We’ve all heard the saying, “A fool with a tool is still a fool.” Unfortunately, even with all the sales enablement tools available to sellers, that adage is as true in sales as everywhere else.

Many sales organizations believe that investing in sales enablement technology is enough to boost a seller’s effectiveness. But pushing sales enablement content to sellers through a CRM at their moment of need doesn’t build skills. It doesn’t help sellers strengthen relationships with buyers or recognize opportunities to add greater value during the buying journey.

Rather, sales enablement tools are only effective when sellers have the right skill set to put them to use. That requires a trifecta of sales enablement services: content that reinforces your sales methodology backed up by sales training and coaching. A mature sales enablement function develops all three elements.

What is sales enablement, and what value does it bring to a sales organization?

We define sales enablement as a strategic, collaborative discipline designed to make sales results more predictable. It’s much more than sales training, though training is a key component of sales enablement. Sales training focuses on methodology and skills. But sales enablement gives sellers a holistic set of tools they need to add value to every buyer interaction.

Our 5th Annual Sales Enablement Study shows the impact of sales enablement services. Organizations without sales enablement had win rates of 42.5%, 3.9% lower than the average of 46.4% . Those with sales enablement reported an average win rate of 49.0%. That’s 15.3% higher than those without enablement, an increase.

The sales organizations that we surveyed in our sales enablement study offer a variety of sales enablement services. The most popular are sales training and sales tools. Other services include sales process improvements, CRM and sales enablement technology, content services, onboarding and coaching.

Of these, three foundational sales enablement services — sales content, sales training and sales coaching — have a fundamental impact on results. So, let’s take a closer look at how these three services intersect.

1 Sales content

Sales content is any piece of content that sellers need to develop sales opportunities. Content spans the entire buyer journey, not just the awareness phases, and comes in two key forms: external and internal.

External content is customer-facing content that sellers use in buyer interactions. This content includes case studies, success stories, presentations, white papers, third-party content, proposal templates, contracts and the like.

Internal content helps sellers prepare for buyer interactions. This content includes sales scripts, playbooks, value messaging guidelines and battle cards.

But it’s not enough to give sellers access to content and expect them to know what to do with it. Optimizing the value of sales enablement content requires sales training and sales coaching.

2 Sales training

Sales training covers sales methodology and processes, selling skills, sales technology, products, messaging and customer insights. The goal of sales training is often to build skills and develop new selling behaviors.

The most effective sales training focuses on sales methodology and sales processes. This focus helps sellers connect with buyers along their path. As a result, sellers can better meet buyer expectations. Sellers are able to teach buyers new things and share informed perspectives that help buyers solve pressing challenges.

In addition to training during onboarding, leading sales organizations offer training throughout a seller’s career. After initial training, continuous skill building and reinforcement can be delivered through coaching and bite-size reminders delivered through a CRM.

Respondents to our sales enablement studies consistently report that sales training is their most critical sales enablement service. Sales organizations that report the greatest impact from sales training are the ones that invest more in sales training. Organizations that invest between $500 and $2,500 per seller annually achieved a win rate of 46.4%, reflecting the average in our Sales Enablement Study. But organizations that invested more than $2,500 per seller had win rates of 50.2%.

Yet sales training, even with enablement, isn’t enough to help sales professionals deliver valuable, relevant and differentiating in buyer interactions. Optimizing learning from sales enablement efforts and sales training requires formal or dynamic sales coaching.

3 Sales coaching

Sales coaching consists of planned, structured conversations that help sellers uncover opportunities for improvement. Its goal is to reinforce learning, driving adoption of sales methodology and leading to lasting change.

There are different types of coaching: lead and opportunity coaching, funnel coaching, skills and behavior coaching and account and territory coaching. Sales enablement services give sales coaches the tools and training they need to have conversations in these areas.

Despite its value, most organizations don’t take a formal approach to sales coaching. Nearly two-thirds (62.9%) follow a random approach that leaves coaching up to sales managers or an informal approach that may have guidelines but isn’t formally implemented.

Formal coaching approaches that are purposeful and dynamic and align coaching with sales enablement lead to better sales results. Dynamic sales coaching improved sellers’ quota attainment and win rates by double digits over the average in our Sales Enablement Study. It showed even stronger results compared to the random approach: a 27.9% improvement in quota attainment and 32.1% in win rates.

Of course, sales coaching on its own won’t deliver the results that sales leaders expect. Its prerequisite is a sound training program that reinforces sales enablement content.

Sales Effectiveness

Break through to immediate, predictable and sustainable sales effectiveness

Integration of sales enablement services matters

Getting the results you want requires more than spoon-feeding sellers content at the moment they need it. The most effective way to improve sales results is to build a salesforce with the skills and will to master the sales methodology and processes that deliver results. To do that, sales organizations need to bring sales enablement content to life through dynamic sales training and coaching.

The integration of these three sales enablement services multiplies the impact of your investment. For example, say your marketing team creates a new sales playbook. You could hand it to your sellers and hope for the best. Or you could put together a short training video that shows sellers how to use the playbook. Then you could ask sales managers to lead role-play exercises with sellers using the playbook contents.

Sales enablement integration is similar to handing someone a fishing rod versus showing them how to use it. If they don’t know how to use or bait a rod, they’ll go hungry before they catch a fish. But when they’re taught how to use the rod, they’ll learn how to feed themselves for a lifetime.

Integrating sales enablement content that uses training and coaching to reinforce your sales methodology ensures sellers can perpetuate their success. And it can transform your team into brilliant sales tacticians.

Contact us to learn how to integrate your sales enablement services to optimize your organization’s results.