The State of Sales Enablement: The Good, the Bad, and Everything In Between

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As hybrid workplaces become more prevalent, it’s more important than ever to mobilize sales teams to handle in-person and virtual buyer interactions. Thankfully, teams don’t have to go it alone. Sales enablement has emerged as a crucial component in today's unique environment for empowering salespeople with the ongoing training, content, and tools they need to successfully close deals, no matter where they are. 

With a growing number of companies adopting a sales enablement program, platform or both, we looked at how they’re using sales enablement, how it alleviated their challenges, and its overall impact on their sales teams. In our recent report, "Who Owns Sales Enablement," we surveyed over 300 B2B sales and marketing leaders to gauge the state of sales enablement, and the stats were eye-opening.

Among the challenges sales organizations faced, one of the most surprising was that 40 percent of reps didn’t know the answers to customer product questions. The culprit here is poor seller training—a hurdle that organizations noted sales enablement helped improve. But that isn’t to say sales enablement was infallible for all companies. The results also uncovered that some organizations struggle to make their programs work due to other priorities and too many stakeholders with no defined roles.  

Let's take a look at the current state of sales enablement, how it worked for organizations, where they ran into complications and everything else sales leaders need to know. 

State of Sales Enablement: The Good

Based on the survey’s results, most companies that deployed a sales enablement platform in their organization had a positive view of it. Their reps were 73 percent more effective at understanding and presenting new products and features. This stat comes as no surprise considering a sales enablement platform’s just-in-time learning and reinforcement capabilities. 

The versatility of a sales enablement platform supports dispersed teams in the hybrid era with peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and collaboration tools to connect with each other, and digital sales rooms to engage with their customers in a more meaningful way. Additionally, it allows reps to easily access the “just-in-time” learning they need—content such as case studies, call recordings, white papers, and more—to quickly understand the product they’re selling. This makes them more prepared and confident on calls, impressing potential buyers and helping them to close more deals. 

A good sales enablement program can help companies reach revenue goals. In fact, companies with a formal sales enablement program are ten times more likely to hit their revenue goals consistently. This stat goes back to having better-prepared sellers. Sales enablement’s focus is to empower reps with everything they need to build their skills as salespeople. With an improved skill set, reps can convert prospects to customers, move customers through the sales pipeline, and, finally, close more deals—in turn, leading to more revenue for an organization.  

State of Sales Enablement: The Bad

While sales enablement does a lot of good, some organizations encountered problems making it work effectively. Even with a structured sales enablement program, one-third of companies struggle to achieve their goals due to competing priorities, multiple stakeholders, and a lack of understanding, among other challenges. Other obstacles to sales enablement include a lack of a dedicated team and tools. As a result, only 31 percent of companies consistently meet their sales enablement goals.

The way to ensure sales enablement’s success is with clearly defined goals and roles. This plan requires a deep dive into a program to determine barriers to sales enablement and ways to eliminate them. Here are some questions to keep in mind while auditing: “Who’s contributing to what and how?” “Are the appropriate teams (like sales and marketing) aligned?” “Is there overlap between tasks and ownership of specific roles?” After identifying potential roadblocks, resources can be reallocated and teams reorganized to ensure key contributors are on the same page. 

Everything In Between

Another standout finding revealed that companies struggle with sales content management, with some not providing enough content and not making it easily accessible. Only one in three companies have an easy way for sales reps to find the most relevant sales content to sell their products effectively. 

Content plays a vital role in seller training. That’s why organizations invest time and money into creating each sales asset needed. But it doesn’t matter how much effort is put into content creation if reps can’t find it when they need it. As sales markets and businesses evolve, content needs to evolve with it, especially when today’s content could be rendered obsolete tomorrow. That’s why it’s crucial that reps can quickly locate content, that it’s consumable, and that it’s agile. 

Sales enablement platforms should help keep content organized and readily discoverable for when reps need it. Take it one step further with content activation—explain the intent behind each piece of content via short-form video or email. By doing so, salespeople won’t have to guess what the content is, its intended audience, or when to use it. 

Organizations are seeking ways to enable their sales teams in hybrid environments, and sales enablement has emerged as the solution they’ve turned to. The insights from the “Who Owns Sales Enablement” report show that while some companies have thrived with sales enablement, others still have work to do. But the current state of sales enablement is clear: The future is bright for companies that have found ways to make it work.

As Allego’s chief revenue officer, George Donovan is responsible for achieving the company’s customer acquisition and sales goals. A proven sales leader with more than 20 years of sales, marketing, operations, and management experience, Donovan is a sales enablement enthusiast who loves tools and systems that empower people. Prior to Allego, Donovan served as the chief sales officer of Compete during its rapid growth from $30M to $110M. Previously, he was the principal owner of a Sandler Training franchise in Marlborough, Mass. Donovan holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Saint Anselm College.

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