While 2019 is winding down, it’s still beneficial to look at the trends as both an indicator of what’s been tried and worked and what should still be looked into as a viable option for success.
Several sales enablement trends have helped brands have greater alignment between their sales and marketing teams and enabled them to enact plans that lead to better customer engagement.
Sales enablement tools for your business to try
Here are some of the sales enablement trends to try in the remaining months of 2019.
1. Establishing a sales enablement team
Everyone in business talks about sales enablement these days, but few organizations have dedicated or specific resources for it. But one of the biggest and most important trends that sales enablement has seen is in-organization ownership of the process to a higher degree. Now that there is more thought leadership on sales enablement and more best practices for businesses to follow, it makes more sense for businesses to take it out of being a function of sales, marketing, or customer support departments and establish an empowered sales enablement team. Your sales enablement department may choose to pull talent from sales and marketing departments, but the responsibilities of those people will change to be strictly sales enablement focused.
Using artificial intelligence is one way that some businesses are helping sales enablement teams prioritize accounts and refine their focus. According to Freshworks, “AI algorithms will study your accounts, read customers’ buying signals, their communication with your organization, personal data, and much more. Based on this data, AI algorithms can help predict the lead’s next moves and also give you an idea of the customer’s buying pattern and habits. Moreover, it can make sound recommendations on the content, services, and offers to be forwarded to a particular customer.” The trend of incorporating more AI services and capabilities has been popping up for businesses everywhere, and the sales enablement functionality of an organization is no different.
3. Learning and coaching
A commitment to training and continued education is a hugely important sales enablement focus. Salespeople may be driven, personable, and product knowledgeable, but it’s important to continue to educate them on the ever-changing best practices of lead nurturing and buyer’s journeys, as well as get useful guidance on which tools and content are available to them to help enable more selling and better customer relationships.
4. Account-based selling
Account-based marketing and selling are already established practices in many B2B businesses, and using this framework is a benefit for many sales enablement practices. Account-based business practices help businesses define fewer marketing and sales targets but ensure that each of these targets is relevant and high value. That means that businesses can better customize their outreach to help meet that particular organization’s problems and be seen as a more ready solution for these companies than a competitor. Sales enablement works alongside this to help provide sales teams with the right content to engage with these high-level target accounts.
5. Smaller sales teams
Sales teams always seem to grow larger and faster than any other department in the company. Traditional wisdom has been that the more salespeople there are, the more sales will be made. For some businesses, though, turning the trend of smaller sales tams can actually help them grow more efficient. Some experts note that with “data integration, smart customer data platforms, AI and machine learning in the play” that companies would be able to get away with smaller teams and still sell effectively. Other businesses choose to specialize sales teams into smaller, more effective groups rather than scale back, with groups dedicated to customers in different geographic regions or segmenting based on types of business, like education, the federal government, and any other sales subset.
Sales enablement is a powerful tool that many companies don’t take full advantage of. The benefits of a successful sales enablement process include higher sales (in both revenue or volume), better customer retention, higher customer engagement, and more. With the business landscape growing more competitive by the day, most organizations can’t afford to not pay attention to sales enablement as a tactic for their business to employ.
Most of the trends that are worth paying attention to at the end of this year and into the next include making sales enablement a higher priority in order to reach greater effectiveness through dedicating specific resources and employees, increasing training, and using technology like sales enablement software and other programs, like AI-enabled platforms. Companies may find that these ideas have an up-front investment of cost and time, they’ll likely soon come to see that the process is a worthy investment and that it can be effectively scaled and enhanced over time without front-loading all of the changes at once.