everyone on the same page)
  • Leverages automation tools to allow salespeople to use their time more efficiently
  • Produces more valuable, better-qualified leads
  • Generates sales management data that can drive more informed, strategic business decisions
  • Gives salespeople access to the accurate, up-to-date information they need to answer prospects’ questions and close deals
  • Enables salespeople to foster deeper relationships with customers and prospects, resulting in a more positive customer experience

How to Build a Sales Enablement Strategy in 6 Steps

At its heart, building a sales enablement strategy comes down to examining and evaluating your existing sales processes, identifying inefficiencies, identifying opportunities for improvement, and taking steps to address unmet needs.

This process involves systemizing (read: “standardizing”) your sales processes and providing the resources and tools (including tech) your sales team needs to thrive.

Below, we’ve broken this down into 6 simple steps.

Step 1: Survey Your Existing Sales Process

Before you can implement a sales enablement strategy, you need to get the lay of the land, so to speak. To do this, you need to document and evaluate your current sales process.

Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself (or your sales team):

  • What does your current sales process look like?
  • How/Where do you source leads for cold outreach?
  • How do you qualify leads? What makes a prospect a good or bad lead?
  • Where/how do you get prospects’ contact information?
  • What does your typical buyer’s journey look like?
  • How much time does this process take?
  • Which metrics or KPIs are you tracking?
  • Which contact channels are you using to communicate with prospects and customers?
  • What’s your conversion rate for each contact channel? (e.g. email vs cold calling)
salespeople only spend a third of their day actually talking to prospects

Step 2: Identify Inefficiencies and Challenges

Next, take a close look at your existing sales processes and workflows and identify any and all areas that could be improved.

Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself (and your sales team) at this stage of the sales enablement process:

  • Which sales tasks or workflows take up the most time?
  • Which tasks are the most challenging for you or your sales reps?
  • Which tasks or workflows yield the most “bang for your buck”?
  • Which manual or administrative tasks could be automated?
  • Do you have sales playbooks or even “scripts” to help systemize your sales process?
  • Which tasks involve dependencies that cause bottlenecks and delays?
  • How effectively do your sales and marketing teams work together? Are your marketing and sales messaging aligned?
  • How do your sales reps spend their time? How many of those tasks are vital to making sales? Could their time be better spent?
  • Which questions do your sales reps encounter frequently? Which questions do they most struggle to answer?
  • Which areas are most subject to pushback? What type of resources would help them counter this pushback?
  • How well do you know your customers (or ideal customers)? Do you have clearly defined customer profiles or personas? Have you mapped out your buyer’s journey?
  • Do you have a slightly different pitch for each customer persona and adapt your pitch accordingly to address the pain points most relevant to the person you’re speaking to?

Step 3: Define Unmet Needs and Opportunities

The next stage of your sales enablement program involves mapping opportunities and potential solutions to the unmet needs you identified in the previous step.

Here are some examples of unmet needs you might discover, as well as potential solutions or opportunities:

Need: Free up sales team members’ time

Opportunity: Reduce admin load and streamline sales workflows with tools like outreach/email automation solutions and customer relationship management (CRM) tools,

Need: Build sales team capabilities

Opportunity:

  • Provide additional sales training and coaching
  • Build sales playbooks
  • Create an authoritative (and up-to-date) knowledge repository that serves as a “single source of truth” on product details, pricing information, etc.
  • Establish clearly-defined benchmarks and KPIs to measure sales performance
  • Make it easy for sales reps to access the right content in real-time

Need: Sales collateral to help reps drive informed sales conversations and help leads get buy-in from decision-makers

Opportunity: Create curated sales enablement content such as templates, case studies, whitepapers, etc.

Need: Better integration and alignment between the marketing department, content, and sales teams

Opportunity:

  • Establish cross-disciplinary teams or projects that foster collaboration
  • Implement project management software to keep all stakeholders on the same page
  • Use rigorous content management and digital asset management practices to ensure the right content is in the right place

Need: Better organization of data

Opportunity: Sales enablement software that helps keep information organized throughout the customer journey, management from lead nurturing through customer onboarding, all the way to after-sales service.

Need: Accurate, up-to-date prospect contact information

Opportunity: Equip your team with prospecting tools like Datanyze

when in the purchase journey buyers want to talk to a salesperson

Step 4: Systemize Your Sales Process(es)

Once you’ve identified the gaps in your existing sales process, it’s time to make the necessary improvements (which you’ve identified in the previous step!) and systemize your new-and-improved sales process.

This way, you can codify what a successful sales cycle looks like and make it easier to replicate, which should, in turn, increase your win rate.

Here are some examples of what this might look like:

  • Create buyer personas and outline each potential customer’s “jobs to be done”—what specific pain point(s) are they hoping your product will address?
  • Create a customizable template pitch (or script) for each buyer persona—the sales rep can adjust these as needed, but it’s a good idea to provide a solid starting point
  • Create a standardized sales playbook for customer-facing employees to use at each step in the customer journey
  • Create a standard procedure for filling your sales pipeline
  • Create a matrix for scoring and qualifying leads—which characteristics constitute a high-value lead? The more detailed your ideal customer profile is, the better.

Step 5: Build Your Sales Enablement Tech Stack

Investing in the right tools can mean the difference between your sales cycle running like a well-oiled machine and a rust bucket that keeps breaking down.

Here are a few of the sales enablement software tools you might consider investing in:

Project Management Tools: Project management solutions like Asana, Jira, Trello, Monday, and others help to manage your sales enablement efforts by documenting each project’s tasks, assigning roles and responsibilities, deadlines, and dependencies. This helps to keep everything in one place and promotes transparency and accountability—making these kinds of tools especially useful for remote teams.

Content management tools: Let’s face it—a lot of sales enablement boils down to content creation. Empower your content team(s) to create high-quality sales content by giving them the tools they need to do it.

Whether it’s content creation software like Adobe’s Creative Cloud, cloud-based collaboration tools like Google Workplace or Figma, a CMS like WordPress or Squarespace, or a spelling and grammar checker like Grammarly, your team will produce better content when they have the right tools for the job.

Sales enablement software and customer relationship management (CRM) tools: Tools like Salesforce and Hubspot can help to automate many of the processes in the sales cycle, such as lead tracking, lead scoring, outreach email, follow-up emails, and more.

Sales Onboarding and Training Tools and Resources: If you’re building your own onboarding and training modules, you may be well served by a learning management system (LMS).

If you’re planning to adopt a CRM or sales enablement software like Hubspot or Salesforce, you’ll find that they offer pretty robust sales training materials, many of which come with certifications. Plus, don’t sleep on resources like sales podcasts and blogs like this ultimate guide to cold calling.

Sales Prospecting Tools: Sales outreach tools like Datanyze help you identify leads and find accurate and up-to-date contact details for those prospects, making it easier to warm up those cold leads.

Step 6: Iterate and Optimize

Once you’ve got your sales enablement plan in place and you’ve selected your sales enablement tools, it’s time to ramp things up and raise that bottom line.

Keep improving. See what works and learn from what doesn’t. Optimize and iterate your sales process as it becomes clear which strategies are the most effective. Update your playbooks as you learn more about your customers and what motivates them, or as your business strategy evolves.

Establish sales enablement metrics and track your sales enablement team’s progress and performance over time

prospecting is the most challenging part of sales

Datanyze Makes Prospecting One Less Thing to Worry About

Datanyze makes it easier than ever before to identify and make contact with B2B prospects.

Datanyze’s Google Chrome extension pulls contact information—including email addresses and direct-dial mobile numbers—from prospects’ company websites and social media profiles, so you can fill your sales pipeline without even leaving your browser. That said, it’s super easy to export your prospect data from Google Chrome.

Datanyze guarantees data accuracy: if any of the data we provide is inaccurate, you get a refund!

Try Datanyze now and get 10 free credits.