5 Key Focus Areas for Your Sales Enablement Strategy
June 20, 2022
An effective sales enablement strategy is essential to provide your sales reps with the information and resources they need to be successful. Sales enablement adoption has increased by 343 percent over the last five years. It’s become such a core focus that 65 percent of leaders plan to increase their sales enablement budget over the next two years.
The role of sales enablement has evolved from a support team for sales reps to a proactive department that enhances sales performance.
Whether your sales team is remote or in-person, an effective sales enablement strategy is critical to provide tools, technology, content, and training that will improve your process and help your sales team exceed quota and create predictable, scalable revenue.
Focus areas for your sales enablement strategy
Connectivity is one of the most important components of a successful sales enablement strategy. Reps shouldn’t learn in silos, even remotely.
A Regalix report shows that achieving sufficient program engagement (46 percent) and creating peer-to-peer learning opportunities (43 percent) were the two most challenging aspects of remotely enabling sales readiness.
Mark Riley, a sales enablement leader at Handshake, faced this issue at the beginning of March 2020. During the transition to remote work, he had to find new ways to connect with his sales team. He did the following:
- Provided a virtual learning environment for reps to exchange ideas
- Promoted collaborative learning through social challenges
- Initiated Whiteboard Wednesdays, a weekly open agenda meeting with the sales team
Mark makes the experience enjoyable. He promotes collaboration among team members by brainstorming sales strategies together. Virtual calls also include interactive features such as polls and chat. Additionally, he starts meetings with upbeat music and encourages people to take breaks to “give people room to think, give them time to think.”
Finding ways to virtually connect your sales reps is important if your company runs a remote team. Besides giving them a human touch, it encourages knowledge sharing and growth.
A standard onboarding process increases new hire productivity by 50 percent, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Almost half (48 percent) of survey respondents said that effectively onboarding sales reps was the biggest challenge for ensuring the long-term success of training programs.
Onboarding is crucial for getting new reps up to speed, as well as for retaining them. The importance of an effective onboarding program is particularly apparent in today’s environment, in which recruits are more likely to feel lonely and burnt out.
Approximately 73 percent of organizations report ramp-up times between 1 and 6 months. An average ramp-up time of 3 to 6 months was reported for a third of the organizations. Through technology like WorkRamp, Reddit was able to reduce sales ramp time by 33 percent.
Megan Hunting, the Sales and CX Enablement Lead at Vanta, has extensive experience creating onboarding programs for revenue teams. Prior to joining Vanta, the company’s sales onboarding process lacked structure and clarity. Reps shadowed cold calling and demos to understand the software and call scripts.
Using WorkRamp, Hunting improved the onboarding experience for Vanta’s team. “I loved how simple and easy it was to use. WorkRamp made learning fun, and I knew that’s what would help the revenue team at Vanta.” A key focus of her onboarding process was to ensure reps were set up for long-term success. Vanta’s onboarding programs using WorkRamp have never received less than a 5 out of 5 rating.
Want to improve your onboarding process? Download The Ultimate Go-To-Market Onboarding Playbook for free.
“Using WorkRamp’s Guides and Certifications has simplified AE and CSM ramping time – we now have deadlines and clear timelines for guides and certifications, whereas, before WorkRamp, there was no structure or idea of when someone was ‘ramped’.”
— Megan Hunting, Sales and CX Enablement Lead, Vanta
Content plays a key role in your sales enablement strategy. Since sales reps are expected to deliver value at every stage of their interactions with customers, content makes their lives easier.
Provide reps with the following types of sales content:
- Buyer personas
- Email templates
- Talk tracks
- Discovery call checklists
- Demo recordings
- Business case templates
- ROI calculators
- Case studies
With relevant and up-to-date content, sales reps will be more confident and prepared to handle clients and prospects, build trust and relationships, and close deals. Easily accessible content is also important for reps. Through a learning management system like WorkRamp, enablement teams can create training and materials and distribute them to reps.
Hunting builds and scales onboarding, product training, and compliance initiatives for many different teams at Vanta:
- Accounts Executives
- Business Development Reps
- Customer Success Managers
- Support Reps
She can quickly create guides and other learning experiences for Vanta teams using WorkRamp. “I can’t even imagine how long it would take for me to create these guides without WorkRamp. It’s so easy to use and the tools like the drag-and-drop content editor are very robust. I’m able to spin up new training guides in a matter of a day or two,” Hunting explains.
“I think in this remote world, when new people start; they don’t know how to access important information after they’ve completed training. WorkRamp is the perfect tool they can always use to support their ongoing learning.”
4. Sales tech stack
An average sales professional uses between 4 to 10 sales tools, according to a GetAccept survey. Among the tools used by reps are CRM and sales management tools like Salesforce and Hubspot, coaching and call recording tools like Gong and Chorus, automation tools like Outreach, and learning platforms like WorkRamp. Investment in tech is on the rise. According to Gartner, sales tech budgets increased by 5 percent from 2020 to 2021.
In terms of training solutions, features that support continuous coaching (58 percent) and remote training (53 percent) were most demanded, followed by an assessment tool for pitches (40 percent).
Modern sales training and enablement platforms provide many benefits. You can combine instructor-led classes with self-guided courses, based on the rep’s needs.
A manager can also:
- Produce content in a variety of formats
- Offer searchable training libraries
- Analyze how reps consume content
- Adapt training content to the individual sales reps.
With the right technology, sales reps can close deals faster and reduce the sales cycle. Discover which tools to invest in by reading Sales Enablement Tools For Your Sales Team.
“WorkRamp prioritizes all of the features that we care about. When evaluating, we prioritized finding an LMS that was purpose-built for sales enablement. This became especially important with remote work; we needed to be able to manage events and tactical training programs with the integrated tech stack that we use internally.”
-Ashley Crisostomo, Principal Program Manager – Sales Enablement, Reddit
About 40 percent of businesses see a need to improve their sales enablement strategies. Metrics are key to understanding the effectiveness of a sales enablement program and knowing when it’s time to make improvements.
According to MarketBridges’s Sales Enablement Outlook for 2021, the top four metrics used to track program effectiveness include:
- Onboarding time (49%)
- Sales enablement tool usage rate (43%)
- Lead-to-customer conversion rate (51%)
- Sales cycle length (43%)
“With WorkRamp, you have the ability to use analytics to understand where you can influence sales effectiveness. You can identify quick-wins, best practices, and necessary changes to drive momentum,” says Celine Grey, Sales Enablement Global Lead at Peakon, a Workday company.
“As we execute foundational onboarding programs and ongoing training, we’re actively measuring effectiveness through metrics like ramp time, sales conversion ratios, competitive win rates, and WorkRamp completion data. With WorkRamp’s Salesforce integration, we’re able to capture real-time insights as to which training activities drive results.”
Align your strategy with company goals
A successful sales enablement strategy should include the focus areas above, but it’s also important to ensure your sales enablement strategy aligns with your company’s vision and goals. Resources and training are important, but they mean nothing if you don’t end up with a business outcome and impact.
Imagine you just raised a big fundraising round and are launching into a new category. In order to enter the new market successfully, you need to get the reps on board with the new outlook. You could create a Certification Program for each go-to-market team that includes self-led courses, live training, and a playbook on how to sell effectively.
Additional key initiatives include:
- Decrease costs by scaling onboarding processes
- Reduce turnover by increasing employee engagement
- Increase productivity and efficiency by helping people ramp up quickly
- Provide product training
- Support organizational growth
Promote continuous learning
Your sales enablement program isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it initiative. Your strategy and tactics must continue to evolve if you want to stay competitive. A brand that invests in continuous learning has seen results such as:
- A 2x increase in revenue
- 15% higher average deal size
- 33% reduction in ramp time for new hires
In the best-performing organizations, 84 percent of employees get the training they need, compared with 16 percent in the worst-performing organizations. Using a learning management platform such as WorkRamp, managers can easily track how sales professionals are doing on training initiatives such as pitch certifications and demo challenges.
With WorkRamp, you can also provide refresher training and re-certification to current reps or team members who may be struggling to help improve performance. Handshake, a leading college career network, found that these programs had 90 to 100 percent participation rates, and the company exceeded its quarterly sales targets.
- Make learning more personal. Everyone learns differently. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach won’t result in the business outcomes you want. Adapt sales training programs to the individual’s needs and chart a path for their success. Combining multiple learning formats like video, written, and hands-on options (like an iORAD tutorial) can help to reach a diverse group of people with different learning styles.
- Encourage continuous learning. According to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Principle, new knowledge is lost over time unless we take steps to retain it. Give sales representatives refresher courses and opportunities to learn new skills. Lessons should be short and interactive, so reps can retain more information and apply it to their work. WorkRamp offers a Library functionality that provides a place for learners to find the information they need in order to reinforce learning.
“We leverage WorkRamp to train our customer-facing teams on new feature functionalities, corporate messaging, and role-based skills. In particular, the sales team is focused on sharpening their negotiation skills and corporate pitch with WorkRamp Challenges. On our latest brand narrative pitch challenge, the average rep score was over 90 percent – which proves how effective WorkRamp is in training and certifying our teams.”
—Ashley Crisostomo, Principal Program Manager – Sales Enablement, Reddit
Evaluate your sales enablement strategy
Sales enablement has the potential to boost revenue targets if companies acknowledge this and invest in it. After doing so, practitioners can turn their attention to implementing high-impact programs that result in productive reps that sell more. With the business landscape changing so quickly, sales enablement can accelerate the changes needed for organizations to stay competitive.
Learn more about how WorkRamp can help you improve your sales enablement strategy. Contact us to schedule a free demo of our learning management platform.
- What is Sales Training and Why is it Important? December 2, 2022
- How to Secure Budget for Your Customer Education Program November 30, 2022
- What is Social Learning and How to Use it in the Workplace November 28, 2022
- LEARN Recap: Win Big With Customer Education November 25, 2022
- What is Sales Enablement: Everything You Need to Know November 23, 2022
Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.
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