Sales enablement software allows you to unify your company's message across the board, sharing information about best practices between teams in order to create the best possible combination of sales and marketing within a crucial "smarketing" alignment.
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There's a reason that so many dramatic movies are made about the world of sales. It's a hard job, full of quick thinking, stubborn refusal to quit pursuing a deal and, of course, a whole lot of pressure. There are really only two things that consistently work to make the day-to-day lives of salespeople better: Pepto Bismol and software.
While there's no "anti-stomach-acid software" available just yet, there's plenty of sales software to help sales teams close the most deals possible in the most efficient way possible. One particular type of software that will prove extremely useful to those teams is sales enablement software.
Sales enablement tools help sales teams keep abreast of best practices and marketing messages that will help them to refine and deliver their sales pitches in a manner that will convert more leads, close more deals and drive business growth.
This Buyer's Guide will explain what sales enablement tools are, explore some of their common features and functions and discuss the particular considerations you may have regarding which sales enablement software to buy for your business.
In today's business environment, departments are often heavily siloed, such that two different teams may rarely contact one another. In the case of your sales and marketing teams, that can be to both groups' detriment.
Your marketing team works hard to create a branded message for your business, which is reflected everywhere from advertising material, to outreach to other businesses, media placement and even your company's logo.
But how often do your marketing team and your sales team sit down together to make sure that clear, consistent message is also expressed in sales pitches? Similarly, how often does marketing take into consideration the sales team's real-world experience with the users of your product or service when they refine that marketing message?
Sales enablement tools help solve this problem by providing sales teams with access to marketing assets that will allow them to keep their sales pitches on message and consistent with your company's marketing material. What's more, these tools provide general sales guides and playbooks of best practices that inform the sales team of what particular message tends to work best at each particular point in the sales cycle.
Thus, sales enablement software allows you to unify your company's message across the board, sharing information about best practices between teams in order to create the best possible combination of sales and marketing within a crucial "smarketing" alignment.
Common Features of Sales Enablement Tools
The core functionality of sales enablement tools. An assets database allows sales team members to access marketing materials and implement them as a part of their sales process, as well as providing a repository for other sales team best practice guidelines and playbooks.
Sales performance management
Automatically monitor the success and failure rates of your sales team in order to recognize what (and who) is working effectively for the team versus what is not. This information is transparent and, as much as possible, unbiased, giving a clear picture (often in the form of scorecards) of which best practices actually work best. It can also be set to provide alerts for processes and individuals in need of extra assistance.
By tracking all sales emails, both incoming and outgoing, this feature lets sales team members and managers monitor their email exchanges in order to oversee and maintain messaging consistency. This also allows for an easier gathering of data and analytics regarding email messaging success and failure rates.
Outbound call tracking
This functionality allows the sales team to jump on prospects as quickly as possible by dialing directly out to those prospects through the software. They can then record and track that call in order to keep extensive interaction notes as well as monitor for quality assurance and ensure that these calls are remaining on message.
Though sales training is not the primary intention of sales enablement tools (there are specific software systems for such training), they are used by many businesses to onboard new trainees and to coach existing employees in the best practices of your sales team.
Sales teams of any size may have a need for sales enablement tools, but the robustness of those tools will vary significantly depending on your team or business's size. Smaller teams can get by with fewer features and less expensive software, while larger teams will want the most comprehensive tools they can get so they can best manage and support the large number of team members.
You will likely find your team falling into one of the following categories:
Small sales team (under 10 salespeople). With so few salespeople, it shouldn't be terribly hard to train, monitor and keep track of the success rate of team members. As such, the most important aspect of sales enablement tools for such a small team will be the asset database that provides the entire team with access to the marketing materials and messages that will help them close more deals.
Midsize sales team (10-50 salespeople). With a slightly larger team, you probably have more than one manager and don't have time to individually coach each team member. Here's where features of sales enablement software such as sales performance management and sales training will come in handy, allowing for a more automated monitoring of key successes and failures among the team.
Large sales team (50-100 salespeople). Once you have a sales team this large, you will likely find that features such as email tracking and outbound call tracking are useful to you. With such a large team, it can become difficult to monitor those emails and phone calls for consistency and best practices without the aid of software, and robust sales enablement tools can provide you with those.
Other factors to take into consideration when choosing the right sales enablement tools for your business include:
Integration with other systems. Since it is likely that your sales team and your marketing team use two different software systems, it is crucial that your sales enablement tool—particularly in regard to the asset database—can integrate with the software systems you already have in place. Consult with the vendor you are considering buying from in order to make sure that what you are purchasing will work smoothly and efficiently with what you have already purchased.
Cloud-based software vs. on-premise software. As the name suggests, on-premise software is software that is physically housed on the premises of your business. In essence, you're also buying hardware, not just software, and you need physical space as well as the dedicated IT knowledge and resources needed to maintain that hardware. However, with the widespread success of the cloud-based model, on-premise software is quickly becoming a thing of the past, particularly for smaller businesses. Cloud-based software has no need for any hardware—it's all housed by the vendor and accessed over the internet. Small to midsize businesses, with less available space and fewer IT resources, usually find cloud-based solutions much simpler and easier, particularly since they also avoid the upfront setup costs associated with on-premise solutions.