“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” These sage words from John Robert Wooden, who won 620 games in 27 seasons as the legendary men’s head basketball coach of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). I know, I am dating myself. So, what does this “Woodenism” (famous insightful quotes from the “Wizard of Westwood”) have to do with sales enablement?

This Woodenism was part of the philosophy that helped Coach Wooden win. Not only did his teams win 620 games, they won 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons. It is that consistency that Wooden became famous for and it is why you should be interested in sales enablement.

What is B2B Sales Enablement?

According to Gartner, “Sales enablement is the activities, systems, processes, and information that support and promote knowledge-based sales interactions with client and prospects.

Forrester defines sales enablement as “A strategic, ongoing process that equips employees with the ability to consistently have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s journey.

I like TOPO’s definition of sales enablement, “Sales enablement is the process of providing the sales organization with information, content, and tools that help sales people sell more effectively. The foundation of sales enablement is to provide sales people with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process. It allows a large number of sales people to achieve quota in a scalable, predictable, and repeatable fashion.”

Sounds similar to Coach Wooden’s outcomes, huh?

Predictable. Repeatable. Scalable. What is not to like?

Source: IDC

More Than Just “Sales” Enablement

To be truly effective, this process requires ownership from both the sales and marketing teams. Marketing drives content while Sales focuses on communication and engagement.

But you also have to look at sales enablement beyond the impact on sales and marketing. You need to see the additional benefits to sellers and buyers.

On the seller side, the sales enablement process can play a big role in:

  • Recruiting and On-boarding: Again, it is all about predictability. Ensure that you are getting top talent by keeping the interview process consistent with reusable documentation. Also, provide repeatable on-boarding to get that top talent up-to-speed as soon as possible with content, training, resources, and more.
  • Continuous Training: Provide training that can be measured. Offer best practices from the industry or from sales leaders. Enable sellers to learn new technologies or sales strategies.
  • Performance Assessments: Have ways for sellers and managers to tweak performance without being too disruptive. Offer seamless feedback processes.
  • Coaching: Put sellers in a position where they feel comfortable taking advantage of coaching through videos, webinars, and documentation.

On the buyer side, the sales enablement process helps:

  • Ensure that the sales process maps to the buyer journey for better engagement
  • Personalize and customize content and communications to specific buyer personas to build relationship and trust
  • Give buyers a way to provide communication and feedback that can be leveraged by various individuals or departments for faster response or resolution

Why B2B Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement has been proven to work and sales enablement best practices are now available. Let me lay out a few statistics for your consideration.

According to Seismic, organizations with sales enablement tools or platforms experience:

  • 350% increase in content usage
  • 275% boost in conversions
  • 65% more revenue generated by sellers

Aberdeen reports that organizations with successful sales enablement programs have:

  • 32% higher team sales quota attainment
  • 24% better individual quota achievement
  • 23% higher lead conversion rate
  • 25% higher growth

Whether you are in an enterprise company or a professional services firm, you have to admit that these numbers are compelling and would definitely help with your organization’s growth.

Source: Highspot

What Sales Enablement Metrics to Follow

A lot of times when I discuss strategies or processes with clients, they inevitably ask me, “That’s great, Kelly. I get it. But how do I measure performance and success?” Well, with sales enablement, I could go into great detail on metrics, but I think that Sales Hacker has done a great job of identifying 10 common metrics used with sales enablement so I will just promote their work.

Here is a quick definition for each KPI or metric from Sales Hacker:

  1. Time to Revenue: This metric refers to the time required to close a sale.
  2. Quota Attainment: The percentage of sellers in the team that consistently meet or exceed targets.
  3. Sales Cycle: The average time duration it takes to close deals from one end of the funnel to the other.
  4. Time Spent Actively Selling: The average length of time sellers actively spend engaging prospects.
  5. Content Usage: Evaluates the efficiency of each communication material based on unique visits, amount of time customers spend on the content, and other quantifiable factors.
  6. Sales Funnel Transition Rates: Specific transition rates from one stage of the funnel to the next (e.g., from prospect to marketing qualified lead, from sales qualified lead to won opportunity and to a closed deal).
  7. Average Win Rate: The ratio of closed won deals to the total number of won and lost deals.
  8. Attach Rate: The percentage of deals that include a go-to-market strategy with a partner.
  9. Number of Closed Deals: The number of engaged/closed deals in a specific timeframe.
  10. Product Mix: The percentage of products/solutions included in a closed deal.

This article was not written to be the comprehensive authoritative piece on sales enablement. Its purpose is to make you aware of sales enablement, its benefits, and how to measure it so that you would investigate it further and give it serious consideration to help grow your organization. In future articles I will go deeper into sales enablement tools, sales enablement best practices, and sales enablement vendor selection.

The memorable part of sales enablement is its ability to provide repeatable success…just like Coach John Wooden. Not only did he help his teams to 10 NCAA titles in 12 years—he had seven of those championship wins back-to-back.

I hope you will do more research into both sales enablement and Coach Wooden. Both may significantly help your sellers. Check out his Woodenisms. Which one is your favorite? Also, reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter if you have any questions around sales enablement or other B2B marketing topics.

Kelly Waffle