A Closer Look at Sales Enablement Trends in 2019

September 2, 2019

With a new NFL season set to get underway this week, I’m thinking about teamwork and complementary parts. 

A quarterback wouldn’t be too effective with no receivers to throw to. A running back is going nowhere without a line to run behind. And the entire defense would be lost without a coordinator and coaching staff in place to scout opponents, draw up schemes, and oversee execution on gameday. 

Sales teams are similarly interdependent. To be successful, we need to work with one another and across departments (especially marketing). Not only this, but the most effective selling units are increasingly reliant on sales enablement tools and tactics. Just as teams in football (and every sport) gain an advantage by understanding and optimally leveraging the latest analytics and innovative strategies, sales organizations can do the same.

As your team looks to go deep and score big in the final months of the year, here’s a rundown of sales enablement trends being discussed around the web, and how you can adopt them to keep moving the chains.

Winning Sales Enablement Trends in 2019

We define sales enablement as the practice of “equipping your sales team with strategic resources it needs to excel, from tools to technology to content and beyond.” Here’s what various authors had to offer on the subject in the past week or so.

Know the Landscape

A perusal of sales enablement statistics, courtesy of Guru’s Leah E. Friedman, will help you get the lay of the land, guiding your decisions as you formulate a sales enablement strategy. Here are a few numbers that popped out at me:

  • $66 billion is spent annually on sales training and sales enablement 

  • 70% of top-performing organizations provide a consistent sales message through the buying journey

  • Almost 60% of buyers want to discuss pricing on the first call

Adhere to Modern Sales Enablement Best Practices

The playbook has changed. At Sales Hacker, Paul Saleme of Showpad notes that the prevalence of sales enablement people, functions, and even full-on sales enablement departments has risen dramatically over the past five years, from less than 20% to more than 60%. With more organizations focusing on this initiative, it’s all the more critical to do it well. 

In this competitive environment, Saleme offers a series of dos and don’ts for developing a program that positively impacts results. For example:

  • Do: Develop a charter that documents your business plan, accounting for audience, mission statement, scope, and more

  • Do: Develop an enablement cadence to dictate timing of continuous learning initiatives

  • Don’t: Put your program on autopilot while pushing off crucial practices like measurement, analysis, and improvement

Choose the Right Sales Enablement Tools

Gartner recently released a market guide for sales engagement, but G2’s Michael Fauscette argues that the terminology was a little mixed up: sales engagement is not the same as sales enablement. In his piece, he explores the categorizations and distinctions within this arena, drawing lines between sales acceleration software, conversation intelligence software, and sales intelligence software, while presenting overviews of the solution fields in each niche.

At LinkedIn, we’re beyond proud to have Sales Navigator ranked by G2 Crowd’s audience as a leader and top performer among sales intelligence platforms, and are committed to reinforcing our customers’ confidence everyday.

Rely on Sales Content that Clicks

Content is the unsung hero of sales enablement, according to ZoomInfo. I’m not sure it’s as unsung as it once was, but there’s no denying the validity of this core sentiment. Relevant, accurate, and high-quality content is one of the prime ingredients in a modern sales enablement strategy. As the writeup at ZoomInfo suggests, it’s important to keep open lines of communication between sales and marketing, build out a sizable content library, and align your assets with various stages of the buying cycle.

But what kind of content, exactly, is really going to move the needle? On this front, Proposify’s Lauren d'Entremont provides a helpful breakdown of common qualities shared by the best sales enablement content. Her piece includes guidance on the application of storytelling elements to case studies, sales presentations, and webinars to make them more engaging.

Fuel Your Sales Enablement Engine

At CSO Insights, Tamara Schenk likens a sales enablement program to a vehicle’s engine. In order to make it run smoothly and drive results, we need to be strategic (like Saleme, she recommends creating a sales enablement charter), as well as contextual, culturally cognizant, and focused. 

“Effective sales enablement leaders design their sales enablement discipline as the primary engine to drive sales results,” she writes. “Over time, senior executive leaders will recognize the benefits of the orchestrating role sales enablement should focus on and appreciate that their strategic initiatives are aligned to create better results.”

Elevate the Right Sales Enablement Leaders

Last but certainly not least, you need to find the right captain to lead your team. And these days, that means finding someone with the fortitude to tell a VP of Sales, “I disagree.” So says Enablematch CEO Dave Lichtman at Brainshark in his post on the unexpected quality sales enablement leaders need.

“Sales leaders today should demand a head of enablement who has the respect, gravitas, and stature to disagree with them, because healthy debate and disagreement challenges both people to execute better,” Lichtman asserts. 

Empower Your Team Through Sales Enablement

Selling is a team sport — one that extends beyond the players in your sales unit. Leveling up sales enablement should be a key focus throughout any organization that wants to emerge from the competition and consistently put points on the board. 

Understanding today’s sales enablement trends, and incorporating the tools and tactics that make the most sense for your business, will help you keep moving the chains throughout this NFL season and beyond.

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