Sales enablement is on the mind of many businesses and sales leaders. Why? A high-performing sales enablement program can streamline workflows, inspire marketing collaboration, optimize the sales process, and most of all, empower reps to notch more wins and deliver a personalized customer experience.
Yet the pathway to creating an effective sales enablement program may be more involved than some might initially think it to be. The sales enablement process is multifaceted and success is dependent on careful planning and a well-executed strategy. Whether building a program from the ground up or scaling one, remember that outlining concrete sales enablement goals will drive progress and results.
There are many considerations that these goals should address, from the functional enablement of reps with sales content and coaching to integrating sales enablement into company culture. Chief among these topics is the actual sales enablement platform you will use. Finding the right sales enablement technology is crucial to overall success and strategy.
To help you plan, let’s explore some common elements of the best sales enablement goals.
Why Sales Enablement Should be a Goal for Your Business
But first, the big question: Why should sales enablement be such an important goal for your business in the first place? While the concept of sales enablement and the market for solutions are still growing, sales enablement is catching on for the very simple reason that it works.
With the right sales enablement strategy in place, companies can benefit from:
- Increased sales productivity.
- More frequent collaboration with marketing.
- Better identification of sales rep training needs.
- Less time spent on menial or manual tasks with little to no value (e.g. searching for content).
- Improved sales engagement.
- Reduced sales cycle length and costs.
- Better insight into performance data.
The advantages of sales enablement can touch every corner of sales operations. A sales professional with easy access to updated marketing collateral and personalized coaching modules is infinitely more prepared to sell and close deals than the rep who must devote time and energy to scouring folders and files for content, or who lacks the skills to guide leads through key touch points in the sales process.
Make it SMART
Vague goals will become obstacles to growth and realization of the advantages of effective sales enablement. To avoid the pitfall of goals that lack clarity or structure, consider using the SMART methodology when developing your agenda. An acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based, SMART is a much-used format for goal-setting, and highly applicable in the context of sales enablement strategy.
Whatever goals you come up with, strive to make them:
- Specific: This is the who, what, where, when, and how of the sales enablement process. As in, each goal should have a specific focus or desired outcome, such as improving the training content in your sales onboarding program or decreasing average customer acquisition costs.
- Measurable: Data is the lifeblood of strategic decision-making, and sales enablement metrics are no different. Make sure that progress toward every goal can be measured, like establishing usage thresholds for a new sales enablement solution that increase gradually as reps ramp up during a new software implementation.
- Attainable: Goals are meant to be reaches upward, but keep in mind that shooting too high may limit you. Goals also are meant to be achievable, and you need to think about what you may need to make that possible. If you aim to better align marketing and sales, what silos might you need to break down? Think of this as due diligence for goal-setting.
- Relevant: Your sales enablement goals have to match your overarching corporate objectives. For example, if you’re expanding into a new market of launching a new product, make sure that you have sales coaching that trains reps in buyer personas or product information.
- Time-based: There has to be a timeline on the goal. Without being bound to some deadline, a goal may never be realized. If you wish to complete workforce-wide training on new enablement software, you need to set an end date, as well as build in phases and milestones to ensure progress is on track.
Have the Right Enablement Technology
Sales enablement software will have an effect on every goal you set out to achieve. The best sales enablement goals holistically address the role that technology plays. It’s essential that you factor in how these solutions can be leveraged to automate workflows, and what technical steps are needed to ensure sales reps and marketing stakeholders can make effective use of the tool.
The best sales enablement tools are those that:
- Offer a unified resource ecosystem: A good sales enablement platform makes it easy to access marketing resources or collateral, ideally in as few clicks as necessary. A shared digital environment means instant access to seamlessly updated content that reps can send to leads or nurture existing client relationships with.
- Make training a personalized, interactive experience: Sales training can sometimes feel like coursework. One way to ensure better comprehension and learning retention is by making the experience interactive and personalized to training needs — which is possible with the best tools.
- Deliver robust data analytics: Data reporting is central to goals-setting. The numbers may reveal that a certain content asset is going underutilized or that sales staff competency in late-stage lead nurturing is lacking. Armed with this intelligence, you can create SMART goals that address needs at individual and organizational levels.
Be Prepared for Challenges
While the perfect route to success is a straight line, that’s not very often the case. It’s likely you may be dealt some turns or setbacks, whether in expected new market penetration or revenue target forecasts. It’s key that you maintain flexibility in order to adjust goals or course-correct when needed.
Some of the common challenges experienced when setting sales enablement goals include:
- External change: Not everything is in your control; new competitors may appear or grab greater market share. This may force you to shift strategy and perhaps create new coaching modules on competitive tactics.
- Departmental silos: Marketing and sales alignment can be a constant challenge. It’s natural for separate departments to develop divergent methods or preferences, but silos become costly. As soon as you break one down, another may appear. The best sales enablement tools will help you be vigilant in solving new marketing alignment challenges.
- Internal resistance: Resistance isn’t always active revolt; it may be that Sales reps aren’t comfortable in their ability to effectively use the solution. If change becomes a problem, goals may need to be scaled to ensure they remain attainable and actionable.
Rely on the Data
Data-driven sales enablement is, in reality, the only kind of effective sales enablement. The success of your strategy will be decided in many ways by the data — so keeping a constant eye on your key metrics and performance indicators is necessary.
Once again, the quality of sales enablement technology will come into play. You’ll need a 360-view into everything from usage rates per individual rep to client interactions with sales content. Some data points to watch may be:
- Sales cycle time: When you institute a sales enablement program, you expect the sales process to become shorter. If sales cycle times, however, trend upward, then something clearly needs to be corrected.
- Onboarding time: Similarly, the ramping time for new hires should be reduced with the help of a sales enablement program. Onboarding metrics will tell an insightful story, as certain modules may be found to be more complex, and thus could be refined.
- Average deal size/value: If your sales enablement goals are geared toward increased deal size or value, make sure to track the requisite metrics to ensure your sales enablement efforts are productive.
Talk to Showpad About Sales Enablement Tools
The process of developing sales enablement goals is in many ways a science — evident in the value of using a methodology like SMART. The best goals are those that are well-thought-through, supported by technology, and based on data. Fulfilling these criteria will help ensure you craft actionable, achievable goals that grow your sales organization.
When considering how to best empower reps with sales enablement tools, get in contact with Showpad. We can help with information on the benefits of Sales enablement and what the best solutions — like our all-in-one platform — can do for you. Reach out today.