6 Ways Sales Enablement Leaders can Gain Sales Management Support
Sales Enablement is generally focused on assisting individual sellers with less focus placed on others in the organization. This focus is understandable as the definition of Sales Enablement might lead people in this direction.
“Sales enablement is the strategy and processes for helping sales teams efficiently move customers through the sales process to the point where the customer can make a buying decision with a higher likelihood of buying their solution.“
Sales Enablement supports the sales team to move buyers to a decision point. While individual sellers are a primary customer, the sales managers are critical stakeholders as you seek to elevate their team’s performances.
Let that sink in for a moment. If you create the best Sales Enablement program in the world, and no one uses it, does it help your business? As humans, we are mostly risk-averse and will not embrace change unless we have to do so. Your Sales Manager’s support will be a critical lever to incentivize the new behaviors you are trying to bring into reality.
Take the time to work with your Sales Managers in the following ways.
1. Understand their pain points
What is keeping your sales managers up at night? Are they able to achieve their team and personal goals?
Your managers are in a tough position.
- Their bosses are raising their team quotas all the time, and they cannot understand how anyone could struggle to sell your product or solution.
- Their teams are complaining about their compensation plans, unrealistic quotas, and the fact that they need engineering to put one more feature in place so they can make that big sale they are counting on for the quarter.
- And the rest of the company doesn’t help. Not enough leads from marketing — no support from engineering – finance is pushing back on the discounts needed to sell the product.
That’s right. These managers often feel like they are carrying the company and not getting the support or recognition required to meet their goals.
In other words, they are looking for allies who can make their lives easier.
Sit down with each manager and ask them, openly, what are the biggest challenges they have in achieving their goals. Listen, document, and listen more. Can you help?
2. Help them improve their team’s performance
As you grow your understanding of each manager’s goals, probe deeper.
What is the minimum set of skills and knowledge their sellers need to have to begin selling your products and solutions successfully? These capabilities can take time to uncover, be patient.
Once you understand the essentials, continue to explore. Where do their teams, and themselves, need ongoing training?
Consider areas like these as a starting point.
- Coaching skills for sales managers
- Needs analysis
- Negotiation skills
- Demo skills
- Objection handling
- Sales technology
- Sales methodology
- Legal and Compliance issues
In most cases, it will be straightforward to come up with dozens of specific training needs.
- As you put together this training, remember to keep in mind these seven most valuable sales training techniques:
- Be inclusive
- Create a schedule
- Train often
- Record and share
- Go small with microlearning
- Use data to stay on track
Ensure that you are consistent with the training, that you record it for future reference, and that the training is discussion-oriented. If you are standing in front of a group of people or a computer screen, and no one is asking questions, either no one is listening, or no one is understanding.
3. Get their feedback on content needs
It is now time to dig deeper, looking into your sales process as well as current opportunities.
- Where are deals slowing down or getting stuck?
- What content is needed to move deals past these sticking points?
- Where are sellers spending their time creating customized content?
- Should this content be templatized to save sellers time so they can focus on selling, not content creation?
- Is there existing content that they are using that is outdated and should be updated?
Sales Enablement organizations must work to identify these needs and collaborate with other organizations to find, curate, and refine to support the sales teams. Few teams will spend the majority of their time creating new content.
Are you interested in learning more about determining your Sales Enablement content needs? In review, you will learn more about these critical content types your team will need.
- Persona documents
- Case studies
- Sales outcome wires
- Sales scripts
- Datasheets and product documents
- Sales Battlecards
- Sales playbooks
4. Partner with managers as subject matter experts
You want your sales managers and their teams to be successful, and you must remember they are the experts. How can you integrate them into your efforts?
- Do the managers want to review the training and content you develop, and at what stage of development?
- Do they want to involve specific sellers in the process?
Emphasize with these leaders that your goal is to make them, and their teams, successful. Getting them involved will improve their buy-in as well as their support for your activities.
To help with this, set up an agile content creation process.
- Every week or two, have a kick-off meeting for what you will deliver during the next period (referred to as a sprint).
- Invite your sales managers and other key stakeholders.
- Ask for their feedback to ensure you are prioritizing correctly.
- Each day, have a brief meeting, 10-15 minutes max, to ask the teams doing the work:
- What progress did you make yesterday? Is this work in a state that the stakeholders can review and provide feedback?
- Any blocking issues?
- Deliver on your efforts.
By being transparent and collaborative, you will gain further buy-in for your efforts.
5. Get involved with deal reviews
Most sales teams have deal reviews to determine if monthly and quarterly forecasts are still accurate.
Can you participate in these calls? If you can join, learn why deals are getting stuck. How can the Enablement team assist in overcoming these issues?
During these meetings, keep quiet unless permitted to do otherwise before the meetings. You are not the focus of the meeting; you are there to listen, take notes, and discuss with the managers after the fact. If you can help them, they will be supportive and may even begin, in time, to ask you questions during the deal reviews themselves.
6. Participate in coaching sessions
Coaching sessions are often a time when sales managers, or dedicated sales coaches, sit down with sellers to work through specific topics and specific deals.
Coaching sessions can be a treasure trove of best practices, insights about standard stumbling blocks, and so much more.
Once again, remember that you are there to listen and learn.
- Take lots of notes
- Identify gaps your team can assist in closing
- Share these notes with all participants
- Execute, close these gaps
Every time you close a gap that is slowing up a deal, you are helping your business success as well as building credibility for your team. Create these wins and watch the entire sales organization sing your praises.
How well you work with your sales managers will impact the success of your Sales Enablement efforts. Support their efforts, and you, your team, your program, and your business will thrive.
Author Bio: John Moore partners within Bigtincan to test and refine best practices; meets with practitioners, analysts, and thought leaders; and is focused on increasing the level of adoption of Enablement best practices, processes, and tools across the globe. Follow him on LinkedIn.
Bigtincan creates Sales Content Management Software and Sales Training and Coaching Software to enable companies to deliver Sales Enablement Solutions to their businesses.
For more information, visit www.bigtincan.com, or follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter.