It is clear that the definition of “sales enablement” is widely and hotly debated. Despite all the buzz, many are still left without a bounded, definitive answer to their question, “What is sales enablement?” The following is intended to provide such a definition and dissect the parts that make up the whole of sales enablement to provide a better understanding of what everyone’s talking about.

So what is sales enablement, and why should I care?

Sales Enablement in its simplest terms refers to arming your sales force with everything they need to make a sale. It is all about “enabling” the act of selling and helping sales professionals to be more effective and efficient in your organization.

What’s involved in sales enablement?
At the heart of sales enablement are processes. Those sales enablement processes are designed to improve sales productivity and increase sales effectiveness – all driven by the key elements of technology, data, tools and training.

What are sales enablement processes?
Sales enablement processes are step-by-step workflows created for sales to be supremely efficient and effective at finding, developing, qualifying, quoting and closing opportunities. Processes should be simple, tied to compensation, reward-driven, logical and automated (where applicable). Processes make up the very foundation of sales enablement, because without them, sales adoption would be a struggle.

What else goes into sales enablement?

Technology – this facilitates process-driven and administrative activities, and often spans both sales and marketing departments. One of the overriding benefits of employing sales enablement technology is to align sales and marketing more closely to increase efficiency and effectiveness across the organization. Areas that technology aids organizations:

  • Searching for documents and marketing materials
  • Compiling collateral in a central location
  • Mapping assets to the sales cycle
  • Sending communications
  • Collecting prospect opinions and ratings on effectiveness of assets
  • Tracking effectiveness and usage of assets
  • Timing follow up

Data– in sales enablement, data refers to information used by sales in the course of developing and opportunity during the sales cycle. Data can be manually sourced, or compiled & organized much faster by data technology platforms. Sales enablement data can include:

  • Prospect intelligence (contact information, needs, timing, criteria, background)
  • Competitive intelligence (selling points & style, advantages & disadvantages, guarantees & promises)
  • Quantifiable solution differentiation (success stories, demonstrated ROI, expense reduction)

Tools– probably the most convoluted and confusing word used in sales enablement, these are any supporting marketing assets sales can use to engage a prospect, promote discussion, answer their questions, Collateral (data sheets, sales slicks, brochures, handouts, etc.)

  • Videos and audio (such as podcasts)
  • Emails
  • Press releases
  • Social media mentions/visibility
  • LinkedIn profiles
  • Customer references

Training – this refers to the ongoing education of sales to enable them to perform at peak levels. Peak performance translates into greater success for the sales team member, increased revenue for the company, and – most importantly – more fulfilling and satisfied prospects that become happy customers.

Sales enablement is a growing discipline, and yet there seems to be growing confusion and misunderstanding about what it actually IS and DOES. One thing is clear, sales enablement is accomplished most effectively through a combination of the right processes, tools, data, training and technology.
Start a conversation today about our sales enablement technology platform and take a tour of the software to determine if it is right for you.

Jim Mooney
Jim Mooney is the Founder & CEO of RO Innovation. His passion for helping salespeople excel in all aspects of B2B selling, especially where customer references are involved, was the reason he started the company. His desire for helping others succeed flows through in the expert thought leadership he provides the industry, his customers and his employees.