Building a Product Training Template

Launching a new product or bringing a new sales team member on-board comes with a level of uncertainty. How will the product be received by your audience? Will a new team member be able to understand and communicate your offerings? Answering those questions is a lot simpler than you may think. In fact, there’s a pretty straightforward solution to both: a product training template.

Following the guidance of Simon Sinek’s popular TED Talk Start With Why, the product training template below aims to get to the passion behind the product first before uncovering the more obvious information surrounding it. By creating a basic product training template like this, you’ll not only have a framework that provides critical context to your team members, you’ll also have a tool that can be reused for future launches and onboardings.

1) Product Training Template Purpose (AKA the Why)

Start by providing the essential information:

  • What is the purpose of the product?
  • Why should anyone care?

2) Product Background (AKA the How)

Build from there on to what your company can offer that others can’t:

  • How does the new product work?
  • How is the new product better than what is offered by your competitors?

3) Product Basics (AKA the What)

Then lay out the big picture:

  • What is the new product?
  • What does the new product do?

It may seem counterintuitive to start with the purpose before outlining the basics behind the product, however working from the unique details to the big picture is exactly the way your sales team should approach their pitches. Clients want to know what makes your product the best option for their needs, and they want to invest in something they believe in. By training your team with a template that provides that information up front, you’re setting the stage for successful client interactions.

With that in mind, let’s explore how to put this product training template into use. Before sharing out with your team, work with leaders to complete each field and the associated questions. Refine responses into a simple, clear text to share out to the team members who will be selling the product.

Then, whether you’re conducting a group product launch or a one-off onboarding, you can walk learners through each section of the template. As you go through, share the thought process that leads to the content and prompt questions that uncover the learner’s own connection to the product and its purpose.

As shared earlier, encourage them to find their own passion and connection to the cause and be prepared to articulate that in client conversations. This is a great opportunity to create a connection with customers with a bit of personalization.

Launching a new product or training on an existing offering can seem daunting. Don’t let it be, using this product training template will help you organize your thoughts and focus on the why behind what it is you’re selling. Looking to take your sales training one step further? Check out ReadySet Sell, our foundational selling skills to help sales reps ramp up faster and ultimately win more deals.

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Is Product Recommendation Software Right for You?

Forbes reports that 57% of sales reps missed their quota last year. While that statistic is alarming, the critical question that managers need to ask is why. Why aren’t reps knocking every single sale out of the park? Sales can be an area of high turnover, so maybe they’re not all up to speed, they’re struggling with product positioning, or they aren’t strong at interpreting and identifying the needs of a customer. Sales managers want their reps to hit more home runs – and product recommendation software is a big bat.

If you don’t have great selling aids, it’s time to consider what benefits come with the use of a guided selling tool. It enables new sales reps to get up to speed more quickly, helps reps keep their messaging consistent, and ultimately leads to the right recommendation for your customers. Think of your best salesperson. A guided selling tool basically lets you clone that person and have them in the sales conversation with all of your reps.

Product Recommendation Software, like all tools, is designed to help you achieve what would otherwise be much harder without the assistance – so much so that we’ve seen close rates increase by 40% when product recommendation software has been used.

 

So, What is Product Recommendation Software?

Before considering what to look for, it’s important that you understand exactly what product recommendation software is. In short, it’s a software application that enables reps to deliver excellent sales experiences and recommendations through a conditional, needs-based assessment. With this software’s help, reps are better able to guide customers and generate trust and confidence.

Benefits of guided selling:

  • Onboards reps faster
  • Increases sales productivity
  • Engages buyers with an interactive buying experience
  • Delivers an accurate and highly-personalized buyer experience with real-time leave behinds
  • Replicates and automates what works for top performers

Product recommendation is an art that enables the asking of intelligent questions and then uses customer response to drive recommendations and guided up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Isn’t that what any customer and sales rep would want?

 

9 Essential Considerations

Now that you see the problem and understand a potential solution, you’re on to something. Here are some considerations for you before adding product recommendation to your toolbox:

 

WHY YOU MIGHT WANT IT WHY YOU MIGHT NOT

SHORTEN TRAINING TIME

Product Recommendation Software allows your reps to get up to speed more quickly because they have a tool to help them and because that tool doubles as a training aid.

INCONSISTENT MESSAGING

If you have a brand-new team still looking to establish itself and figure out what works, you’re messaging might not be consistent enough, yet.

ACCURATE PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS

If your reps are using a tool that has the correct information, they’re far less likely to make a wrong recommendation.

DON’T KNOW WHAT WORKS

If you haven’t figured out your “special sauce” yet, it’s difficult to scale what works. It helps to figure out sells within your organization as a foundation before incorporating this software.

BUYER-LED JOURNEY

Potential buyers can interact with the tool and feel ownership of the process – leading them to feel less “sold to” and reducing the chances of an incorrect recommendation.

LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE

Perhaps you don’t have the infrastructure to capitalize on the rich data insights Product Recommendation Software can provide. If you can’t harness the full functionality of the tool, it might not be worth it for your organization.

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Product Recommendation Software has the ability to delight customers by providing an interactive experience and better recommendations.

REDUCE FOLLOW-UP TIME

You can send follow-up communications immediately either during or after a meeting to keep the pipeline moving and keep your reps selling.

ENGAGE MORE PROSPECTS

With shorter, more precise sales meetings, your reps are more available.

 

Does This Sound Like Something That’s Right for You

We’re not talking about a CRM or refresher training. We’re talking about focusing on your customers, their experience, their trust, and ultimately – their purchase.

If you’re looking for a sales aid that’s consistent, up-to-date, personalized, digital, mobile, and has shown consistent results like 60% increase in YOY sales and 40% increase in rep productivity, then using product recommendation software could be a solution for your company.

Give your customers exactly what they want at the right price—without second-guessing your product recommendations or quotes.

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The 3 Most Impactful Sales Enablement Trends for 2019

The sales enablement sector experienced unprecedented growth in 2018. More organizations than ever before leveraged technology to provide sales reps the content, data, and tools they need to engage buyers at every stage of the sales cycle.

As a testament to that growth, most sales organizations now have dedicated sales enablement teams, or have plans in the works to create one soon. Clearly, sales organizations have come to appreciate the value that sales enablement solutions can offer, particularly in decreasing the length of the sales cycle and increasing pipeline opportunities.

But as fast as the industry is changing, there’s still room to refine and create new solutions that solve common problems and help sales reps reach their full potential.

So, what will the top sales enablement trends be for 2019? Here’s our take.

1. Emphasis on learning and coaching

Based on a comprehensive survey done by Quark software, Sales Learning and Coaching Platforms is one of “the top two investment priorities [of sales organizations] over the next 12 months.” This may come as a surprise to others, but it wasn’t a surprise to us here at Unboxed.

In our 10+ years working with sales organizations, we’ve seen across the board that training is the most overlooked part of sales enablement. What good is having the right content and tools if you’re presentation misses the mark or you haven’t learned to effectively communicate with your prospect and ask for the sale?

As one of our top sales enablement trends in 2019, we demand and expect deeper integration of learning and coaching tools into existing sales enablement platforms. Inadequate or ineffective training leads to increased turnover, slower ramp time, and fewer sales, and your organization can’t afford to ignore the data any longer. Gryphon Sales Intelligence describes it this way:

“According to a recent survey, 84% of all sales training is lost after 90 days. This is majorly due to the lack of information retention among sales personnel. This highlights the need for refresher training from time to time along with effective sales training.”

 

2019 sales enablement trends - learning and coaching

If your organization doesn’t have a strategy for ongoing sustainment and continuous learning, you’re falling behind the curve. Look for a solution that integrates with your other sales enablement tools, ideally a one-stop shop with seamless access to training that gets pushed out over time and can be completed on-the-go.
And don’t stop there. For sales teams to reach their full potential, your solution must also give sales leaders and managers the ability to easily and consistently coach their teams to success.

2. Seamless access to important content—finally!

Sales reps lose up to 26 hours a month just searching for, editing, and managing content. Although sales content and asset management platforms have made it easier to organize marketing content and collateral, sales reps still struggle.

Most sale reps says they store content in 3-6 different locations, sometimes even up to 10. Many of those locations aren’t accessible to the marketing team for quality control and easily become outdated, and so the story goes.

 

2019 sales enablement trends - content management

Since this problem is still so prevalent, sales enablement software must reimagine the solution in 2019. Adding yet another location to stash the content won’t cut it, but creating a hub that helps you seamlessly organize and integrate content from a variety of sources will. Expect to see solutions that bring together content from disjointed platforms into one centralized location.

Let’s give reps back those 312 hours in 2019.

3. New ways to leverage artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence has the potential to make a huge impact on sales teams, which is why it’s on our list of sales enablement trends to watch in 2019. Early adopter sales organizations are already reaping the benefits:

  • Sales reps save significant time through automated prospecting assistance.
  • Analyzing and prioritizing leads is easier than ever before.
  • AI-powered customer service guides buyers to the right solution more quickly.

The time savings are inarguable, but the rise of AI has other effects as well. AI increases the value of human skills that can’t be replicated by a machine. Skills like influence, empathy, and ability to gain trust.

 

2019 sales enablement trends - artificial intelligence

But what if you could use AI to help reps hone those critical human skills? In 2019, we’re introducing AI-powered roleplay that analyzes facial expressions to provide insight into the real emotional responses of an audience. We’re incredibly excited about the potential of this tool and thrilled with the early results we’ve seen from test cases. Sign up here to be included in our big announcement in Q1.

What sales enablement trends will you watch in 2019?

How will your sales enablement strategies evolve in the coming year? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Leave us a comment below or contact us to see how can support your sales enablement goals.

6 Things Top Sales Training Programs Have In Common

Sales training is hard. You’re challenged, over and over again, to create fresh content for programs that educate, engage, and influence behaviors. And what works in one scenario might not work for another because every organization and product is unique.

Still, the pressure to show improved sales performance is high. If reps don’t perform, 25% are either fired or quit every year. That’s almost double the turnover rate for most organizations. Is bad sales training a part of the problem?

Through the years, we’ve seen our share of sales training that fails to deliver. But it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why we decided to share the “secret sauce” the world’s top sales training programs have in common. A framework you won’t find readily anywhere else.

 

top sales training programs hero

1. STRATEGY

All the best sales training programs begin with a strategy. In other words, it has to be more than checking off a box on your sales team’s to-do list. Your product, audience and market environment is constantly evolving – and you need to “plug into” that.

Start with the end in mind by asking the right questions and using the answers to develop your strategy.

  • How does the training tie back to your business goals? For example, are you introducing a new product, entering a new market, growing your existing accounts, etc.?
  • What are your knowledge and skill gaps? Do your reps need better product/competitor knowledge? Do they struggle with lead follow up and overcoming objections? Do your managers need help coaching reps?
  • What behaviors do you need to change? What do your reps need to start, stop, or continue to improve performance?
  • How will you define and measure success? How can you make data collection/reporting a priority? Define the process and be clear about the goal. And don’t forget to reinforce and advertise your results.

Once you have a strategy in place, you can start building a plan to get to your goals. Be sure to get everyone from leadership to field personnel on board and excited about your approach.

2. CONTENT

Let’s face it, content matters. Ever tuned out after the first 5 words of…anything?

John Cleese said it best…

top sales training programs - John Cleese

Sure, the word “engagement” gets thrown around, but what does it mean, after all? Can you measure engagement? What’s the benefit?

Based on our experience, the top sales training programs are highly engaging…even:

  • “Fun”
  • “Entertaining”
  • “Refreshing”
  • “Knock your socks off”

(our clients’ words, not ours)

So, how do you get reviews like this? Use these two tips to make your training “sticky,” meaning reps will actually want to complete it (maybe even more than once).

Make it contextual

That means it has to be RELEVANT. Reps need to know how to apply what they are learning to their job and day-to-day life.

  • Present common scenarios or situations.
  • Use real language that reps and customers actually use.
  • Show or mimic real people and locations

Remember, generic examples and broad, sweeping generalizations are impossible to put into practice. Your training should help reps:

  • Identify: “I’ve met that customer. I have these conversations.”
  • Care: there’s an emotional connection when something looks and feels like you
  • Know: exactly what to do or say in the same or similar situation.

Make it conversational

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we’re so focused on delivering all the right content in a few sessions that we go all “teachy.”

It’s like in Peanuts, when the teacher talks, it’s just a bunch of “womp womp womp.”

Keep it simple and use human speak, like:

  • Everyday words and phrases
  • Short sentences (to sales reps, time is money)
  • Honesty

Bonus tip: Lighten up. Adults love it when we make fun of ourselves and our culture.

The good news is you don’t have to start with a blank canvas. Spend a little time conducting a content audit. Decide what you can continue to use as-is, what’s missing, what needs a little refreshing, and what needs to be scrapped and recreated.

 

3. DELIVERY

You also need a platform that’s sticky. And mobile-friendly isn’t enough. It should be virtually impossible to resist. Think bug light attraction.

You could create the world’s best sales training program, but if your reps can’t find it, access it, or don’t use it your efforts were wasted.

This may mean investing in newer technology. If that’s the case, look for these things.

Collaborative and social learning tools

Reps have tons of expertise and experiences worth sharing. Empower them to be in the driver’s seat, to pro-actively lead/contribute to their learning and growth. Let them share best practices, ask questions, and get feedback in real-time.

Informal learning like this doesn’t replace formal learning. It enhances it. In fact, in the 6th Annual Learning in the Workplace study, 93% of employees ranked “on-the-job experience” as essential to how they learn, followed closely by social learning at 90%.

Give employees a way to continue their learning outside of the classroom or course. Don’t fear social learning tools like these.

Real-world gamification

Sales reps are competitive so gamification ties into their desire to compete, win, and get recognition.

Many platforms have basic gamification built-in, like earning points, leaderboards, badges, and levels.

To take gamification to the next level, look for a platform that allows reps to redeem their hard-earned points for real-world incentives like company swag or other rewards.

Frontline communication tools

Reps are typically on the go, which means they may not have access to things like the company Intranet at all times.

And their inboxes are already overflowing. But including critical communications like new product launches, promos, and other company updates into your training platform gives them a one-stop-shop to find everything they need to get their jobs done.


A New Spoke in the Training Wheel

the world's top sales training programs use Spoke

 

 

 

If you think a single platform built for training, collaboration, communication, and gamification sounds like a unicorn, think again.

Spoke, our social LMS, combines all these tools into an engaging platform that’s intuitive, practical and actually gets used.

Meet Spoke

4. REINFORCEMENT

The one-and-done “sales kickoff” isn’t enough. But, unfortunately, sales training reinforcement has become more of a buzzword than a best practice. Everyone recognizes its value – but also bemoan the time, focus and cost.

It’s not just an after-thought, it’s not even top of mind. What these organizations fail to realize, however, is that the best training reinforcement can be achieved in the normal course of business. You must build in and protect time for reps and managers to practice what they’re learning. 

Worried about where you’ll find the time?

Work with what you already have! Start small with your existing learning platform. Use those social/collaboration tools as a way to have reps practice putting product features/product positioning in their own words.

Everyone’s got a phone. Have reps video themselves practicing something, post it online, and ask for constructive feedback. Maybe a contest? Star rankings?

Or try quick role-playing games in morning huddles/sales meetings. Always ask for suggestions and feedback. Sales reps can be extremely resourceful!

All the top sales training programs include training reinforcement to some degree.

5. RESULTS

What gets measured gets improved. Ever heard that before? It’s because it’s true.

Shine a bright light on every aspect of your program. What went well? What needs improvement? Some of the results may be anecdotal, or conversations, or community posts in your social learning platform.

No matter where the data comes from, data collection can’t be an afterthought. Capture and learn from all of it.

Go beyond basic metrics like training completion.

  • Observe rep behaviors, customer experience ratings/scores (voice of customer), NPS (net promoter score), retention and churn, average deal size, etc.
  • Partner with L&D/marketing/etc. to get data and correlate data to training.
  • Review questions/comments/feedback left in your training platform’s chats and channels.
  • Try to read between the lines. This is where your emotional intelligence skills come in handy.

Share the results with key stakeholders and work together to make improvements.

6. LEADERSHIP

The last thing the world’s top sales training programs have in common is engaged leadership. If your leaders aren’t involved in a big way, you’ll struggle to get buy-in from the rest of your sales team.

Would Apple launch a new product without making a big deal about it? No way. Like Apple, channel your inner Steve Jobs. Build hype. Get people excited. Including your leadership team.

From start to finish, you own the program, so marketing your agenda and generating enthusiasm in upper management is huge.

  • Gain buy-in continuously from management and leadership.
  • Stay involved, from discovery to training review calls to pilot launches.
  • Be able to answer questions, both about the content and the logistics (When will it launch? How will we be evaluated on it?)
  • Share a “sneak peek” photo of the video shoot. Even better, invite all-star reps/managers to go on set and watch the magic happen.
  • Create some “sizzle” with a trailer video.
  • Actively solicit feedback. As results come in, share those with the team. What gets measured and shared, gets celebrated (and repeated).

The sooner you get leadership involved, the better your chances of success.

 

top sales training programs Don’t Build Themselves

If you’re resource constrained, or don’t have the in-house capabilities you need to create a world-class sales training program, don’t be afraid to look outside your four walls to find a partner.

Look for a partner with a proven track record and the ability to dive deep into your company and understand your culture, products and services, and even your competitors. A custom sales training program may be exactly what you need.

Wherever you are in your training evolution, we can meet you there. We’d love to hear from you on anything you’ve read, questions you have, or to explore our offerings. Let us know how we can help.

5 Sales Enablement Trends You Should Watch in 2018

As we enter 2018, sales enablement remains a misunderstood sector (what is sales enablement, anyway?), which makes it difficult to predict what the next big sales enablement trends will be.

And with more products available each year, the definition of sales enablement is likely to remain fuzzy for the foreseeable future. Just check out Nancy Nardin’s epic graphic of the 2017 sales enablement landscape to grasp the current extent of the space.

With all that technology available, you may be tempted to think getting customers to say, “Yes!” will be easier than ever. But the fact is, increased competition, evolving buyer expectations, and the need to hear “Yes!” from not one, but 6.8 buyers, the sales process continues to grow more complex.

No wonder 77% of organizations now rely on some form of sales enablement to assist reps in meeting—and hopefully exceeding—quota.

2018 Sales Enablement Trends

But, what’s next? What hot sales enablement trends should you be watching in 2018?

We’ve listened to our clients, analyzed their pain points, and asked which sales enablement trends they’re eyeballing. Overall, we’re seeing sales enablement branch beyond content to address sales efficiency.

Here we go.

sales enablement trends - one-stop technology#1: One-Stop Technology

For a sales rep, there’s a golden moment when, after experiencing a well-crafted, personalized presentation, your wowed customer is ready to sign. What’s more anticlimactic than explaining that you’ll need to go back to the office, export the file, re-key it in the order entry platform, then email them later―dampening their enthusiasm and possibly jeopardizing the sale?

It’s embarrassing.

Sales teams have been feeling the pain for years. It’s inefficient, frustrating, and time-consuming to muddle through multiple log-ins to collect the data and content needed to build a personalized sales presentation.

So we’re listing one-stop technology as the number one sales enablement trend in 2018. This year, we’ll finally start to see more sales enablement tools serve multiple purposes and address multiple stages of the buying journey.

These new, modern sales enablement tools will streamline functions and data, becoming a one-stop shop that benefits reps, customers, and managers. Needs analysis, presentation-building, customer-facing sales tools, CRM, training, customer communication, and analytics come together in one powerful solution. And all of these functions communicate with pricing, product databases, and location―further enhancing the platform.

With a one-stop solution, reps can analyze customer challenges, suggest the ideal solution, create a quote and then―with the tap of a button―place the order to close the deal. All from the convenience of a tablet!

sales enablement trends - personalized buying journeys#2: Highly Personalized Buyer’s Journeys

Personalization enhances loyalty, drives conversion rates, and grows revenue. Monetate says that 79% of organizations exceeding revenue goals have a documented personalization strategy.

Historically, it’s been difficult (and really expensive) to unite all the specific customer data needed – demographics, engagement with marketing content, answers to needs-based questions, etc. – from multiple legacy systems to create a personalized buying journey.

Off-the-shelf platforms can’t manage such a complex feat. But adaptable sales enablement solutions will begin to make this easier in 2018. As solution providers and IT departments continue to move into the cloud, expose APIs, and build integration points, flexible and customizable tools that can adapt to your infrastructure will be something we see more of in 2018.

Also, personalizing your buyer’s journey is one of the best ways your organization can create a competitive advantage. Our clients tell us that sales reps love delivering custom presentations because they’re unique, impressing customers. One client even shared, “I like that it’s interactive, so customers don’t play on their phones while we’re talking.”

“I like that it’s interactive, so customers don’t play on their phones while we’re talking.”

sales enablement trends - manager enablement via data#3: Manager Enablement Via Data

Sales enablement trend #3 is all about data and how sales leaders can use this data to their advantage.

A collateral benefit of improved data integration is what we call “manager enablement.” More data gives managers a huge advantage in coaching reps to perform better based on real-time results.

Sales manager dashboards are not a novel idea. But increased reporting insights are going to revolutionize how managers measure and manage data including productivity, pipeline analysis, understanding the buyer’s journey, forecasting, and marketing insights that maximize sales performance.

As one example, by aggregating data on the most highly recommended and popular products—in addition to the rarely recommended ones—reps and managers can discern:

  • which sales tactics are most effective
  • what content has maximum impact
  • which solutions reps should be recommending
  • which methods convert best
  • what point in the sales pipeline customers are most likely to drop out

Using this data, managers will have a roadmap to coach reps and suggest training and strategies to maximize conversions as they adapt to new buyer behaviors and expectations. The results: more accurate forecasting and revenue target attainment.

sales enablement trends - automation and artificial intelligence#4: Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Automation and AI are revolutionizing sales enablement, and we believe it will be one of the hottest sales trends to watch in the coming years. However, let’s make something crystal clear: AI won’t replace sales reps any time soon, and certainly not in 2018.

AI can’t achieve quota on its own. It can, however, make reps more productive and efficient with their time, shifting the human role in the sales journey.

What AI does best is provide data, insights, and information in an accessible way. What humans do best is make meaningful connections to other humans that result in depth and understanding of needs. AI is critical in decreasing the amount of time consumed by administrative tasks, freeing up more time for reps to do what they do best: sell.

Reps devote as little as 22% of their time to selling, yet spend at least 50% of it on administrative tasks. Done right, the goal of automation/AI is to decrease reps’ administrative task load, freeing up time to build solid client relationships mid-funnel.

With more time to focus on selling, reps come in at the dynamic moment when customers are informed but seeking guidance in making their best decision.

sales enablement trends - continued focus on digital sales tools#5: Continued Focus on Being Digital

Does your organization have a Digital Transformation or Innovation team? If it doesn’t―it will soon. To keep moving forward, companies large and small will be required to adapt to more modern ways of doing things.

While digital and mobile technology have been sales trends for years, many organizations are just now launching mobile apps. As mobile technology expands, Digital Transformation and Innovation Teams help organizations navigate issues around aging IT structures and the challenges enterprise mobile device management (MDM) brings.

While these teams help companies go digital and cater to their unique requirements, most organizations don’t have the in-house expertise or IT capacity to go it alone. The challenge is twofold: how to equip teams with mobile tech―and then manage it.

The movement from on-premise servers and aging IT infrastructure to cloud-based, on-demand, BYOD, digitally transformed companies is well under way and will continue in 2018. But this year, we’ll start to see organizations rely more heavily on trusted partners with proven experience to guide their transformation and help them think through challenges like MDM, security, data integration, accessibility, etc.

Identifying a partner who’s already been there, done that, and understands that change (including the pain of the change and how to make it easier) is critical.

What Sales Enablement Trends Will You Watch in 2018?

Sales enablement is rapidly changing. But hopefully the sales enablement trends we’ve listed above will help you focus on what you can do this year to improve the efficiency of your sales team.

Which of the sales enablement trends we’ve identified will you watch, or even implement this year? What’s missing from our list?

Share below or give us a call and let us know how we can help you achieve your goals—we’d love to talk sales enablement with you!

7 Sales Enablement Best Practices to Increase Adoption Rates

55% of sales executives plan to invest in sales enablement tools, but they don’t always have a plan to roll out the solution and get reps to embrace it. 51.5% of organizations lack a formal sales enablement vision, according to a study from CSO Insights.

This lack of a vision and planning shows. Poor adoption of sales technology is a struggle that’s real. Take software like CRMs, for example. Failure rates are around 50%—but have been reported as high as 70%.

There is good news. Failure to launch is preventable. Before you roll out a new sales tool, follow these 7 sales enablement best practices to ensure success.

Sales enablement best practices

1. Align on Business Outcomes

Sales enablement tools can impact more than just your sales force. Marketing will need to be in the loop. Product will need to be in the loop. So will IT, Legal, L&D, etc.

Identify and involve cross-department stakeholder and decision makers from the get-go. Getting in sync upfront reduces the risk of getting critical feedback too late in the process and creating rework.

Align on both short-term and long-term goals. Focusing on immediate pains or needs only will ultimately lead to a temporary, band-aid solution.

2. Know Your Users

End users come in many forms and include your sales team, sales leadership, and executives. Knowing what each group wants to see and how they want to see it makes a big difference for utilization.

Reps may need tools to help them facilitate sales meetings. But executives won’t necessarily need that. Instead, they’d want a fast, easy way to get to sales results and trend reports.

Make users part of the discovery process and test bench. This will help you best understand how to integrate new technology into their daily workflow. Getting real end users to test the tool will also help you diagnose and mitigate potential barriers to usage early.

3. Keep It Simple

Great tools work for you, not the other way around. Resist the temptation to over-engineer. Feature-bloat is a top killer of usage. Too many bells and whistles get in the way and then the tool never gets used.

Keep it simple applies to implementation, too. Don’t roll out a new tool to the entire sales organization at once. That’s too disruptive a change. Start small with a pilot program. Participants will then become the champions and evangelists who naturally build your user base and adoption rates.

4. Don’t Undermine Reps

Reps are smart, capable people. Interactive educational content and demos (and similar functionality) need to be integrated carefully.

The best sales enablement tools provide the right information at the right time in the sales process to build credibility. They should never undermine the salesperson’s expertise.

5. Prepare for Change

Do internal marketing for the tool. This helps generate excitement. It also keeps people informed of progress, which helps them feel “in the know” and part of the process. Reps don’t want to feel like a tool is being forced on them.

Training will be critical, too. Be very clear about how the technology aligns with your sales methodology, and the ways it will enhance it. Providing contextual examples of how to  use the tool will help teams adapt their workflow and daily activities more smoothly.

6. Set Reps Up for Success

Set usage expectations early and clearly and make sure managers and reps have an accountability plan in place.

Reinforce “what great looks like” by having successful early adopters share best practices.

Share and celebrate wins team- and organization-wide. This will help others stay focused and motivated.

Be ready to address tech issues. When something goes wrong with technology, sales teams don’t have much patience. Having a rapid-response help desk and technology support strategy will eliminate obstacles that may prevent sales teams from embracing the tool.

7. Measure & Iterate

Collecting data is good. Connecting the dots with reports that drive insights around sales results is best.

Also collect feedback from users. Learn from version 1.0 of your sales enablement tool and use those lessons to inform how to add to the tool and scale it.

Quick Recap

Successfully launching a new sales enablement tool isn’t a matter of releasing it into the wild and hoping for the best. It comes down to good planning, and recognizing and embracing these sales enablement best practices to drive adoption:

  • Don’t start unless you know what everyone needs and you can tie those needs to a sales goal.
  • Great tools work for your reps, not the other way around.
  • Define success early, measure often, and iterate quickly.

Sales Enablement Best Practices At Work

This hard work pays off. For example, when Comcast added a guided selling tool to their sales toolkit, they followed these sales enablement best practices.

They started with a thorough discovery process and ultimately used feedback from the field to iterate on the tool post-launch. The result? The tool contributed to a 60% increase in YOY sales and a 40% increase in rep productivity. #winning

We believe sales enablement is not just a tool-it’s a smart mix of training and technology that helps your sales team win. Want to learn more? Give us a shout!