Raise your hand if you don’t know the definition or understand how sales enablement can help you grow your business. The term, sales enablement, is often referred to as a key leadership component but many managers don’t know what it means. If that’s you, you are not alone. Below, I have included some definitions and tactics that will help you understand the meaning and grow your business.

So, what is sales enablement? For my clients, it provides their sales team with resources they need to sell more efficiently. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But, let’s go deeper. It provides more resources, and accountability, for sales to understand and engage with the buyer.

Question for you: What do your salespeople need to do or learn to engage with your targeted consumers?  Is it having better conversations? Is it improving their listening skills? (If you want more on listening skills, check out my earlier blog, How are Your Listening Skills?. Overall, it is providing more education to solve the buyer’s challenges. In the end, it is less about sales and more about understanding your customer. Of course, that statement will freak out some sales directors who emulate Alec Baldwin’s character in the film, Glengarry Glen Ross! But, they need to know how a customer buys has changed, and the sales process and engagement must change as well.

Enablement also means supplying the sales team with actionable resources. Has marketing provided a detail description of the buyer’s personas? Is research available, from marketing, to better understand the customer? Has marketing content been given to sales who can either use it or pass along to buyers after the primary, secondary and tertiary conversations?

A critical piece of providing marketing tools to the sales team is: Do they know how to access and use the resources provided? This is where sales training and sales coaching will add value. The most useful programs I have seen combines training, coaching, along with sales software, in a continuous improvement process. If this is not part of your sales team training, consider a reboot.

One caveat to training, providing resources and making sales software a requirement is to ensure it is easy to use and the sales team can see the immediate benefit. I have lost count of the number of companies who bought Salesforce.com and were unable to show the benefits. The result is adoption rates plummeted. Basically, SFDC sits under utilized in many businesses.

To get the most out of a sales enablement program one needs to consider best practices. How can the sales leader provide more value? One way is to monitor, track usage and outcomes. Of course, if they are not using the software provided, is impossible to do.

As a sales trainer, if the sales professional I am working with does not have a sales process, one needs to be created. If she has a sales process, then I look to help her transition from one stage to the next, monitor and track completed components within each stage.  For example, if she is stuck on the challenge stage with customers then I need to know the conversation. What questions did she ask? How comfortable was she discussing the problem and the effect on the company and the person on the call? How long has this been a problem? What were some of the steps the caller took to fix the problem? Why do they think it did not work? Only by reviewing these components of the challenge stage, can I as a trainer, get a better understanding where I can help her improve.

When do you start a sales enablement program? When do you set expectations for sales performance? If you answered at the time of hire, you get the gold star. Setting expectations, for all employees, begins on the date of hire during the on boarding process. When I hire a salesperson, I review goals, achievement expectations, resource availability, the importance of continuous improvement and confirm I will conduct regular performance reviews. Moreover, I measure usage. Are the tools provided to this individual working or is he struggling? Perhaps I need to refocus, and coach using other methods so that this person understands and uses all the resources we provide. If you have a VP or Sales Manager who does not know how to mentor, train or coach, consider a reboot.

If you liked this blog, please share on social media. If you are a struggling business owner, sales manager or a sales professional looking to considering a sales coach, let’s talk. I am Will Harley, with Harley-Consulting, a growth services company. With over 20 years of business leadership experience, I leverage my experience to help owners achieve their goals. Sign up just to talk. Leave a comment; I promise to reply immediately.