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What is Sales Enablement?

Posted by Matthew Penchuk on February 12, 2018
Matthew Penchuk

Sales enablement is a loaded term, so we'll do our best to break it down, and to do this, WhatisSalesEnablementwe'll look at the two teams that drive revenue within a typical company: sales and marketing. 

This aim of this post is to explain the abridged version of sales enablement. It's an intro to a concept and a practice that's wide-reaching in terms of revenue and overall growth.

"Sales enablement is the processes, content, and technology that empower sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity." - Kyle Jepson, HubSpot

If nothing else, the take-away here should be that gaining control of the sales process early on gives sales teams more influence. And that marrying the skills of the marketing team and the skills of the sales team results in higher overall company revenue. 

I'll explain...

Sales and marketing have pretty distinct personality traits. Typically, salespeople think in the short-term. They don't rely on one set of rules because every prospect and sale is different. And a majority of their work centers on end of sale/bottom-of-the-funnel conversations. Then there's marketing. Marketers love research and adhering to rules and data. They're taught to think in terms of longevity and goals and their work typically focuses on the top of the sales funnel.

Marketing and sales, on the surface, are not built to communicate, let alone align. Different processes, different mindsets, different goals. 

On the surface, it seems as if they're not meant to work together. However, when you look a little deeper, you'll find that the two professions are complementary.

I'll explain further...

Most research agrees that prospects are approximately 60% of the way through the purchase process before a company is approached.

By the time prospects pick up the phone to talk to sales, or if they're ready to buy after being contacted via a cold call, they've already gone through the first four steps of the buyer's journey:

Step 1: [PRE-SALE] Prospect has an awareness of his particular need -- "Does a fix to my problem exist?"

Step 2: [PRE-SALE] Prospect has investigated her options -- "What solutions exist?"

Step 3: [PRE-SALE] Prospect is committed to the fact that things need to change -- "Will this solve my problem?"

Step 4: [PRE-SALE] Prospect has started selecting a solution -- "Will this solution work within our environment?"

Steps 1-4 of the buyer's journey are typically conducted digitally, leaving salespeople people to work with the bottom of the sales funnel, Steps 5-6, when potential customers are ready to make a purchase:

Step 5: [SALE] Prospect needs to validate their choice and decides to engage with sales -- "Can you help me justify the cost and value, and are there 3rd party references I can speak with?"

Step 6: [SALE] Prospect is ready to make a purchase -- "Please help me through the buying process and to work through our internal purchasing process with other stakeholders."

Marketing + Sales = A Strong Revenue Team

When marketing and sales align, sales increase by as much as 60 percent due to the fact that the two teams, working together, enable a company to start talking to a prospect at the beginning stages of the buyer's journey. When companies reach prospects earlier on in the buyer's journey, they have greater influence over the entire buying process. But in order to successfully do this, it's necessary to have disruptive insights to engage prospects early on in their journey -- and this is where marketing shines.

With marketing's help, sales will be involved in all six steps listed above with insight that's gathered throughout the sales process. To do this, marketing teams deploy the tactics and strategies needed to engage early on in order to run a finely tuned lead-generation and lead-nurturing campaign. Starting from Step 5, sales engages the prospect to establish trust, build rapport, confirm alignment with budget, authority, need and timing. They also create emotional resonance, and then close the sale. 

What it Takes to Sell at a Higher Velocity

A well-built sales enablement strategy has all of the elements that empower teams to sell at a higher velocity. It takes the sharp skills of marketers, and those of sales, and puts them to use to benefit the company.

Within the overall sales enablement framework, there are many facets.

Next, we'll talk about the importance of aligning your teams around a unified revenue goal. Please stay tuned. Or, if you're ready to take a deeper dive now, click on the box below to learn about how our agency enables companies to sell at a higher velocity. 

 How We Enable Companies to Sell at a Higher Velocity

Topics: Sales Enablement