Director, Sales Enablement Practice
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In my first and second posts on “What is Sales Enablement?” I discussed education enablement and analytics enablement as two of three interrelated sales enablement activities. In this third post on the topic, we turn to our attention to asset enablement.
The information-intensive nature of sales requires huge amounts of data. Determining how this knowledge is structured, stored, maintained, and delivered is an essential activity for sales enablement organizations. To put the right information into the hands of the right sales professional at the right time, in the right place, and in the right format requires well-executed asset enablement.
Asset enablement is delivering to salespeople the right information and assets needed to support selling interactions.
Once a specific opportunity has been introduced to a sales rep, the sales rep needs to have rapid and efficient access, via either rep-initiated search or opportunity-triggered push, to the relevant information the rep needs to prepare for and conduct conversations that will be of value to the prospect.
The assets that make up this part of a sales enablement framework can be broken into two categories:
Sales assets (i.e., those put in front of the customer), including:
- Sales presentations
- Offering collateral
- Thought leadership content
- ROI/business value tools
- Customer references and success stories
Call and account planning assets (i.e., those not seen by customers), including:
- Market-based intelligence (either horizontal technology or vertical industry)
- Account-based intelligence
- Persona-based intelligence
- Sales playbooks, buyer conversation guides, and call scripts
- Prospect digital dialog history and insights derived therefrom
To keep assets current and enable their proper matching to particular sales needs, it is important that they be well curated and tagged for relevance to specific selling opportunities and buyer personas. Best-in-class sales enablement organizations employ information management processes and tools that allow proactive delivery of relevant content through their CRM systems based on criteria associated with a particular opportunity. Asset scoring (so that they can be rated by users) and the allowance for assets to be submitted by sales (so that “tribal knowledge” can be harvested and shared) are also important best practices that improve asset adoption and utilization.
A wealth of tools has sprung up that blur the lines between education, analytics, and asset enablement. To the extent that these tools use analytics to determine the right information assets and education to deliver to a sales rep, just when they need it, that blurring can be a very good thing. As I mentioned in my last post in the context of discussing microlearning, the trend toward “just in time” delivery of sales enablement content can empower sales conversations by shortening the time between learning and putting that knowledge to use in support of selling. That said, understanding the three distinct, yet interrelated sales enablement activities as I’ve discussed them in these three posts is still important so that you, the sales enablement professional, can remain in charge.
As powerful as today’s tools are, they can only automate your solution—well thought out sales enablement processes—not solve the underlying problem. When we step back and consider what it means to design effective sales enablement processes, we must again turn our attention to the importance of sales and marketing collaboration.
Marketing and Sales Process Functions for Sales Enablement
Because sales enablement acts as a vital bridge between marketing and sales, we have developed a set of process description that include actions wholly owned by marketing, those actions that are wholly owned by sales, and those actions that are collaborative (see Table 1).
Source: IDC, 2016
I’ll close this post by noting that any attempt at delineating process functions for sales and marketing must necessarily be incomplete. The context variables of company size, organizational structure, and routes to market.