The secret weapon for sales teams: Sales enablement training

Michael Duarte

Written by

Michael Duarte

When it comes to major revenue growth or expanded market share, having a well-equipped and well-trained sales team is critical — and sales enablement training plays a pivotal role in making sure your sales team has the right skills and tools to effectively tell your company’s story. If you’re in marketing or sales management and you’ve recognized a gap in your organization’s readiness to hit big sales goals, a fresh approach to sales enablement training is for you.


What is sales enablement training?

Sales enablement is all about strategically creating outstanding sales materials and providing your sales teams with all the resources necessary to get the most out of those excellent materials. Sales enablement training is designed to provide your sales team with the:

  • Background information
  • Context
  • Knowledge
  • And tips and tricks to effectively use those sales materials

If you want to maximize your sales team’s impact, you’ll use effective sales enablement training to bridge that gap between the team’s potential and their actual sales performance.


What’s the difference between sales enablement vs. sales training?

The difference between sales enablement and regular sales training is the difference between being the driver in a car and a passenger in a car:

  • In sales training, you’re along for the ride. You understand how the car works, and it will take you where you want to go, but other than the radio station or air conditioning, you’re limited in what you can control.
  • With sales enablement, you’re not just in the car, you’re in control of it. You are aware of what the car is doing, you are receiving information and monitoring the inputs you need to drive, and you understand how your choices as the driver are impacting how effectively the car handles.

In essence, sales training is a component of sales enablement. And sales training is a part of sales success. Meanwhile, sales enablement is a holistic approach to sales success that focuses on integrating training with other tools, content, and strategies to support the entire sales process and improve your sales team’s effectiveness.


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How do you teach sales enablement effectively?

An effective sales enablement training program is designed to give sales teams the knowledge and skills they need for success anywhere in the sales cycle. While the tools and technology you equip a sales team with will increase how efficient they can be, well-crafted content designed with the customer in mind is what sets sales teams up for remarkable revenue growth and enables them to hit higher goals. Sales enablement training is where you combine those elements for maximum impact.

What goes into a sales enablement training?

When you begin a new sales enablement training plan, starting with a good needs analysis will set you up for success. Your product marketing team should collaborate with sales leaders to identify the:

  • Specific needs
  • Gaps
  • And challenges

… that the sales team has seen. Then take an in-depth look at what your existing and potential customers need to hear to close more deals.

How do you make a sales enablement training plan?

In your needs analysis for the new sales enablement training plan, you should be honest in your assessment and consider these things:

  • What story is your sales team capable of sharing, and how does it match up with the materials your product marketing team is creating? (Major flag: Are they telling a story in their sales pitches? Or are they just feature-dumping?)
  • Are there unique challenges that an updated sales story can or can’t overcome?
  • How will market trends and customer behaviors impact your new materials and sales enablement training?
  • Are there any internal objections to new materials in your comprehensive sales enablement training, and how will you handle them?
  • What case studies from real customers can you share to make the sales enablement more powerful?
  • Is there technology you need to consider in your sales enablement training, like how the sales team will deliver the new sales materials, if or how to edit the new materials for customer conversations, or how follow-up will be recorded?
  • Who will deliver the sales enablement training and where? Are members of the sales team available to serve as validators for the new materials?
  • Where will you share the sales enablement training resources, case studies, product information and other materials so that your sales team has easy access for use, review, and make updates?

Once you’ve answered these questions, the product marketing team can create a sales enablement deck that walks your sales organization through the new sales materials, clearly outlining why and how they were created.

The first draft of your sales enablement deck should be shared with or presented to sales leaders for feedback and refinement, since they will know how the sales team might react or what questions they may ask.

Duarte tip: Always consult sales leaders and sellers of various success levels while creating content for sales teams. Their understanding of the material and influence on their teammates are what will make or break your work!

Once feedback starts coming in, your product marketing team can continue collaborating with sales leaders to refine the sales enablement deck and materials and determine how the training will happen. Here are some of our ideas on how we’ve helped clients:

  • Unveiling your sales enablement training at your company’s annual sales kickoff is an obvious choice and a great chance to demonstrate how the sales enablement material will enable sellers to reach their goals for the coming year.
  • A sales enablement dashboard is a great way to organize and refresh the resources that your sales team needs for success, and a central spot to share videos of the sales deck in action, FAQs about the material, customization instructions, and additional case studies.
  • Special pitch competitions and other enablement events incentivize adoption of the sales enablement tools, and can help drive awareness, encourage sales teams to polish their pitching abilities in an engaging way, and get rolling feedback from sellers through the year. Better yet, these special events can be great reminders of their sales enablement training and the resources available to your sales organization through the sales enablement dashboard.

Why do you need a sales enablement deck?

Your finished sales enablement deck will be an invaluable resource for your sales team. A good sales enablement deck can make the marketing team’s jobs easier and drive sales success because:

  • It’s a single source of truth. The sales enablement deck standardizes the information sellers receive and how they’re trained on it, ensuring that everyone in your sales organization is sharing consistent, accurate information.
  • It’s been vetted. A good sales enablement deck is a collaborative effort of the sales and marketing teams, ensuring that all the sales materials and the way sellers share the company’s story are in line with your brand message.
  • It tells a compelling story. A well-crafted sales enablement deck equips your sales team with powerful stories, clear key messages and persuasive value propositions. It sets up engaging conversations between sellers and customers, rather than asking sellers to share a grocery list of unrelated features.
  • It sets you up for successful sales enablement training. A good sales enablement deck can also be useful onboarding material for any new hires, since it’s designed to share:
    – The essential elements of your company’s story
    – The important details of your product
    – Insight into your target audience
    – And a snapshot of market trends

All in bite-size pieces of information that are easily remembered by the people in your organization.


Sales enablement training in action

When Duarte’s agency experts create sales enablement trainings, like this blockbuster collaboration with cybersecurity leader Veeam, we begin each sales enablement project with:

  • An in-depth assessment of what the sales team is currently doing
  • What their goals are
  • And what internal obstacles might get in the way of sales enablement training success

In the project with Veeam, we produced the sales material first, then the Veeam product marketing team shared the presentation with sales teams across the company to check for any blind spots or potential potholes. Together we made the most of that feedback by using it to make edits to the sales materials and begin building the sales enablement training presentation. To see how we went from brainstorming with their product marketing team to a world-wide sales enablement training, watch the popular webinar.


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What are the benefits of good sales enablement practices in an organization?

Prioritizing sales enablement vs. sales training in your organization will give you a more well-rounded sales team that does more than deliver sales materials, they share compelling content and have better customer conversations.

With good sales enablement practices, your organization will see improved performance and productivity across the sales team, because they’re equipped with the tools, content, understanding and training necessary to meet goals. By providing the right resources at the right time and making room for compelling conversation, good sales enablement training increases seller confidence and equips sales teams to close better deals faster.

Benefits of good sales enablement materials

An often-unexpected benefit of sales enablement materials is how they close the gap between product marketing teams and sales organizations. Ongoing sales enablement deepens marketing’s awareness of sales challenges, expands sellers’ knowledge of product marketing priorities, and increases everyone’s understanding of customer needs.

By collaborating on sales enablement materials, marketing and sales leaders can keep marketing efforts in sync with sales objectives and ensure that the resources are rich in relevant content that resonates more with customers.

Benefits of good sales enablement training

Teams with robust sales enablement training are more prepared to handle objections, navigate tricky customer conversations, and customize their pitch to fit a customer’s unique needs.

Continuous training and development as part of your sales enablement strategy makes sure that your product marketing information is always fresh and that your sales teams are equipped with the latest trends, tips and techniques for effective sales conversations.


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Benefits of a good sales enablement strategy

A big benefit of a good sales enablement strategy is that it is scalable in an organization of any size. In fact, a scalable approach to sales enablement is essential to accommodate the growth it will produce! Here’s how to make it happen:

  • Focus on flexibility. Make sure your sales materials and your enablement materials are easily updated and customizable so that they can be adopted by different teams or roles and seamlessly presented to a variety of clients. Flexibility in content allows your sales team to learn new tips and techniques for pitching and gives your product marketing team space to respond to market trends. We call this a modular presentation system, and check out how we did this for Splunk.
  • Find your influencers. Collaborate with leaders in the sales organization. This includes:
  • – Executives or management
    – Influencers
    – Team leads
    – And high performers
    … to smooth the way for sales enablement success. Influential sellers at any level can be incredible validators for your strategy, sharing insight with their colleagues and teammates about how the sales enablement process happened and why it will benefit them as a sales organization. Then, after rolling it out among select sellers, share it with feedback groups that can be early adopters. Creating a groundswell of enthusiasm for your sales enablement materials will help you accomplish your enablement goals much faster and with more staying power.
  • Standardize the process. When you standardize the enablement training and the sales material, they can be both consistently applied and consistently coached. A baseline established by org-wide sales enablement also gives sales managers an additional variable for measuring seller success, since all teams have been trained from the same material, have access to the same resources, and are delivering consistent messaging.
  • Centralize your content. A sales enablement dashboard is a great place to share sales materials, resources, examples, sample customer conversations and more. Many organizations host this in some type of Intranet or internal resources website. By regularly refreshing your sales enablement content, product marketers can provide relevant, up-to-date content for sales teams and get valuable feedback on market trends from sellers in the field.
  • Align with your organizational goals. Set a sales enablement strategy that aligns with the overall goals and objectives of your company, shares a compelling brand story in approved language, and has clear ties to the outcomes of multiple business units or directly to senior leadership. A product marketing team whose sales enablement plan clearly benefits the priorities of the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Revenue Officer will have built-in champions.
  • Plan for future growth. A good sales enablement training plan will anticipate changes in how the sales team is structured, what your customers need, and what challenges your organization might face. Once your sales enablement training plan is in action, continue to iterate on and evaluate its success. If a sales enablement tactic is particularly useful, work with the sales team to expand its adoption or work with other business units to translate your sales enablement training strategy to meet their outcomes.


How Duarte can help

Duarte’s sales enablement experts have decades of combined experience in training teams in sales enablement, creating powerful and exciting sales enablement materials, and delivering dynamic sales enablement training that drives adoption and growth.

  • Train your team
    Train your team in the art and science of delivering sales enablement with Duarte’s courses.
    – Drive change through strategic communication with Illuminate™
    – Use storytelling principles to create persuasive content with Resonate®
    – Or leveraging data to craft compelling presentations with Duarte DataStory®


  • Work with our presentation experts
  • Work with our presentation experts to assess your sales enablement needs, create a high-performance sales deck, and develop dynamic, usable sales enablement materials to support it.


  • Partner with our sales enablement creators
  • Bring in one of our world-class sales enablement creators to introduce your new sales material and train your sales team on-site for maximum impact, valuable insight into the process, and insider techniques for better delivery.

When you make the switch from sales training to sales enablement, you’ll help your organization drive sales success, better engage and empower sellers to drive revenue, and set your company up to meet the evolving needs of customers and market trends in any industry.


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