Put simply, sales enablement is the culmination of the tools, resources, and training required to help salespeople sell more. It encompasses everything from best sales practices to getting the right customer-facing content in front of the right person at the right time. With the right sales enablement, salespeople have everything they need to successfully engage the customer throughout the buying process.
It might sound trendy, but it’s not a new concept. Sales enablement has been around in one form or another for decades. It is only more recently that companies have begun to join each facet of enablement — tools, training, and resources — together in a more cohesive way. In fact, the function is still evolving today. We’re building this plane as we’re flying it!
The Principles of Sales Enablement Promote Employee Satisfaction
One of the things I’m most interested in is how sales enablement feeds career development and employee satisfaction. The principles of sales enablement stem from a more humanistic way of looking at a transaction: It’s about solving people’s problems, not getting more people to spend their money. You’re not just closing deals — you’re building relationships. Working in a people-focused environment is almost always better than working for a manager who constantly shouts, “Always be closing!” in your ear.
Sales enablement also promotes the alignment of sales and marketing operations. Salespeople are no longer handed a lead and left to land a deal on their own. Instead, they are properly supported throughout the customer journey with content, competitive insight, and market information. This level of support ensures a more positive customer experience while distributing the burden of closing a deal, taking some of the pressure off the salesperson and allowing for a happier and less stressful work life.
Finally, the focus of sales enablement on training shows a willingness to invest in employees, which is bound to increase both engagement and job satisfaction. Effective sales training has been shown to improve employee satisfaction. More satisfied employees tend to stay in their jobs for longer, saving you the cost and hassle of recruiting and onboarding new hires, who can take months if not years to get up to speed.
Employees with more training and sharper skills close more deals and win bigger accounts. They become sales leaders and coaches, spreading their knowledge to less experienced members of the team and creating a cycle of learning that benefits the business as a whole. When they decide to move onto greener pastures, your employees will be equipped with broader and more valuable skill sets, making them hot commodities in their industries.
A Note of Caution: Not All Training Is Created Equal
Sales enablement has seen a massive boom in the past few years, driven by increasing demand for quality training. Your company will have a lot of decisions to make as you seek to implement a successful enablement program — including choosing the right sales training provider.
Not all training is created equal, and if a sales team is the driving force behind your business success, you want to be sure you give them the best development program you can.
There are more sales training companies than ever to choose from, offering everything from in-person classroom training to automated microlearning. To find out what training is right for you, consider the following:
1. Identify Your Company’s Specific Needs
Before you can decide what training is right for you, you need to undertake a skills assessment to determine what your company’s specific needs are. In the process, you should identify any sales execution gaps, which will determine whether or not sales training would even be helpful. You should also establish the sales training objectives you are seeking to accomplish. If you know these going in, you will have an easier time finding a trainer that will get the results you need.
2. Identify the Training Providers That Meet Your Needs
Once you have identified your needs, make a list of training providers that can meet the needs of a company like yours. Read through case studies and discuss your needs with potential providers so you can make a more informed decision.
3. Decide How Long You Want Training to Last
You might only need a day-long seminar, or you might be interested in an engagement that lasts months. One way or another, you need to know the amount of time you want to invest into training if you want to find a provider that suits you.
4. Ensure the Provider’s Philosophy Coincides With Yours
If you’re going to get the results you want, your company and the training company need to be a philosophical match. Partnering with a provider that doesn’t share your philosophy will only lead to a lot of wasted time and unhappy employees.
5. Make Sure Your Provider Has Substantial Experience
You’re going to be investing a lot of money into your sales training. You need to make sure the provider has the background and experience to deliver your money’s worth. Do your homework. Find out what types of clients the provider has serviced in the past and what the ROI was like for them.
At its core, sales enablement is about delivering a better customer experience. Thanks to its humanist philosophy, it also delivers a better experience for the salesperson. With the added support from the rest of the business and a comprehensive training program, salespeople are better able to move forward in their careers and achieve both greater job satisfaction and better business results.
Charlotte Powell is the head of design and marketing at iPresent.