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Sales Enablement Best Practices To Supercharge Success This Year

Sales Training
Chris Orlob
February 13, 2024

As a sales leader, navigating the challenges of modern sales demands more than persistence. Today's competitive landscape and rising customer expectations require sales leaders to drive initiatives for revenue growth. This entails adopting and implementing various best practices.

This is where sales enablement steps in.

An effective sales enablement strategy empowers sales teams, helping them not only meet but exceed their targets while nurturing strong customer relationships. 

Ultimately, it improves overall business revenue and ensures ongoing improvement in sales team performance quarter after quarter.

13 sales enablement best practices to drive sales success in 2024

  1. Support the sales enablement strategy with a formal charter
  2. Help sales reps overcome competitive market forces
  3. Prioritize training and education
  4. Curate sales enablement content with control
  5. Teach, repeat, and iterate your sales enablement strategies
  6. Leverage top seller data to craft the ideal candidate profile
  7. Make onboarding more effective by breaking it into focused segments
  8. Use behavior change metrics to report on enablement’s impact
  9. Ensure enablement involvement in sales talent management
  10. Empower sales enablement programs with digital mediums
  11. Utilize sales enablement tools with dynamic integrations
  12. Avoid generalizing the team’s training needs
  13. Optimize enablement for hybrid and digital sellers

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What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the process of providing your sales team with the resources they need to close deals. These assets include: 

  • competitor analysis
  • whitepapers knowledge bases
  • templates
  • webinars
  • case studies 

Sales enablement encompasses all materials that empower sales teams throughout the sales and buying process. The goal of any sales enablement initiative is to enhance sales performance across the cycle, leading to more closed deals and increased revenue. 

Successful sales enablement extends beyond sales rep training and coaching, involving collaboration across departments, co-creation of sales materials, and a shared vision for revenue growth through sales. 

With a clear understanding of sales enablement, here are 13 best sales enablement practices for success in 2024

1. Support sales enablement strategy with a formal charter

Beyond just defining your vision and strategy or one-off projects, you want to create a formal sales enablement charter. 

A formal sales enablement charter is the  document that provides direction and focus to your enablement team, while also acting as a “holy grail” which you can direct any other department towards when they have questions about what you actually do. 

Here’s why it is important:

If you’re setting up your enablement department in 2024, one of the challenges you’ll face is that the rest of the organization might not know what sales enablement is. As a result, sales, marketing teams, product marketing, and other functions in your organization might not understand how to collaborate with your sales enablement team.

A formal enablement charter solves this problem by providing a clear direction and a roadmap for success. It outlines:

  • Overall objective
  • Quarterly objective
  • Key metrics and KPIs
  • Known issues and potential risks
  • ICPs, buyer personas & customer journey profile
  • Cross-functional support and role definition

2. Help sales reps overcome competitive market forces

Everything is hyper-competitive today — that’s why organizations must adopt a consultative selling approach that makes the buyer’s journey and decision making process easier for the target customer. Utilizing the sales enablement team in helping sellers overcome the competition is crucial. 

Even though only 30% of companies involve enablement in competitive analysis, they still experience a 3-percentage-point increase in win rates. 

These organizations conduct regular competitor analyzes with the enablement professionals who then gain profound insights on how to outperform rivals. Therefore, enablement develop first-hand insight on the best resources to assist sales representatives in positioning their value and overcoming objections related to competitors.

In light of these findings, sales and marketing departments are encouraged to include enablement in their competitive analysis discussions. Similarly, enablement teams should be open to providing resources, training, and data to bolster this strategic initiative.

3. Prioritize training and education for your sales team

Sales training and coaching are core components of a sales enablement function. To get the best results from sales enablement efforts, you must ensure optimized sales productivity through sufficient training and continuous coaching. 

There’s always something new to learn for sales managers and reps alike, helping them continually achieve their goals and align them with overarching business goals. There are also multiple methods you can use to facilitate training and education, including in-person meetings, gamification, roleplay, team-building events, and sales training software.

You can also develop personalized training for each employee to help sales continue developing their skills based on their specific weak areas and at their own pace. Solutions like learning management software (LMS) can integrate into your operations to allow for more consistent and meaningful education across your sales organization.

4. Curate sales enablement content with control

Effectively managing sales content does not mean collecting– and training reps to use– as many materials as possible. 

As you know, sales enablement is like a potluck party– you’re actively receiving enticing materials from product, marketing, customer success, executive leadership, HR– even the social media team.

However, passing those materials down to sales or incorporating them into your enablement program without quality control means you’re setting reps up for content overload– which is one of the reasons 89% of sellers report feeling burned out from work

To avoid this, enablement must serve more than just the content collector. They do more with less by filtering content such that reps are equipped with only pieces of content that matter. 

The following proactive content curation approach can help. 

  • Survey sales teams to understand areas of the sales process, messaging, or product knowledge they need to expand. 
  • Curate a list of the relevant sources for collecting those resources
  • Alert concerned departments to notify them of the availability of content related to topics in that area. 

That way, you're following a proactive and purposeful content curation system.

5. Teach, repeat, and iterate your sales enablement strategies

B2B sales reps forget 70% of information within one week of training and 87% within one month. 

To get the best results from the sales enablement program, you must ensure optimized sales productivity through sufficient training and continued education. Without these sales enablement best practices, it is hard to stay ahead of competitors. 

There’s always something new to learn for sales managers and reps alike, helping them continually achieve their goals and align them with overarching business goals. There are also multiple methods you can use to facilitate training and education, including 

  • In-person meetings
  • Virtual sales training
  • Gamification
  • Roleplay
  • Team-building events
  • Interactive sales training software

You can also develop personalized training for each employee to help them continue developing sales skills in weak areas and at their own pace. Solutions like learning management software (LMS) can integrate into your sales operations to allow for more consistent and meaningful education across your sales organization.

6. Leverage top seller data to craft the ideal candidate profile

In 2024, harnessing ongoing, data-driven sales coaching is crucial for sales managers to understand winning behaviors and empower reps for performance improvement. A strategy that involves aligning sales training with the behaviors exhibited by top sellers can be effective. 

However, alignment issues pose challenges:

  • Top sellers are often lone wolves who may be reluctant to share their winning strategies, complicating alignment with enablement. 
  • HR and sales enablement are often not aligned in most organizations. There is already ongoing debate over who should own sales incentive design

However, the consequence of misalignment is greater today due to high turnover and attrition rate– one of the top three concerns among executive leaders today. 

To prevent low rep engagement and practically losing valuable knowledge when your top performer moves to another role, enablement must align with HR to:

  • Identify reps that demonstrate the key competencies that can increase a rep’s likelihood of sales success. 
  • Design a system to capture knowledge from top performers.
  • Create an ideal candidate profile that enables HR individuals best suited for the role.
  • Create training programs that ensure the process is repeatable and scalable.  

This strategic alignment becomes paramount in navigating the challenges of the modern sales landscape.

7. Make onboarding more effective by breaking it into focused segments

As highlighted earlier, a staggering 84% of salespeople tend to forget the information acquired during sales onboarding within the initial three months.

In some instances, there's a tendency for enablement leaders to overload new representatives with learning ten action items during onboarding. However, studies reveal that when crafting a comprehensive onboarding plan, only a modest 5 to 10% of the new knowledge actually becomes ingrained.

To address this challenge, the first step involves enablement taking charge of new rep onboarding. Enablement-led onboarding programs fortify the sales organization, effectively minimizing ramp time and boosting representative engagement, ultimately enhancing overall productivity. Remarkably, 47% of sales enablement teams actively contribute to the onboarding process, resulting in a noteworthy 5% decrease in representative turnover.

Furthermore, rather than overwhelming representatives with an exhaustive list of action items, enablement should tailor the training to focus on what reps are expected to do on their first day – namely, prospecting and generating new leads. 

This targeted training approach is proven to significantly reduce the time it takes for new representatives to secure their first deal.

8. Use behavior change metrics to report on enablement’s impact  

Sales enablement frequently finds it challenging to demonstrate the tangible business impact of its initiatives and encounters skepticism from leadership. Sales leaders often attribute improvements in business metrics, such as increased win rates, average contract value, and shortened sales cycles, to marketing campaigns or new product releases instead.

In addition to tracking those KPIs, enablement should report on behavior change metrics that demonstrate reps' real-world application. When presenting findings, emphasize behavioral changes that impact the bottom line rather than claiming direct responsibility for outcomes. Achieving this involves more than just enablement programs.

Here’s how you can approach that:

  • Analyze CRM and sales conversation to identify behaviors that drive positive signals. For example, sales calls with personalized ice-breakers might have higher open rates. 
  • Study the behaviors the rep exhibited in the video introduction 
  • Encourage reps to include short personalized video introductions in their outreach emails.
  • Over time, enablement analyzes the data for correlation between the inclusion of personalized video introductions and higher response rates. 
  • Report to sales leadership how the behavior change initiative leads to shorter sales cycles and improved conversion rates.

That way, it is easier to connect the dots between enablement initiatives and successful sales outcomes and gain buy-in to initiate similar behavioral training.  

9. Ensure enablement involvement in sales talent management

Organizations face challenges in attracting and retaining top sales talent due to increased turnover and a competitive talent market. Amidst this, one crucial realization emerges: aside from enabling sales to meet quotas and drive revenue, retaining the salesforce is equally essential for sales enablement.

In this context, sales enablement becomes a strategic catalyst, playing a vital role in talent management. By partnering with HR, they can accelerate rep readiness and enhance long-term retention through effective onboarding, comprehensive training, and ongoing coaching programs.

Latest data indicates that effective enablement in managing talent processes reduces the likelihood of struggling to hire top sales talent by 32%. However, it's concerning that only 18% of organizations involve sales enablement in talent management.

For organizations struggling with talent retention and attraction, leveraging enablement's expertise in sales talent management can offer strategic advantages.

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10. Empower sales enablement programs with digital mediums

Delivering a superior digital experience to target leads is crucial, and it's equally vital to extend this advantage to your sales team. In a complex selling environment, where they promote intricate tools, providing enablement content in a digestible, interactive, and easily accessible format is key to sales success.

Consider sales playbooks as an example. Utilizing them significantly reduces the likelihood of struggling with seller engagement by 32%, but their effectiveness depends on implementation. Presenting lengthy sales plays to reps may not yield optimal results; instead, sharing specific moments offering contextual guidance proves more effective.

Supporting sales enablement with the right sales tools involves more than creating bite-sized sales plays. Improvements include things such as:

  • Implementing naming conventions for easier resource retrieval
  • Setting expiry dates to prevent outdated information usage
  • Conducting audits to assess collateral effectiveness
  • Ensuring seamless access and organization through a modern Content Management System (CMS).

Digital enablement not only aligns with today's audience preferences but also streamlines and enhances sales enablement strategies' effectiveness. You're not just creating content; you're building a catalog of memorable, living artifacts.

11. Use sales enablement tools with dynamic integrations

Revenue enablement experts suggest that when considering a sales enablement software, especially conversation intelligence solutions, it's crucial to evaluate their integration capabilities with your broader enablement stack. 

Specifically, avoid siloed tools with independent logins that don't connect to your sales content or enablement platforms.

For instance, a well-integrated conversation intelligence tool can leverage AI suggestions to address objections, recommend relevant content, and seamlessly share it within a digital sales room—all with a single click.

However, the real power of the recommendation engines becomes apparent when these tools work cohesively with your overall enablement ecosystem. That way, it can 

  • Provide insights into correlations with sales outcomes, 
  • Showcasing how specific content impacts deal advancement. 

This quantitative analysis, coupled with qualitative feedback obtained through conversation intelligence, ensures a more comprehensive and cohesive experience.

Given that sales professionals are already inundated with tools, prioritizing a purposeful approach to integrations ensures that recommended sales tools become an integral part of their workflow. 

12. Avoid generalizing the team’s training needs

Often, there is a tendency to overreact to outliers, where a couple of representatives perform poorly may lead to a disproportionate reaction, with the perception that the entire team requires a specific type of training.

This knee-jerk response can be counterproductive as it would likely lead to more problems, such as:

  • Resource Inefficiency: Resources such as time, money, and personnel are expended on training that may not be relevant to the majority of the team. 
  • Decreased Engagement: If the content is not directly applicable to their roles or challenges, sales representatives may disengage, seeing the training as irrelevant or a waste of time.
  • Missed Opportunities for Growth: Focusing solely on the underperformers can result in missed opportunities to recognize and replicate successful strategies within the team.

It's important not to manage the bottom performers. Rather than implementing blanket training sessions for the entire team based on the performance of a few, a nuanced strategy tailored to address the actual needs of the majority should be adopted.

Sales enablement should identify specific areas for improvement and recommend tailored training programs to address them. Common areas where reps often need training are:

This strategy promotes efficiency and relevance and ultimately contributes to the overall success of the sales enablement efforts.

13. Optimize enablement for hybrid and digital sellers

Most enablement programs are currently designed for insider sales teams. However, the future of sales is with hybrid sellers. And despite the fact that they make up 50 percent or more of the sales force in specific industries, they rarely get mentioned in enablement strategies. 

If we are going to see an increase in hybrid selling from 2024 and beyond, smart teams should begin laying the groundwork today. Consider the following tactics:

  • Invest in high-tech sales enablement technology that enables hybrid reps toggle between face-to-face and remote engagement. 
  • Create the best training and coaching resources on solution selling since hybrid sellers typically deviate from traditional product-focused selling. The training programs should enable them to work across their organization and co-create tailored offerings that solve the potential customers’ pain points.

Like hybrid sellers, digital sellers are a relatively new role. According to McKinsey consultants, digital sellers provide a human touch to customer experience online and convert inbound requests. They spend most of their time on digital channels such as web chat, mobile app chat, text, or email, with some time on the phone. 

Every sales role is a touchpoint, and the ability to enable sales at every touchpoint is the enablement’s primary duty. In that sense, enablement teams should consider incorporating digital sellers into their charter to extract valuable insights that influence sales. 

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