Are you considering using a Sales Enablement tool and you want to know what’s on offer? Or perhaps you’re already a user and you want to know how to get the most from your product. Either way, welcome! We’re going to do our best to answer all your questions and help you understand what a Sales Enablement tool offers, why you might use one and what input it requires from you – the user. In case you can’t find the answer to your question below, send us a message.
HUBSPOT'S BEN COTTON SHARES INSIGHTS ON SALES ENABLEMENT
There are lots of different kinds of Sales Enablement software packages that are designed to help making selling easier. For the purposes of this article we’re going to focus on content management sales enablement software, since that’s essentially what we offer with iPresent.
Content management sales enablement platforms offer a simple way of storing all the resources you want to share with salespeople and with your customers. At its most basic, content management software offers shared, cloud-based storage and easy access – a one-stop shop, where resources are sorted and clearly labelled so that it’s easy for salespeople to find the content they need for every sales conversation. Content management solutions are more than just file-sharing systems, though. They enable and empower salespeople through additional functions such as:
Now that we’ve got that sorted, we’re going to revert to calling it a Sales Enablement tool from here on out.
Sounds great but we already have file-sharing software. Do I really need a Sales Enablement tool?
File sharing software is fine up to a point – if everyone is using it appropriately. The trouble is, people tend to download content from the file-sharing program to their device and then continue to use that version, even if it goes out of date. Those types of systems can also get very cluttered, making it difficult to find the resources you’re looking for.
The beauty of a complete Sales Enablement tool is that you can keep users within the app, meaning there’s no possibility for them to use outdated or off-brand materials. All collateral is controlled by admin (usually the marketing department) and it’s simply updated, deleted or replaced as necessary so that only the correct version is available. Salespeople then present direct from the app, eliminating the need to download content to a separate program.
The menu options within the Sales Enablement tool also make it very easy to store and label content in a way that is easy to find. Content sets and playlists can be devised according to the specific product/service, or even in preparation for different types of sales conversations – the 5-minute stand-up meeting, for example, or the 20-minute board presentation. While it doesn’t look very professional to sift through a documents folder in front of a customer, browsing through a customized menu feels like all part of the brand experience.
On top of the file-sharing benefits, the added functions of feedback, reports and analytics enable sales and marketing to work together to develop the best possible content that suits both the salesperson and the customer’s needs. Meanwhile, the option to integrate this software with the CRM eases the salesperson’s workload considerably by avoiding the need to manually input meeting notes. Hurrah!
It sounds amazing! What’s the catch?
Good question. We’d love to tell you that simply pressing the ‘buy now’ button on a Sales Enablement tool guarantees you a 50% hike in profits. It doesn’t. The keyword is ‘enablement’. Subscribing to a Sales Enablement tool like iPresent enables you to easily store and share content – but you still have to develop the content. It enables salespeople to deliver beautiful presentations – but you still have to write the presentations. It enables greater alignment between sales and marketing – but they still have to engage in the process.
It’s not a catch. There’s no downside to investing in the right Sales Enablement tool. But it’s not just a financial investment. Your sales and marketing departments both need to buy into sales enablement as a philosophy if you’re really going to reap the benefits of the technology.
With that in mind, let’s go back to the beginning and try to answer the question:
In all likelihood, you already have a Sales Enablement strategy in place. This section is for those few people reading this who have jumped into the middle of the process. (If we lost you at ‘Sales Enablement’, read this article first)
A Sales Enablement strategy gives structure to the assortment of activities aimed at increasing your close rate, shortening your sales cycle and generally growing your business. This includes your content strategy, training programme and sales tools, as well as sales and marketing alignment.
You can read more about developing a Sales Enablement strategy here, but in short your strategy – which should be a tangible, written document – should answer the following questions:
Tools/technology are a key element of putting this strategy into action, but they can only be effective if you have already made a plan for content and training, and if you have established how you’ll define success. It’s no good equipping 200 salespeople with iPads and a Sales Enablement tool if you don’t also arm them with all the collateral they need to answer customers’ questions.
Which leads us to the next point...
We’re living in an age where content is king. It’s not enough to send your salespeople out with a catalogue – print or digital – and expect the customer to be impressed. Content these days comes in many different forms, including (but by no means limited to) articles, case studies, testimonials, infographics, videos, photo galleries, and so on. You need to have everything ready to answer whatever question arises during any given sales conversation – but you know that, and that’s why you’re looking into Sales Enablement tools.
Making this investment, though, is a good opportunity to review your current content catalogue to make sure you’re happy that you have all the materials you need, that the information is as up-to-date as possible, and that everything is presented in accordance with your current brand guidelines. That’s not to say you won’t be adding more – you will! – or that you can’t update things as you go – you can! – but it stands to reason that when you launch your new Sales Enablement tool you want to put your best foot forward.
90% of salespeople avoid using content because it’s outdated and not customizable
If your sales team isn’t already equipped with tablets, that needs to be your next step. Tablets are so much more flexible than laptops. From a practical standpoint, they’re lighter, require less (virtually no) time to power up, take up less room and enable easier, shared conversations where you can sit side by side rather than putting the salesperson and customer either side of a laptop. On top of that, tablets have a more ‘salesperson of the future’ vibe, which most clunky laptops simply lack. Another alternative is a hybrid like the Microsoft Surface tablet with keyboard, which offers the best of both worlds.
83% of sales people say that having access to mobile sales tools make their company appear more cutting edge than their rivals which in turn make them more attractive to customers. In fact, 55% of small businesses report mobile sales tools give them a clear advantage over other companies.
Our salespeople don’t have tablets. Should I introduce the tablet first, or both together?
If you don’t already have the tech in place, we recommend introducing new hardware and software at the same time. New tech is almost always greeted with great enthusiasm, overriding any reservations salespeople may have about the new software. Including the Sales Enablement tool on the tablet from the outset makes it just another cool app offering, with the associated positive perception.
From a training standpoint, meanwhile, it makes sense to on-board users with both the tech and the tools at the same time. Even people who use iPads for entertainment at home may need training in the full extent of their capabilities, while those who haven’t used a tablet at all will need a solid introduction before being sent out to sales meetings.
Tablets are not just a sales tool. They are a comprehensive toolbox for sales reps to help them sell better
Let’s assume you have the strategy and the content in place and you’ve chosen your preferred Sales Enablement tool based on all the features they offer. Now you have to make a plan for how best to introduce this new philosophy, tech and software to your team. Getting the launch and rollout right is crucial to the success of your Sales Enablement strategy – and your business.
Busy employees will naturally resist change unless there is a compelling reason to embrace it. So, by clearly explaining the reasons for the adjustment, you’ll go a long way toward gaining their buy-in.
Sometimes when you introduce a new program, you do it quietly, almost under the radar, just to test the reaction of the crowd. This is not one of those times. If your Sales Enablement strategy is going to pan out, you need everyone to be engaged and enthused from the outset.
Launch big, if you can. Perhaps at a staff sales conference or at an event specifically for this purpose. Have team leaders from both sales and marketing sell your Sales Enablement strategy in the same way you will be selling your product to your customers:
Even if you’re running a pilot scheme first before rolling out across the rest of your team, we’d still recommend a proper launch to give the program the best possible start. If you can’t easily put on a live in-person event, opt instead for an explainer video and a webinar. While a newsletter or group email could form an important part of the launch, don’t assume that will be enough to get everyone enthused for the idea.
It’s good practice to involve your Sales Enablement tool provider throughout this stage to ensure a smooth roll-out and to field any technical questions.
When it comes to roll-out, we really recommend taking your time to do it properly. Make sure admin users are trained first so that they have the time to learn the system thoroughly before other users come aboard. This will also give them time to populate the tool with all the right sales collateral, as well as any other resources you wish to upload to the Sales Enablement tool (e.g. documents that are useful to your sales team but not necessarily for customers’ eyes).
If you are overseeing a huge roll-out across a team of thousands, break it down into manageable chunks, either by product or region, to ensure everyone is able to be trained and have their questions/concerns answered, and also giving admin the chance to prepare the right content to meet everyone’s needs.
With any software roll-out there are bound to be a few teething problems. It’s common sense but still worth saying: resolve any user issues swiftly to maintain the momentum you built with your successful launch.
Talk to your Sales Enablement platform provider about how they will support you during this phase – and throughout your subscription.
As well as the initial training given at roll-out, we recommend follow-up training after 4 – 6 weeks, by which point users should be more familiar with the software and how they are utilising it in their sales meetings. They’ll usually have more questions by this time than they did at the outset so again it’s a good idea to have your service provider on hand to help conduct the training.
This is a good time to give a more detailed overview of the back end features and remind users of their responsibility to utilize the feedback function to help improve content going forward.
Speaking of content, training shouldn’t only be reserved for tools and tech. Regular, continuous training on the content is imperative to a successful Sales Enablement strategy. Talking salespeople through case studies, data and even new videos helps give them a better understanding of how best to present that collateral to customers and in what context it can be put to the greatest use. If all content is designed to answer customer questions, it makes sense to spell out exactly what those questions are for those people who will be fielding them.
This one is really important. If you don’t regularly update the content, you’re not going to get the most out of your Sales Enablement tool. The whole point of the software is to facilitate your Sales Enablement strategy and if you’re not regularly creating new content you don’t have a Sales Enablement strategy. Simple as that.
Aim to do more than just update data in existing documents. In order to truly make content work for salespeople, you need to give them something to work with. Different ways to answer the same questions. New ways to answer different questions. An answer for every question the customer could come up with.
Within your Sales Enablement strategy you should set yourself a goal of the minimum amount of new content you will provide, whether that’s quarterly, monthly or even weekly. Aim for a wide variety of media, rather than always sticking to the same format. Salespeople need to have an assortment of materials to hand to suit the array of sales situations and customers they meet.
The analytics and reporting functions of a Sales Enablement tool are there to help you see which content works and which doesn’t. Being able to analyze how – or even if – salespeople are using content and how they rate that content’s performance gives incredibly useful insight to help in the development of future content. Again, these features only work if you use them; otherwise it’s just data in an app.
The Sales Enablement platform’s reports can tell you:
All this insight can help you decide how best to present information. For example, do product overviews work best on video? Are diagrams or text better to demonstrate benefits? Do you need a slide deck for testimonials? Do your salespeople need training on regulatory compliance? Is there evidence to show that previous training has been effective?
It’s a wealth of information that offers enormous potential – if you make use of it.
Let’s not beat about the bush: salespeople should be providing content. They’re on the front line, answering customer questions day in, day out. They know the customer better than anyone else at this stage of the buying journey.
There is no one else in the business than can communicate with the world what your organization is about and what it stands for better than senior executives.
Even if all they do is copy marketing in on a few key emails, they can provide valuable insight for content development. Here are some other ideas for getting sales’ input on content:
The truth is Sales Enablement is not a one-time solution; it’s a perpetual process that requires you to continually revisit all of the above. Analytics should be reviewed on a monthly basis and for the best results someone should be tracking how the data changes as content is updated, training is provided and any other related changes occur. This data should also form the basis for future content development and training, which likewise need to be undertaken on a regular basis.
All of this is facilitated by the features of a good Sales Enablement platform. Following through with these suggestions will ensure you get a strong return on your investment.
When should I invest in a Sales Enablement platform?
Your business doesn’t need to be a certain size to benefit from using a Sales Enablement platform. The question of timing really depends on your readiness as a business to embrace a Sales Enablement philosophy. At its most basic, this simply means that you believe in the value of content as a sales tool and you are prepared to invest the time in developing the right resources to empower your salespeople to have great sales conversations. If you’re behind on resources, you might want to consider working on your content strategy before rolling out a Sales Enablement app for your salespeople.
Having said that, some people find investing in a Sales Enablement tool gives the necessary kick up the backside to get content development moving. It’s a chicken and egg thing.
What kind of guarantees do I get?
We can’t guarantee that investing in a Sales Enablement tool will return you a 100% profit increase. We can’t even guarantee a 20% profit increase. As we’ve pointed out a few times in this article, what you get out of your Sales Enablement solution depends very much on what you put in. The more time you invest in creating the right content and training your salespeople on how to use it, the greater your return will be.
As a Sales Enablement platform provider, what we can guarantee is a commitment to comprehensive personal service. We make sure everything at our end is running reliably and responsively and that your data is completely safe and secure. We are passionate about your success and so we do everything we can to facilitate that, from constantly seeking to upgrade our product offering (at no additional cost to you), to being on standby to answer any questions, to offering training at whatever level you need.
HUBSPOT'S BEN COTTON SHARES INSIGHTS ON SALES ENABLEMENT