Tag: sales enablement


The Competitive Edge for Sales: Dedicated Sales Enablement

Source: Business 2 Community

Does your organization have a sales enablement strategy?

It should!

No matter the organization size or industry, a thoughtful strategy for sales success—including a dedicated sales enablement (or sales readiness) team and a Sales Enablement platform—is a game changer.

Clients often come to us because they need help closing the divide that exists between sales and marketing, and our platform can help do just that. But, the platform is only one part of the equation, and we were curious how many companies have implemented holistic sales enablement programs across the board, what they consider as sales enablement activities, how effective they are, and how actively are organizations executing them.

So, that’s why we partnered with Heinz Marketing to conduct a study comprised of nearly 450 B2B sales and marketing professionals, aimed at answering those questions, and more.

In the interest of time, we’ve summarized the top five observations we gleaned from the study, which should help you plan your 2016 marketing investments.

1. If you think your sales team isn’t effective, you’re not alone.

It may seem like sales is getting thrown under the bus, but just over half of the survey respondents were from sales departments! This is a clear indicator that sales teams need more help, especially because 60-70% of the buyer’s journey happens before a prospect ever talks to sales. However, it’s the sales team’s job to engage with the customer and close the deal, and only 48% of survey respondents ranked their sales efforts as effective. Organizations with dedicated sales enablement teams scored much higher in this area. It’s worth noting, too, that a good sales enablement program can boost sales’ ability to meet quota by 50%, so the opportunity for improvement in this area is significant.

2. Companies with sales enablement teams perform much better on meaningful business metrics.

Across the board, organizations recognize the importance of sales enablement activities and rank them high in value. Sales enablement teams produce real business results, including:

  • increased conversion rates,
  • helping increase sales productivity,
  • improving sales’ ability to sell, and
  • improving marketing’s ability to deliver the right content to support sales efforts.

Organizations without sales enablement teams report very mediocre effectiveness in sales enablement tasks.

3. Sales enablement drives effectiveness in key areas.

The numbers reliability pointed to the effectiveness of a regimented sales enablement program: 57% of respondents with sales enablement teams reported that their sales efforts were effective or very effective versus only 35% without. Organizations with sales enablement teams were also significantly more effective (by as much as 25%) on key sales support activities versus organizations without.

4. Unfortunately, most organizations are slow to focus on Sales Enablement.

Even though its importance appears widely recognized, only 37% of organizations have a dedicated, focused sales enablement team. It makes perfect sense, then, that 31% of all companies reported that their sales enablement efforts were ineffective. The opportunity here is wildly untapped. And considering the benefits a dedicated sales enablement team brings to sales performance, organizations should make this a priority for 2016.

5. Content is king. But only if it’s in the right hands at the right time.

Four of the eight activities that defined sales enablement centered on content; producing, organizing, distributing, training on, delivering to prospects and measuring content. Solving the “content problem” requires a complete solution, including publishing, organizing, making accessible by sales, presenting or emailing to customer and measuring quality and performance. Without a reliable, structured way to distribute content, all of the other aspects of it become moot. The fact is, more than 70% of respondents rely on email to distribute content to their sales organization, and more than 45% rely on a shared network drive to deliver sales collateral and content—this is not efficient or effective. And without a closed-loop process to measure the performance and quality of content, marketing has no reliable way to improve content effectiveness. Only 12% have a dedicated Sales Enablement solution in place, which would help solve almost every aspect of the content problem, aside from actually creating the content in the first place.

How does your organization stack up in these areas?

If you’re falling short, don’t be discouraged. This is a relatively new area, and the study shows that most organizations have much room for improvement. Think of this as an opportunity to create a competitive advantage, not a problem.

For better sales performance, Make Sales Enablement a priority in 2016.

It’s very clear to us that:

  • Dedicated sales enablement teams deliver results because they help reduce the friction that often exists between sales and marketing and drive towards the common goal— increasing revenue
  • The right Sales Enablement platform can fix the “my sales teams can’t find the content” problem, and focus both organizations on creating better conversations with customers

Top-Performing Organizations Prioritize Sales Enablement, Says Forbes Insights/Brainshark Report

Source: Forbes

As companies look to compete more effectively and grow revenue, sales enablement is a strategic priority among leading organizations today, according to a new report by Forbes Insights, in association with Brainshark. Report data shows that 59% of companies that surpassed revenue targets – and 72% that exceeded them by 25% or more – have a defined sales enablement function, compared to only 30% of underperforming organizations.

The report, “The Power of Enablement: Bridging the Sales Productivity Gap,” contains findings from 216 U.S.-based executives related to how they address the problem of sales productivity. For the C-suite, driving sales productivity and closing the divide between top- and lower-performing salespeople are foremost concerns, with 71% of C-level executives noting that sales productivity is “critical” to future growth.

“Put plainly, sales productivity matters to top leaders today – and it should. Results show that it’s the most important management focus for companies, more critical than any other factor,” said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer and head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media. “This report outlines what companies need to do to maximize sales productivity, underscoring the power of sales enablement and the key role content plays in helping reps close more deals.”

Brainshark CEO Joe Gustafson said: “You have to tackle sales productivity from two angles: improving efficiency and improving effectiveness. Through a combination of people, processes and technology, companies can overcome sales challenges, help their ‘B’ and ‘C’ reps perform more like ‘A’ players, and support more valuable sales conversations that drive more results.”

Additional key report findings include:

  • Sales enablement solutions (55%) are the top technology investments for boosting sales productivity – Other key areas included analytics (54%), CRM (53%) and learning technologies (45%).
  • Content is the secret ingredient to sales productivity – Top-performing companies look to sales enablement technology to power their content strategies. Sales content analytics (44%) and easy, instant access to content in the field (41%) are the primary features these leading companies look for from a sales enablement solution.
  • Leading companies provide consistent sales messages. Seven out of 10 top-performing organizations excel at providing a consistent sales message throughout the buyer’s journey, compared to 37% of all other firms.
  • Value and consistency separate top salespeople from the pack – Leading companies identify two defining characteristics of their top-performing salespeople: the ability to sell value over price (81%) and consistency of execution (74%).
  • Sales enablement can’t ignore front-line sales managers – Nearly three-fourths (74%) of leading companies cite coaching and mentoring of sales reps as the most important role front-line sales managers play.
  • Leading companies value sales and marketing alignment. Three-fourths of top-performing organizations have strong alignment between sales and marketing, compared to just half of all other firms. In contrast, 87% of companies below revenue targets report poor sales and marketing alignment.

About this research:

This report is based on a survey of 216 U.S.-based executives conducted by Forbes Insights during the summer of 2015. All respondents were from companies with more than $50 million in annual sales; 34% were from companies with sales exceeding $5 billion. To achieve an added layer of insight, Forbes Insights also interviewed several executives and experts, incorporating some of their advice within the report.