Your Guide to Sales Enablement in Europe

You plan to scale up your business and expand into Europe, so you need a sales team armed with the best possible chances of success to positively impact your growing business’s bottom line. You don’t have time to waste on poorly qualified leads. The very point of your scale-up is to get your product or service before the most likely customers in Europe who both need and want it, ahead of the competition.

After B2B lead generation and marketing, the baton is passed to the sales team. Supplying a team with the right resources gives them a better chance in a competitive market over those teams without resources. The very process of providing the sales function of your business with the correct information, content and tools that will enable them to sell more efficiently and generate fast company revenue is termed sales enablement. In order to implement this and focus your sales team to get those deals done and drive maximum revenue for your company, you should follow a guide to sales enablement in Europe. This will ensure that your sales representatives are equipped with the right resources they require in order to do the best that they can. What are those resources?

  • Videos for guidance
  • Blogs and content
  • Product guides
  • CRM database
  • Training in having the right conversations, converting leads (training and development because your sales reps have to be able to know how best to use the enablement tools).

Sales enablement resources should prioritize communication. Sales may be a step on from marketing but that doesn’t mean the first job is done — they are forever intertwined. A good sales enablement plan will include a steady and clear focus on communication and creating synergy between your sales and marketing functions, and focus them to be customer-centric. Both teams will discuss related content — how to consistently use and improve it, materials, what’s new, or what’s missing, what leads and customers are saying — in order to continually reach new leads and convert them into buyers. 

This is why both marketing and sales effectively own sales enablement, impacting your overall sales enablement strategy, according to our partners Hubspot. Before, sales representatives would take every tool they had to convince a lead to buy — which demonstrated a hunger and a bid to win sales by covering every angle. But, it was time consuming and not terribly effective or smoothly done. With sales enablement, they are equipped with the right information in the right format — delivered in the right way. 

Sales enablement in Europe

The U.S. saw the beginning of usage of sales enablement but in recent years buzz around the term and a growth of momentum has been seen in Europe. Particularly in the wake of the pandemic and the ripple-effect on sales challenges. And to holistically support sales reps in these changing times. Influential thought leaders continue to seriously discuss the implications of sales enablement strategies and a growing, steady flow of content has been created and driven around it.

Following a study and findings from European sales representatives, international sales managers and industries with a total of 54 responses, PDA Group believes that “investigating the early stages of sales enablement can provide valuable information on its present and future potential.” That report is one guide to sales enablement in Europe, which can help you gauge how your own sales enablement activities measure up against the competition as you scale abroad. From those investigations, their findings resulted in some clear takeaways:

  • There is a growing and ever-wider European audience for the capabilities of a sales enablement initiative, with 77% of respondents confirming they have already established a sales enablement unit in Europe, and 4% planning to implement one soon.
  • 81% of the report participants recognized the value of having a designated sales enablement unit. 
  • But only 27% of the written responses indicated a profound understanding of sales enablement — acknowledging all involved stakeholders in enablement initiatives as owners and therefore increasing a sense of accountability — an efficient way to reduce silos within your organization.

So while there is a lot of momentum toward sales enablement in Europe, there’s also many that still fail to comprehend the value — don’t be those.

The challenges of sales enablement in Europe

The recent pandemic put a spanner in the works of newly honed sales enablement strategies. This is because a great sales enablement strategy relies heavily on knowing your buyer's body language, mood and gauging how the land lies during a face-to-face meeting. Particularly in Europe, where different countries and cultures do business in different ways. A strong handshake is sometimes necessary. Yet suddenly, we were all working remotely, usually from home offices, and a Zoom meeting tends not to have the same personal effect. 

Steven Vindevogel, sales director of Panasonic’s European mobile solutions division, explains how they reconfigured their sales approach to deal with this. They broke their virtual sales egnagement down into three elements:

  1. Instead of large Zoom meetings, address each individual with a one-to-one approach, asking them about their objectives and any issues.
  2. In the light of this new remote environment, re-train sales representatives and teach them to use online tools and how to best react in online meetings. The goal is to draw the best reaction possible from customer interaction.
  3. Rework and rewrite the available content and when to deliver it effectively.

Other challenges to face with regards to sales enablement when expanding your tech business into Europe lie in the cultural and language differences. Sales enablement tools will not be a one-size-fits-all when it comes to dealing with different countries and exporting your existing strategy ‘as is’ may not work. Targeting an entire continent with one sales enablement approach is doomed to failure. Be prepared to either tailor your sales enablement approach to each country you intend to expand into, or use the services of an outsourced sales agency who will discuss, plan and agree in advance everything in detail with you. 

The role of the sales engineer in sales enablement

In addition to B2B lead generation, marketing and sales functions, we should not forget the importance of the role of the sales engineer in sales enablement. Assisting with sales and implementation, they perform a highly technical role that will require as much, if not more, enablement. Working together with the customer success team, they are the ones who gather knowledge of how existing customers use your product or service. They will work out with the sales team the best understanding of the customer and their needs, or indeed their pain points. And they will help prove your product, helping to take you from demo or trial to closed deal.

We don’t talk about it enough, but, at Sales Force Europe, we look at our outsourced sales engineers as an integral part of many of our enterprise infrastructure sales and we are glad to partner with this talent. Being able to both sell and be highly technical is a coveted and welcome skillset.

How metrics drive sales enablement 

If you build it, will they come? Once you start to build in Europe, have clear and true KPIs on all actions across the board. Set them and agree on a close report procedure, weekly and monthly. You must match objectives and track progress closely. 

Sales can be seen as a measure of math rather than an art or a science. Clearly understand your existing metrics before you try to sell in Europe. Ask yourself what are your revenue objectives for that first year in a new European market? Set a realistic target figure then work out what each customer will bring to your business in annual recurring revenue. This will show you the value of your lead generation pipeline, and how many leads you will need to turn opportunities into closed deals. You will then be able to work out how many sales development representatives you need in order to hit your targets, compared to your existing plan at home.

Back to the math. Metrics are the final act of sales enablement. The final defining characteristic according to Gartner. Ask the questions:

  • What is the average length of your existing sales cycle?
  • How many sales representatives do you need to achieve a quota?
  • What is your average deal size?

As our CEO wrote for Sales Hacker, the math needs to “mirror the success you had at home, all the way down to the granular level of what the sales development representatives (SDRs) are producing. If an SDR is producing one sales-qualified lead (SQL) every two days, then you need to ask yourself, to get one lead every two days, what are you doing? How many outreaches are you making a day?”

In conclusion: Measuring your metrics, overcoming the cultural and linguistic challenges and properly arming your sales team will result in you being able to correctly and successfully self guide to sales enablement in Europe.

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