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Sales enablement is important. You need to have a strategy and processes in place to ensure that your sales team has all the tools, data, resources, and even content that they need in order to do their jobs well, because without sales, your business is toast.
Sales enablement is only possible, however, when you have the right budget in place for it.
That’s what we’re focusing on today. We’re going to talk about sales enablement budget planning, and the three crucial parts of the planning and allocation process you need to follow along with sales enablement budget best practices.
It’s an important topic, so let’s get started.
Before you start really mapping out how much you need and your sales enablement budget allocation and breakdown, the first thing you need to understand is what you actually need.
There are three steps here that are crucial to consider.
Think of this as a brainstorming session that will then lead to practical decisions. Because in theory, we’d all love to subscribe to tools like Gong or Chorus too monitor every sales call with detailed analytics, but maybe that’s just not in the budget or it isn’t needed if your clients prefer to work predominantly through email or Zoom.
So, start with a hierarchy of what your sales team needs. You can ask yourselves the following:
You’ll start here with generic needs like “more lead data” and then more specific like “high-value company data right away.” So maybe you don’t just need more details on a lead form, but you’d benefit from an account-based marketing software and lead database like ZoomInfo.
So ask what needs aren’t being met. Are there issues with communication, organization, tracking, or prioritization? And what are the consequences: Lost clients, poor work environment, or a sales team that’s left confused about how to succeed?
It’s important to remember that you’re not just creating the budget “to increase sales” but to resolve specific concerns or needs.
Setting specific goals for sales enablement is an important part of not only the budgeting process, but also how you’ll eventually create your sales enablement budget breakdown.
What specific goals do you have?
Say, for example, that your sales team is having issues where they can’t find or easily request content that could help them drive sales. You’ve got a vast inventory of product education videos, troubleshooting guides, and general marketing content that details different features of your software… but it’s all over the place and the don’t know where to look.
You come up with the goal of having a content organization system that will allow your sales team to browse all existing content by category, communicate with marketing to ask if they can’t find something, and to request content that they need. That’s specific, and it’s useful.
With that goal, you can start looking at solutions. (For this particular problem, we, of course, recommend Content Camel!).
Be specific at this part of the process. What potential benefits and features do you need to receive from the solution you’re looking for?
Whether it’s hiring a person or adding to your tech stack or modifying a solution, think about the desired end results and what you need to reach that goal.
Nobody loves auditing, but it’s an important step in the process.
Go through your entire tech stack, and ask the following questions:
If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes new tech, we’ve got a list of the best sales enablement tools on the market.
Costs are going to play a vital role in your sales enablement budget planning, as you likely guessed. Certain factors are going to directly impact how much you can afford to spend, which tools you use, or how you choose to allocate your budget.
There are three signfiicant factors to consider.
Some aspects of sales enablement are fixed costs, while others vary significantly. You need to ensure that your highest priority costs are covered and that there’s enough room left over for those slightly-less-predictable variable costs.
Fixed costs are any sales enablement costs that stay the same. They may include:
Variable costs, however, can change, and sometimes suddenly. And when you’re considering a sales enablement budget, you need to look at your entire business’s variable costs, which can include:
So how much can you actually afford to spend on sales enablement every month? Start with a budget that accounts for all of your variable costs being at the highest they can be; it’s better to take a more conservative approach and sale up in many cases.
Especially considering that risks and unexpected costs are not entirely avoidable. We all learned this from the pandemic, when labor and material shortages (along with a faulty economy) threw businesses in to chaos.
New competitors, tech breakthroughs, and new buyers trends can also have an impact on your business, which is why a conservative approach can be so beneficial.
No matter what your sales enablement tech stack looks like, there’s a good chance that there will be some tools that come with some sort of automation. Tools or plans with automation often cost more than their strictly-manual counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that you should count them out.
Compensating workers, after all, is a huge part of any budget. Automating tedious or ancillary tasks frees up human workers. They get to use their time more efficiently… which means they’re spending more time selling instead of looking for content, inputting data, or tracking down the resources they need.
The good news is that most sales enablement software comes with automation, so find a tool that automates your most tedious work processes.
What ROI do you hope or need to see, and how are you going to measure it?
Examples of different KPIs might be:
ROI is important. If you think that investing $1000 a month into a new CRM with automation-based deal proposals and follow-ups will generate up to $5,000 in new revenue monthly, that’s an easy thing to justify— even if you’re pushing the budget a bit.
There’s no concrete way to calculate ROI before you get the tools, but you can do some math to guess at how different tools may impact your business.
You may guess that a content management system might save your sales team 10 hours a month that they currently spend looking for content and that it reduces a current issue of duplicate content being created, which wastes 20 hours a month. Paying a flat fee to gain those hours back is pretty clear ROI in many cases.
This will also help you allocate your budget. Which tools do you need most, and which will provide the most significant results? Start with your hierarchy of needs, find out what the costs are, and work your way down the list. Ideally, everything will fit in the budget; if not, you can consider making a plea to expand the budget, or you can make cuts for lower-priority items.
First comes sales enablement budget planning.
Then comes the sales enablement budget allocation.
And then, finally but just as crucially, we’ve got sales enablement budget justification.
You’ve worked hard to determine how much of a budget you need, or at least how to allocate the sales enablement budget that you’re getting.
In many cases, you’re still going to need to justify it to someone.
When you go to the executives you need to give it the okay, have a clear presentation. Make sure it includes the following:
It’s often helpful to think of objections that the executives may have before you go into the presentation so you can have answers ready when they ask.
Planning a sales enablement budget isn’t easy, and it’s often a lot of work. Determining how to divide it up and what new improvements you need— and which you can compromise on— also isn’t easy.
Fortunately, the steps above can help you plan, create, pitch, and execute your new sales enablement budget to great success. And we know that once the improved results (and more sales!) start pouring in, the bosses and executives will likely be open to considering an increased budget moving forward. Then you can go back to the drawing board and add on some of those much-wanted items that had to make the cut.
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Come to the presentation with executives with the following ready:
Content Camel is a sales enablement tool used for sales content management. High-growth sales teams use our system to quickly find and share the right content for each specific sales situation and measure content use and effectiveness.