As a relatively new discipline, we understand that Sales Enablement can still feel like the Wild West in many organizations. And the numbers back it up: last year, 8 in 10 sales enablement professionals felt there was a significant opportunity to improve on their own results.
But sometimes it’s easier to take stock of what *not* to do if you’re looking to achieve better results. So without further adieu, here is our list of overrated sales enablement strategies that just won’t go away. And at the risk of sounding like every other “expert,” we’ve even provided a few suggestions for what to do instead.
The missed opportunity: Weekly live meetings to introduce new content
If you’ve ever sat in on a recurring meeting where marketing spotlights all the content they created in the previous week, then you know the cold hard truth: no one is particularly engaged. No matter how good it may feel to have a dedicated opportunity to showcase your work, these meetings fall flat for one very important reason: they’re not taking place on the sales teams’ ideal timeframe.
It’s more natural to expect the sales team to pay attention when there’s an obvious trigger or immediate need for content — so, pretty much the opposite of a scheduled meeting.
How to avoid it: Make those teachable moments continuous and ongoing
If you’re not enabling sales on their time when they care, you’re trying to make them care when you care — which is, quite frankly, backward. There’s nothing wrong with quick recap meetings, but the process of introducing new content should feel ongoing and continuous. And don’t be afraid to mix up the format to be more asynchronous, like 5-minute weekly recap videos, updates on Slack, or quick weekly newsletters.
The missed opportunity: Assuming everyone consumes information in the same way
You’ve developed your top-notch collateral, and you’re about to share it with the broader team. But before you go any further, consider just how broad that team actually is. Put another way, does everyone want the same exact newsletter? Does your sales leadership really want the same level of granularity as your business development reps? Does your account exec like to consume information in the same way as the rest of your product marketing team? Probably not.
How to avoid it: Meet the team where they are
Sometimes in your efforts to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody. So instead of blasting out another mass email recap, consider the fact that people learn and absorb information differently. You can achieve this by providing information for sales in multiple ways — sure, put together a newsletter or other long-form text, but also make sure you explore quick video clips, audio fireside chats, and other formats.
The missed opportunity: Overwhelming sales with the information they can’t find
Okay, we’ll be the first to admit it. Product marketers who “ship” (aka get it done) rule the world. And while you should definitely focus your efforts on creating content, we’ve seen firsthand how teams end up storing their shiny new collateral in a series of cloud storage folders or a disorganized, sprawling mess of a wiki. Talk about overwhelming for sales.
How to avoid it: Meet your team where they are
If you only take one thing away from this blog, let it be this: salespeople should be able to find your collateral whether or not they know it exists. Not only does that cut down on the overwhelm for the sales team, but it also takes the heat off of you as a product marketer because you know they’ll easily be able to find your content whenever they need it. (Side note: Solving this problem is exactly why we built the Enablix platform.)
The missed opportunity: Telling and not teaching
Remember in history class when you were taught that rote memorization was the key to getting top marks? Tests were a bunch of disconnected facts you needed to regurgitate in order to hit the Dean’s List? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that in the sales world. That means when you bog down your reps with an agonizingly long script about all the product’s bells and whistles, they’re quickly out of their depth when it comes to having sales conversations.
How to avoid it: Let them be wrong
One of the most uncomfortable, yet effective, ways to test for comprehension and understanding is to … wait for it… let someone be wrong. If reps are supported when they get the incorrect answer or even when they don’t know where to begin to find an answer, that’s where the real growth begins. After all, features and benefits can only go so far — true understanding lies in ability to have contextual conversations and connect dots between business needs and product features.
The missed opportunity: Hosting feedback sessions where genuine feedback isn’t welcome
If you limit the feedback you receive to designated sessions (say, at the end of the quarter, or even at the end of a project) you probably won’t get the opinions you’re looking for. Real-time, always-on feedback should be baked into any enablement strategy from the start to the finish. Remember that human beings tend to forget things they don’t like or don’t care about — salespeople lose 80% of the things they learn in three months. (And that’s probably being generous.) To sum up, if you’re waiting until a designated meeting to field feedback, know that you run the risk of it being forgotten before it’s even shared with you.
How to avoid it: Always-on feedback
One of the most effective ways to ensure that feedback is given and received freely is to make it a part of each piece of content you release. That way reps can rate its usefulness, point out areas of opportunity in comments, and even find out who the “go-to” content expert is if they have ongoing questions or feedback at a later date.
Use These Tips To Avoid Overrated Sales Enablement Strategies
When it comes to the most common mistakes in sales enablement, we think we have a solid start here. But what have we missed? Let us know and your feedback could be shared in round two of this article.
And in the meantime, we hope this helps you think a little differently about how *not* to do sales enablement. Eliminate these overused tactics from your playbook, and you’ll find new and better ones naturally grow in their place. It all adds up to an enablement program with a high-performing and yes — less uncharted — future.