3 Ways to Future-Proof Your Sales Enablement Strategy
This article originally appeared in Forbes.
An effective sales team has proven to be a leading factor in companies’ performance and growth throughout the pandemic. For those of you responsible for enabling a sales force, this is great news. Your work and contributions are likely noticed and applauded company-wide.
With more recognition, however, expectations of continued momentum will grow. It’s now time to prepare for the future of sales enablement rather than assume you can go back to methods or strategies that worked before.
To ensure your sales enablement strategy is ready for future growth, you need to do three things: consolidate your tech stack, incorporate AI into your coaching strategy and look at your data.
1. Consolidate Your Tech Stack
When considering what to improve, it’s important to have a streamlined sales enablement tech stack. Over the last decade, tech stacks have run rampant on the promise of productivity and revenue, but in practice, have become more cumbersome than ever. Globally, companies are averaging 23 different learning and enablement tools and platforms, double the number from 2011.
Most sales enablement managers are already stretched too thin. And, when we’re talking about efficiency, 23 apps for 23 different tasks can be overbearing, expensive and confusing. In the past, enablement tools did only one thing. Now, you can look for a more holistic solution to cover multiple tasks through one application or platform.
When looking to revamp your tech stack, there are a few essential capabilities to prioritize. The ability to collaborate and train both new hires and existing employees will ensure your team is always up to speed and constantly communicating best practices and news. Sales enablement extends to sales managers as well, so make sure your tech solution supports formal and ad hoc coaching for reps and managers to hone skills and prepare for selling situations.
Next, a central storage place for all content – both internal training content and customer-facing assets – will allow sales reps to access essential materials and deliver the right resources to prospects. The final piece of a modern sales enablement tech stack is measurement. Meaningful metrics – including average sales cycle length, number of reps achieving quota, and average deal size – extend to the overall success of the sales enablement program.
Tech stack consolidation makes sense from a financial perspective. And with fewer tools to learn and manage, your team will see greater adoption and more satisfied users.
2. Incorporate AI into Your Coaching Strategy
Coaching has always been a critical component of sales enablement, but time zones and geography — not to mention a pandemic forcing many teams to work remotely – makes face-to-face coaching difficult to coordinate. According to an Allego study, nearly half of sales reps hired since COVID-19 say they haven’t been coached well enough on virtual selling to succeed. This is where AI can play a key role in your coaching strategy.
Automated call recordings and AI analysis – as well as AI-driven recommendations personalized for individual reps — can better equip managers with insights for effective coaching in a way that is both relevant and scalable. The larger your sales team is, the more effective AI implementation will be for you.
This relieves managers from a lot of busy work and listening in on calls so that they can better focus on leveling up their team to provide better customer experiences and, in turn, hit their quota more consistently.
3. Look to Your Data
Dig deeper into your sales team’s tangible progress for insights, rather than rely on intuition or one-off experiences. Use data and objective observations — made easier by AI — to determine where your sales enablement tactics are actually moving the needle and progressing. If you can find what aspects of your enablement program are helping the team win and meet quotas, you can tailor your training to emphasize those aspects over others.
Ask yourself: which competencies and skills have your sales team mastered? In which areas do they need more development? Which reps are struggling with certain behaviors? If you can answer these questions, then you have the insights you need to continue doing what works, and make adjustments where it’s necessary.
The same applies to content. As much as 80% of the content created by marketing goes unused by sellers. This could be due to several reasons, including it’s not useful, sellers don’t know how to use it, or they don’t even know it exists. If content isn’t used, rethink how it’s shared with sellers and encourage marketing to share short videos or emails explaining the intended purpose and audience for each new piece of content.
Sales enablement is about far more than creating content or training reps on new products. Evaluating your tech stack, embracing AI in coaching and looking at your data will make the sales enablement team’s job easier while increasing sales team success. With a holistic approach and a better tech stack, you can be confident in your ability to effectively scale your sales enablement approach for growth.
Download Demystifying Sales Enablement: How to Plan for the Next Normal to learn how you can upgrade your current approach for long-term success.