Sales enablement (SE) is still evolving. It’s a work in process—a moving target. In fact, it’s moving too fast to pin it down to one definition everyone can agree on. But for the purposes of this post, let’s say sales enablement is “the process of providing the sales organization with the information, content, and tools that help sales people sell more effectively.” But how does this democratize selling and the data it generates?
The answer needs to begin with another definition. When we see that democratize means to “make (something) available to all people: to make it possible for all people to understand (something)”, it becomes a little clearer
Every sales force has its star performers. And when you factor in the variables of experience, confidence and personality, there will always be unevenness across a sales team. But sales enablement functions as an equalizer. It gives every sales person the potential to improve performance—and the chance to excel.
“Sales enablement . . . allows a large number of salespeople to achieve quota in a scalable, predictable, and repeatable fashion . . . so that you’re no longer dependent on a handful of super heroes to hit the team quota.
“Sales enablement plays a key role in scaling the sales organization beyond a handful of over-achievers. It provides all sales people with the best practices, knowledge, tools, and resources required to be successful.”
The same is true with the data generated by the sales process. Data analytics is the process of transforming raw data into usable data. Too many sales organizations are controlled by data dictators who keep the game-changing insights data analytics provides closely guarded secrets. Access to and the understanding of sales data is a look inside selling’s inner sanctum. Who needs that access and understanding more than anyone else? Who is in a position to leverage them to improve performance? Salespeople, of course.
Data transparency empowers salespeople to make informed decisions based on real numbers. It puts them in the driver’s seat and equips them with the tools and visibility to continually monitor their own progress. The result? Sales people who believe they are trusted enough to have been given a role in shaping their own success.
When data analytics is coupled with careful coaching, the results can be dramatic. In Data Driven, Jenny Dearborn makes a compelling case to make data analytics the backbone of sales planning, organization and prediction. In our four-part blog series about the book, we addressed the role of coaching in Part III “A coach in your corner”:
“While data analytics may seem cold, impersonal and detached, the impact can be just the opposite: warm, personal and highly engaged.” Data insights make it possible to see who needs what and why. Best of all, it makes it possible for reps to see for themselves the weaknesses in their performance.
Sales enablement maximizes the opportunity for all reps to excel. But insights gleaned from data analysis—shared democratically with all relevant parties—hones in with cruise missile accuracy on the specific areas individual reps most need to improve. Multiply that individual transformation times the number of reps on a sales team, and you have a force for change of seismic proportions.