Who Owns Sales Enablement?
New Research Reveals How Winning Companies Define Sales Enablement
An Era of Sales Transformation
Question: How do companies today ensure that sellers have the right training and resources to be the best they can be every day?
Answer: Sales enablement.
Companies around the world are dealing with digital transformation, shifting markets, slimmer budgets, changing business priorities…and growing
Your buyers are researching your solution online—and you may not even know it. In fact, 80% of buyers report that they prefer virtual to in-person sales interactions (McKinsey).
Bottom line: Equipping sellers with the training, content, and tools to optimize buyer interactions in a hybrid world is essential.
But sales enablement as a fully defined and holistic initiative is in its infancy at many companies, if there is a dedicated function at all.
Sales enablement means different things to different organizations, and even to different teams within companies. Effective sales enablement must enlist other functions to get the job done, which means cross-departmental priorities and goals must align.
But sometimes leaders are unclear about who’s driving sales enablement, its goals, and what it can (or shouldn’t) do.
This brings us to a commonly-asked question: Who owns sales enablement?
Companies with sales enablement are 10x more likely to hit revenue goals.
80% of buyers report that they prefer virtual to in-person sales interactions (McKinsey)
Allego®, the leading sales learning and enablement platform, wanted to answer this question and show leaders what a successful sales enablement team looks like. We commissioned an independent research firm to survey 330 B2B sales and marketing leaders about how they’re winning (or not) with sales enablement.
We found that while the ownership of sales enablement varies widely, companies that have a formal sales enablement program are 10x more likely to consistently hit their revenue goals.
We also found that many companies struggle to implement successful product training and sales content management initiatives due to competing priorities and lack of alignment between sales and marketing teams—but the use of a sales enablement platform can significantly ease some of these challenges.
- On average, reps don’t know the answer to 40% of product questions asked by customers.
- Reps at organizations that use sales enablement platforms are 73% more effective at understanding and presenting new products and features.
The findings in this report offer a fresh take on the current state of sales enablement. We hope our recommendations will help you understand how to define and implement a successful sales enablement program and take your team’s performance to the next level.
Key Learnings: Sales Enablement Programs Drive Revenue
A Majority of Companies Have a Clearly Defined Sales Enablement Function
Many companies have a formal approach to sales enablement and a clear understanding of tasks and ownership.
86% of companies say they have a structured, formal approach to sales enablement.
89% of companies say they have a clear understanding of who “owns” sales enablement.
91% of companies say they have a clear understanding of sales enablement tasks.
Ownership of Sales Enablement Varies Widely
The ownership of the sales enablement function varies widely across companies. At some, a single team is responsible (most frequently sales). At others, the function is split across multiple teams.
The marketing team owns sales enablement at 23% of companies
The sales team owns sales enablement at 42% of companies.
The customer success team owns sales enablement at 9% of companies.
Companies Struggle to Meet Sales Enablement Goals
Even though a majority of companies have a structured sales enablement program, one-third struggle to achieve their goals due to competing priorities, multiple stakeholders, and a lack of understanding, among other challenges, resulting in underperforming reps. Companies without a formal program report that having one would help.
Only 31% of companies consistently meet their sales enablement goals.
The top obstacles to sales enablement success are:
- Competing company priorities
- Lack of dedicated team
- Lack of understanding of sales enablement benefits
- Too many stakeholders
- Lack of / inefficient sales enablement tools
The top pain points of sales enablement teams are:
- Reps don’t effectively sell to customer needs
- New hires underperform after training
- Difficult to keep sales content up to date
- Marketing and sales aren’t aligned
- Reps don’t understand use cases
Companies With Sales Enablement See Better Results
Even with the challenges listed above, companies with sales enablement programs are ten times more likely to hit their revenue targets and have more confident reps than those without.
Companies that have a formal sales enablement program are 10x more likely to consistently hit their revenue goals.
Reps at companies that have a formal sales enablement platform are 26% more likely to say they are very confident in their sales ability.
79% of marketing professionals say their revenue would drop more than 30% without an effective sales enablement program.
Lack of Sales Enablement Leads to Inadequate Seller Training, Which Undercuts Sales Goals
Companies that lack formal sales enablement are twice as likely to report that rep training is a problem and almost half of companies say inadequate training leads to missed revenue targets.
Companies without formal sales enablement are 2x more likely to say that rep training is a problem.
On average, reps don’t know the answer to 40% of product questions asked by customers.
70% of companies say their sales reps frequently stray “off message” when they sell.
47% of companies say inadequate seller training is a key factor in missing revenue goals.
49% of organizations say their reps definitely consistently represent their product and brand as expected. Nearly 70% of companies say their sales reps frequently stray “off message” when they sell.
Sales Content Management is an Issue at Many Companies
Sales content management is one of the primary functions of a sales enablement team, but providing enough sales content, and making that content easily accessible, are perennial challenges.
43% of marketers say it’s easy for reps to find sales content, but only 32% of reps agree.
On average, marketers create four pieces of content for sales reps per month, but 62% of reps say they need more than four.
Only 1 in 3 companies have a very easy way for sales reps to get the sales content they need to effectively sell their products.
Sales Enablement Platforms Help Companies Overcome Challenges
Companies that use a centralized sales enablement platform to provide consistent access to sales content and training reap many benefits, including more effective sellers.
Companies that use a centralized sales enablement platform are over 2x more likely to say they’re meeting their sales enablement goals.
Reps at organizations that use sales enablement platforms are 73% more effective at understanding and presenting new products and features.
Reps that have access to a sales enablement platform are almost 6x more likely to say it’s easy for them to get the sales materials they need to effectively sell.
Companies that use a centralized sales enablement platform are over 2x more likely to say they’re meeting their sales enablement goals.
Allego, the leading sales learning and enablement platform, commissioned an independent research firm to survey 330 B2B sales and marketing leaders about how they’re winning (or not) with sales enablement. The margin of error for this study is +/-5.3% at the 95% confidence level. Respondents were screened and sampled in partnership with Lucid, a global survey panel provider.’
Recommendations for Leaders: How to Enable Hybrid Sales Teams
Sellers are facing one of the most difficult buying landscapes in recent memory.
To succeed, companies must help their sales teams transition from in-person to hybrid interactions. This means rethinking how they enable sellers with new skills.
Sales enablement is the on-going process of providing your sellers with the resources—training, content, and tools—they need to sell your product effectively, no matter what situation.
Here are four recommendations to enable sales teams to engage buyers, nurture leads, and close more deals in a hybrid world.
Define Sales Enablement Goals, Tasks, and Roles Clearly
Sales enablement has emerged as an essential factor for sales success in today’s uncertain climate. A well-defined sales enablement initiative serves as the glue to unite previously siloed activities including sales content management, onboarding and training, product launches, coaching, and virtual selling.
Many organizations split ownership of the sales enablement function between sales, marketing, and even customer success. Sales enablement programs that have contributors from multiple teams can work well together, but more often see blurred lines of responsibility, drive toward different goals, and struggle to meet competing priorities.
» Audit your company’s sales enablement program.
Who is contributing and how? Are goals, tasks, and roles clearly defined? If not, how can you reorganize teams and reallocate resources to streamline program development and delivery?
A clearly defined, holistic strategy that’s driven by the right technology ensures that the organization delivers the most effective programs, focuses on the right goals, measures effectiveness with mutually agreed upon metrics, and scales activities to transform sales.
Focus on Seller Training
Our survey revealed that most companies say their sales reps frequently stray “off message” when they sell and many sellers struggle to answer buyer questions. This has huge implications for revenue.
If your sellers can’t describe your product or service accurately, can’t convey your value proposition, or don’t have the product knowledge they need to answer questions, how can they possibly handle objections and close the sale?
» Assess your current sales training.
Are you onboarding new hires adequately? Supporting them with continuous learning and reinforcement on product information, messaging, competitive positioning? Do sellers have the right skills to have productive interactions throughout the virtual sales process?
The most effective sales enablement programs bolster formal training with peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and collaboration tools to make sales training continuous. If sellers aren’t sharing information with each other, the organization is missing out on essential intel that could lead to more deals.
Empower Sellers with Effective Sales Content Management
Sales content management is one of the primary functions of a sales enablement team, but our survey showed that providing enough sales content, making that content easily accessible, and recommending the right content are challenges for many companies.
A holistic sales enablement program drives the creation, distribution, and management of customer-facing sales assets and internal sales training content. All content needs to be readily discoverable, easy to consume, trackable, and reusable across the sales organization.
» Analyze your sales content assets.
Are resources centralized and well-organized? Can reps access them from any device or location? Do you know which assets are being used and which ones are helping deals progress?
It’s not enough to simply make assets available, sellers must know how and when to use these resources to deliver maximum impact to their prospects. Teams who know what’s working—and what’s not—can improve sales content
to be even more effective.
Invest in the Right Sales Enablement Platform
Virtual selling poses many new challenges for sales organizations. Distributed teams find it more difficult to train, onboard, share content, coach, and collaborate. This puts new demands on sales leaders and sales enablement teams.
Our survey found that companies that use a centralized sales enablement platform to provide consistent access to sales content and training reap many benefits, including more effective sellers. You could cobble together multiple platforms with a range of capabilities, but the most efficient approach is a solution that delivers learning, content, collaboration, and insight all in one place.
» Appraise your current sales enablement platform.
Can you deliver the training, content, and coaching that supports a hybrid paradigm? Do your sellers have the right tools to successfully nurture prospects, share information, and host meetings virtually? Are you gathering actionable, AI-powered insight from every sales call?
There’s a new breed of integrated learning platforms that offers a holistic approach to sales enablement. These solutions accelerate the sales cycle, drive higher average contract values, and boost profitability in the sales organization. When you implement a robust sales enablement platform, you save time and resources, gain the ability to scale across your organization—and equip your sellers for success in every situation.
Allego’s All-In-One-Solution for Today’s Virtual Teams
Allego is built for dynamic learning, content, and collaboration anytime, anywhere. You can empower your organization with mobile, interactive technology built for the way today’s virtual teams work—all through a single platform. Allego drives success with these key capabilities:
Create, manage, and activate sales content with context for greater effectiveness through marketing and sales collaboration.
Accelerate proficiency, drive the use of strategic content, and ensure reps articulate key messaging for every prospect’s needs.
Bolster engagement, behavior change, and retention with virtual programs that shorten ramp time and produce measurable business value.
Effectively engage buyers virtually at every stage of the sales process with interactive, personalized experiences and content.
Target skill gaps with conversation intelligence and point-in-time feedback. Drive team productivity by connecting sellers, managers, internal experts, and peers with the knowledge needed to win.
Want to know how you stack up?
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Take the Next Step: See Allego In Action
Transform your organization with award-winning sales enablement technology built for today’s distributed teams.See a Demo