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What is Sales Enablement, How To Apply It In Trinidad and Tobago?

Most companies confuse sales training with sales enablement for one reason; they do not know the difference!

Within the last eighteen months, I've had several discussions with middle and senior-level executives on improving sales within their organisations by training their sales teams. However, as we got deeper into the conversation, I realised that some of the challenges experienced in closing sales opportunities were way beyond the sales team.

Every customer-facing organisation in Trinidad and Tobago would like its sales to improve. Do they have all the pieces to enable the improvement they seek? 

Surprisingly in most instances, they do. However, they do not know how to bring them together to achieve that common goal: business growth, which we will discuss in this article. 





What is Sales Enablement?

Sales Enablement is a holistic approach an organisation takes to ensure that its marketing and sales team(s) have the skills, resources, content, information, tools and technology needed to sell effectively.


Why is Sales Enablement important?

The short answer is that sales enablement prepares sales teams and, by extension, organisations to be more effective, increase their sales results, and grow market share. But that's a very one-dimensional view as it's more than just looking at selling effectively. 

For sales enablement to be successful, companies must consider an essential factor which is its buyers/customers. You cannot improve sales if you do not better understand your customer, how they feel about your organisation before, during and after the sale, what's important to them, Etc. 


"Yeah, but that's not our process, so we can't facilitate - Large local conglomerate to a customer."


Are companies focused in Trinidad and Tobago focused on Sales Enablement?

The overall approach for companies to increase sales by mainly focusing on the customer is low. In 2017, consumers ranked their customer satisfaction levels lower than 60% in Trinidad and Tobago. 

Read: Death of business growth from poor customer engagement (Trinidad & Tobago)

If we look at a company's mission and vision statements, it would speak of customer-centricity, but when you look at their processes, it's more company driven than customer-driven. This may have worked in the past, but there needs to be a definite change across the board now.


Which industries benefit most from Sales Enablement?

While most articles may lean heavily on business-to-business (B2B) as the best fit for Sales Enablement, I believe sales enablement benefits all B2B or B2C (business-to-consumer) industries because it encompasses not just how one sells on the frontline but also on the back end as well.

Companies can benefit more by taking the time and developing their sales representatives into experts, collaborating more with their marketing or digital marketers team(s) to send the right messages to attract the right clients.

Even in the eCommerce or Retail space, companies can develop systems to understand the buyer's journey better and make improvements where necessary. 


"One of us is not as strong as all of us" - Ken Blanchard.


Who is involved in Sales Enablement?

Marketing and sales teams predominantly own sales enablement; however, all other departments such as service, operations and finance play an integral role in the sales enablement process. 

Why? Because they all have a part to play in the customer journey and experience. 

Example: A customer commits to purchasing a product or service because of the smooth sales and marketing process. But if the delivery or implementation process is poor, that affects the customer experience and possible future business. Not just from that customer but from everyone they share their experience with.


With all departments coming together to work more effectively and not in silos, companies will see higher conversion rates as they share a common goal, vision and understanding of the customer. As Ken Blanchard said in his "One Minute Manager" bestseller ", One of us is not as strong as all of us."


"It's more than just doing a survey - Lyndon Brathwaite



Seven (7) best approaches local companies can take.

Companies can take many different approaches to have a sales enablement strategy, and it varies from industry to industry. Here are just some tips to help start the process.


1. Don't just do surveys: There is a lazy approach to getting customer feedback today. Marketing departments are pumping out surveys to get feedback, but they should go a step further by sitting with your customers and better understand, who they are, what's important to them, where they get their information, etc.

2. Improve Collaboration between Sales & Marketing: There is a challenge between these two departments as one does not support the other. Let's get this clear right now; marketing has a role in generating sales or at least leads. These two teams must sit together and share their ideas, strategies, goals, etc. so that marketing can help generate qualified leads (MQL) that sales can take action on.


3. Replicate High Performer Best Practices: While your top performers may not be the best options for leaders. Companies can use Top-performing sales reps to help develop a sales culture that the company lives by. Document top performer activities and use this in your sales playbooks so that they can be refined and shared across the company.


4. Create Sales Material/Content: Create content/sales related material that help supports the sales teams while they are on the field. You can do this with playbooks, an online learning centre, competitive battle cards, etc. These resources will help sales professionals be better prepared while facing the buyer at different stages of their customer's journey.


5. Create Buyer Centric Material/Content: Marketing and sales can create content specific to the buyer, and I'm not speaking of brochures. This material would be clear about who they are and how your organisation supports them in achieving their goals.


6. Develop a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Philosophy: While CRM is tech-based, as we know it today. It's also a philosophy that companies must adopt. CRM technology will not immediately solve your problem or take you to the next level. However, breaking the acronym down in its proper form of The Customer, The Relationship your organisation has with them and how you intend to Manage that relationship will help develop CRM into company culture and less of a company buzzword.


6. Technology: Tie everything around your CRM software. Formalise your process and monitor customer interactions in a more holistic format.


In closing, sales enablement is a broad approach to improving a company's ability to sell more efficiently. It does this by taking both an outward and inward look at its customers and processes.

Companies should start having deeper conversations with their internal teams and customers to understand their experience and make the necessary improvements. 

It is the only way to improve sales and grow your business moving forward.


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