Cutting Through the Buzz: Defining Sales Enablement

Updated: March 31, 2011

Sales Enablement

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.

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.

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.

There are other elements that go into sales enablement as well, and without them true sales enablement would not be possible.

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, follow their RFP procedures, etc. Examples include:

  • 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.

Featured Research
  • 10 BI Myths Busted

    The Business Intelligence (BI) and analytics market is expected to grow to $20 billion by 2019. Modern BI software systems are quickly becoming a vital business growth tool and bring massive benefits to businesses, large and small. more

  • The Role of Self-Service in Modern Contact Centers

    By 2020, 85% of customers' relationships with companies will be managed without any contact with human services representatives. What does that mean for your business? The data shows that companies need to offer effective self-service options in order to remain competitive. However, many contact centers are confused about how their core contact center software fits into self-service. more

  • 7 key questions to ask any ERP provider

    Having a fast-growing business is good. Having to overhaul your technology every time you need to scale is not. Upgrading to a more complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution can help, but how do you ensure the solution you choose is exactly what you need? To help you with your search, we’ve pulled together 7 key questions every fast-growing business should ask before choosing a cloud-based ERP solution, including: more

  • How Finance Leadership Pays Off

    Oxford Economics recently surveyed 1,500 finance executives and it’s clear that small and midsize companies are growing significantly faster than larger companies. But, there are also big opportunities for finance to increase efficiency, boost financial performance, and work more strategically. Why is that? more

  • Professional Services Audience – Improve Profitability Infographic

    As a Professional Services Organization (PSO), you know the importance of customer satisfaction. In fact, 47% of PSO leaders say managing changing customer expectations is their top challenge. That’s why many firms are engaging smarter project management technology, even before deals are signed, to ensure project profitability. How are these leaders utilizing technology? Find out now. more