Ever been in a situation where the sales team couldn’t hit a strike in a bowling alley? When prospects won’t convert to customers, and the oh-so-important target seems a million miles away?
It’s an experience that’ll leave you feeling pretty low. The solution? Throw your full weight behind introducing sales enablement methods that’ll instill confidence among your team and provide individuals with the tools they need to thrive - before you know it, your prospects will be flocking to your product and you’ll rake in cold, hard $$$.
Why is sales enablement important?
You may be wondering why sales enablement matters; after all, the sales team’s bound to know the ins and outs of products they’re selling every day - right?
Silver-tongued sales representatives may think they know every USPs and key details like the back of their hand. But what about when they suddenly find themselves in the clutches of a particularly tricky customer asking a string of tough questions? A sales script or email template would come in handy - right?
And what if they’re faced with the prospect of outlining the super-technical intricacies of your product? Knowing they’re equipped with product sheets outlining the essentials of your product’s specification would be reassuring, would it not?
Simply put, sales enablement can get you, and your sales team, out of some very sticky situations. Not every sales call will be plain-sailing; sometimes people ask every question under the sun and they will expect an answer. If you’re scrambling for a response or don’t know have the faintest idea what you're talking about, it doesn’t bode well for confidence and the likelihood is they’ll take their business elsewhere.
Invest in sales enablement, and not only will this stand you in good stead to provide your audience with the answers they need, but your sales reps will quickly see their best interests are being taken care of, and this’ll only help you build new relationships, and/or solidify your existing bonds with your team. The outcome?
More sales. More cash. Happier bosses. 👍
Why are sales enablement sessions useful?
Sales enablement sessions are a great way to solidify the knowledge of your sales representatives.
After all, you can have a ton of awesome sales enablement tools, but what good are they if your sales representatives aren’t confident enough to use them properly?
Answer? They’re worth nothing. Nada. Diddly squat.
Hence why companies often use sales enablement sessions to provide sales teams with an opportunity to become familiar with their sales enablement tools, clear any lingering uncertainties they may have about particular features, and explain how to position your product within the market. It’s also an ideal opportunity to outline a) who your rivals are, and b) highlight why your product is different.
As far as who’s responsible for arranging sales enablement sessions, when we conducted a poll of 165 product marketers, product marketing represented the overwhelming majority, with 55% of respondents saying PMM teams arrange this function at their respective organization.
Sales enablement tips
When we say sales enablement isn’t a walk in the park, we promise we’re not saying it to give you the jitters; the process requires hard work, but the rewards can be awesome.
Given the benefits a well-executed process can bring your organization, we decided to ask PMMs for their top tips when we were researching for the Sales Enablement Landscape 2020, and because we’re feeling generous, we figured we’d share their pearls of wisdom.
Check out what they had to say. 👇
“Don't be a "yes man." You'll lose track of higher priority items that can make more of an impact. It doesn't mean you should say no all the time, it just means you should be thoughtful and strategic. If you get a random request dropped on your desk, and you're not yet sure how to proceed, don't just say "yes, I'll do it." Come back to it later when you've thought more strategically and can provide your best recommendation.”
Bennett Marano, Director of Product Marketing, Spring Health
“Over-communicate during periods of transition, whether in process or deliverables.”
John Clark, VP of Product Marketing, HERE Technologies
“Conduct a retrospective on every sales campaign; dissecting what worked and what didn't show where enablement is needed or what needs to be broadly socialized because it's effective.”
Lisa Hunter, Director of Sales, Perficient
“At some point, launch success will shift from primarily a creative marketing push, to ensuring your reps and partners are prepared to sell on day one. To do that effectively without adding a ton of extra time to your launch sequence, get ready to get good at prioritizing content, and company-wide communication of a clear plan.”
Jennifer Milne, (People) Manager of Product Marketing, Formlabs
“Listen to salespeople! They are on the frontlines with customers every single day. Find a handful whose insights you trust and connect with them regularly.”
Todd Walker, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Techstars
“Be willing to 'join' the team (eg. to do a sales call, to role play, to pitch, etc.)... don't be hands-off/ivory tower.”
Roger Beharry Lall, VP Marketing, Lift & Co
“Organize regular sales enablement sessions. We do weekly Whiteboard Wednesdays, and it's invaluable to get the team together every week even when there's not a heavy enablement agenda.”
Cameron Jahn, Director of Product Marketing, Handshake
“Get buy-in from a couple of the highest performing and most valued sellers in the company. Let them have a first view on what's being generated and get their thoughts on how the message would resonate most with their peers.”
Lara Verlinden, Product Marketing Manager, Showpad
“Create role-based training and content, rather than lumping all sales roles together.”
Christine Reyes, Product Marketing Manager, Liferay
“Understand how hard selling can be and be someone who is there to make things easier.”
Chris Grant, Sales enablement consultant, BabelQuest
“Sales enablement can't be something you do just at the release of a new product or version. You have to constantly be in front of your sales teams helping them increase their knowledge and changing tactics based on the market or competition.”
Brian LaMee, VP of Product Marketing, Deltek
“Be present and become the go-to resource for the team. Make sure it's clear what you're there for. Ask and act on feedback. Answer questions quickly or set up an SLA for response delivery for the team.”
Ashley Herbert, Product Marketing Manager, Recruitee
“Salespeople want to be enabled by salespeople that win. Have reps with early successes present their approach back to their peers. Structure their session for them, with the message you both agree is most powerful.”
Lauren Craigie, Director of Product Marketing, Bugcrowd
“Listen, invite feedback, and make sure the way you handle that feedback encourages continuous feedback. Keeping the channels of communication open is the key to successful sales enablement.”
Jessica Materna, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Litmus
“Scale. It applies whether you're a 1 person PMM or a team of 50. Always be thinking about how driving to scale is the key. Scale comes from messaging alignment and strategy, scaled content management, automation of personalized and one-off materials and rich analytics to help teams perform.”
Jonathan Hinz, Director of Product Marketing, Seismic
“Deliver the message in different ways to account for how your team members learn and process new information.”
Angel Jones, Product Marketing Manager, Lytics
“As with so much in product marketing, relationships are critical. If you are trusted and respected by your sales leaders and everyone is working toward common goals, then you'll be able to successfully collaborate and effectively enable market-facing teams.”
Katie Dettman O'Brien, Director of Product Marketing, 4C Insights
“Create your sales advisory board group with top salespeople and talk to them and ask them questions regularly.”
Sara Kingsley, (People) Manager of Product Marketing, LogRhythm
“Show your work! Send out a weekly update to your stakeholder teams that highlights not only good sales efforts but that also highlights the impacts made on other teams. Also, use this vehicle to highlight other teams’ contribution to the sales team.”
Sheryl Floyd, Sales and Customer Enablement Lead, ScaleFactor
“Be a tour guide and a not a travel agent, meaning you build trust when you walk the talk, i.e. do demos, speak to customers, empathize with legit sales/product frictions, challenges or weaknesses - do things that deliver value and arm the sales team which make them better in the way they see and you can measure.”
Kris Hutton, Director of Product Management, CARFAX
Which sales enablement methods can you use?
There are multiple sales enablement methods you can use to help your staff, so broaden your horizons and consider methods such as:
- Sales scripts
- Sales one-pagers
- Product sheets
- Email templates
Never stumble into the trap of throwing a battle card and a script at your sales reps and thinking you’re a sales enablement connoisseur; as we discovered when Kelly Esten, VP of Product and Partner Marketing at Toast, gave us her expert insights on sales enablement.
It’s important to remember a method may be effective for one team, but completely wide of the mark for another team. So, consider which are best suited to you and your team and put well-drilled plans in place to ensure you’re able to reap the full benefits.