In today’s business world, customers expect the salesperson to be an on-demand expert, effectively guiding them towards the best solution for the buyers' business.
Moreover, customers are savvier than ever, and with a wealth of information at their fingertips, they will often have researched the vendor before approaching the sales department. The sellers, for their part, need to be able to access knowledge and sales tools just-in-time, online or offline.
This is where sales enablement comes in, which goes beyond ‘one and done’ sales training, and instead is a continuous process. It provides sales teams with continuous content, tools, and technologies to enable them to make more sales. Sales enablement focuses on improving the performance of salespeople, and B2B sales enablement has proven especially crucial in the last decade.
Sales enablement helps salespeople foster new skills and behaviours: for example, how to ask timely questions, build customer rapport, or deal with objections - in other words: how to sell more effectively. It helps sales teams improve their knowledge over time as well as keep them up to date with the latest market trends so they can continually engage prospects with relevant information.
Critical to business success, sales enablement focuses on identifying and fixing gaps in your sales cycle, delivering training for salespeople, and providing the right content to the salesperson at the right time.
The challenges with sales enablement
Content for sales enablement usually comes from multiple sources and points of view such as marketing, IT, product management, sales ops, and legal. The challenge salesforces face is that this data overload can cause confusion, or in the worst-case scenario, inconsistent information, which rarely constitutes sales enablement best practice.
A strategic approach is needed to create compelling and meaningful learning content and we are now seeing more learning and development teams getting involved in sales enablement programmes, content training and coaching. The goal is to deliver exactly what sales teams need, when they need it, based on their role and the reality of the environment that they work in.
More effective and engaging sales enablement content
Once you have determined your sales enablement strategy and have devised a plan, you will want to think about how to make your content more effective and engaging for your sales teams. Key points to consider are how you can save them time, make the content more accessible, more relevant and fun.
We outline seven ways you can up your game when creating or curating your sales enablement elearning.
Run a survey to pinpoint knowledge gaps. Then customise online learning content to meet their needs. Provide a flexible online training plan wherein they can mix and match resources that are relevant to them.
Think about how you can use microlearning, so sales teams can access bite size learning in the flow of work. Each one can be up to 5 minutes so easy to fit into busy schedules.
Experiment with gamification where the sales team can win points and compete against each other. This could relate to the highest scores or amount of learning they have consumed.
Explore using video and creating realistic scenarios so the learning is convincing and mimics what would really happen in a sales scenario. Involve your top salespeople in the creation and use low production cost techniques like filming from your phone.
Consider simulations that unite remote workers in a multi-player scenario. Bespoke digital learning simulations can be developed to accurately replicate the realistic scenarios people face in their work life. They are a safe environment to assess information, collaborate with others, make decisions in a given situation and experience the consequences.
Think about how you can use apps so people can access the learning from their phones or tablet, no matter where they find themselves, to gain the knowledge that they need.
Use digital learning technologies to measure and track progress. With Learning Record Store platforms, you can gain useful data and insights about your sales team such as which digital learning courses they are accessing, what questions they are getting right or wrong and how long they are spending on the training.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods and keep it fresh. Think beyond a one-off learning event so the sales enablement training is front of mind, providing your team with continuous support and useful guides and tools that reinforce and boost knowledge retention.
Sponge can help by creating compelling content and provide digital technologies so you can measure and monitor learning effectiveness to achieve your revenue goals.
Companies that leverage a consultative selling approach, enabled by modern sales enablement techniques, will be the winners in this ever-changing marketplace.