Wikipedia defines Sales Enablement as “…the process of arming an organization’s sales force with access to the insight, experts, and information that will ultimately increase revenue.” It’s focused on enabling a sales force to excel.
While the term is often used interchangeably with “sales effectiveness” and “sales readiness,” I view them as somewhat different. In the B2B sales world in which I live, my view of B2B Sales Enablement focuses on bringing together both internal customer information (sales, contact history, etc.) and external firmagraphic information (SIC Codes, sales volume, locations, etc.) and presenting that in an easy to understand, access, and use format. In addition, it includes ranking of prospects by potential and by timing, allowing reps to focus their efforts on those opportunities that are most likely to generate the highest return in the shortest time frame.
That implies that there is less focus on opportunities that are less immediate, but that’s not the case. It’s all about B2B Channel Management. Opportunities likely to close this month, or quarter, may receive more direct personalized contact, while opportunities that are expected to take longer to develop are assigned to a nurturing path which may involve less frequent and less intensive contact (i.e., emails instead of phone calls or meetings).
One way to deliver this integrated set of internal and external content is through a B2B Sales Dashboard, or Playbook. At the rep level, the dashboard allows reps to look across their books of business and drill down to those opportunities, customers, or prospects that need attention. Once there, he or she can view the integrated set of information and plan his or her next move. Rollups to higher levels of the sales management ladder allow each manager to quickly understand the pipeline and revenue forecast for which they’re responsible.
B2B sales dashboard capabilities are contained within many CRM systems, but my sense is that those tools are not leveraged as frequently or as well as they could be. Frequently these tools are used by management to view and manage the sales funnel, but there is little focus on using these tools to foster success at the rep level.
Additionally, in many cases, the data in the CRM tool is maintained by the sales reps themselves and there is no integration of external data, or even internal operational content, within the CRM database, limiting its ability to serve in this role. For those organizations where this is true, outside software or a capability created and managed by a partner may be the easiest way to bring a true B2B sales dashboard capability to an enabled sales force. A B2B sales dashboard is a big step towards B2B sales enablement.
And B2B sales enablement is all about having a successful sales team! And that will, as Wikipedia says “…ultimately increase revenue.”
Wikipedia: Sales Enablement
Image Courtesy: Paul Martin Eldridge / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the Author:
George Hollister is a B2B Practice Leader with SIGMA Marketing Group, a marketing analytics agency. Connect with George on or follow him on .