Friday, April 8, 2016

7 sales enablement tips for every entrepreneur

By David Ronald

Some business people think that sales enablement is simply sales training.

It’s a common misperception that can lead to millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours wasted. Instead, sales enablement is about getting the right content into the hands of the right reps, at the right time through the right channel. It sounds easy, but it’s not.

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Here are 9 tips that will help ensure that your sales reps are being supported by an effective sales enablement strategy.

1. Develop impactful sales collateral

An effective library of sales collateral includes crafting content that is relevant to specific buyer personas at each stage of the buying process. Avoid the mistake, for example, of talking “speeds and feeds” to someone in finance, or profit and loss to someone in engineering. Identify your key buying personas, understand their business issues and create content relevant to each one.

2. Create great sales playbooks

The role of a sales book is, essentially, to guide your sales reps through every interaction with buyer at the moment, from the first contact to the sales close (and beyond, if your business model includes seizing post-sales opportunities). Spend time developing playbooks and update them frequently as your interaction with prospects expands—learn from your failures and your success. And look upon the time you spend developing playbooks as an investment, not a chore.

3. Provide frequent training

Be sure to identify the necessary competencies, skills and knowledge that your sales team needs to be successful. And keep in mind that continuous education should be provided to all reps at all levels of your sales organization. Develop a blend of internally-led training and consultant-led programs that enable you to offer both the relevancy and inspiration that your sales team will benefit from.

4. Introduce a certification program

The purpose of a sales certification program is to identify gaps in the abilities of your sales reps so you know where to focus coaching and training. Develop a program that educates and reinforces key learnings. Provide incentives, hard and soft, that motivate your reps to strive for the next level of certification.

5. Leverage gamification concepts

The concept behind gamification is to apply game design techniques to engaging and motivating people to achieve their goals. Gamification can, therefore, play a huge role in increasing sales productivity—spiffs, stack ranking, and president's club trips have been widely used because salespeople respond to friendly competition, visibility, and recognition. Identify additional fun contests to incentivize to your sales reps.

6. Coach constantly

Coaching is about supporting your sales team, especially the junior reps, throughout the sales process. Coaching differs from training by being the rhythm which allows for constant reinforcement of best practices and remedy of poor ones.

7. Collect and act on data

It’s crucial to measure as many performance indicators as possible. For example, track how many opportunities are in the pipeline, how the pipeline to quota ratio is changing and your revenue run rates. The more you data you collect and analyze, the better informed you’ll be— and the more information you have, the high the probability that the decisions you make concerning sales strategy will be the right ones.

Thanks for reading. Do you agree with everything on this list?

Did we leave anything off?

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