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Sales enablement is a broad term used to describe the resources provided to a sales force as a means of enabling or empowering each sales professional to generate the highest volume of sales possible. The tools or resources provided as part of the enabling process may be direct or indirect, although all of these tools will increase the potential for connecting with the right prospects and gaining new business for the employer. In some settings, the resources used as part of sales enablement will also aid in not only securing new business through new customers, but also broadening the range of goods or services purchased by existing clients.
At its core, the resources provided as part of the sales enablement process can be classified in three categories. The first category has to do with education. This relates to making sure that each salesperson is fully aware of the benefits, uses, and operation of the goods and services that the company offers to customers. Along with arming the sales professional with information about the product line, the sales training effort is often ongoing. Beginning with the orientation into sales efforts at the time the individual is first employed, the company may further invest in the sales force by arranging for the team to attend periodic sales conferences that help to introduce newer methods and strategies they can relate to their own sales efforts.
A second factor or category in sales enablement has to do with sales support. In many companies, salespeople are assigned support personnel who handle many of the administrative and clerical tasks associated with the sales effort. This includes the maintenance of client and prospect databases, qualifying leads, managing mailings on behalf of the sales team, and even following up to make sure the products are meeting customer expectations. This type of enablement allows the sales team to focus more time and energy on the central task of selling rather than spending time on tasks that are important but ancillary to actually closing a sale.
Sales enablement also involves providing the sales team with media tools that aid in the selling process. This includes informative and eye-catching brochures and other forms of printed sales collateral, as well as electronic media that can be streamed to potential customers over the Internet. Typically, the sales force works with marketing professionals to develop resources of this type, ultimately creating a cache of sales materials that can be utilized when and as appropriate with different potential clients.
There are a number of different tools that aid in the task of sales enablement. Up-to-date knowledge of competitors and competitor products is very important to the selling process. In addition, proficiency in reading and responding to requests for proposals or RFPs from potential clients is also key. The actual process of enablement is not one that is ever truly completed, since market conditions change and consumers also shift in how they respond to different sales techniques. For this reason, a company that truly wishes to keep its force enabled will constantly re-evaluate current tools and make changes in sales resources when and as necessary.