If you're a follower of B2B sales and marketing experts, chances are you've heard the phrase "sales enablement." It's a relatively new idea and one that's still evolving, but the overall principle is that you can drive sales growth by ensuring salespeople have all the information, training and data they need to be successful.
Really, when you think about it, the concept of sales enablement is a no-brainer -- to be successful in any position, one must have the proper knowledge to do so. But many companies are discovering that it helps to have a specific plan to prioritize and develop sales enablement projects.
The concept of sales enablement can also be applied to your customers. You know the old saying, “A satisfied customer tells three friends.”
For example, let's imagine that you offer a website design program that people can purchase a license to use. Whether you realize it or not, your current customers are part of your "sales team" for your design program. How much they end up understanding your program may determine if they plan to renew their license, purchase any upgrades or recommend your product to others.
In particular, in a B2B context, if the user and the buyer aren’t the same person, the user’s ability to explain and discuss the product to colleagues making buying decisions will impact your sales.
The good news is that applying the sales enablement concept to customers can be relatively painless when done through a tool like an online learning platform. Below we show you how an online training program applies to three basic sales enablement concepts.
Related reading: Drive Your Company Growth With An Online Customer Education Program
#1 – Providing information
As the old adage goes, knowledge is king, and it's still just as true today. With the huge number of products and services available on the market today, consumers look to arm themselves with as much information as they can both before and after making a purchase.
Your customers had enough information to choose your product, but that doesn't mean the learning ends as soon as they sign the dotted line. They will want to know how best to use your product or service. They'll want to know about the latest upgrades and changes. And they'll also want to know why they should stick with your product compared to new ones on the market at a competitive price.
An online customer training program is an excellent platform to provide your clients with the information they demand with the flexibility that allows them to do it on their own schedule. And a user-friendly online training program makes it easy for your business to design and publish informational courses whenever you need with little effort.
#2 – Training
Obviously, an online customer training program covers the training aspect of sales enablement.
However, complacency in this area is not your friend. Not all online training programs are equal, and if you implement one that is so hard to use that customers shy away from it, then they won’t be able to discuss your product on your behalf. A robust online training platform that is easy for everyone to use can help guarantee success in training customers properly about your product or service.
And on the flipside, helping your customers be trained on how to do their job well is also part of the sales enablement concept. Remember that web design software product we're selling? Let's say some of our customers might be marketing or communications associates at companies where web design has been thrown in their laps and they have no real web design background. By providing some introductory web design courses through your online customer training program, you can help build your customer's knowledge and competence, giving them a better appreciation for what your product can do.
#3 – Gathering information
Innovative businesses today are treating data like gold because when analyzed properly it can provide insights about your current and potential customers and give you a competitive advantage.
Through an online customer training program, companies have access to valuable data streams about their customers through the courses they take, the questions they ask, how often they log on, how quickly they progress, how they interact with instructors and other students, etc.
With current customers, that data can enable your sales team for renewals and upsells. You can even open up the online training to potential customers, allowing you to learn a lot about your target market as well.
Related reading: How to Retain Customers By Making Your Expertise Indispensable
When it comes to sales enablement, think outside your own sales staff and look to your clients -- those who can preach your good name to their colleagues, and when happy, can become life-long customers. And a well-designed online customer training program can be the perfect platform for helping to make that happen.