The Showcase Workshop Blog

The Missing Link Between Sales Enablement and the Sale

Are You Placing Your Sales Reps on a Two-Legged Stool?

What?!

Bear with me...

We like the Brainshark definition of sales enablement as “A systematic approach to increasing sales productivity, by supporting reps with the content, training and analytics they need to have more successful sales conversations.”

Sales enablement isn’t just industry jargon anymore. It’s a discipline that marketing and sales teams must master to drive sales today.

Many sales and marketing teams approach sales enablement with two tools: an intranet and a CRM (customer relationship management tool).

Those are great tools of course.

But they’re not actually great sales enablement tools, because they fail with the “content” and “sales conversations” parts of the sales enablement definition.

They’re administration tools. They don’t make it easy to use content in face-to-face sales conversations, and they don’t directly enable a sale to move forward.

Content is extremely valuable for helping businesses get leads and make sales … but only if it can easily be found and used in real-world sales conversations.

Like that two-legged stool, your sales enablement efforts will fall flat if you’re leaning on an intranet and CRM alone.

I could go on and on about how giving sales reps better content helps them make more sales.

I could tell you how having persuasive resources and sales enablement assets at their fingertips in face-to-face sales meetings can boost your bottom line.

But I want you to walk away from this blog post knowing exactly what to do to improve sales with content.

So I’m going to tell you what intranets and CRMs do right, some of the problems they might be causing in your business, and how to solve the sales enablement content problem for good.

Ready?

Intranets: Great for Internal Communications, but Too Clunky for Use in the Field

SharePoint and other intranet solutions are great for a lot of things.

  • They allow people to communicate using chat, discussion forums and groups.
  • They put company news and internal resources in one, easy-to-find location.
  • Usually they have calendar tools that help teams plan meetings and events.

Some intranet solutions do a lot more than that, too.

One thing marketing teams often use intranets for is housing content. Marketing creates awesome new content and adds it to the archives in the intranet, and Sales pulls that content up for sales meetings. In theory, this works.

But only in theory.

No matter how advanced the versioning capabilities are in your company intranet, piles of content in the archives will just slow the sales team down.

Your intranet archives are not the best place to put content for easy access in the field. Or in the office, for that matter.

Imagine this (or maybe you don’t have to imagine – maybe you live this). You’re in a meeting with a buyer. You need to pull up that brochure or spec sheet that has a piece of information the buyer needs to make a decision. You grab your tablet, log into the intranet, navigate to the content archives … and find a long list of files or a mass of folders. Now you have to spend time not just finding the right file, but checking the date to make sure it’s the most up-to-date version.

By now the buyer has been standing there watching you fiddle with your tablet for five minutes.

That’s not a great experience for the buyer.

It’s not a great experience for a sales rep, either.

CRMs: Great for Storing Details, but Not Much Use for Enabling Sales Teams in Face-to-Face Meetings

The other tool that most sales and marketing teams use readily is a good ol’ CRM.

Sales teams have a love/hate relationship with CRMs. And for good reason.

  • They help keep buyer information straight.
  • They keep buyer information and conversation history centralized.
  • They help sales reps keep track of key metrics, like calls completed and sales made.

BUT…

  • They don’t actually move a sale forward. So there’s little incentive to enter data into them.
  • Sometimes they feel like “big brother,” because sales reps’ managers or marketing teams can use the tool to check up on them. (This also often leads to unreliable data.)
  • Everything in CRMs happens before or after the sales conversation. There’s no way to track what actually happens when a sales rep is face-to-face with a customer.

If you’ve spent a huge chunk of your marketing budget providing sales reps with an awesome CRM – that’s great in the office. But CRMs don’t do sales reps much good in face-to-face sales meetings.

What have you given the sales team to ensure their success in the field?

How to Be a Hero to the Sales Team

Sales enablement content not only aligns your sales and marketing departments, but it also equips the sales team to make more sales.

And that’s good for everyone.

Sales makes their quota.

Marketing shows ROI.

Win-win.

But 65% of sales reps say they can’t find that content. In fact, it’s the most common complaint from sales teams.

You can solve that problem and be a hero to the sales team in two easy steps.

ONE: Create the right content

You need three buckets of content to help sales reps do their jobs:

  1. Assets for lead generation (blog posts, case studies, white papers, e-books, etc.)
  2. Content for sales conversions (presentations, email templates, one-pagers, etc.)
  3. Sales support materials (spec sheets, competitor intelligence, sales scripts, etc.)

Most of that can be created by the marketing team, but some of it should be created by the sales team themselves.

TWO: Put the content in a true sales enablement tool that sales reps can easily access from anywhere

Businesses spend billions each year on content creation and distribution. But it doesn’t do them any good if salespeople can’t use it.

Remember that picture I painted for you with the sales rep staring at a tablet while the irritated buyer looked on?

Yeah, don’t put your salespeople in that position.

Put your content in a centralized location that can be quickly and easily accessed from anywhere, on any device – without making sales reps dig through archives. Here’s a tool that lets you do just that.

That’s it. Two steps and you’re a superhero to the sales team.

You don’t need to throw out your intranet or CRM. You just need to take a realistic look at how they’re being used, and where the gaps are in terms of functionality for content storage and access.

Author image
Wellington, New Zealand
Millie is President and Co-Founder of Showcase Workshop. Her mission is to eradicate ring binders from the world of sales. She rides a Pashley and knits on aeroplanes.