Any great craftsman or artist will tell you that even the most talented among them can't achieve success without the right tools, and the know-how to use them properly. Like a woodworker or a painter, founders need the right set of sales enablement tools to setup their sales teams for success.
Let's look at how companies can assemble the most effective sales assets - including videos, blogs, case studies, print collateral and more - to build sales momentum and deliver value to your potential customers so they'll be won over by the product or service that can help solve problems within their own organization.
- Sales enablement tools can be divided into specific categories: reporting and analysis, sales content optimization, and technology and automation
- There are distinct and very different assortments of sales enablement tools that are appropriate for a startup company still trying to achieve product-market fit compared to scale-up companies with a proven solution and customer base
- The creation of a company's sales enablement strategy is the process that will determine the right mix of sales enablement tools, with a dedicated schedule of testing and reporting needed to find what is most effective.
Like all resources used by B2B technology companies, sales enablement tools need to meet the right objective to attract and engage a prospect without too much cost, complexity or talent to be effective.
For startups still working with their beta or later-stage MVP (minimum viable product), some of the best tools include lightweight, self-serve demo's delivered by a short video, or on a set of website pages, as well as product slicks and other assets that naturally progress the stages of the buyer's journey.
It is important emphasize brevity and impact when creating or selecting sales enablement tools, especially early on in the sales journey since the 'traditional' 1-to-1 or 1-to-some demo has become more and more ineffective until a prospect is ready to buy. In fact, early in the customer journey, a demo can often be more of an obstacle than an asset. Look for pieces that speak to the prospect's interests and problems, and can do so effectively with a time commitment of 30-60 seconds at most, if possible.
These early offerings need to address what the company has learned about the market from a high level to show familiarity and expertise. Once you see via marketing automation that an early asset has been viewed, you can follow up with email content such as case studies and product features that provide deeper comparisons and more focused data to help move the prospect closer to making their buying decision.
These second-level and later sales enablement tools can include a comparative analysis against a competitor, or a lightweight presentation with multiple pathways to choose from based on the information they have provided about their unique situation.
Categories of Sales Enablement Tools
Sales enablement tools can take a variety of forms, and there is no limit to what can be used to help move the sales process forward. The multitude of options can become overwhelming - especially for startup companies - which is why it is helpful to consider the four main categories that businesses need to account for as part of their overall sales enablement strategy
Reporting and Analysis
To track both the effectiveness of the sales team and the sales enablement tools they've been given (as well as the overall sales strategy), companies need to establish the KPIs that are most important to track as well as baseline performance metrics. Some valuable performance metrics include:
- activities logged by salespeople
- product demos delivered
- deals won and lost
- number of leads generated and worked
Other areas of reporting and analysis that need to be considered in your sales enablement tools include assets to help review and improve the sales process including a sales audit, a lead scoring system to help better qualify leads, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Sales Content Optimization
Content created by the sales or marketing teams to help generate sales momentum can be powerful for both inbound and outbound sales campaigns. Over time, companies need to build up a deep library of company, product and customer case studies, white papers, e-books, email templates, product demo decks, pricing and discount information, sales slicks and competitive intelligence briefs. These materials need to address the situation that a current prospect is facing, and as such need to be informative and organized in a way so they are readily available and easy to select for the specific sales situation each team member is involved in.
Technology and Automation
Sales and marketing software, whether as part of a CRM or as a more distinct offering, provide the capabilities to build highly specific lead capture and nurturing campaigns. Email sequences that provide triggered follow-ups based on interactions with other assets can be highly effective, with the capability for the prospect to schedule a demo or conversation with the sales team once they are 'warmed up' by other sales enablement content assets.
Automated messaging and AI-powered conversational tools are an evolving technology at the forefront of sales enablement, giving team members the ability to begin and structure conversations based on the previous activity a prospect has engaged in on your website.
Tools To Power Sales Enablement Strategy
Sales enablement tools are the implements that make it possible for a company's sales enablement strategy to be put into action. With consumers more digitally savvy and time-pressured than ever, business must evolve and find ways to build deeper relationships via relevant content and impactful communication created to reach potential customers on the platforms where they are most comfortable.
Sales enablement tools are not the only component of a sales enablement strategy, since training in sales tactics and market dynamics are also essential. But there are certain "must-haves" when it comes to the toolbox you give to the sales team to best perform their duties.
That kit needs to include:
- messaging boilerplate
- case study templates
- lead qualification and deal pipeline framework
- target customer industry lists
- sales process checklists
- one-page sales slicks
- price sheets
- situation-specific demo decks
- contracts, quotes and service agreements
- customer relationship management software
If you're just getting started with building your sales enablement toolkit, here's a good mix of tools to get you on your way.