Sales Enablement - It's Not All the Same

Updated: November 03, 2010

We recognize three types of sales enablement subject matter:

  1. Product/service training which includes features, functions, differentiators, competitive landscape.
  2. Sales training which includes how to sell, how to qualify new prospects, how to deliver presentations, how to handle pricing discussions.
  3. Sales knowledge which includes specific case studies of successful, and failed sales cycles which give sales teams opportunities to learn from their peers. The content here would be, which marketing collateral to use at specific parts of a sales cycle, or, how to get to decision-maker levels in the financial services industry, or, how to shut out a competitor in the pharmaceutical industry, when selling drugs to hospitals.

Three distinct buckets of enablement, all of which are crucial to the development of a high performing sales team. How does this training get delivered in an optimal scenario?

Product/service training is delivered as a broad, conceptual overview at regular, perhaps quarterly meetings. Ideally, advances in the product line have accommodated feedback from sales teams to the product management group. More detailed information on the product line is created for a sales audience, leaning on key messages, competitive differentiators, unique selling propositions etc. If a sales guy, in high tech, is going to a sales meeting that includes a team of engineers, it is common practice to take along a product management person who can talk about bits and bytes as required.

So, quarterly, in-person, updates backed up by detailed content, created with sales in mind, that can be accessed via a sales portal and/or ideally via a CRM system.

Sales training will likely occur when a new sales person is on-boarded, with revisits and intra-team coaching/mentoring throughout the year, at scheduled sales team meetings. Much of this content will be or should be documented and accessible in the same way as the product/service training. In larger organizations, this is likely to occur regionally, often with little coordination or knowledge-sharing between the regions.

Sales knowledge will be gathered at strategic times throughout the year, and made available as easily as possible to the rest of the team. Think of sales knowledge as a sales case study. As well as capturing the nuances of how a top performer won a particular deal in a specific vertical, analysis is also applied to look beneath the covers and reveal the underlying themes that have made that sales person successful.

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