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March 6, 2018

To Boost Your Team’s Productivity, Use the 10 Building Blocks of Sales Enablement

This week’s post is a recap of Mike Kunkle’s recent webinar: The 10 Building Blocks of Sales Enablement.  Mike Kunkle is VP, Sales Transformation Services of Digital Transformation Inc., a new division of Fast Lane.

In psychology parlance, “enabling” the people you care about is considered unhealthy behavior: it means you tacitly authorize and facilitate another person’s bad habits.

However, in the world of sales, “enabling” your reps and managers is one of the most important things you can do for them.

Sales enablement is about improving sales productivity or revenue per rep. It consists of 10 building blocks that can be used individually or collectively to create a more formidable sales force.  Ideally, you would implement all 10 building blocks simultaneously, but depending on your budget and team’s size, you may have to pick and choose in the beginning.

The 10 Building Blocks of Sales Enablement

  1. To start, it’s vital to benchmark your sales metrics, including conversion ratios, deal size, cross-sell, pipeline velocity, KPIs – whatever is important for your business. This is how you know what’s working, what’s not, and where you need to pivot.
  2. Identify your buyer personas. What problems are they trying to solve, how do they make decisions, what outcomes are they trying to achieve, and what are the metrics that matter most to each? Most important, what are the “exit criteria” for each persona – i.e., what does each buyer need to see, hear, feel and believe in each stage to feel comfortable moving to the next stage?
  3. Align your sales process to common buyer journeys, and then document the tasks and exit criteria on both the buying and selling side. Determine what the salespeople must do to align with their buyers, and provide them with what they need – when they need it – at every stage of the journey.
  4. Next, align your marketing content (and lead-generation campaigns) and all your sales content/collateral with buyers’ problems and exit criteria in each stage. Develop content that your salespeople will actually want to use because it answers the questions that most buyers have and moves the sales process to a swifter, more successful conclusion.
  5. Select appropriate sales methodologies for prospecting and opportunity management. Develop sales competencies by role from a top-producer analysis, whenever possible, or from proven best practices. Then customize these methodologies.
  6. Develop ongoing training based on closing competency gaps and any new offerings that your company creates. Focus on training managers first, and then the sales reps. Establish a system in which you not only train, but sustain the knowledge, develop new skills and coach people to mastery.
  7. Develop sales support, including job aids, checklists, training reminders, calculators and other tools to support process and methodology that helps the reps more effectively navigate the journey with their buyers.
  8. You should also select and implement the right sales technology to support your sales force, create as much efficiency as possible and increase the time spent selling. Helping salespeople get up to speed more effectively, keeping them updated, and reducing the time they spend searching for information is the ultimate use of sales enablement tools and technology.
  9. Select an appropriate sales coaching model for your organization, and train managers to become coaches. Mike joked that if he had a dollar to spend on sales training, he’d spend 75 cents on sales managers. Frontline sales managers are a force multiplier that can help you get your messages out, reinforce skills training, and coach people to mastery. This is one way that you can systematically replicate top-producer behavior.
  10. Pull it all together by implementing a sales support system, complemented by a sales learning system, which buttresses all the other building blocks.

Getting Started on Your Sales Enablement Journey

If you do nothing else, develop a charter – a document that spells out what your sales enablement function will do and why. Why are you adding this function or taking it to the next level? What roles will you support, who’s going to do the work, and who else will you collaborate with?  Without a charter, you could end up directionless, engaged in random acts of sales enablement. With the charter, you’ll establish the clarity you want and gain the alignment you need, to produce a positive and ongoing impact on your organization.

Mike offered a lot of other advice during the sales webinar, and his systems approach and especially his 5 Stages of Sales Mastery and Behavior Change are worth exploring. You can register to watch the entire webinar and download the slides here, on SMMConnect.com.

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