Best Practices in HR
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Leigh Shevchik
  June 1, 2017

The 3 C’s of Sales Enablement



According to sales industry thought leaders, the definition of sales enablement is constantly evolving. But to seasoned sales reps who’ve logged many a mile on the customer journey, there’s a less elegant but more honest word to describe the current state of sales enablement: confusing. Executives in charge of making sales enablement investments often have one definition, while sales reps who are supposed to benefit from them have another.

This is not a scenario where both sides can diplomatically agree to disagree, because the gap between their definitions is costly and frustrating.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get those who buy sales enablement solutions and those who use them on the same page: establish a unifying definition of sales enablement that is simple, meaningful and functional. And that’s where the 3 Cs enter the picture.

The 3 Cs refer to the core aspects that lay the foundation – and drive the vision – of real-world sales enablement: content management, customer engagement and coaching excellence.

Content Management

How important is hyper-relevant content to sales success? 95% of customers choose businesses that give them ample content at each stage of the buyer’s journey. And speaking of the buyer’s journey: most customers are 67% along that informative voyage before they interact with a sales rep. Crunch the numbers, and it’s easy to see why strong content management is a core aspect of successful sales enablement.

As such, sales reps need tools to quickly find, present and share the precise content they need for each customer — including in real-time during conversations, meetings and presentations. They also need to get automatic content recommendations for each opportunity in the CRM.

Customer Engagement

Today’s customers want a more personalized and responsive sales experience. That’s hardly breaking news. Yet what should raise some few eyebrows – at least among managers and executives – is that the average sales rep spends just 35.9% of their time actively selling. The rest of the time is spent on tedious and time consuming administrative tasks, such as trying to reach customers to see what they’re doing and where they are, searching various drives and devices for content, and creating proposals from scratch. Sales enablement worthy of the term liberate sales reps to provide what customers want: engagement, engagement and more engagement.

To that end, sales reps need tools that free up their time. This is especially important for B2B opportunities, where the sales cycle typically lasts for months, and multiple buyer personas must be engaged to usher a deal forward (e.g. executives, tech, operations, finance, etc.). To maximize their active selling time, sales reps also need a library of ready-made proposal templates that are organized by deal size, stage, buyer persona, etc.

Coaching Excellence

New hires who experience a structured onboarding program are 69% more likely to remain with the organization for at least three years, and ongoing coaching can yield up to 50% higher net sales per rep. Sales enablement must target both of these, while streamlining the process so that new and experienced reps alike spend less time (or better yet, no time) slogging their way through a bureaucratic learning process, and more time engaging customers, building solutions and closing deals.

In light of this, new hires and experienced sales reps need tools to access digital training and coaching events and assets (e.g. webinars, videos, playbooks, best practice pointers, etc.), along with a centralized hub that encourages knowledge sharing throughout the organization. At the same time, sales managers need tools to track performance at the individual rep and team levels, so they can proactively identify training and coaching needs instead of waiting for problems to emerge before scrambling into action.

The Bottom Line

It’s true that the definition of sales enablement is dynamic – and that’s good. The business landscape itself is constantly shifting based on factors and variables that we know about and expect; and sometimes more profoundly by those we don’t know of and can’t anticipate.

However, the fact that sales enablement is constantly evolving shouldn’t make us lose sight of the basic truth that it really doesn’t matter how sales enablement is variously described in theory: it matters what sales enablement actually does in practice. And when this reality is characterized by enterprise-grade content management, customer engagement and coaching excellence, sales enablement translates into substantially improved bottom-line results.

And really, isn’t this the whole point and purpose of sales enablement in the first place?

Always remember the core aspects that drive the vision of Sales Enablement: content management, customer engagement and coaching excellence.