A few years ago I started a new job where I was tasked with the sales enablement portion of a major product launch that was set to happen just a few months after my start date. Very quickly after starting my job I realized that the sales reps were in a state of panic. The reps did not know how the new product worked or how to sell it. The reps were reaching out to the support team, marketing and product team flooding them with questions. Each of these organization started having trouble working effectively because of the constant interruptions. Not only was this a drain on non-sales functions, but the sales team was not spending much time selling. This is not an isolated problem, on average only 24 percent of a sales rep's time is spent selling.
Now that software companies' updates now happening many times a year, it is difficult for a sales rep to stay on top of so many changes. A scalable sales enablement program can give more time back to your sales team and give them the knowledge they need to do their job well. Here are five tips to build a scalable sales enablement program.
1. Have one source of truth. The barrier to creating a repository of information in many companies these days is low. Any employee can often create a wiki page or google doc. Most employee's intentions are good, but this will often make it so no one knows where to go for accurate information. Pick one place for your reps to go and stick to it.
2. Get them to answer each other's questions. The use of online forums for your sales team, whether it be through messaging, or collaboration software, can help greatly. Encourage questions to be asked in these forums and you'll be surprised how quickly fellow reps and employees from all over the company will start answering their questions before you even have the chance. Eventually, for most questions, you won't need to step in, but should constantly monitor for accuracy.
3. Avoid the one-offs at all costs. It's tempting to respond to that question a sales rep emailed you but responding only encourages more "one-off" questions. Take it as a chance to point them to the right channels. For example, if the answer to the question exists in a FAQ or wiki, send them a link to the answer. This will train them to check there first in the future.
4. Consistent channels of communication. Similar to having one source of truth, expected times and forms of communication on product changes will help the sales team feel on top of what is happening. Be consistent and constantly remind them when and where they'll get the information they need to succeed.
5. Don't forget the personal touch. If you want to build a solid foundation with your sales team, you'll have to add a personal touch. This might be attending team meetings to answer questions and educate on the sales enablement program. It could also mean running feedback sessions. Either way, in building scale, don't forget to build relationships.
Helping the sales team through your sales enablement efforts is a sure way to help your business move forward. If you focus on scalability, you'll be able to amaze your colleagues with the impact you can have on the entire business with relatively little resources.
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock