In a recent post, 71 Reasons to Focus on Sales Enablement, we focused on that very situation and even listed several definitions—all crafted by “experts”—notable analyst firms. The dilemma is that their definitions are more alike than different. In fact, it’s very easy to read a half dozen or more and nod in agreement with every one of them.
So what if there was a list of key ingredients or components without which you just wouldn’t have sales enablement? That’s the approach that one authority took, and we thought it was worth sharing.
Of course, the effort begins with yet another definition, and—again—it seems like a very good one. One that would set a lot of heads to nodding affirmatively.
Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help salespeople sell more effectively.
What sets this one apart, though, is the language surrounding it that gives it context and texture: “The foundation of sales enablement is to provide salespeople with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process. A big part of sales enablement involves equipping sales people with information they can use in sales cycles. This information might take the form of customer-facing content, sales best practices, and tools to name just a few examples. Regardless of the form the information takes, it needs to be easy to consume and reusable across the sales organization.”
Next comes an exploded view of sales enablement in the form of seven “defining attributes.” Here they are, paraphrased.
1) The objective—delivering to salespeople what they need to sell more effectively. Period.
2) The essence. Sales enablement is less about sales and more about the buyer because the endgame is about getting into the hands of sales folks what they need to more readily engage their target buyers. In other words, gives reps the resources the buyer wants.
3) The what. What sales enablement provides to salespeople defines your program. This is usually information, mostly in two forms: Information your sales reps give to buyers and, secondly, information that sales will use internally—best practices, research and tools.
4) Understanding. It may seem like a no-brainer, but make sure sales knows how to use what you give them. Can you say, “Training?”
5) Ease of use. Focus on high quality materials that are easy to use, easy to apply so they will be used over and over again.
6) Usability. Track what’s being used and how. It’s the key to optimizing new sales enablement materials.
7) Measurement. Establish metrics that give you a window into sales reality. “Some of the more meaningful sales enablement metrics that you should track include: average sales cycle length; number of reps achieving quota; and average deal size.”
Yes, it’s true that every author of a sales enablement definition could come up with a similar list. But the real takeaway here? They haven’t. And until they do, this one is a practical tool for gauging what’s truly sales enablement . . . and what isn’t.