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No Sales Enablement Team? 4 Ways to Survive

Mar 13th, 2018

According to CSO Insights, nearly 60% of companies have a sales enablement person, program or function. But, where does that leave the other 40% of companies?

That 40% most likely has some forms of sales enablement going on, even if they don’t refer to it as such. But even if sales enablement doesn’t exist as a formalized function or with a designated person leading the way (which you really should!), there are still ways to implement enablement and readiness strategies to support your sales organization.

It can take time to establish a robust sales enablement function, so here are 4 strategies for survival until that happens.

#1. Lean on subject matter experts and other departments

If you’re strapped for time and resources, lean on your subject matter experts (SMEs). Ask them if they have existing content that could be utilized for sales onboarding and training or request key information to jumpstart your content creation process. According to CSO Insights, teams such as product management or marketing should contribute to and create content for sales. It’s beneficial for SMEs to be involved because not only will they be viewed as thought leaders internally, but you can be sure you have accurate and up-to-date information for your content (instead of trying to be the expert yourself). In addition, if you have a sales readiness platform to easily build and share content, not only will that make your job easier, but SMEs will be more willing to help if they know the content creation process isn’t complicated or time consuming.  

#2. Save time and simplify your communications

At Brainshark, our sales enablement team sends out a weekly Friday newsletter to the sales organization to inform or remind them of new content, events, product updates and learning tasks they need to complete. Fridays are a good time to capture the attention of sales reps – usually reps are winding down the week or can read the newsletter over the weekend. They’ll stay informed without having to take time away from selling. They can also go back and reference the newsletter anytime to find content, training and other relevant information.

#3. Enable sales managers first – it’ll make your job easier

“Smart enablement teams enlist sales managers as allies by aligning training and content services and developing corresponding coaching frameworks,” according to CSO Insights. The same report says effective sales manager enablement correlates with better quota attainment, revenue plan attainment and win rates. If you don’t have a sales enablement function, you have no choice but to be smart about how you’re spending time and allocating resources. So if you first spend your time enabling sales managers – with onboarding and training tailored to them – all of those benefits will trickle down to your salespeople. This “manager-first” approach will help as the organization grows and eventually forms a formal sales enablement function, says Jim Ninivaggi, chief readiness officer at Brainshark.

#4. Leverage peer learning

You already have a wealth of expertise and best practices, you just need to harvest it from your sales force. Have top performers share win stories, best practices, pitch examples, objection-handling, new product messaging as part of a peer learning program. It’s as easy as asking them to record a video with their mobile phone or webcam and sharing the recording with the sales team. If you have a sales readiness technology, that process is even easier, as videos can be created and shared via the platform.

Even if you don’t have a formalized sales enablement function, you can still implement enablement and readiness practices to support the sales organization.

Want to know what it takes to lead a successful sales enablement practice? Check out our Special Report: Where Do Great Sales Enablement Leaders Come From?