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.
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.
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!