The top priority for sales leaders is increasing sales and revenue, but only 1/3 of reps meet or exceed quota. Learn six ways sales teams can use sales enablement to optimize its use throughout the organization, get ROI, and impact the bottom line.

1. Recruiting

According to data from ManpowerGroup, the sales representative position was the second hardest job to fill in 2015. Yet even as the economy continues to grow and the number of positions increases, organizations still struggle to fill these openings. Companies with sales enablement tools in their arsenal demonstrate that they are investing in the success of their sales teams (rather than raising expectations and quotas while equipping reps with yesterday’s sales technologies). The ability for sales reps to hit higher quotas translates into higher salaries and commissions, making the position much more attractive. And sales reps today, particularly Millennials, demand access to the most current technology. As a result, a company armed with these tools will appeal more to those that recognize the value of modern sales tools.

2. Onboarding and Training

An Aberdeen Group study found that it takes 7 months and almost $30,000 to recruit and onboard a new sales rep, as well as an additional 5 – 11 months until reps are fully ramped. But one of the biggest problems with “one-and-done” training is that 87% of training content is forgotten within weeks. Sales reps need ongoing training to reinforce what they have learned and to keep them up-to-date with the latest products, processes, and content. With the right tools in place, including sales enablement, an organization can decrease ramp-up time by at least 30-40%, as well as reduce the frequency of mistakes and boost job satisfaction.

3. Coaching

As previously mentioned, sales reps need ongoing training. Research from The Corporate Executive Board shows that sales reps who receive as little as three hours of coaching per month exceed quota by 7%, increasing revenue by 25% and average close rates by 70%.

Tools such as playbooks allow sales leaders to offer reps guidance about advancing prospects and using content effectively in their engagements. With just-in-time coaching, sales has the information and instruction needed to further the deal. And helping sales also means helping the company, since more reps hitting quota means more revenue.

4. Enabling

Up to 1/3 of a sales professional’s time is spent looking for or creating content to share with prospects – that is valuable time not spent on core selling activities (i.e. driving revenue). Enabling sales reps means empowering them and making it easy for them to learn about complex products and services quickly and with the level of knowledge deep enough to make a sale. The sales team should quickly be able to locate and access content, from pitch decks, price sheets, and sales scripts to blog articles, ebooks, and videos. Further, 58% of pipeline stalls because reps are unable to add value, emphasizing how important it is for them to be able to find and share the right content at the right time. After all, sales teams that challenge and engage prospects are twice as likely to hit quota.

5. Evaluating

The sales team should have goals in place as a part of the overall sales strategy. A sales enablement tool offers insight into how well the team performed against those goals. But to be truly effective, you need to understand what you are measuring and how those numbers tie to your goals. For example, which content is most effective at advancing the deal or generating the highest ROI? Which talking points progress the sale most efficiently? Are you offering value at every stage? Where are there gaps in the content?

Sales enablement technologies often use data science and predictive analytics to determine which content and sales tools top performers rely on and then gives feedback that helps replicate those best practices across the sales organization.

6. Improving

Don’t underestimate the power of analytics. A data-driven sales strategy helps guide the sales process, decrease costs, boost productivity, increase effectiveness, and drive revenue. A sales enablement tool helps organizations determine which factors advance deals throughout the sales cycle, helping businesses to continually optimize their sales processes and become more effective. Studies from CIO Insights have found that sales reps who use sales analytics increase quota attainment 4x faster than non-users.

A sales enablement tool equips sales teams with the tools, knowledge, and content to improve sales execution and drive revenue. It helps reps add value to the sales process and enables them to become a subject matter expert. And companies that equip their sales teams with this technology find it easier to recruit and retain reps.

Shelley Cernel is the Senior Marketing Manager for KnowledgeTree.