When we last covered sales enablement a few months ago, we emphasized that organizations must be willing to evolve internally if they wish to promote sales success.
Sales Training beyond the Sales Team
In the past, sales training or sales boosting initiatives were entirely the domain of the sales department, specifically with customer-facing sales reps receiving the brunt of the responsibility.
Under modern sales enablement strategies, customer-facing reps are supported with knowledge and policies conducive to sales coming from all customer-facing departments. Essentially, anyone that has an impact on the customer buying journey will have a role to fulfill within a sales enablement environment.
Since that time, the concepts of sales enablement have evolved further. Industry thought leaders have moved towards a “sales force enablement” model, replacing the onus from the action of selling into the capabilities of the sales force staff as a whole.
The ultimate effect is that sales force enablement becomes more of a discipline than a single initiative. Rather than one-time pep talks or training exercises designed to boost a single quarter’s revenue, sales force enablement practices become infused within the very lifeblood of the organization. Read on to learn how training, simulations and knowledge-rich sales content can provide the perfect conditions for sales success on a continuing basis.
With Sales Force Enablement, Organization-Wide Knowledge Is Power
In sales force enablement, optimizing the customer journey and the way customer-facing departments interact with the sales force still remains a huge priority, but a growing emphasis on continual sales force education cements the role that knowledge, coaching, and content play in the sales process.
One industry thought leader, Tamara Schenk, offers a precise and compelling definition of sales force enablement :
Sales Force Enablement is a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training and coaching services for salespeople and frontline sales managers along the entire customer’s journey, powered by technology.
Each term used in this definition is laden with subtextual information about the ideal method of preparing sales staff and customer-facing staff for maximum enablement potential.
For instance, Schenk emphasizes that Sales Force Enablement’s strategic component allows organizations to “derive a specific enablement scope that’s tailored to address [their] weaknesses, gaps and strengths to execute the business strategy successfully.”
She also takes care to reiterate the cross-functional discipline aspect since activities like content creation and delivery of the final training design often involve competency beyond sales into areas like pedagogy and team-building.
The ultimate goal in such a definition is to allow every member of the sales staff to emulate the approach used by world-class sales representatives. In a nutshell: top-performing salespeople are able to work backward from the end of the customer buying journey, establishing context and value for all stakeholders during each stage of the engagement process.
Coaching Plays a Key Role
Even with impeccable instincts, skilled sales staff will need constant training and reinforcement to develop the sense of context needed to adapt sales approaches to dynamic customer environments.
Coaching and content play a huge role in this type of continual learning model. Sales managers and staff alike must be capable of identifying good and bad behaviors when it comes to using effective sales strategies.
Left on their own, sales staff can fail to recognize that their approach becomes a pattern rather than an adaptive model. With the help of training content and simulations, they will have concrete examples of not just regurgitated sales pitches.
They will also feel more comfortable in the moment when addressing their lead’s concerns on a point-by-point basis with solid, consistent messaging every time. Coaching allows trained skills to “stick” through both positive and negative reinforcement.
In this way, sales force enablement unlocks vision within multiple levels of the organization so that everyone can identify when best practices are being followed, continually reinforcing the integrity of the sales process from within.
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