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Hello, I’m Your Buyer: What is Sales Enablement?

Win / Loss analysis reviewSales enablement is buzzing. But what exactly does sales enablement mean?

The word enable is a verb that means to give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something. Taken literally then, sales enablement means to give a salesperson or sales team the means to sell.

Yet regardless of how much content is created to support a sales process or how much product goes into a salesperson’s bag, understanding the buyer is undoubtedly a cornerstone to winning any deal. In fact, it is really the first step.

Mark Robarge, SVP Sales and Services at HubSpot, relates a sales opportunity to a conversation between a doctor and a patient. Robarge encourages sales leaders to ensure their sales reps have a level of knowledge about their prospects conducive to being able to consult and prescribe the best remedy. He says, “When you go in to see your doctor and she asks you about your symptoms, you tell her the truth. You trust that she can diagnose your problem and prescribe the right medication…You take the medication. It’s no longer about interrupting, pitching and closing. It is about listening, diagnosing and prescribing.”

But where does sales enablement fit into this? The enabling of the sale – giving the means to do something – comes from sales training. And a focus on understanding the buyer should be at the beginning of training topics.

A successful salesperson already has this figured out. He or she begins every sales process by taking the time to understand the buyer and what the buyer is looking to achieve. Attributes such as building rapport, performing a thorough needs analysis, and taking a consultative approach prove to be tasks performed repeatedly by successful sales people. From there, the salesperson can engage the resources within his organization to support his sales process; from marketing materials to SMEs (subject matter experts) to product designers and beyond.

In today’s B2B selling landscape, sales engagements depend on personalization and customization. Teaching salespeople how to know the buyer and how to personalize the sales experience to the buyer’s specific situation is critical to sales enablement and will lead to more wins.