If you’ve ever baked from scratch, you know a lot can go wrong. If your measurements aren’t precise, you preheat the oven to the wrong temperature or use the wrong type of flour, you risk ruining the recipe. And after all the time, effort and expensive grocery runs, there’s a chance you’ll be left with a dry cake, bread that didn’t rise, or cookies so tough they could break a tooth.
The same holds true for sales enablement. Just because you’re doing it doesn’t mean you’re doing it right. And deploying the wrong sales enablement tools, tech and processes will not only consume a tremendous amount of valuable resources but can also jeopardize your ability to close high-dollar deals.
On the flip side, highly-strategic sales enablement can equip sales teams with valuable insights, streamline the sales cycle and leapfrog competitors. It goes without saying that, in today’s hyper-competitive environment, sales pros need every advantage they can get.
To help you drive the best results from your sales enablement efforts, we’re sharing five common mistakes and how to fix them:
Investing in Software Without a Plan
It’s never been more challenging to choose the right sales enablement software — not because products are hard to find, but because the sheer volume of options can be overwhelming. And when sales leaders set ambitious targets, and senior executives pressure teams to meet those goals, it can be easy to gravitate toward any shiny new solution that promises improved outcomes.
But as with all software, it’s essential you have a cohesive strategy in place before you invest. Because even the most impressive sales enablement tool in the world won’t move the needle if you don’t have a clear process for implementation and ongoing use. And if you haven’t adequately prepared for it, your new software can upset your entire system and create inefficiencies that send prospects straight toward your competition.
For example, if you haven’t ensured the new tool integrates with your current sales and marketing tech stack, you could create data silos and bottlenecks. And if you haven’t factored in time for training and an inevitable learning curve or set realistic expectations, senior decision makers may pull the plug before you can generate an ROI.
Leveraging Outdated or Low-Quality Content
Content is one of the most powerful tools in your sales enablement arsenal. By arming sales pros with compelling external-facing content like case studies, blogs, ebooks, guides, infographics, ROI calculators and product one-pagers, as well as internal-facing content like email templates, scripts, proposal templates and playbooks, they’ll be well-prepared at each stage of the buyers’ journey.
But for content to be effective, it must be high-quality and relevant. If it’s not, it can hamper the sales process and leave prospective customers with a poor impression of your brand. That’s why it’s vital to regularly audit your content.
Start by mapping each asset to a phase along the path to purchase to ensure you’re covering all the bases. If you notice gaps or holes, prioritize creating assets for those phases. Additionally, review all content to ensure it still applies to your products and services, buyers’ needs, and organizational goals.
Failing to Align Sales and Marketing Teams
Few teams experience as much friction and conflict as sales and marketing. And since both teams should be focused on creating a frictionless customer experience, something’s got to give.
Like most warring factions, much of this hostility boils down to a lack of understanding. Marketers get upset with salespeople for not closing the leads they provide, while sales pros blame marketers for failing to provide enough qualified leads. Each department tends to believe the other’s job is less labor-intensive, and no one really knows how the other team spends their workdays.
One of the best things you can do from a sales enablement standpoint is to bridge this divide. Start by creating service-level agreements (SLAs) outlining each team’s responsibilities, shared goals and metrics you’ll use to measure success. It’s also helpful to hold regular meetings with both teams to discuss progress and foster open dialogue. The better marketers and salespeople understand each other, the more powerful your sales enablement program will become.
Not Taking Sales Feedback Seriously
Of course, it’s not enough to get sales and marketing teams talking to each other. You also have to ensure they’re turning those conversations into action. All too often, sales pros stop using tools, processes or assets because they feel it doesn’t work, but fail to let anyone know. Or, if they do share this feedback, they’re met with frustration from other teams or unhelpful directives from leadership.
To solve this problem, the sales team must be crystal clear about what’s working, what’s not, and what they need to overcome buyers’ objections and exceed buyers’ expectations. In return, the rest of the organization must identify how to meet these needs and act quickly.
For example, suppose salespeople share that many prospective customers are apprehensive about investing in a particular product line. In that case, marketing can source several strong testimonials and craft multiple data-rich case studies that prove existing customers’ success.
Not Correctly Identifying the Cause of Lead Loss
You can’t solve a problem without determining its root cause. Yet, when it comes to lead loss, far too many companies deploy expensive and resource-intensive fixes without pinpointing the culprit. As a result, organizations spend valuable time, energy, and budget dollars without doing anything to prevent more lost deals.
Instead of immediately increasing your lead acquisition budget, hiring several new reps, or ripping and replacing a software solution, take a deep dive into the buyers’ journey and examine exactly where leads are falling off. Gather plenty of quantitative and qualitative data (like CRM data, as well as follow-up calls with lost prospects) to make sure you’re accurately diagnosing the problem. You might discover that all you need to slow lead drop-off is more relevant sales enablement content or a simple process tweak.
Of course, it’s important to remember that sales enablement isn’t an exact science, and what works for some organizations, teams or prospective customers may not work for others. Fortunately, so long as you remain committed to strategically empowering sales teams, keep your sales enablement content current and useful, cultivate alignment between sales and marketing and accurately diagnose issues before throwing money at them, you can make considerable progress.
By staying focused on correcting these mistakes, you can avoid spinning your wheels and ensure your sales enablement efforts yield results.
How You Can Strengthen Your Sales Pipeline
Make better use of your sales enablement technology by setting up integrations and workflows to support your sales reps. Develop collateral for every level of the sales funnel. Train your team.
We realize this is a lot to do on your own, and it can help to have someone who can guide your team through these steps. At Kuno, we often assist with sales enablement efforts using solid inbound strategies.
Our guide, The CMO’s Guide to Sales Enablement and CRM, takes our experience and turns it into insight you can use for sales enablement success.