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Episode 3: How to Develop a Sales Enablement Strategy

What’s actually involved in making a sales enablement strategy? We break out the three key elements -- a clear goal, a target buyer, and a content strategy -- to help get you on your way to implementing a successful sales enablement strategy at your company.


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Episode Transcription

Hi, I’m Jorie Munroe from HubSpot, and this is Skill Up, the show where you’ll learn how to take your sales, marketing, and service skills to the next level.

So we've established that you need to get your marketing and sales teams working together and that sales enablement is a great way to do that. And while sales might get the naming rights, marketing also plays an important role in any sales enablement strategy.

But what does that mean? Sales enablement strategy. What's actually involved in making that happen?

A sales enablement strategy has three key elements -- A clear goal, a target buyer, and a content strategy. And any strategy worth its salt knows how to develop goals around each. So let’s break it down.

So the first thing you need is a clear goal. Remember sales enablement is the processes, content, and technology that empowers sales teams to sell efficiently at a higher velocity. 

So even though sales enablement involves marketing, the goal of a sales enablement strategy should be based on sales results, not marketing metrics. 

You can take my word for it, but here’s Bertrand Hazard, Vice President of Marketing at TrustRadius, to give you his:

HAZARD: And you know, every marketing organization has been trained, and I want to say brainwashed, but you know, to think in terms of leads. And the day of the leads are kind of like still, you know, a metric that you want to kind of look at but it's not the ultimate metric.

I mean if you want to really bridge the gap between, you know, sales and marketing you have to stop to use a Common Language and the common language is ultimately revenues than booking contribution. 

So it's much easier to align against these type of goals of a revenue goals or booking goals or a new logo goals that you have and then really try to drive you know results around these goals. How many new bookings do we need to head into the pipeline entering the quarter, how many new bookings do we need to have or how many bookings how much pipeline do we need by the end of the quarter to be able to then, you know, drive the revenues that we have to achieve, you know, within one or two quarters depending on the length of your sale cycles.

So really starting to taking like a revenue Centric perspective not only helps on a day-to-day basis because sales people and you know, that's what they hear. You know, they want to make money they have to do a quota and quota is about pipeline. So if you can talk their language, that's the best thing that you're going to make, you know, friends with your sales.] 

A shared revenue goal is the most fundamental piece in a sales enablement strategy. Marketing and sales have to be aligned around a single revenue goal first, only then will you be able to implement the processes, content, and technology that will help you achieve that goal.

Otherwise, cart meet horse.

The next element of a sales enablement strategy is a target buyer. One of the most effective ways to empower your sales team to sell efficiently at a higher velocity is to help them focus on the people who are most likely to buy from you. 

Now, hearing that makes sense. But for most sales teams, it’s not always an intuitive fact. Here's Steve Bookbinder again.

BOOKBINDER: So every year the game for all salespeople, how are you going to make more sales and last year? Okay. So I ask salesmen what you going to do to make more sales than last? And this is what I usually get as the answer I get three answers all them sound right, none of them are right. 

One: work harder. Oh, well that only works if you would like taking it like two hours off in the middle of every day.

Here's another one be my actually my favorite: work smarter. Oh, yeah, how would the work smarter thing work? Would you go to the smart machine and turn it up from seven to eight? Yeah, I was on seven.

Like I tell people in my first year in sales I heard about that you could work smarter to make more sales and the goals go up. So I was deliberately stupid. Yeah in my first year. I purposely stupid. 

Here's another one: be more productive. Well, is that really about being more productive because I mean you could do certain things to be more productive but sales people are already productive and they often confuse busy with productive. 

But here's the bottom line. If you could be more productive wouldn't you already be more productive? Of course you would. So there's only one way to make more sales. It's to maximize your time with people more likely to buy. And minimize your time with the others.] 

You have to help your sales team get focused on the right people because ultimately, the time a rep spends talking with people who are never going to buy is wasted time. And who’s got time for that? Really?

So if you want to improve sales efficiency, you need to increase the time reps spend speaking with more qualified buyers and reduce the amount of time they spend speaking with less qualified buyers.

To do that, you need to implement the right processes, content, and technology to help them.

Finally, you need a content strategy. And yes, the word content is in there, but this strategy can't just be something marketing does on their own. 

Too many organization’s content is something that marketing produces without any help or input from other departments. I’ll let Marcus Sheridan, author of The Sales Lion, walk you through why that’s not always the most ideal situation, for sales and for your business.

SHERIDAN: Too often when we talk about things like inbound, we say it from a marketing slant and it sounds like marketers talking about marketing and thus it doesn't resonate with the marketplace, certainly not with leadership teams. Because no CEO, in my opinion, has ever said I want to be the best inbound or content marketer in the world. Nobody says that. But I could see a CEO saying, when anybody has a problem in our space, I want them to think of us. I want them to think of our name. I want them to know that we are a go to source.

I’ll let you in on a secret few people in marketing want to hear: Your sales team’s already producing content. They just don’t call it that.

But make no mistake, salespeople are also content creators. And at most companies, they’re a completely untapped source for content.

Here's Todd Hockenberry, owner of Top-Line Results. 

HOCKENBERRY: Salespeople are important to this because they hear the questions in the field. And when a salesperson gets a question. The answer is content and they don't see it as content, but it might be a phone call. It might be an email, it might be a PowerPoint presentation they do answer these questions. Well, feed it back to marketing pretty simple. But a lot of times that doesn't happen.

OK, let’s recap. Your sales enablement strategy needs three key elements -- 

A shared revenue goal, a target buyer who reps get to spend their valuable time with, and a content strategy that involves input from the sales team. 

Once you have those things in place, you'll be able to build processes for each of them. And the cherry on top will be the technology needed to improve and accelerate those processes over time.


Next episode, we’ll dig into how you can create your sales enablement vision and tackle some goal setting. All that and more, coming up next. I’ll see you there.