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Is Your Sales Enablement World Class?

Sridhar Ramanathan

By sridhar ramanathan
Posted on October 2014 in Product Marketing

Virtually all of our clients invest a significant chunk of their marketing dollars in sales enablement.  That includes sales training (self-paced online and instructor led training with sophisticated role playing), sales communications (e.g. newsletters, alerts, internal social media posts, etc.) and sales tools such as competitive battle cards, customer presentations, call scripts, one-pager solution briefs, and more.  The sad thing is that we see sales/marketing leadership demanding more and more sales support but with less and less focus on actual usage of these assets and measurement of their effectiveness on actual sales behavior.

Here’s a quick ten-question test to help you benchmark your own sales enablement process against what we see as the best practices of world class players (which might be you). Note that these questions apply to your partner sales force enablement as well.

  • Do you measure the actual usage of sales tools on at least a monthly basis then trigger actions to improve effectiveness?
  • Do you proactively solicit feedback on sales tools and training from a representative sample group of your sales organization?
  • Do you require content publishers (typically product managers and product marketers) to update the most frequently used sales assets on at least a bi-annual, if not quarterly, basis?
  • Do you approach sales assets the same way a world-class publisher such as, say, The Washington Post might versus tossing assets into your sales repository and hoping reps will use it?
  • Do you design the sale reps’ user experience (e.g. how content is rendered on the device, ease of access to assets, appealing/visual content) on the device they use the most in front of customers or when preparing for a customer meeting or creating a proposal?
  • Do you optimize the search and “discoverability” of assets so reps get the content they need, when they need it, and aligned with where they are in the sales process?
  • Are your sales managers actively engaged in assessing, growing, and even driving certification of their reps’ competency in both selling skills and product knowledge?
  • Are sales assets dynamically updated so reps always have the latest and most accurate information on their device?
  • Is your sales enablement process tied to and aligned with your sales process?
  • Do you have a clear owner for the ongoing governance of the end-to-end process from content creation to consumption?

If you said, “yes” to at least seven of these then count yourself among the minority of tech firms that do an outstanding job enabling their sales force.  Have we missed an important factor in effective sales enablement? Disagree with our assessment of what’s important? Post a comment to share your perspective.