Are your sales enablement tools actually ‘enabling’?

In today’s ever-evolving digital environment, leading organisations are faced with the imperative to keep up to date with the latest tools and technology in order to stay ahead. Leaders looking to increase the efficiency of their sales teams typically turn to implementing new frontline tools such as: a sales content library, presentation builder, communication standardisation and automation, along with improved calendar management.

However, all too often decision-making is driven by fear of missing out or the desire to appear in the know, rather than being anchored in a customer-centric purpose. The functions in charge of platform selection (usually IT and procurement) don’t always understand the commercial imperative or frontline priorities and consequently impose an onerous checklist-driven process. This ultimately leads to overloading sales teams with multiple tools that are poorly integrated into the digital ecosystem, resulting in varying interfaces, complicated workflows, inconsistent data, and higher licence and operational costs. So how do we select the tools that are right for the job?
The reality is that it’s not so much about the tools, rather how they can be leveraged to enable richer customer and employee experiences. With a fit-for-purpose and customer-centric approach, businesses can simplify their sales enablement strategy to truly improve efficiency. Anchoring the platform selection in the customer experience will avoid the common pitfall of force-fitting tools and functionalities, to ensure they are aligned with the overarching customer strategy. Here are four steps to getting it right:
1. Put the customer at the centre of your sales enablement strategy
Start by understanding the relevance of each tool in delivering the desired customer and employee experience. Map the customer journey, identifying the touchpoints and ideal experience at every stage to determine the key moments that matter. Anchor your tool selection in the ability to enable sales teams to deliver the desired experience at these moments, rather than trying to fit into the latest and greatest technology.
2. Assess the current suite of sales enablement tools, and investigate new options if required
Understand the maturity of your current state capabilities to identify gaps which impede the desired customer experience. This will allow you to prioritise those with low maturity that are linked to multiple moments that matter. The critical capability gaps can be filled by either implementing a new tool or better leveraging the functionality of an existing one. Sometimes near enough may be good enough if it allows you to save on outrageous licensing costs.
3. Integrate sales enablement tools with the existing data and technology ecosystem
Sales enablement tools must be integrated into the wider technology infrastructure to ensure seamless progression of customers along the journey and smooth handovers between frontline functions. This will also allow for internal and external data movement which to equip the frontline with the right information at the right time and ensure that all platforms are speaking with one another. Back-end system integration enables easier implementation of front-end technology, leading to an agile roll out that can adapt to changing business requirements.
4. Make the business accountable for technology decisions, partnered by IT
Appoint a single owner to be responsible for providing the desired customer experience through the implementation. Business-led decision‑making and accountability will avoid technology-driven pitfalls such as a siloed delivery and an inconsistent experience. Partnering business with IT will ensure successful implementation where integration is prioritised, the existing ecosystem is considered, and core procurement disciplines are followed.
Sales enablement tools primarily exist to provide capabilities that are critical to delivering the ideal customer experience. However, these can only be considered “enabling” if it increases the efficiency of the end user. The experience-driven approach above ensures your technology suite is fit for purpose, simplifies workflows, has no overlap in functionality and enhances the overall frontline experience.

Worded by Samit Chandra, Paula Miranda and Megan Quach.

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