B2B Sales Enablement: Your Guide to a Winning Strategy

It doesn’t matter how great your product, messaging, marketing plan or sales strategy is – going to market without a robust B2B sales enablement plan is setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even started.

B2B sales enablement is where strategy becomes reality – where you empower your B2B sales team with the tools, resources and support to make prospects sit up and pay attention.

This guide explores what makes B2B sales enablement such a vital part of every successful sales process, and how you can set up a successful strategy.

Table of contents:

  1. What is B2B sales enablement?
  2. B2B sales enablement vs. content marketing
  3. Examples of sales enablement materials
  4. Roles, responsibilities and objectives in B2B sales enablement
  5. How your team can use sales enablement effectively
  6. How can I measure my sales enablement strategy?

What is B2B sales enablement?

At its core, B2B sales enablement is about helping your sales teams have consistently productive and valuable sales conversations with prospects and convert as many of them as possible to customers.

This support comes in many forms – through education, systems, processes and resources that transform your sales teams into trusted stewards of your offering.

B2B sales enablement is a broad and constantly evolving component of B2B sales strategy – it varies according to what, how and to whom you sell.

Nevertheless, B2B sales enablement usually comprises some form of technology, onboarding and content training components in a systematic process that increases productivity, drives consistency and improves the quality of all sales activities in the B2B sales pipeline.

A robust B2B sales enablement strategy typically covers these areas:

  • Onboarding and certification
  • Training and coaching
  • Adoption of new sales technology
  • Sales asset deployment and management
  • Sales communications

Done right, sales enablement for B2B boosts your company’s competitive advantage, response time and customer experience.

B2B sales enablement vs. content marketing

We’ll get into why the sales team should own B2B sales enablement a bit later, but first it’s important to answer a fundamental question: what’s the difference between B2B sales enablement and content marketing?

The key difference between B2B sales enablement and content marketing is the audience. Content marketing targets buyers with an outside-in story about your brand’s offering. Sales enablement targets your salespeople with inside-out guidance and training on how to convey that story to buyers in the most effective way.

Importantly, the best B2B sales enablement is a joint-activity between sales and marketing.

Marketing needs to help sales enablement teams drive uptake across sales teams by translating their strategy into practical and intuitive working assets and training plans. But they’re not close to the subject matter to do it alone – marketing needs deep insights from the people closest to the nuances of what customers actually need.

The two teams mutually enrich each other’s work.

Set up regular collaborative meetings to drive transparency into the processes to allow feedback and areas of improvement and you will naturally begin to see better end results in buyer journeys.

B2B sales enablement examples

So what are some examples of real B2B sales enablement activities? This is a non-exhaustive list, but here are some tools and resources that make it easier for sales teams to achieve better results as they take your story to market.:

  • Buyer personas and ideal customer profiles (ICPs) – which help narrow down the leads most likely to be interested in your offering and make a purchasing decision.
  • Email templates – which help your sales team create easily customizable interactions with individual accounts.
  • Sales cadence guidelines – which give your reps the guidance they need to know which channel to engage leads through at which time for the most effective interactions.
  • Discovery call checklists – which ensure sales reps get both quantity and quality information out of discovery calls to understand the lead’s pain points, budget, timeline, etc.
  • Demo recordings – which give your sales team a guide for giving leads product or service demonstrations, so they can effectively show them how their offering can address certain pain points.
  • Slide decks – which contextualize your offering, tell your brand story and brand positioning for prospects.
  • Battle cards – which provide unique points of differentiation between your offering and specific competitor’s. This is necessary for your sales reps to confidently explain how your offering is the best on the market to prospects.
  • Thought leadership content – which equips sales teams with original knowledge on a relevant topic in your target market’s industry. This demonstrates your company’s expertise in the field and is a great way to build credibility and trusting relationships with prospects.
  • Case studies – which create sticky stories about the benefits of your offering for prospects to remember down the line.
  • ROI calculator – which estimates the return on investment your prospect will see from purchasing your offering. This allows your sales reps to give solid numbers to decision-makers backed by data. B2B buyers like to see these due to the high price and risk of their buying decisions.

Roles, responsibilities and objectives in B2B sales enablement

Who does what in B2B sales enablement? There are a lot of roles to play, and stakeholders across the organization need to pitch in.

You might think that B2B marketers would drive much of the asset management, given they’re the group responsible for its creation. But it’s generally better for a B2B sales enablement team to manage, deploy and optimise those materials from a dedicated sales enablement platform.

Although, as of 2019, only 58% of companies had a sales enablement team and strategy in place for more than two years. And only half of those considered their approach formalised.

Sales enablement teams don’t follow a standard structure – it varies depending on the company size, size of the target market (e.g. enterprises, SMBs or startups), stakeholder priorities and more.

In a smaller, less mature sales team, B2B sales enablement is a distributed function spanning multiple departments without specific and specialised roles like content specialists or instructional designers. Whereas larger, more mature sales teams that are selling multiple offerings to multiple different buying personas and prospects will need a more defined team to oversee effective sales enablement across the operation.

Some common roles in a sales enablement team may include: Chief enablement officer, VP and director of sales enablement, sales enablement manager, instructional designer, sales enablement coordinator, content specialist and a sales coach.

However your team may be set up, they will all be working towards common objectives.

Main objectives of a sales enablement team

  1. Onboard new sales reps faster
  2. Increase sales productivity
  3. Align teams
  4. Decrease time to revenue
  5. Increase competitive advantage
  6. Create long-term customers

How can sales enablement teams reach their objectives?

1. Build a killer tech stack

The backbone of what a sales enablement team does is to give sellers everything they need to focus on selling well. So, when designing a tech stack, that needs to be the focus, rather than automating manual tasks.

Some tools sales enablement teams may utilize are:

  • CRMs – an effective Customer Relationship Management platform will help sellers manage and track leads, organize a smooth buyer experience, map the best route to timely and impactful engagement, and shorten the sales process. It will contain B2B prospect data, contact information and behavior.
  • Sales enablement platforms – these provide functionality for content management, training portals, performance insights and reporting.
  • Sales intelligence tools – these track revenue and time to revenue, as well as trends in the market. This gives sales teams a better view on competitive advantage, strategy development and sales methods.
  • Coaching technology – this will provide a space for managers to hold group and one-on-one training and development sessions. An insight into seller performance is a great way to increase individual seller productivity.
  • Content management tools – content hubs that sales reps can easily use to engage B2B prospects through timely and relevant interaction recommendations.

2. Successful onboarding strategy

Forrester estimates that replacing a great B2B seller costs a company roughly $200,000. Making sure the sellers who walk into your team are already set up for immediate success is a very desirable way to reduce this cost.

It’s an opportunity to pre-install best practices and sales skills that are relevant to your sales process, and as the first stage sales enablement can make a mark, it can prove it’s worth to your C-suite.

There’s no “right” way to do this, but here are some best practices some teams use:

  • Email suggested reading before they begin work (company content, blogs, influential books or podcasts etc.)
  • Prepare them with easily accessible documents with things they’ll need to know (resources they’ll be using, the people they
  • should know in the company, messaging documents, passwords)
  • Educate the team and stakeholders on the new hire’s roles and responsibilities
  • Make immediate introductions to people they’ll be working with
  • Discuss organizational values, current projects, KPIs and focus points
  • Go through live demos of the ins and outs of the products they’ll be selling
  • Give the new hire space to read through any resources you’ve recommended
  • Outline pipeline launches and their role in each
  • Sit them down with stakeholders so they can understand their aims
  • Introduce them to competitors
  • Set up ongoing review sessions

Get in touch with us if you’d like to know more about a successful onboarding strategy.

3. Sales training and coaching

Hybrid learning is now the focus for most sales enablement teams in the post-pandemic era.

However, the core of why training is important has still remained the same. If you continue to train your sales reps, they will be continuously improving and growing both their skill set and productivity, as well as your organization.

Training on a general level is important to get everyone on the same page as to what the standards are in your sales process, but training on an individual basis is also important. Working out your individual rep’s strong and weak points means you can personalize training to target areas of improvement.

Knowing when to delply training sessions is also an important part of an effective sales training strategy.

You can find plenty of information on how to set up a sales training process out there, but the truth is that it should always be personalized to your business, team and individual sales reps as they will all have unique needs.

How to train your team to use B2B sales enablement effectively

For large-scale, mature sales teams especially, you need the skills to train your sales reps to use their sales enablement materials more effectively. There are a lot of materials to use and a lot of people and roles that need to be brought up to speed.

According to the Sales Management Association, if sales enablement training is done right, it can lead to a 15% improvement in low-performing sales team members and a 31% increase in adoption to a change in sales messaging, which means your team can better excel and adapt.

In order to train your teams effectively in B2B sales enablement, there are some key things you should focus on.

Make the learning continuous

From repeats of past training sessions, to attending industry events, to updating new learning modules, set a regular and scheduled learning routine for your team to follow throughout the year.

This enables best practices to bake into the performances of everyone in your sales team, regardless of their seniority.

Make the training accessible and engaging

Store your educational content and sales enablement materials in a single, easy-to-use and unified space that’s easy to locate for the newest of hires. Explore various formats of content as well, such as gamification, to make the process more interactive and interesting.

Quick access to your powerful sales enablement toolkit will empower sales reps to make better on the job decisions faster.

Effectively plan relevant training

Examine your sales teams’ daily tasks and plan smaller, relevant training around the sales activities conducted at the time.

This could be links to vital resources on new accounts before first engagement or reminders of how to most effectively complete a specific task and more.

Real-time, consistent and relevant training will save your employees time and make sure that best practices are fresh in their minds before it’s needed.

How can I measure my B2B sales enablement strategy success?

Access to accurate and important feedback on your B2B sales enablement strategy allows you to scale and boost profitability and growth through constant improvement.

To do this, you need to know what KPIs are most important for your salespeople to monitor, so you can see how well your current strategy suits your business. Here are the common KPIs sales enablement teams track, and the ones we think are the best.

  • Lead conversion rate – this directly reflects the effectiveness of your sales reps, if it’s low, your sales enablement strategy may need tweaking.
  • Content performance – how your sales reps deploy content from marketers is vital for prospect engagement. Look at where and how content is being used to get more insight into which content is valuable to your customers, and what content is missing its mark.
  • Sales cycle length – track the time it takes for a new prospect to move down the B2B sales pipeline and become a customer to see if your sales enablement team are presenting the benefits of your offering urgently enough.
  • Average sales onboarding time – measure how long it takes to lead a new hire to achieve sales targets or to hit their first sale. Without this measurement, you could miss on indicators to evaluate whether your new hire has the skills necessary to reach peak performance.
  • Knowledge retention – most employees can only retain around 15% of what they learned from training after one year. Simultaneously measure knowledge retention and reinstall training by following continuous training schedules that recap information. More knowledge about your offering, the industry and your competition = more engaging sales calls.

Transform your B2B sales

If your sales team is equipped with the right training, tools, and resources to carry out their jobs to the best of their abilities, you should start seeing your B2B buyer interactions become far more valuable. You’ll see customer satisfaction increase and churn decrease, and you’ll see revenue and growth improvements across the entire organization.

So, where do you start with sales enablement?

Getting everything set up and working like a well oiled machine requires the right industry experience, expertise and contacts.

At Webhelp, we’ve worked with companies like yours for 20 years to help improve every part of your B2B sales process. We use our expertise to inject data-driven relevance, personalized value and massive efficiency into your sales training and performance.

Interested? Find out more about the accelerating transformation in B2B sales in our eBook.