Sales Enablement Pros: How Well Do You Understand Your Reps?

Sales Enablement Pros: How Well Do You Understand Your Reps?
December 13, 2019
In the spirit of National Salesperson Day, we’re highlighting 3 best practices to remember when enabling sales reps.

As we approach the end of the year, sales enablement teams are no doubt busy with sales kickoff planning, 2020 goal setting, strategy sessions, and more.

But with so much on everyone’s plate, it can be easy to forget the simple fact that without “sales,” there is no sales enablement. We exist to do right by our salespeople and their clients, and for us to succeed, reps need to fully buy into the support we provide.

That's why sales enablement pros must establish rapport with the reps they enable, understanding not just their challenges, but also their aspirations and motivations.

In the spirit of National Salesperson Day, we at Brainshark are highlighting 3 key pieces of information to remember when enabling sales reps.

1. Understand Their Challenges

Knowing someone’s title is not the same as knowing what makes someone’s job unique in your organization. Even if you come from a sales background, understanding the ins and outs of each role will keep your sales enablement strategy well-informed.

Maybe you find that reps are bogged down with administrative tasks during end-of-quarter dealings with finance or sales ops. With that knowledge, you can work to streamline that part of the sales process. But without that information, you’d be overlooking a key productivity roadblock.

Here are a few ways to get a better sense of your reps’ workflow:

  • Shadow them. How do reps interact with clients? How do they work with the rest of the business? And how do those interactions affect their ability to close deals? Firsthand insight is hard to top.
  • Join their meetings. Weekly sales meetings are a great time to learn more about what’s on each team’s plate, as well as the challenges facing individual sellers. My team and I make sure we participate in all  weekly meetings.
  • Survey your sales teams. This is especially important when planning sales kickoff or new sales training content. Gather some qualitative feedback from reps and their managers to figure out which resources are most helpful, which could be improved, and which topics or areas deserve more attention from sales enablement.

2. Understand ‘What’s in It for Them’

Whenever you roll out sales enablement activities, you need to directly connect the changes to what your reps care about most: achieving quota. When you directly tie enablement to how sellers will achieve quota, you’ll get their attention.

But if they’re completing a training course or coaching exercise just for the sake of doing it, you haven’t sent the right message – and your reps will be less engaged as a result. They’ll see sales enablement as something that’s taking them away from closing deals.

Telling reps an activity will benefit them is one thing. Getting the ears of your top revenue producers, and turning their success into a blueprint that peers can follow, sends a much stronger message.

For instance, if a high-performing rep relied on sales enablement for deal coaching and then won the opportunity, other sellers will want to replicate that success. In this case, you could have the rep record a short video explaining how a new sales enablement asset or resource contributed to the win, and then share it with the rest of the sales force as a peer learning moment.

The organization will take notice and, soon enough, you'll have a very busy calendar.

3. Understand What Motivates Them

It's no secret that salespeople tend to be “coin-operated.” They’re incentivized to work to their compensation plans. But motivation isn’t just about the numbers. Keeping the human element in mind is also important.

The best sellers can develop strong relationships and remember facts about their customers' lives. The same principle applies to sales enablement, too.

Think about what makes your reps tick. Is it recognition? The chance to be a mentor? Leadership opportunities? Being the top performer? Answering these questions will help you appeal to their motivations and, ultimately, make your own job a little easier.

While it’s not realistic to think you'll be BFFs with the entire sales force – especially if you enable a large or dispersed organization – spending time with influential sellers outside of the office can make a big difference.

You might shadow reps on the road, join a client dinner, or mingle with them at a company outing or charity event. Any of these examples gives you a chance to connect with sellers on a more human level.