We frequently hear that growth is a team sport. Nowhere is that more apparent than with a sales enablement program.
Sales enablement does take a team, and success comes from starting with a strong foundation and a lot of nurturing. This does not happen without organizational leadership.
Effective sales enablement does more than align the marketing and sales teams. It ensures that a cohesive, persuasive message is presented to industrial buyers at the right times as they move through the funnel.
Let’s look at the foundational components of a successful sales enablement program from a leadership perspective.
Building a successful sales enablement team requires commitment across your organization, not just from sales and marketing. Your IT, operations, and HR folks don’t typically interact with customers directly, but they have key insights to offer into potential sales enablement projects.
In fact, chances are good that many of these departments have already created resources that can support sales; a sales enablement program will bring all these resources together. Cross-functional collaboration ensures that meetings are well-attended and occur on a regular, predictable schedule; that managers work with their teams to provide the bandwidth necessary to support sales; and that sales enablement is seen as a priority throughout the organization.
Goal-setting with a cross-departmental team is a great leadership opportunity. Start by thinking big and discussing your long-term goals for the program. But that also gives you a chance to revisit your sales enablement vision with multiple stakeholders.
Sales enablement is not done in a vacuum. If the goals become “public” within the facility and results are shared, other departments will contribute to the cause.
Perhaps you’d like to increase your lead conversion rates, reduce the time spent actively selling, or meet higher sales quotes for the number of sales or the size of the work orders (or both). The group can drill down into the objectives and action steps to determine how they can reduce friction between the sales and marketing departments and improve customer handoffs.
Be prepared for feedback. You will be asked to knock down hurdles. For example, to increase the number of sales, you may be asked to institute a training program to prepare your salespeople to promote a new manufacturing capability you’re adding.
The sales enablement team also will identify existing pain points. For example, 65% of sales representatives report that they do not have access to meaningful content about their solutions to send to prospective customers. Likewise, the marketing team might say they could create more effective customer personas if they had access to the sales team’s data on existing customers. IT might not be aware of concerns about how sales collateral is housed or can be searched, accessed or distributed.
Having the right approach to sales enablement is key; but like operations and other areas of your company, how you execute and track activities is another. Similar to setting goals and objectives, establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) pays extra dividends when done across multiple departments.
It’s also important to connect your qualitative objectives to a quantitative KPI as much as possible. For example, you might aim to train 80% of your salespeople on new sales enablement best practices by the end of the year.
At its core, industrial sales enablement means giving the sales team the resources, training, content, and tools they need to succeed. Sales enablement requires cross-departmental work, and because of that, it will impact the bottom line as much as any other area.
If you are like most industrial leaders, you have put your facility and operations under the microscope to maximize uptime, increase throughput, improve quality and reduce overall cycle time. You celebrated success as an organization.
A successful sales enablement program presents a similar leadership opportunity. It is continuous improvement in action. If you’re ready to review your industrial sales enablement program, contact us today to help you get started.
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