7 signs your organization needs a sales enablement strategy

Sales enablement is a rapidly growing trend, with the potential to significantly transform business results for the better.

Yet, some business leaders continue to resist the trend, while others remain unsure of the ways in which a sales enablement initiative can benefit their organization.

In this article, we look at seven of the biggest signs that show that your sales organization could benefit from implementing a sales enablement strategy – and explain how and why sales enablement can help.

1. Below Average Quota Attainment

The most recent Sales Enablement Optimization Study from CSO Insights revealed that sales enablement has the ability to increase quota attainment, especially when it is formalized. If you’re seeing below average quota attainment, it’s time to consider how enablement could help.

The study found that, on average, only 57.7% of salespeople hit quota. In contrast, when companies deploy a formal enablement strategy or vision, 61.9% of salespeople achieve quota. This figure rises to 73.6% percent in businesses that create a formal charter or manifesto — that’s a  27.6% improvement over the average sales organization today.

2. Long Sales Ramp-Up Times

In a previous study, CSO Insights found that average ramp-up times – meaning the time taken to get new hires up to full productivity – have increased significantly. In 2016, 60.7% of companies had an average ramp-up time of  7 months or more, compared to just 40.2% of companies back in 2003.

It’s no secret that onboarding is one of the most important aspects of sales training, and improving sales training outcomes is one of the key goals of any sales enablement strategy. If your average ramp-up time is too long, look to sales enablement as a means of improving your onboarding program.

3. Reps Struggling to Find Content

Another key sign that sales enablement could benefit your business is if you notice that sales reps are struggling to find relevant sales content, or even worse, spending too much of their selling time on creating their own content. An aligned enablement strategy ensures that marketing and sales work together to improve sales efficiency.

“The very first thing CMOs and other marketing leaders need do is get all their content into one place,” said DocSend’s CEO Russ Heddleston in an interview with MarTech Series. “Having a central library ensures that sellers can easily find and share approved content and that marketers can see what’s being used and by whom.”

4. Issues Related to Productivity

In the same study, CSO Insights found that salespeople spend an average of 35.9% of their time selling, with the remainder of their time being taken up by administrative tasks. This is one of the primary reasons why many sales organizations experience low productivity.

Sales enablement can boost productivity in a number of ways, from improving product knowledge to ensuring sales reps spend more time on sales and less time on other activities. In fact, simplifying sales processes through automation and the use of CRM technology can increase productivity by 32%, according to Salesforce.

5. Lack of Sales Coaching

A high-quality sales training program needs to be reinforced through coaching. Yet, according to CSO Insights’ 2017 Sales Manager Enablement Report, 67% of sales managers spend less than one hour per week on coaching activity, and almost half spend less than 30 minutes on coaching skills and behaviors.

This is another important indicator that sales enablement is required. Sales managers, in particular, need to have a formalized sales coaching strategy and be allocated time every week to spend on coaching activities.

6. Staff Not Using New Tools

Breaking existing sales habits can be a challenge, but when significant money is being invested in new technology and staff aren’t using them, it can also be extremely frustrating.

Fortunately, sales enablement can help by ensuring everyone is on the same page. Through a comprehensive sales enablement strategy, you can also introduce training that focuses on how to use new technology, and then follow up during coaching, in order to make sure the technology is being used properly.

7. Revenue Goals Not Being Met

Finally, that same Sales Enablement Optimization Study from CSO Insights found that increasing revenue is the number one business goal for sales leaders. And we all know that failing to meet these revenue goals is a clear indicator that serious change is required.

By investing in a sales enablement initiative, formalizing it, creating an enablement charter and aligning all departments, sales organizations can better equip their salespeople to close deals and deliver on revenue goals and objectives.

About the author

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global leader in business performance solutions, helping organizations to develop and implement effective sales development strategies.