How To Build A Sales Enablement Team: 5 Elements To Success
Sales enablement can be a confusing term as it has many definitions. At its most basic, it is the training of sales teams to use new technology, sales playbooks, and processes. Sales training is a necessary part of the digital transformation that happens from the top down and will determine whether a company will succeed or fail when switching to digital sales, revamping sales playbooks, and more.
If you’re wondering how to build a sales enablement team, you’ll need a trained leader to guide the sales reps. A well-aligned team who can quickly and effectively bring sales departments up to speed on digital transformation make success much more likely.
Every sales enablement strategy not only needs a team with the right people to train a workforce, but a few common elements to make the plan work. Without one, the other cannot succeed.
However, even with a good sales enablement team in place and a strategy that incorporates all the necessary elements for a good outcome, success is unlikely without the right tools. Digital training tools, (including walkthroughs, videos, and help articles) that are mapped to the buyer’s journey can exponentially simplify the sales enablement team’s efforts.
The Goals of A Sales Enablement Team
A sales enablement team will be in charge of training sales reps and other team members who use software such as Salesforce to interact with and build relationships with customers. These teams can consist of managers, training creators, a sales enablement pro, and other employees. Generally, they will be your early adopters who embrace new technology first and ease the rest of the organization into change management.
Think of successful sales enablement like a wheel, with your employees in the middle. The center axle is the sales team itself, or the employees who work directly with customers and receive training from the enablement team. If the axle is out of shape, it becomes impossible for company leaders to develop the rest of the wheel.
Successful sales enablement builds around the center with the core elements and training team. However, many of these sales enablement wheels are spinning without forward progression. In general, sales reps spend less than 40% of their time selling, meaning that sales enablement has fallen short of its goals. A good, solid center may be ready to go, but the right elements and training are needed to build out and move the wheel.
Building The Wheel: The Five Elements of A Successful Team
To ensure the wheel builds momentum, sales enablement teams need five main elements of success. Each one should have a designated team member to manage a specific area, unless your company is very small and one manager or trainer can handle multiple areas.
The First Element: Knowledge
The first element that sales enablement managers will need is knowledge into the day-to-day tasks. Take a close look at sales operations and shadow employees if necessary. Deep knowledge of what reps do every day will help leaders organize and decide how to choose the right sales training tools.
Professionals who may be good for handling such a task are sales coaches and department managers. These leaders can work directly with reps and are “on the ground” during every stage of the sales process.
The Second Element: Understanding
Part of knowing how to build a successful sales enablement team is not just understanding how teams work, but who they are and what they need to be successful. Once you have a better understanding of your team’s needs as both individuals and working together, the wheels begin to turn.
Further, when it’s time to choose the right training programs, combining the big picture goals with the day-to-day insight from managers can be vital. It’s especially important for managers, coaches, trainers, and/or counselors to advocate for sales reps during this stage of the process, communicating their needs to company leaders. Such sales enablement communications will keep all departments and teams aligned to the same goals.
The Third Element: Outside Influences
Once employees have advocates to address their frustrations, sales enablement teams must examine specific, external influences on their team as well. These influences include the market, new or prospective customers, any new products, and other conditions. This, combined with the marketing tools reps use for the sales cycle, will also help teams determine which training tools will work the best.
Data managers, sales systems managers, and sales knowledge managers are all especially helpful during this stage to help tackle the next element of enablement once the right training is chosen.
The Fourth Element: Training Design
Once the new sales enablement tools arrive, it is time to develop the next element: training design, and attach it to the wheel. Training programs that are designed to be contextual, or specific to a sales department, is a necessity.
Design goes beyond graphics and layout, but more so focuses on functionality and inserting information that is easy for your team to access. Designing your training materials around how and where your employees work keeps content and sales resources at their fingertips instead of wasting time finding information
The Fifth Element: Reinforcement
Once training is underway, the final element emerges: reinforcement. It’s easy to think digital adoption begins after the initial onboarding ends. But training must be an ongoing event, reinforced regularly and address employee frustrations and needs.
For the best chance at digital adoption, training that appears directly within the apps where teams work are best for constant reinforcement. Process changes can be instantly communicated, which allows employees to lessen the learning curve and move faster toward generating sales.
Operations deployment managers and sales process managers are excellent staff members to lead your continuing education efforts. Their ability to analyze where training is working or falling short make it easy to pivot and make changes when needed.
How the right platform powers the wheel
When trying to learn how to implement sales enablement, the right tools are equally as important as the team you build around it. Choosing the correct training platform for a company’s needs will determine how well the wheel of sales enablement turns—or if it turns at all. A good training platform can be thought of as the “energy” that powers the wheel to make the necessary elements sync together.
The right type of push is needed to make an enablement plan work. Training tools go beyond teaching how to use a tool or playbook, but instead includes showing teams how to be successful both individually and as a whole.
Training isn’t just limited to sales reps either, but managers as well. The right training tool works seamlessly with all the members of a sales enablement team. It addresses the needs of sales reps, eases frustration, and lowers the natural resistance to change that plagues many sales teams. Even better, real-time, contextual learning tools like Spekit, deliver customizable materials, persona-based information and resources directly to your fingertips, while minimizing repetitive training questions for managers.
How to build your own sales enablement wheel
To build a robust sales enablement team and make your digital transformation plans come to fruition, it’s worth the time to fully develop each spoke of the wheel. Once they are all in place, adding a digital training platform further propels progress and success that keeps everything moving ahead. To build your own sales enablement wheel, contact us today to see how Spekit works.
About the Author
Mel is the CEO and Co-founder of Spekit, a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient, Entrepreneur’s Top 100 Women of Influence, and featured across Crunchbase, Fast Company, Business Insider, and more. She is leading the revolution to shatter the glass ceiling and unleash the full potential of every employee. Learn more ->