If the goal of sales enablement is to empower and equip salespeople to have better conversations with customers, then managers play a critical role in developing the potential of their people to plan and execute those conversations.

By Bruce Wedderburn For TrainingIndustry.com

Try this the next time you’re with salespeople: Ask them what they think sales enablement is and how it improves sales performance. I bet if you ask 10 people, you’ll receive 10 different answers.

For some people, sales enablement is about data – preferably big data (typically from companies that sell big data services). Others will talk about procuring better quality information from your customer relationship management (CRM) system, or having marketing content at their fingertips, or using artificial intelligence (AI) to better target their selling or having more tools that give them just-in-time market analysis. The range of answers will build from there.

So…which is it? Well, it can be any or all of these things. It’s better to define the purpose of sales enablement and how your organization can leverage the investment in it for stronger sales. Here’s the simplest definition: Sales enablement is about providing salespeople with content, tools and data so they can have more effective conversations with prospects and clients. One hundred percent of sales enablement – including the reporting, sales processes, data, analysis, lead scoring, marketing content, AI and more – is there to position the salesperson to have better quality sales conversations. That’s it.

The Last Mile

The central challenge, then, is how to more reliably ensure that your investment in sales enablement actually leads to better sales conversations and, just as important, better outcomes from those conversations. One way to answer that question is to consider a concept known in the telecommunications industry as “the last mile” – the final leg of the network that reaches the user’s home or business via traditional copper wire or fiber optic cable. If the last mile is sub-standard, then millions of dollars the telecommunications company spent is wasted.