Is it Time to Redefine Sales Enablement?

 In All Things Productivity, Blog

thinky-2Over the last five years, sales enablement has transitioned from a nascent business practice to an established, strategic function. During this period a number of definitions have emerged – not all of them helpful.


While many vendors have offered their own self-serving definitions, analysts like IDC have explained that the focus should remain on increasing revenue and that, essentially, sales enablement concerns “the delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time in the right format and in the right place to assist in moving a specific sales opportunity forward”.

Getting the right materials to reps is now a major priority. Yet somewhere along the way we took the “right information” to mean just sales presentations or marketing collateral and companies invested in “sales enablement” platforms that cater only for these sales and marketing materials. Unfortunately, this vision of “sales enablement” doesn’t tally with reality.

Reps are concerned with presentations and marketing collateral about 20% of their time. The rest of their day is spent answering customer questions on product details, solution details, service levels, implementations, maintenance, support and finding other solutions so they can upsell. Reps also spend time on tasks like putting together ROI estimates, proposals, order forms and agreements.

So, if your sales enablement solution involves someone in marketing uploading all the right collateral for reps into one magic platform, you might not be helping your reps as much as you would like to think.

The Types of Content Reps Need

Marketing and sales materials really are the tip of the iceberg for sales reps. B2B sales today has an average of 5.4 stakeholders involved in any one deal each with different concerns and priorities. Reps use materials from all across the organization to help further each sales opportunity.

The types of content reps need.

Misguided Enablement

One of the main drivers behind all sales enablement initiatives is the amount of time reps waste searching for relevant content. Indeed, a recent study conducted by the CMO Council found that salespeople invest upwards of 40% of their time creating presentations and other sales cycle content—which equates to two full days a week wasted.

Yet how many “sales enablement” platforms really solve this problem? Sure, reps might have access to the latest sales and marketing materials, but what about the other 80% of their job – things like answering questions on products and ROI estimates? With most “sales enablement” solutions you are right back to square one. Reps, instead of wasting 2 whole days a week looking for content, might only waste 1.5 days a week – hardly the improvement you would expect after a sizable sales enablement investment.

Seek and You Will Find

For any sales enablement initiative to succeed, we need to move beyond our fixation with sales and marketing collateral. Reps today operate in a highly complex and challenging environment facing new and unique situations each day. To succeed, they need instant access to materials from right across the organization – not just Sales and Marketing.

So, uploading your sales and marketing collateral to this magic platform won’t cut the mustard. Instead, reps need a search-based sales enablement solution that connects content repositories across the organization allowing them to go to one place and find the exact page, slide, or even paragraph they need when they need it for 100% of their revenue-generating activities.

It’s time to set a new standard in sales enablement.


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