Buyer enablement: A comprehensive guide 2024

Unlock the potential of buyer enablement with our comprehensive guide. Learn strategies, tools, and industry-specific tips.

Rory Sadler
March 7, 2024
March 14, 2024
Unlock the potential of buyer enablement with our comprehensive guide. Learn strategies, tools, and industry-specific tips.
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Faced with mounting challenges, the normal response of sales teams is to provide more training and more resources. Sales representatives undergo intensive preparation for sales calls and attend seminars on topics like cold outreach and email marketing. Companies invest in sales tools to give their reps more information about clients, aiming to boost their conversion rates. We call this approach sales enablement. 

Buyer enablement works differently. Rather than upskilling the sales team, it empowers buyers to make informed and efficient purchasing decisions with the tools, content, and information they need to navigate the buying process. 

This comprehensive guide covers the meaning of buyer enablement, why it matters, and some strategies, tools, and templates for implementing it into your sales cycle. 

What is Buyer Enablement?

Buyer enablement refers to the sales strategy providing prospects with the information, tools, and support needed to make an informed purchasing decision. It's a modern concept developed to tackle the challenges of the digital sales cycle.

Previously, sellers met potential customers through face-to-face interactions. The seller's charisma, technique, and knowledge worked to help close the deal. Selling was a skill you could learn. The better at it you were the higher your conversion rate.

However, accelerated by the pandemic, the sales cycle has shifted online, reducing these in-person touchpoints. Today, the average business buying group involves six to ten stakeholders reading blog posts, eBooks, and guides to get a handle on the situation. When they eventually contact a sales rep – after climbing through mountains of information – it's late in the sales cycle. 

Little wonder then that 74% of sellers say their role has become less transactional and more consultative. B2B buyers want helpful advisors, not hard sellers. 

So, what is customer enablement? It's a sales strategy tailored to the modern business buyer and the digital sales cycle. It gives buyers the freedom to research and read the content provided by the seller, to ask questions when necessary, and to take their time to reach a decision internally. 

Buyer enablement is about making it easier for buyers to buy, which includes:

  • Detailed product information, comparisons, and specifications.
  • Self-service tools such as configurators, pricing calculators, and FAQs.
  • Educational content that helps solve problems or address needs specific to the buyer's context.
  • Easy access to support and sales teams for personalised assistance.

While sales enablement equips sales teams to sell more effectively, buyer enablement focuses on making the buying process as easy and informed as possible for the customer.

Why Customer Enablement Matters

New Sales Landscape

The assumption of many companies is that a drop in conversion rates is due to a lack of training. The company would see more sales if only their sales reps were better equipped and trained. This isn't true. (At least, not anymore.)

The reality is that the sales landscape has dramatically evolved. Today's customers are more informed, more connected, and have higher expectations than ever before. They often conduct their research online before even speaking to a sales representative, seeking to understand their options and find the best solution for their needs.

Tried-and-tested tactics focusing on the sales side of the equation are no longer enough. It's not the sales team that drives forward the sale; it's the customer.

Equipping Customers

Customer enablement matters because it addresses this new dynamic head-on. Think about what the buyer's journey involves. Starting with identifying a problem, business buyers ask a series of questions leading to a solution. These questions are broad initially, concerned with the industry and problem, before narrowing as they hone in on a potential fix. 

Empowering customers throughout their buying journey by providing the right information and tools helps streamline the process. Customers do much of the reading and learning alone. However, they’re facilitated and supported every step of the way by the now consultative sales team. 

This approach goes beyond the transactional relationship. It fosters long-term partnerships, encouraging customer loyalty and advocacy. And it helps build trust and credibility thanks to your team's exemplary knowledge, professionalism, and friendliness.

Tools and Templates for Effective Buyer Enablement

Effective buyer enablement depends on providing prospective buyers with the resources needed to navigate the decision-making process confidently and efficiently. With the right tools and templates, companies can facilitate a smoother buying journey, reducing friction and helping customers make informed decisions.

Buyer Enablement Tools

The secret to speeding up sales cycles and boosting your conversion rate is a toolkit that educates customers, facilitates communications, and helps forge a strong relationship early in the buyer's journey. We recommend the following customer enablement tools:

  • trumpet: A digital sales room platform that lets users create personalised spaces or "Pods" for customer engagement, featuring auto-personalised content from CRM data, trackable interactions, customisable spaces, extensive integrations, and mutual action plans. 
  • HubSpot Sales Hub: A comprehensive CRM service offering lead management, automated workflows, email tracking, meeting scheduling, and customisable sales pipelines to tailor engagement and support buyer conversion.
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud: A leading CRM tool for tracking leads and offering personalised interactions powered by AI for predictive insights, process automation, and customisable reports for efficient sales cycles. 
  • Scrive: Provides electronic signature and ID verification services for simple, secure contract signing and onboarding, featuring e-signing, document automation, and real-time negotiation to streamline the buyer experience. 
  • Analyses customer conversations with AI to offer insights for empowering the buyer journey, featuring conversation intelligence, deal intelligence, success patterns, revenue intelligence, and coaching for sales reps. 

Customer Enablement Templates

How should you structure your customer enablement strategy? What can you standardise from customer to customer? Remember, it's not about hard selling; all the information you provide should help the B2B buyer make an informed decision. Based on this understanding, develop the following templates:

  • FAQ Templates: A well-organised FAQ section that addresses common questions can help buyers find answers quickly and reduce uncertainty.
  • Comparison Charts: Templates for creating clear, concise comparison charts enable buyers to easily compare features, benefits, and pricing across different products or services.
  • Case Study Templates: Structured templates for case studies can help showcase real-world applications and successes of your products, providing social proof and facilitating the decision-making process.
  • Digital Sales Room Templates: While every DSR should be personalised to the client, the overall layout can be standardised for different scenarios. Consider who your main client groups are and what they want to know. Structure your DSR accordingly and decide how it will change as your prospects move toward the sale. 

Check out 22 Digital sales room templates

Strategies for Mapping and Enhancing the Buyer's Journey

Customer enablement entails a less hands-on approach. Companies, therefore, must be strategic in how they build their buyer's journey, mapping out key touchpoints and milestones. 

Start by mapping out all potential interactions a buyer might have with your brand, including digital content, sales calls, social media, and customer service interactions. This requires a deep understanding of the stages a buyer passes through, from initial awareness to the final purchase and post-purchase engagement. 

Utilising customer data is key. Analysing data insights about customer behaviours, preferences, and pain points allows you to personalise your marketing and sales strategies. For example, if a customer's problem is due to insufficient website traffic, you might provide introductory guides to SEO or PPC marketing. 

Digital sales rooms are a brilliant way to track this data. Inside, companies can provide a range of resources, tracking which content a customer engages with and for how long. That helps measure progress through the buyer's journey. Combined with a CRM system, it's a gold mine for buyer intent.

Creating targeted content addressing the issue buyers face is critical. Content should educate and engage buyers from the awareness stage with informative blog posts, through the consideration stage with in-depth comparisons, to the decision stage with compelling case studies and testimonials.

Finally, aligning sales and marketing teams ensures buyers experience a seamless sales cycle. Consistent messaging and coordinated efforts mean buyers are always supported, enhancing overall satisfaction and increasing the likelihood of conversion. 

Application of Buyer Enablement in Complex Sales

Complex sales are characterised by longer sales cycles, multiple stakeholders, and higher financial stakes. Closing such deals is a major success for any company, but it takes significant effort. The traditional approach relies on experienced sales reps and top-level tools. But how should you negotiate such a deal using buyer enablement?

Always start by asking yourself what the buyer wants (and needs) to know. Then, provide the relevant information. This involves creating detailed content like whitepapers, technical specifications, and case studies to address specific concerns and questions at each stage in the buyer's journey. 

Through virtual environments like digital sales rooms (DSRs), you can centralise this process, building a space where all learning and communication can take place. Alongside your content, provide easy mediums for communication. DSRs incorporate real-time chats and virtual sales calls to help address any questions and concerns as they occur. 

Leveraging buyer enablement in complex sales with digital sales rooms and targeted info cuts through the complexity, speeds up decisions, and boosts success rates. It's a game-changer for clinching big deals and building lasting relationships.

Industry-Specific Approaches to Buyer Enablement

Buyer enablement isn't industry-specific. Whether you work in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry, financial services, or real estate, customer enablement can boost engagement and promote conversions. Let's see how it would work in some of the top sectors:

Technology and Software

As with other trends, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry is at the forefront of client enablement tactics. Utilising interactive demos and free trials, these companies allow buyers to experience the product firsthand. 

Other options include providing comprehensive technical documentation, integration guides, and API specifications to address specific technical inquiries and enable IT decision-makers to determine compatibility and security features. 

In addition, SaaS companies often host webinars and workshops focused on best practices and innovative uses of their products, further empowering buyers with the knowledge to leverage technology effectively. And their customer success teams continue to educate and upskill customers after signing a deal to maximise the value of their software. 

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Convincing a doctor or hospital to prioritise prescribing a drug isn't simple. They want to see proof, trials, and other clinical data. Customer enablement works perfectly here. Offer detailed clinical trial data, case studies, and white papers exploring the efficacy, safety, and cost-benefit analysis of products or medications. 

Provide healthcare professionals and other stakeholders the opportunity to speak to reps via virtual consultations and launch continuous education programs to help doctors stay informed about the latest advancements and usage protocols. 

Financial Services

Nobody wants to undergo a hard sell when purchasing a financial product. It sows distrust. Customer enablement, in this context, stresses the importance of buyer tools and information. For example, financial calculators and investment simulators help project the result of a particular financial product or service. Moreover, personalised portfolio recommendations provide a focus for a buyer to go away and consider, doing further research.

You could also create an educational hub, adding guides on financial planning, regulatory compliance, and market trends tailored to different investor profiles and levels of expertise. 

Real Estate

Unlike some of the other industries we've explored, real estate remains predominantly face-to-face. Prospective homeowners or commercial property buyers choose a real estate agent and attend viewings together.

How can customer enablement help? Virtual tours and interactive floor plans are an ingenious way to give buyers a snapshot of a property before viewing. Meanwhile, neighbourhood guides, market analysis, and investment calculators collectively help buyers make informed decisions based on location, price trends, and potential ROI.

The goal isn't to supplant the real estate agent; it's to provide as much information as possible.