Every founder anticipates the moment when their business must scale because rapid growth demands it. But growing a business is as challenging as it is exhilarating.
That’s because it’s difficult to hire, train, and enable a sales force capable of sustained growth. Only 16% of sales leaders are confident that they have the talent they need to succeed in the future. Research conducted by Xerox showed that 87% of the new knowledge learned in sales training is lost within 12 weeks. And once they’re trained, up to 1/3 of a sales professional’s time is spent looking for or creating content to share with prospects.
Though harrowing, these numbers reveal an opportunity for operational changes that can optimize the sales process from onboarding to content. The solution I’m referring to is sales enablement.
The Key to Scaling Is Also the Key to Sales Success
Sales enablement teams deliver the information, content, and tools needed for salespeople to sell more effectively, alleviating the key challenges businesses face as they scale. Research by Aberdeen revealed that formal sales enablement functions lead to:
- 62% higher team quota attainment
- 205% more revenue growth
- 725% higher sales velocity
- 23% increase in lead conversion rate
Impact like this explains why the number of companies investing in sales enablement initiatives has increased by 81%.
Infinidat is no different. We pride ourselves on helping customers “scale to win,” so scaling our own salesforce, not only in terms of absolute numbers but in process and time efficiency, is a key part of our go-to-market success. As Director of Sales Strategy & Enablement, my job is to maintain and optimize the sales enablement team that drives these initiatives at scale. Here’s how I did it.
Putting Sales Enablement Best Practices into Action
Sales enablement must be approached strategically to unlock its full potential. This breaks down into three steps:
- Set expectations and goals
- Build a flexible framework
- Measure and optimize
I began by defining my team’s goals and processes — what Infinidat could expect to achieve with sales enablement and how we would do it. Because reps are a key component of our growth plans, our goal was to ensure they ramped quickly and used content effectively.
Next, I built a flexible framework that provides reps with easy access to both training and content. Rather than tackling these as two separate issues, I took a holistic approach to sales enablement, investing in a comprehensive platform that provided easy content discovery and seamless integration with learning management software. Marrying these two key elements makes our enablement program truly scalable and protects us from future growing pains.
Our chosen sales enablement platform, Highspot, delivers reliable, fast content discovery through powerful search and flexible content management. Reps no longer ask me where they can find content; they just find it. Best of all, our reps’ valuable time has been redirected to conversations with customers and partners and other revenue-driving activities.
Brainshark, our learning management software, dovetails neatly with Highspot’s content discovery: The courses and curriculums we’ve built with Brainshark ensure reps knew how to use assets to deliver a consistent buyer experience. These courses are located within Highspot, making it easier still for reps to access training as they need it. With self-service, just-in-time training, no matter how large our sales team grows we are confident that our messages are being delivered consistently.
Together, these two elements allow us to be agile in our approach to enablement, delivering content and guidance in modules that match the way reps want to learn and work.
Finally, I routinely check the effectiveness of sales enablement activities against our goals. This is done in two ways: feedback and analytics. Post-deployment reps have said to me, unsolicited, that “content quality and accessibility has improved a great deal.” Statements like that reveal the impact sales enablement has had on our day-to-day rep activities. Multiply the time savings across our hundreds of reps and you can understand how our program has scaled.
For formal reporting on program effectiveness, we rely on Highspot analytics. Data on content use and buyer engagement show how our sales enablement investment maps back to our original goals of ensuring reps have easy access to the content and training they need to close deals with confidence.
With a formal program in place, Infinidat is able to systematically enable reps on all fronts, turning the challenge of scale into an opportunity for accelerated growth.
Scaling to Win
If this process seems simple, it’s because it is with the right sales enablement tools in place.
Ultimately, sales enablement has been critical to our success. Infinidat has been able to ramp reps faster and continue to ensure that they are equipped to meet any challenges they may encounter in the field long after they have finished onboarding.
To dive deeper, please join me at the SiriusDecisions Summit. I will be presenting on the process of deploying a sales enablement solution to help scale your business at the Austin Convention Center on Monday, May 6 from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. in Meeting Room 16B.
Dan Pearl is the Director of Sales Strategy & Enablement at Infinidat. Infinidat helps customers empower data-driven competitive advantage at multi-petabyte scale.