What Goes Into Effective Sales Enablement For MSPs?

(NOTE: This story was originally posted to CRN.com March 5.)

Want to make your sales representatives more efficient and effective? Deploy a sales enablement team to help them, attendees at XChange Solution Provider 2017 were told Sunday.

An effective sales enablement team has dedicated resources, a clear sense of purpose and a commitment to educating salespeople and clients, said MSP executive Gary Elliott during a presentation to fellow solution providers.

Sales enablement is the rope or wire that ties an organization's sales, engineering, operations and service delivery functions together, according to Elliott, vice president of sales enablement for Dallas-based Magna5. Functions such as product management, vendor management, quoting and pricing, training and sales engineering can fall under the sales enablement purview, Elliott said, speaking during XChange, hosted by ITBestOfBreed parent The Channel Company this week in National Harbor, Md.

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"Sales enablement is all about developing a strategy that makes your sales reps more efficient and effective throughout entire sales process," said Elliott. "You need to make sure that this is front and center in your organization."

Sales enablement teams have become increasingly commonplace in the business world, Elliott said, noting that more than two-thirds of firms with revenues exceeding $500 million, over half of companies with sales between $25 million and $500 million, and more than a third of business with revenue under $25 million rely on sales enablement.

"I see this as continuing to grow," Elliott said. "Either you do it right, or you don't do it at all."

A differentiated education and training experience is one of the key achievements of a sales enablement team, Elliott said. The sales enablement team should teach the sales organization what types of clients to hunt for, what to say once the salespeople reach the prospective customer, and how to pose the deal in a manner that makes the value readily apparent to a client, he said.      

"We should hire a bunch of teachers to work in sales enablement," Elliott said.

Once the initial training is done, the sales enablement team should join salespeople out in the field, riding along with them to client appointments and ensuring that customer feedback is heard and results in appropriate modifications to the message.  

"Make sure there's ongoing education," Elliott said. "Otherwise, the information shared is stale."

Additionally, Elliott said organizations should turn to their sales enablement teams – and not sales managers – to train salespeople that are new to the company.