What is Sales Enablement? Definition, Examples, & Strategies 
In an era where the modern sales landscape is rapidly evolving, businesses strive to outpace competitors, engage prospective customers effectively, and drive growth. In fact, over the last five years, the adoption of the sales enablement function has surged by an impressive 343%.
This is no surprise since companies implementing sales enablement gain a 49% success rate on predicted deals – compared to 42.5% for those that don’t employ such strategies. Also, when organizations adopt a top-tier sales enablement approach, an impressive 84% of sales representatives consistently meet their sales quotas.
Companies implementing sales enablement gain a 49% success rate on predicted deals.
In this guide, we’ll explore the definition, significance, and intricacies of sales enablement and shed light on how sales enablement software can help track sales enablement metrics and improve return on investment.
Table of Contents
- What is Sales Enablement?
- Sales Enablement Tools
- Sales Enablement Benefits
- Sales Enablement Challenges
- Sales Enablement Strategies to Know
- Improve Sales Enablement Successes
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is a strategic process that equips sales teams with the tools, content, and knowledge to engage potential customers effectively and drive successful business outcomes. It’s not merely about training or equipping a team with resources; it’s about ensuring those resources are relevant, easily accessible, and impactful in real-time scenarios.
Why is Sales Enablement Important?
Sales enablement bridges the gap between sales and marketing teams to meet and exceed sales targets and drive revenue growth. It helps with:
Reducing Turnover Rates: A stark 47% of account executives depart from sales roles due to inadequate training or a disappointing onboarding experience. The best sales enablement program curtails this by ensuring reps receive top-tier training, reducing employee turnover.
Boosting Efficiency and Productivity: Alarmingly, sales reps allocate between 3-11 hours each week merely seeking essential data. Sales enablement platforms can address this by offering immediate access to necessary information, freeing up reps to focus on core selling tasks.
Strengthening Onboarding to Drive Revenue: An overwhelming 94% of sales leaders pinpoint the onboarding process as a critical determinant for sales success. The most effective sales enablement strategies ensure reps undergo thorough onboarding, laying a robust foundation for revenue growth.
Accelerating Sales Cycles: Equipped with timely tools and resources, sales reps can promptly address customer inquiries, fostering trust and speeding up sales cycles.
Ensuring Message Consistency: A consistent brand message is invaluable. Sales enablement guarantees that all reps present unified messaging, reinforcing brand identity and nurturing customer trust.
Sales Enablement vs. Sales Operations
Sales enablement is fundamentally about the “how” and “what” of selling. It focuses on training, content creation, and ensuring sales reps have essential information at their fingertips when prospecting and closing. It aims to shorten sales cycles by enhancing reps’ abilities and providing them with immediate, relevant guidance.
Sales operations is more about the “why” and the backend mechanics. It focuses on the analytical side of sales, aiming to improve processes, manage the CRM, and offer insights through data analysis. While sales enablement works closely with training, product, and marketing teams, sales operations often collaborate with finance, IT, and executive leadership. While both share the ultimate goal of driving sales and revenue, their approaches and areas of emphasis differ considerably.
Sales Enablement Example
Consider this example of Sendlane, an eCommerce-focused email & SMS marketing automation platform. Sendlane faced a growth dilemma with only two account executives and no sales enablement process.
They needed an efficient way to centralize information and provide training materials to scale their revenue teams tenfold. Impressed by the ability to embed content directly into the tools reps used, Keegan Otter, Director of Sales and Rev Ops, turned to Spekit.
Spekit’s just-in-time enablement platform delivers timely, bite-sized pieces of information directly within the daily applications and tools sales professionals use. It ensures that reps have access to relevant guidance and knowledge precisely when needed, enhancing productivity and effectiveness in real-time.
Using Spekit, Keegan swiftly imported and distributed training content to Sendlane’s revenue teams. Reps could access essential information through embedded Speks in their daily tools. This integration extended to 12+ tools, enhancing efficiency and eliminating the need for extensive training sessions.
Reps grasped new tools in just two weeks instead of 45 days, boosting confidence and productivity.
Real Spekit Customers Share How They Measure ROI
Spekit’s implementation reduced rollout time for new tools, streamlined processes, and accelerated revenue growth. Keegan expanded the team from two account executives to twenty, generating $3.7 million in pipeline and closing three-quarters of a million in revenue. Business development representative ramp time dropped from 90-120 days to 65, with an 88% retention rate.
Repetitive questions also dwindled, saving time for managers and reps alike.
Sales Enablement Tools
Tools for Sales Enablement empower sales teams by offering them a competitive edge, ensuring they can respond rapidly to customer needs and market changes.
Sales Enablement Platforms
These platforms ideally deliver real-time, contextually relevant resources and information to sales reps during interactions with potential customers. They streamline the process of accessing vital data, ensuring sales reps can swiftly and effectively respond to customer inquiries or challenges.
Spekit is one of these platforms. It offers just-in-time enablement by embedding contextual, bite-sized pieces of information (called Speks) directly into sales reps’ daily applications and tools. Speks provide reps with access to relevant guidance and information when needed. This reduces the time spent searching for answers and sitting through extensive training sessions.
Spekit also streamlines the onboarding process by providing new hires access to sales training tools and resources within their workflow.
A readily accessible knowledge base reduces ramp-up time and ensures reps are well-prepared to engage with customers. In addition, the platform’s analytics and reporting track user engagement with content and identifies areas where reps may need support.
This data-driven approach helps organizations continuously improve their sales enablement efforts.
Content Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM tools are software systems that help businesses manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle. Their primary goal is to enhance customer relationships, increase customer retention, and drive sales growth. The most popular CRMs include Salesforce, HubSpot, Microsoft Dynamics, and Zoho.
Content Management System
A CMS software tool allows users to create, edit, organize, and publish content. This means a centralized location for sales teams where all sales-related content — product sheets, promotional materials, and case studies — can be stored, accessed, and shared.
Learning Management System
A learning management system, or LMS, is an application providing various tools and frameworks to streamline learning activities. It’s a digital hub where sales reps can access educational courses, training modules, and other learning resources. If you need to deliver, build, or track your learning efforts, you might be shopping for an LMS.
However, the learning landscape is shifting. Only 31% of sales reps favor online courses, with 75% preferring hands-on learning. This means LMS platforms may be outdated with their learning techniques, prompting teams to seek innovative alternatives.
While an LMS can be a digital platform for accessing training materials and educational courses, it lags in keeping content relevant. It takes an average of 197 hours to create an hour-long LMS course. Business moves incredibly fast today, and most sales enablement teams cannot wait 197 hours to implement and train on changes or new resources.
It takes an average of 197 hours to create an hour-long LMS course.
As a result, teams are opting for fast, agile, just-in-time learning with platforms like Spekit that help employees become exponentially better every day with contextual, bite-size knowledge delivered where and when they need it.
Spekit offers tools for quickly creating and updating bite-sized content called Speks and other enablement content, ensuring information aligns with the latest product updates and sales strategies, and centralizes all sales enablement resources. This includes training materials, product data, sales playbooks, and best practices.
Unlike the static nature of traditional LMSs, Spekit allows for effortless content updates and seamless sharing, making it a dynamic and efficient choice for today’s sales teams.
Spekit makes it easy to deliver updated, contextual information to your reps.
Sales Enablement Benefits
Here’s a breakdown of the key benefits of implementing a sales enablement function within your organization:
Scales Sales & Deals
According to research, 78% of companies with an effective training program meet 100% of their sales quota. Sales enablement provides the tools and resources to replicate success across the sales team. By standardizing best practices and offering easy access to information, teams can ensure every rep has the tools to succeed.
Aligns Marketing & Sales Teams
One of the challenges many organizations face is the alignment between sales and marketing. Sales enablement bridges this gap by ensuring both teams work from the same playbook, use consistent messaging, and share insights.
Research from Gripped shows when there’s alignment between sales and marketing efforts, you can achieve a 23% increase in revenue.
Optimizes the Sales Pipeline
With the right data and resources, sales teams can more effectively guide potential customers through the sales funnel. From initial contact to final sale, enablement tools ensure each step is informed and efficient.
Improved Training & Ramp Time
New hires can be brought up to speed more quickly with effective sales enablement practices. With on-demand access to training resources and real-world examples, the time it takes for a new sales rep to begin creating and closing pipeline can be significantly reduced.
Monitoring the time it takes to meet sales quotas can give enablement experts valuable insights into whether sales reps perform. Recent studies have uncovered that companies that actively track this metric are 60% more likely to report a reduction in the time it takes for new sales reps to become fully productive over the past year.
Creates a Single Source of Truth
Instead of scattered information across various platforms and documents, sales enablement centralizes crucial knowledge by encouraging proper sales documentation. This ensures all team members work with up-to-date and accurate information, leading to more consistent and effective sales efforts.
Sales Enablement Challenges
This section will delve into the challenges of implementing sales enablement, shedding light on the obstacles organizations must navigate to ensure their teams are equipped for peak performance.
Resources span beyond just monetary considerations. They encompass time, manpower, and technology. Small to medium-sized businesses might struggle with allocating dedicated teams or funds for advanced sales enablement tools.
As a result, there’s often a reliance on outdated sales methodologies or makeshift solutions, which, while cost-effective, might not deliver the efficiency that modern sales enablement tools provide.
Delivering the Right Content at the Right Time
While a wealth of information is available, ensuring sales reps can access the specific content they need promptly is a genuine challenge. A rep might have a vast data or resource repository, but navigating it efficiently during a live call or meeting is daunting.
The real issue lies in curating and providing accessible content tailored to unique situations.
Spekit addresses this challenge by ensuring sales reps can instantly access content tailored to unique situations. Instead of sifting through a vast repository, they receive just-in-time guidance.
For instance, when discussing a particular product with a prospect or client, Spekit can provide immediate access to product specs, pricing, or objection-handling tips within their workflow. Additionally, traditional approaches often require reps to switch between multiple documents or applications, wasting valuable time and disrupting the flow of conversations.
Research conducted by Cornell University reveals that individuals spend approximately 59 minutes each day trying to locate information spread across various tools and documents.
Research conducted by Cornell University reveals that individuals spend 59 minutes daily trying to locate information spread across various tools and documents.
Spekit minimizes context switching by directly embedding relevant content into sales professionals’ daily tools and workflows. This streamlines the process, allowing reps to focus on engaging with prospects rather than hunting for information.
Misalignment with Sales & Marketing Teams
Traditionally, sales and marketing have functioned as distinct units with their own objectives. While marketing emphasizes broad outreach and brand building, sales focus on lead conversion. This difference in focus can sometimes result in mixed messages or overlapping efforts.
Over 50% of sales reps said the biggest impact of sales and marketing team misalignment is lost sales and revenue.HubSpot 2022
For example, marketing might produce materials that don’t resonate with the sales team. Or, sales might chase leads not in sync with marketing’s targeted demographics.
Difficult to Measure Impact
Many sales enablement programs face the challenge of measuring their effectiveness. Failing to track and measure program performance can be detrimental because without tangible evidence of value and return on investment (ROI), securing support from the C-suite for necessary resources becomes exceedingly difficult.
Furthermore, not measuring the right metrics can leave you wondering what’s working and what needs improvement. While your head of sales might express dissatisfaction with the program, without data, it’s unclear how to align your efforts with organizational objectives and key results (OKRs) to demonstrate a meaningful impact on the business.
Simply put, measuring the right metrics is crucial for program success and securing essential support and resources.
Providing Sales Team Support
Implementing new tools or strategies often requires sales reps to adapt and break from familiar routines. The primary challenges involve ensuring the sales team recognizes the benefits of these changes and receiving consistent training and support during the transition.
Without the necessary support, there’s a risk of tools being underutilized or facing resistance.
Sales Enablement Strategies to Know
Sales enablement strategies empower sales teams to excel, foster productive collaborations, and drive revenue growth.
1. Run an Audit
To ensure that sales enablement initiatives are relevant and impactful, starting with a thorough audit of existing sales processes, tools, and content is crucial. This assessment will highlight areas that are working well and those that need improvement.
For instance, certain tools might be underutilized or outdated, and specific training methods might be less effective than previously thought. Organizations can strategically allocate resources and prioritize initiatives by identifying these gaps and understanding the current landscape.
2. Determine Sale Enablement Goals
Setting clear and actionable goals for sales enablement initiatives is essential for tracking progress, measuring success, and ensuring alignment across teams. By identifying what you hope to achieve, you provide direction for your strategies and a standard against which to evaluate results.
Some common sales enablement goals might include:
- Shortening Sales Cycles: Aiming to reduce the time it takes from initial contact to closing a sale.
- Improving Training Efficiency: Streamlining the process to ensure that reps can be onboarded and the sales productivity gap can be bridged in the shortest time possible.
- Boosting CRM Adoption Rates: Encouraging more sales reps to utilize and engage actively with CRM platforms.
- Enhancing Content Utilization: Ensure that the sales team effectively and frequently uses the sales content created.
- Increasing Sales Conversions: Working towards uplifting the percentage of leads that turn into successful new customers.
- Aligning Sales and Marketing: Strengthening the collaboration between the two teams to ensure consistent messaging and strategy.
3. Use the Right Sales Enablement Software
Choosing the appropriate sales enablement software is important to the initiative’s success. The ideal software should seamlessly integrate with existing systems, particularly vital platforms like Salesforce, to minimize disruptions and ensure consistency. Additionally, it should be user-friendly to encourage adoption among sales reps.
Given every sale is different, the software should be adaptable, allowing for customization based on the specific needs and challenges of each use case. Furthermore, with the increasing trend of remote work, it’s also essential for the chosen platform to be accessible from anywhere and offer real-time updates.
Spekit integrates with various sales and CRM tools, such as Salesforce, HubSpot, and others. This integration enables reps to access relevant answers, playbooks, coaching, and guidance within these platforms, enhancing productivity.
Spekit’s efficient process for creating and delivering in-app training and support experiences also minimizes the necessity for sales and revenue teams to switch between applications.
4. Know Who’s Owning Your Sales Enablement Efforts
Accountability is key. The success of a sales enablement strategy often depends on clear ownership and responsibility. Whether it’s a dedicated sales enablement team, a combination of sales and marketing, or an external consultant, knowing who’s in charge ensures that strategies are implemented, tracked, and iterated upon.
This clarity also helps in streamlining communication and decision-making.
5. Offer Sales Enablement Training and On-Demand Resources
According to the State of Sales and Onboarding report by Demand Metric, a substantial 47% of sales representatives have left their roles because of a subpar onboarding process or inadequate training. This statistic underscores the importance of a good training program on reps’ performance and retention.
47% of sales representatives have left their roles due to a subpar onboarding process or inadequate training.Demand Metric
Instead of relying on one-off training sessions, consider continuous learning opportunities (often called Everboarding) that can address the changing needs and challenges of the sales environment.
On-demand resources, especially those accessible directly within the workflow like just-in-time learning, empower reps to get the information they need exactly when they need it, leading to more confident and effective selling.
6. Measure Sales Enablement Impact
It’s not enough to implement strategies; the impact must be measurable. This requires setting clear KPIs from the outset, which might include metrics like shorter sales cycles, higher conversion rates, or increased CRM adoption. But as mentioned earlier, many sales enablement programs struggle because they don’t track and measure these KPIs.
Continually measuring impact enables businesses to ensure their enablement efforts are yielding desired results and make necessary adjustments in real-time. Furthermore, connecting these metrics directly to revenue outcomes highlights the value of sales enablement to the broader organization.
Improve Sales Enablement Successes
Sales enablement represents a comprehensive approach to arming sales teams with the essential information, skills, and tactics required to thrive in today’s fiercely competitive business landscape. It involves uniting marketing and sales departments, harmonizing their endeavors, and ensuring every sales team member is fully prepared to interact with customers and successfully close deals.
For the most successful implementation of your sales enablement strategies, turn to Spekit. Spekit helps sales enablement teams across industries transform company operations by streamlining onboarding, providing real-time access to crucial knowledge, and increasing productivity.
With 80% higher ramp times, 70% increases in deal save rates, and 20% higher rep quota attainment, Spekit makes it easy to prove the value of your sales enablement programs.
About the Author
Elle is a boy momma 2x, brand builder, storyteller, growth hacker, and marketing leader with 12+ years of experience scaling SaaS B2B organizations. Follow Elle on LinkedIn here ->