What Is Sales Enablement? The Resources Your Sales Team Needs to Close More Deals

Sean Lund-Brown

As a business professional, chances are you know what it takes to be a leader. You have the passion, the drive, and the know-how to go about your daily tasks, meet strict demands, and bring your A-game, no matter the circumstances. If that sounds like you, you're probably the type of person who's always asking the big questions, like "How can we do better this quarter?" or "How can I help my team be more productive at work?" There's one buzzword blowing up all over the internet, and it is potentially the missing piece in your business and sales strategy.

What is this buzzword (or two) raising the next generation of business leaders to the next level? Sales enablement. If you are not practicing sales enablement, you may find yourself at the back of the pack in 2022. Let's explore the top sales enablement strategies and the resources your sales team needs to close more deals.

Sales enablement overview

Sales enablement isn't necessarily a "one-size-fits-all" solution. When you're looking to establish a sales enablement system in your own business, you'll use your unique knowledge and expertise in your field to determine what's best for your team. Sales enablement is a system of actions you take to enable your sales team to close more deals in less time by providing your sales team with the necessary resources.

To integrate successful sales enablement practices involves analyzing:

● Data relevant to current sales

● How many closures you're getting in a given period

● How many leads are progressing to closed deals

● How long your sales team is taking from finding a lead to closing a deal

Part of sales enablement is about getting leads, but the priority is to focus on the right leads. Your sales team is a cog in the machine of your business. Finding clients and closing deals is everybody's responsibility, and you want every cog working like a well-oiled machine.

In addition, sales enablement helps your employees avoid burnout. Instead of chasing dead-end leads, they'll spend more time saying, "Thank you for being a loyal customer." In other words, your business is the big game; sales enablement is a combination of all the plays in your company's playbook. You want your team to study it, eat it, breathe it, sleep on it, and master it to win the championship ring.

Sales enablement practices you need to implement ASAP

After some thought, maybe you've already been using sales enablement tactics. But consider this—are you using the right sales enablement tactics? And when was the last time you updated your sales enablement tactics to match current market trends?

According to statistics from Learn Hub, there has been a 343% increase in sales enablement practices over the past five years. This is evidence that sales teams are seeing increased productivity, more closed deals, and returning customers after using sales enablement strategies to transform their approach to sales.

Regardless of the size of your business or sales team, you can implement sales enablement practices right now as you explore your options for virtual receptionists and other software to strengthen your sales team. The tactics you can implement include finding the right clients and enhancing current client relationships.

Find the right clients

Companies with a sales enablement team cite they're 52% more likely to have a sales process that aligns with the buyer's journey. According to a video on Impact's YouTube channel, only about 27% of B2B (business-to-business) leads actually passed from marketing to sales are even deemed to be qualified prospects. This means your sales teams might be wasting hours or even days trying to convert clients who are just not a good match for your company. That's what we call a one-way ticket to burnout city!

Clients are everything, but it's also about finding the right client for your product or service. As part of your sales enablement practices, you may want to create a checklist of what makes a "good" client. This guide will allow your sales team to pursue clients worth pursuing and cut their losses for clients that don't fit the bill. Solid sales enablement strategies can make the members of your sales team better matchmakers.

Enhance current client relationships

The next time you are looking for ways to improve your business, don't forget why you started: To serve your customers and create a long-term relationship with them. Sales enablement is about enhancing relationships; this practice has become especially important during the past three years.

Because many businesses have experienced customer losses, employee turnover, and a dip in sales, it's essential to look toward the future and be prepared for anything. Additionally, people are experiencing relationships and conversations differently and often remotely. We've felt increased levels of stress and lack of connection. While this doesn't mean everybody is feeling this in the same way, it's a reality that has affected the market and how we do business. When training (or refreshing) your sales team, keep these circumstances in mind.

General good sales practices won't go out the window with sales enablement strategies. It's just another tool in your toolbox, and the fact is, your competitors are already implementing it. Google Analytics shows the search term "sales enablement" is being searched more frequently each month, revealing it as a growth strategy that employers are using to prepare their teams for the future of business.

Gather your sales team

Before a full launch into all the tools and resources at your disposal for sales enablement, allow us to emphasize the importance of personal responsibility and initiative throughout the sales enablement process. Sales enablement is apparently about improving your sales team and its tactics. Nevertheless, an effective strategy involves every specialist, every administrator, and of course, you.

Your company culture also plays a significant role in the efficacy of your sales enablement strategy. At the end of the day, no one wants to work for a lackluster company.

Refocus Your leadership

The other important aspect of sales enablement is your leadership style and skills. You're probably a go-getter if you're successful in business with fairly happy employees and even happier clients. But we all have our bad days, weeks, months, or even years. You can't really blame a decline in sales on "the economy" or "the market," or "our client base."

Will some of these factors affect your sales numbers? Absolutely. But if you want to overcome these challenges, you're after tools, not excuses.

As a sales team leader, you need to instill that “hustle” mindset in your team. The more your team implements its sales enablement resources and tools, the more successful it should be. There will be a learning curve, and you may see a dip in sales as your team and leads adjust to your sales tactics, but once you're on an upswing, you'll begin to see the fruits of your labor.

Pick a sales enablement leader

If you don't already have a leader for your sales enablement strategy, you need to hire one. You can choose to do it, but it can be helpful to assign someone else the task. A fresh, outside perspective helps to shake things up. Management will depend on your company size and how you've chosen to organize your employees.

Initially, most of this process begins with you. Hopefully, because of a strong company culture built on loyalty and shared goals, the rest of your employees will follow your lead. Regardless of how your team functions right now, it's your job to implement practices that help focus on your team's strengths. Know their weaknesses, as well, but utilize tools to turn those weaknesses into strengths.

Resources and tools for your sales team

Source: Visualize ROI

Now, it's time for the meat of sales enablement and resources you can provide to your sales team. This is not a complete list of every tool or resource available, but it will cover the basics. You can break down this system under two main umbrellas: The people and the software.

The resource: your people

When we say “people,” we're specifically referring to your sales team (and marketing experts who will play their own role in developing content). To have a rock-solid sales enablement strategy, you want everybody to be on the same page. Maybe you've been doing this for a while and are comfortable and familiar with the process. Your team, especially new hires, may not be.

For your current team members, start by establishing a shared vision. Help them see the goal for what you're trying to create here. Explain how sales enablement can give them a better experience or make it easier for them to follow through with sales.

Include sales enablement in your onboarding for new team members, even if they're not directly on the sales team. Having your entire workforce with a sales mindset will foster a better environment for closing deals when you need them the most.

Tools

People-focused sales enablement tools include the guidelines and systems utilized to inspire, encourage, and educate the people doing the footwork. This includes:

● Sales rep-to-client interactions, whether face to face, over the phone, or online

● The attitudes of each of your sales representatives

● Training modules, participation in modules, willingness to be coachable, and collaboration between the sales and marketing teams

● Your company culture

● Your leadership style and involvement

Training

Source: The Brevet Group

Sales enablement training will cover various topics. During the training process, encourage questions and have opportunities for your team to model scenarios together. Learning these tools together will help them to feel more like they are part of the process. We've included three potential training topics below.

1. Cut down on unhelpful or directionless conversation, aka "cut to the chase"

Yes, you still want everyone to have a professional, friendly relationship with clients, particularly returning clients. But there's a difference between connecting and letting your client distract or bulldoze you. Make sure your sales team members understand what they're looking for in a client and empower them with the skills they need to direct the conversation where it needs to go.

Identifying an ideal client early in the process cuts down on wasted time for both you and the client. Create a checklist of the ideal client.

2. Ask the right questions

You don't want to assume somebody will close the deal because everything is going well "in theory" or "on paper." Your top sales reps need to understand how to ask the right questions so that the client is not left grappling with the questions, doubts, and/or concerns at the end of correspondence with your team.

What are the right questions? Primarily, we're referring to wrapping up a sales call by asking, "Now, what questions do you have for me." Instruct your sales team to pick up on hints and clues from the conversation if the client says they don't have any questions.

See, there's a good chance the client has questions or concerns but isn't sure how to ask them. Your sales team should have an awareness going into these conversations of key indicators like this:

● The most frequently asked questions related to your product, service, billing, etc.

● The most common concerns

● The reasons people back out of a sale before closing the deal

3. Put power back into your clients' hands

Clients respond to how you make them feel. They're more likely to make a sale when they feel empowered, respected, and guided. A powerful and effective technique to capitalize on this is what's called "assignment selling."  If you're unfamiliar with this or haven't implemented it before, assignment selling refers to providing some "homework" for clients at various points in the selling process.

This may be at the beginning, as they're selecting a particular product or service or just before closing a deal. It's a way of getting the client to "self-teach" ahead of time. While you're evaluating them on the scale of ideal clients, they also are clearer on what they're looking for. They can choose to opt in or out of your services based on education. But even if they opt out, they're left trusting you and your level of expertise.

The homework can involve certain types of software, but it can also be simple. It could be as quick as having a sales representative reach out to them via email with a video or a product guide to the lead.

What you learn from sales enablement in action

With these sales techniques, the client must act. And when you reach out again, you'll have a better idea of how serious they are based upon whether they finished their assignment.

Once your people are on board with sales enablement and relationships are healthy, you'll want to look into the technology, online tools, software, and outsourcing companies available to you. Whether it's a matter of cutting down call time, reducing complaints, or ensuring you are getting back to every potential client who reaches out, consider using automated software to manage all company-to-client contacts.

The tool: your software

Sales enablement is a strategy to close deals quickly and efficiently by providing your sales team with the necessary resources. The resources you provide your sales team will be considered content resources and, in this case, software.

Each company is unique, and your budget for integrating software into its sales enablement program is, too. Do not stretch your budget but make it a goal to add to your sales enablement software as you find success.

Below are a few examples of software that can help with your sales enablement practices.

Utilize pre-recorded and SMS messages

Thanks to tech trends, 31% of American adults would prefer a quick message to a phone call. Pre-recorded messages like an online chat box or an SMS message (text message) are used for following up with clients.

People get busy, so this is a non-intrusive way of interacting with potential customers who opt in. Utilizing an automated virtual receptionist will also reduce the time your sales team is answering quick inquiries.

Create a trove of email templates and email sequencing

Sources: Copper and The Brevet Group

Email templates help to reduce the time your sales team spends trying to write perfect pitches. Your sales team can modify the template as it interacts with clients by creating a customizable template. This reduces room for error and leaves more time and energy to focus on sales and client relationships.

Email sequences serve a similar purpose when compared to email templates. The main difference is these are usually scheduled as follow-up emails. They serve as reminders so that the conversation isn't simply lost or forgotten after initially reaching out to a contact. Your sales team can personalize these sequences in a way that lets the customer know you, your business's brand, and how your services can ultimately serve them. You could even include that client "homework" in these emails.

Believe it or not, email marketing is not dead; in fact, email marketing is still in the top five methods for reaching out to a potential client base. By some experts' estimations, it's only second to phone calls. So, when you're emailing potential clients, don't assume you have to be the master of all trades. Take advantage of tools, training, and software available to you.

Integrate recording software

Integrating phone call and video call recording software can allow:

● Managers and company executives to listen in on phone calls or video calls.

● Follow-up surveys with customers after an interaction with a sales agent.

● Understanding as to why a client followed through with a sale or quit pursuing a deal.

Many companies already use such tools to protect the sales agent and client from criminal activity or sexual harassment while using other calls for training purposes.

Invest in a virtual receptionist

Virtual receptionist software can be something as simple as organizational or team development software on a site like Smith.ai. Artificial intelligence isn't scary as it is depicted in the movies, and the fact is your competitors are taking advantage of it.

AI can give back hours of your time, and documentation with an electronic paper trail is a great tool for data analysis and tracking improvements. Allow each sales rep access to a virtual receptionist to track their progress, tasks, and clients. Gone are the days of notebooks and a pen; embrace a virtual receptionist and free up your sales team to do more sales!

Invest in employee training platforms

Your company can do training in person or online, but improving your sales reps' training is one way to increase sales. They need to know how to ask clients the right questions, how to use the latest software, and continuously stay up to date on the latest news and techniques relevant to your company and field.

The best part about employee training is that you can do it at any stage. Training can happen as a new hire, on a monthly team basis, or yearly as a company. The best sales team is the one that's always learning and seeking to improve.

Constantly evaluate your sales enablement program

Whenever you implement a new policy, training program, or tool for your business, there must be some way to measure how your sales team is doing with the changes. You can use software to compare relevant data each month, quarter, six months, or year.

You also want to involve other departments in your company, including your marketing team, in some of your sales meetings, fostering better client outreach tactics and in-office relationships.

Evaluations and mentorships

Utilizing the same software your sales team uses to track daily tasks, sales, etc., your sales enablement manager can review various analytics and compare them to the pre- and post-integration of your resources and new tools. You may choose to analyze the data on your own, in a group setting, or even individually. If you choose to share data in a group, keep names off sales data to avoid competition or harassment. You want to foster a relationship of growth and unity, not bitterness and backstabbing.

Take the time to meet with sales team members who are struggling to meet targets. Listen to their concerns, personal or professional, and devise a plan to move forward. A great idea may be to provide your struggling employee with a mentor.

Depending on the size of your company, that may be you, or it could be someone else. Then again, evaluate after a specific amount of time. You can continue this process until the individual improves and all parties agree the mentorship is “over.”

Make updates to your sales enablement program

Don't let your new sales enablement program grow stale. As part of your evaluation, you need to make an effort to update the tools and resources you've implemented or created: templated email correspondence, phone recordings, or even sales targets.

Since it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day aspects of sales, plan out updates quarterly or ask your sales enablement leader to keep a running report of the changes they make so that you can monitor the differences in sales over time.

Collaborate with other departments

Additionally, work with your marketing team to push for sales on their end and drive customers to your sales team via outside marketing. Allow your marketing team to interview your sales team to get ideas on customers' questions, the average sales process, etc. As the two groups work together, you'll have a greater chance of success. A common example of departments working together to push sales is the "Deal Desk."

How to establish an interdepartmental deal desk

A deal desk is a team that collects and analyzes leads. These team members assign a priority label to each prospective client or deal. This initial step allows the sales team to focus on the clients that have a greater probability of closing a deal. Your deal desk team should include representation from any department that touches or impacts potential deals such as:

● Sales

● Production

● Legal

● Finance

This collaboration creates a greater sense of teamwork and empowerment. As their leader, you're allowing a skilled team of individuals to push for more sales in less time.

While creating a deal desk may seem challenging, especially if your company is small, it is a tactic that can become a goal. If you have the resources to do it, creating a deal desk will help weed out unwanted clients, allowing your sales team to focus on the clients with the most potential.

Review of sales enablement key points

Sales enablement can lead to greater growth for your business. The resources you provide your sales team can be the difference between closing deals and failing to land a single client. Let's review some of the key points we've talked about so far:

Focus on finding the right clients.

○ Implement a deal desk to remove unlikely clients.

○ Create the ideal client and share that description with your sales team.

Enhance your current client relationships.

○ Reach out more often, survey satisfaction, and foster further sales with your current clients.

Create a dedicated sales team if you don't have one already.

○ Hire a sales enablement leader to oversee your sales team.

Provide your employees with the right tools so that they can be successful.

○ Constant training as a group or for individuals will keep your team fresh and up to date with the latest sales enablement tactics.

○ Buy software that will aid your sales team with analytics and automation of things like surveys and email follow-ups.

Evaluation and analysis of your sales team will allow you to find weak points to focus on training and celebrate growth and increased success.

○ Provide mentorships to team members who need more training or sales development.

○ Update sales enablement resources as your team uses the skills and tools you have provided.

○ Collaborate with other departments to foster friendship and further sales growth.

Remember that you don't have to implement all these sales enablement resources at once. Evaluate your company, team, and resources before you jump in headfirst. Start with finding the right clients for your company and work from there. Starting small may help your team better integrate the new sales enablement tactics, then set a goal for the next step or resource in your sales enablement arsenal.

Smith.ai helps to find leads, save time, and close deals

Smith.ai is a virtual receptionist company with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) software that helps businesses run smoothly. We work with solo entrepreneurs, small businesses, enterprises, law firms, and consulting firms. By working with Smith.ai, you will give your sales team more time to interact with clients, which gets them closer to closing deals. Leave the everyday clerical work to Smith.ai.

We offer the following features:

24/7 phone services. Live agents can answer your client's questions with the material you provide to Smith.ai.

24/7 website chat. Agents and AI work to gather leads for your sales team based upon live chat features on your website.

SMS text answering. Clients can text and receive responses like regular text messages, eliminating the need to be on a long phone call.

Facebook messaging. Like a live chat, agents manage any incoming Facebook messages your company receives.

Lead screening and intake. You set the criteria for a good client candidate, and our agents will screen those who call or chat.

Appointment scheduling. Agents can book appointments from leads or chat/phone calls that fit your schedule.

Outbound call & campaigns. Let Smith.ai reach out to your potential leads so you don’t miss any sales.

We offer business-saving software to allow your team potential growth. Our tools can help you manage everything from finding new networks to first contacting potential leads. Working with our team means passing some of the "busy work" to virtual receptionists, freeing your sales team to work on training, mentorship, client relationships, and more.

Our bilingual agents can help potential clients reach your team and provide you with the resources you need to potentially close a deal. We support small businesses, mid-sized businesses, and large corporations 24/7 on the phone, and on the computer.

With our company’s cutting-edge software and professional receptionists, you are the master of your deal-closing destiny.

Partner up with Smith.ai as you pursue your sales enablement goals

Sales enablement requires focus and drive and having the resources to do those things is important. Smith.ai can help you stay on task while you use your time to find ways to empower your team with sales enablement that helps you meet your goals. You can save time on the everyday tasks by leaving those to us while you focus on what’s most important to your team right now.

If you would like to learn more about our services and how we can enhance your lead generation efforts, you can schedule a free, 30-minute sales consultation on our Calendly to find out how we can help. You can also review our general pricing, which comes with a 14-day, money-back guarantee. We’re also happy to answer any questions you have. Feel free to call or text us at (650) 727-6484 or email us at hello@smith.ai, and we will get back to you shortly.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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