In sales, success hinges on finding the right tools to maximize your sales enablement strategy. But what is sales enablement? At its most distilled, sales enablement is defined as a strategy for providing salespeople with everything they need to efficiently and effectively close more deals.
The aim of the game is to prepare sellers to educate and engage buyers at every touchpoint in an increasingly complex selling environment defined by rapid change and rising expectations.
Sales enablement is often defined by its culture of tight alignment, cross-departmental collaboration, and some serious organizational planning. But success depends equally on leveraging the right tools to maximize your sales enablement strategy.
Here, we’ll discuss the essential ingredients that make up a powerful enablement stack — including augmented reality sales tools, a content tagging strategy, smart catalogs, and version control.
Sales Content management
Without a sales content management system in place, organizations open themselves up to the risk of many problems — from time wasted searching through local files and company servers to poor data handling and ad-hoc content that doesn’t meet branding standards.
Ensure usability with centralized storage and a content tagging strategy
Strong content management practices support a successful sales enablement strategy — which hinges on connectivity and access to information.
At a base level, you’ll need a centralized location to store and distribute customer-facing content and training material.
As such, you’ll want to make sure that your sales enablement software supports seamless integration with existing content repositories (think Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive) and your learning management system (LMS) so that all marketing materials, sales assets, and training content can be managed in one central location.
Additionally, your sales enablement stack should also include integrations with both your CRM and your marketing automation and content creation tools. This supports tighter alignment between sales and marketing activities as well as a big picture view.
Control and compliance
With a connected content management system, anyone — sales, marketing, and service — can access and update assets as usual, while maintaining quality, compliance, and privacy standards across the board through automatic syncing. It also ensures that naming conventions laid out in your content tagging strategy remain consistent across all channels, so that users can quickly locate what they need.
Another way to use tools to maximize your sales enablement strategy is adding safeguards against potential mistakes.
With a content management system, users can create internal documentation and customer-facing content, with control over who can access, edit, and update resources.
Another benefit of implementing a content tagging strategy is that it allows you to gain deeper insights into content performance based on persona and stage in the buyer’s journey.
That data can be used to inform your content calendar and campaign cadences — making it easier to map content to customer journeys. It also gives sales and marketing a unified language for discussing audience segments, content types, and performance.
If a salesperson finds a particular piece of content leads to more booked meetings, that’s critical information that should be shared with marketing to inform their strategy. And if marketing publishes a blog post that drives way more traffic than usual, it suggests demand for specific topics, and should be included in sales communications.
When sales has real-time insights into how marketing impacts the sales cycle, they can share even more valuable information with prospects simply by sending a URL. Marketing benefits from the instant feedback provided by usage metrics and comments from sellers themselves — allowing them to continuously improve messaging.
Onboarding, continuous training, and coaching
Selling isn’t about aggressive persuasion or a knack for charming the prospect.
It’s about identifying the type of experience the buyer wants based on challenges, pain points, and goals, then exceeding expectations with the ideal solution.
Unfortunately, managing an organization’s onboarding and learning process is becoming more complicated. Salespeople are expected to provide expert solutions to highly-informed buyers, with the expectation that each engagement should be personalized to the individual prospect.
A great training program accomplishes two key things:
- Provides an understanding of the ideal customer and how to map content and outreach efforts to each touchpoint.
- Arms sellers with pitching tactics, sales plays, and product knowledge they’ll continue to build on through ongoing training.
Drive consistency with adaptive microlearning courses
Bite-size microlearning courses ensure that new hires learn and retain product information, brand messaging, and sales best practices, while built-in assignments and assessments allow organizations to track their progress.
For veteran sellers, just-in-time mobile delivery makes it easy to keep up with new developments without eating into busy schedules.
Video sales coaching reinforces knowledge
To keep up with the modern buyer, salespeople need to continuously build on their
skills, insight, and industry expertise to act on opportunities and solve customers’ biggest pain points.
Again, an interactive, mobile-first learning environment is a critical component of any sales enablement strategy. However, success depends on looking beyond self-guided microlearning sessions or a tour through the employee handbook.
And that’s where video coaching comes in.
According to a 2017 report from CSO Insights, organizations with a dynamic sales coaching strategy report better relationships with buyers and higher win rates.
Video coaching gives sales leaders the ability to reinforce concepts introduced in the training content and validate whether sellers understand how to use those skills during buyer interactions.
For coaches, video coaching allows them to assign and schedule assignments remotely, provide individualized feedback in real-time, and annotate videos to focus on specific areas.
Sellers, too, benefit from the flexibility of video-based assignments, as it allows them to practice pitching and responses to a variety of selling situations in a virtual setting, while maintaining the personal touch you’d find in a live coaching session.
Complex selling environments may require specialized tools
In some sectors, sales enablement tools extend beyond learning, content management, and sales and marketing integrations.
For example, financial services and healthcare sales teams sell complex products, while also operating in highly-regulated environments. Manufacturing companies manage massive catalogs, making it difficult to act on new opportunities and upsell existing customers.
Here, we’ll quickly go over a few solutions that help address industry-specific challenges.
- Augmented reality sales tools. B2B firms of all shapes and sizes are discovering that augmented reality (AR) is more than Snapchat and PokemonGO — augmented reality sales tools are a seller’s secret weapon. AR solutions like Bigtincan 3D help sellers solve an age-old problem: Explaining products that buyers often have a hard time conceptualizing through text and static images alone. This might include medical devices, industrial equipment, or enterprise-grade software.
- Catalog solutions. For manufacturers, online retailers, or any business with product portfolios consisting of thousands of SKUs, digital solutions like Bigtincan Catalogs save time and drive revenue. Sellers can assemble quotes on the spot, access competitive information for product comparisons, and analyze product trends.
- Document automation. Document automation allows organizations to quickly assemble reports, sales collateral, and presentations using dynamic templates that automatically pull personalized data from connected sources. For financial services, insurance, and legal organizations, document automation ensures strict compliance alongside productivity gains.
From content management to training, onboarding, and taking sales presentations to the next level, assembling the right mix of tools to maximize your sales enablement strategy is critical for achieving your potential.
To learn more about the best tools for sales teams, check out Aragon Research Globe for Sales Enablement, 2020. The report looks at 17 top solutions providers in the space, each working to create a more streamlined, buyer-centric sales process. Click here for the free download.