The way customers approach new purchases is changing and companies using traditional methods of adding more sales reps or overlay sales to increase sales may no longer be effective or practical. Selling the way your customers want while also scaling the sales organization to drive revenue and growth is challenging. Successful sales leaders are rethinking ways to optimize their current sales force and sales enablement is addressing that challenge.
But is implementing a sales enablement function the answer? Clearly it is no longer just for early adopters and enterprise level sales, and it has become much more mainstream. However, there may still be hesitation in your organization about when and if this initiative will really pay off. Investing in sales enablement is usually not a matter of if, but when. Here are five tell-tale signs that your organization is ready to make the investment with sales enablement .
1. The increased marketing budget isn’t significantly improving sales.
More conferences, leads and content don’t automatically translate to revenue. If there is a disconnect between marketing and any resulting sales – meaning the leads are not the right kind and/or the sellers are not ready to position, qualify and manage the selling conversation – the extra budget might as well be washed down the drain. Sales enablement helps align sales and marketing functions so that sellers are empowered with the content and training needed to convert more leads to customers.
2. Your reps are not spending enough hours in the week selling.
One of the only variables that can be controlled in sales is time. The goal of any organization should be to maximize the time sellers spend selling – that is, talking with prospects and customers. Any time sellers are not working on selling tasks is a forfeiture of revenue. Reducing non-selling tasks and increasing efficiency is a key priority for a sales enablement manager – this includes assessment and measurement of all non-selling tasks to see which ones can be eliminated, automated and/or delegated.
3. The majority of new reps have trouble ramping to first dollar and quota.
Each new hire is a big investment. Without an effective onboarding and ramp program, it takes companies longer to reach the ROI on each hire. A sales enablement manager takes the lead in creating a consistent sales onboarding and training experience that is rigorous and data driven. He/she aligns the product marketing, sales skills training, process and measurement to ensure your new hires ramp as fast as possible and/or you are able to spot the ones who won’t in advance.
4. Your sales team is selling more on price than value.
Is your average revenue per contract flat and/or decreasing? As competition mounts and/or products mature in market, it’s not uncommon for products to start to be perceived as commoditized. Sales enablement can help to offset this perception by ensuring better cross-team collaboration – helping the marketing team get balanced input from the field to improve messaging, insights and differentiation. By helping the sales organization up-level value selling skills through training. And, ensuring data is being captured so management has the insight it needs to make smart decisions and continuously improve.
5. Your organization has aggressive growth goals.
Your organization is growing fast and/or has high growth goals. It’s looking to the sales organization to increase revenue via additional sales hires and/or increase quotas per rep. Either tactic without a sales enablement strategy is an inefficient use of capital likely to produce disappointing results. Sales enablement is the connection or glue to align marketing, sales and training – to ensure teams are well aligned and supported to achieve such improvements.
It is easy to resist change – especially when things are running relatively smoothly. However, the art in business is knowing when to move forward to new technology or new ideas – before something breaks or you’ve already lost your market edge. The most successful leaders are always eyeing the future and actively looking to stay ahead of the competition with better ways of doing things. Whether your organization has just one or all five of these signs, sales enablement in some form is the way of the future.