Sales enablement is one of the hot new phrases in the world of selling but what does it mean, and more importantly, how can you take advantage of it using your CRM?
Everyone’s talking about it, but what does it mean?
The term sales enablement essentially means ensuring that your sales team has the resources, processes, and people needed in order to work effectively and perform their roles more easily. By ‘resources’ I’m referring to product information such as data and customer insights and also the right tools. When I say ‘process’ I’m referring to the team having a simple and identifiable sales process that supports their sales activity. And by ‘people’ I’m referring to the sales team itself – do they have what they need to work as a team and are they supporting each other and sharing information?
What makes sales enablement so important?
There are many answers to this question, but I’m going to focus on a few here that are particularly relevant to CRM:
- Promote better team engagement. By having the right information about a prospect or customer, you can engage with them better and, as a result, you might learn more about their needs and challenges as well as their motivators and future plans
- Drive customer retention. Without a complete picture available for your customers and prospects, it is difficult to identify risks and needs that ultimately lead to long term customer relationships
- Streamline processes. Processes are essential in order to maintain consistency and support the team. Conversely, if processes are cumbersome, they can get in the way and be confusing. It’s important to make processes simple and clear to follow
- Clear and simple. By being clear and simple, it’s possible to speed up team operations without loss of quality or missing information. For example, having the right insights and process means your team won’t waste time chasing the wrong leads and can qualify quickly
Ultimately, sales enablement relies on good processes, the right resources and tools, and good sales leadership. All of this together helps to build a strong and well-motivated sales team.
From Good sales team to Great sales team – what’s the difference?
After understanding sales enablement a little better, let’s take a moment to identify how to turn a good sales team into a great sales team.
8 steps to launch your sales enablement strategy using CRM
1) Know your customer
Knowing your customer is all about ensuring your team can quickly access the insights and tools they need to understand your customer’s business and their needs. It’s not enough to engage with your customers anymore – they expect you to know their business before you engage!
- Make your CRM system work for you by capturing basic data to help develop this relationship and strengthen it. If you’re at the implementation stage of your CRM journey then it’s vital that you highlight which information is essential for this purpose. This way you can ensure from the start that it will be easily captured (mandatory fields work a treat for this)
- Research, research and research using social media, websites and industry knowledge – your CRM system should house these insights
- Track current customer projects and also business analysis to help you keep track of customer progress.
- Build your account management process into your CRM to ensure regular follow up occurs and feedback is obtained, ultimately improving your retention of customers
2) Have a clear and simple process
Having a clear and simple sales process is one of the first steps to good sales enablement. But it’s not enough just to have a good sales process. It’s important that your CRM supports this by following the vocabulary, categorisation, and statuses already used within your business. Your CRM system should be configurable to match your internal business terminology.
Having your system match your process and terminology will make it feel natural and fit hand to glove when your sales team are using it. In our experience when implementing Gold-Vision, we ensure that your key business processes are streamlined and mapped to meet your business needs to remove user resistance.
Don’t leave your team guessing as to what the next step in the process or relationship is. Instead, ensure this is clear within the system and encourage team members to leave markers as to what action should be taken next. This might be as simple as a note or task but that will greatly help when referring back to opportunities. Build a control process which is clear with reporting that the team use for visibility of their actions.
3) Set clear goals
Setting clear goals will allow everyone to understand what’s the objectives are for your sales process and targets. Once you have agreed on your sales goals it is important that these are represented clearly and accurately in your CRM system. If you perform qualification or SWOT analysis for example these could also be included in your opportunity and sales process within CRM.
Building dashboards based around your goals will take the time and pain out of manually collaborating information for sales reporting.
Help your sales team hit their targets and work towards clear goals by making it really easy to identify and follow them in CRM.
4) Use reporting as a feedback loop
The massive benefit to having up-to-date and clear information in your CRM system is that it can then be used to drive powerful reporting. I encourage you to look beyond simple pipeline reports and instead to consider using reporting as a feedback loop.
A good example of this that we regularly implement as part of Gold-Vision: recording the reason why a sale is lost or won. This enables you and your team to report on and identify areas of improvement for future sales opportunities.
Another good example of using reporting as a feedback loop is to look at industry sectors for job roles where you have been successful. Again, this information will allow you to drive better opportunities in your future pipeline.
5) Consistency – save your brain for the important stuff
Consistency is key when it comes to streamlining your sales process and is an important part of sales enablement.
One of the common areas where consistency can be easily introduced is through template documents (Gold-Vision simply uses Microsoft Word). It’s likely you may have to send information to your prospects and customers in document format. Being able to do this using templates at the click of a button not only saves you a great amount of time but also ensures uniformity.
Another example we often see from a CRM perspective is the creation of follow up tasks. I will talk about these more in my points on automation below.
6) Automate – remove repetitive tasks
It is likely that as part of your sales process you may have to perform the same tasks or activities with most of your sales opportunities. It is highly likely that a modern CRM system such as Gold-Vision can automate many of these tasks for you, taking the legwork out of your process and ensuring that important consistency we discussed above.
Creating reminder alerts or follow up activities for your team based on their positive action within the CRM will help remind them of important dates and milestones without the manual overhead of setting them up.
At Gold-Vision, we find the automated Microsoft 365 and Gmail integrations are well-liked for this reason as they offer seamless automated emails and appointments with no effort. In addition, we seek to make processes in the system simple and easy-to-follow and automate where possible.
A solution which offers automated workflow which you can tailor is a huge plus. Here’s an example: when an opportunity is closed as won and it’s above a certain value, certain members are emailed or alerted. Our customers build many variations to match their needs.
7) Provide communications choice and track communications
Make it easy for information to flow between your sales professionals, your prospects and customers by providing communication choice. Phone and email are probably the first to spring to mind but don’t forget to consider less traditional methods like social media, customer portals, LiveChat or website forms – especially when these can be integrated with your CRM and automatically tracked.
Recognise which communication means is preferred by your prospects and customers and clearly identify this within your system as this will enable your team to communicate in the preferred manner.
8) Build a team solution
The final step, and most important in my opinion, is to build a team-orientated solution. Although it isn’t uncommon for sales professionals to work individually, it is crucial that your sales team can work efficiently together and support one another, regardless of where they are in the world.
For instance, imagine you have a team member who is on holiday or off sick and their prospect calls in. With a CRM solution that is up to date and fully integrated, a clear picture is painted of your prospect, including communications and appointments. As a result, anyone on the team can progress the relationship in their colleague’s absence.
Another way to look at the benefits of building a team-orientated solution is when the next action in a relationship is unclear, not through lack of process but perhaps through limited experience or familiarity of the sales professional. Implementing a CRM system that allows teams to work together when reviewing opportunities will mean experience can easily be shared, facilitating the conversations needed to move the pipeline forward.
Improving sales team enablement will provide you with the rewards of a motivated and highly functional sales team. As you can see from above, creating a simple and supported process with easy access to complete information will provide your team with the tools they require.
Not sure where to get started? If you’d like some help getting started on that journey please drop us a line to discuss your needs. We’re experienced in turning your business process and CRM woes into a successful project and would be delighted to hear from you.