Part 1

Sales Enablement is a core task of a product marketing, making sure sales is fully equipped to bring the products successfully to market. Not sure where to begin?
Get inspired by this list of 36 sales enablement tools. Just imagine how you can rock your sales.

1.    War sheets
These are typically one-pagers that compare your product against a specific product from a competitor. It shows your sales force what the biggest differentiators are, how your competitor’s product is pitched and how to respond to their arguments. It also mentions your price in relation to theirs  and explains the main ways to sell the price difference.
2.    Product Cheat Sheets
An overview of the main advantages and commercial arguments against the disadvantages of your product. This is a small refresh sheet before you enter commercial discussion. You can regard it as the small summary good students read before taking part in an exam.
3.    Generic TCO calculators
Complex products, often require a calculator to show customers how much money they can save when using your product. We call this ‘Total Cost of Ownership’. For simple cases, you can build a calculator that can show the potential savings by filling in a few parameters. For more complex projects, companies often build calculators for a single customer project. It all depends on what you need.
4.    Customer-Specific TCO calculators
When generic Total Cost of Ownership’ calculators don’t do the trick, customer specific ones are what you need. These calculators will typically map the customer’s relevant process and calculate along each step what the savings are.
5.    Pricing sheets &/or calculators
In any commercial negotiation, you need to be able to provide the customer with a reference price. Nobody writes a blank cheque towards a supplier, although we sometimes wish they did. Provide your sales team with an easy way to provide the customer with a pricing reference. In some businesses, this can be the exact price, in others, a pricing bandwidth will help you a long way.
6.    Sales Presentations
Ah, the standard set of sales presentations, highlighting the benefits of your product, your Value Proposition. You might need different sales presentations, depending on how complex the Decision Making Unit is at your customer’s side. As a minimum, you need 2 sets; one for the business decision maker and one for the technical decision maker. Don’t bore the Sales VP of your customer with details about the protocol you use for network security. But don’t forget to highlight this to the techie in the room.
7.    Sales Binders
The golden oldie, a binder with the full product portfolio. Some customers still love them, others hate them. The fact remains that a physical tool to guide a customer through your story and product portfolio, remains valuable in many sales conversations.
8.    Sales Trainings
Obvious as it might seem, still some companies overlook them. Making sure your own sales team and the sales team of your channel, remains up to speed, is a never-ending task. It doesn’t stop at a single training when a product gets launched, it should continue as long as the product is active. The market never stands still, neither should you. Also consider role-playing as a way for sales to become familiar with the arguments customers use and learn how they can react to them.
9.    Sales Leaflets and Brochures
Single leaflets or brochures explaining the benefits from the product(family). They do not only explain the technical specifications but focus strongly on the need of the customers. All members of the DMU should find their needs explained.
10.    Product Selectors
In some cases, finding the right product can be somewhat tiresome, especially if there is a wide range to choose from. Investing in a software solution that allows your customers to quickly narrow down the options based on criteria that matter to them, can be one of your best commercial decisions.
11.    Competitive comparisons
Your product is never alone in the market. A guide that highlights the main differences between the other solutions out there, will help your sales and customers to make the right decision.
12.    Prospection scenarios & scripts
When sales people need to introduce a product to a prospect, it helps if you provide them with a script or scenario that allows them to quickly establish if the customer is in the market. A prepared check-list of questions can strongly reduce the time spent in validating potential customers.

Part 2

 13.    Product Videos
A series of short video’s, linking your offering to customer needs, are a great help in any sales conversation. Depending on the complexity of your solution, you might consider multiple video’s. A main video providing people with the key-benefits, and a series that deep dives into certain specific features that may be of interest. Depending on where a customer is in the buyer journey, they will have different information needs. Do not cram everything into a full feature movie that bores your prospects to death. Space it out and serve when needed.
14.    White Papers
When a customer is in the consideration phase, they are typically looking for very detailed information. White papers are a great way to provide this. In a white paper, you explain in an objective manner how your solution works, what concrete measurable benefits it offers, how it integrates into the ecosystem, etc. The topics you write about, depend on your solution, but remain factual and stay objective.
15.    Customer References (visits & testimonials)
The holy grail in marketing, other people talking about you instead of you talking about you. Everyone knows which one has the most persuasion power. Good customer references are a great tool in any sales conversation. Even better is when prospects can actually talk to or visit another customer. So much better if someone else can make the sell for you.
16.    Product Demos
Having product demo kits available for your sales team, is a great sales asset. Make them easy to set-up and use. If it is a physical product, make them easily transportable so your sales team doesn’t need to rent a truck and moving staff, every time they have a demo. Some companies even invest in specific demo-sets for their sales. Best practice is to have sales trained in a good demo scenario, so they know what to show when.
17.    Road trips & tradeshows
Tradeshows remain an important cornerstone of introducing products to market. Makz sure your new product gets enough exposure on your booth.
Not quite ready for a full launch, consider a whisper-suite, a private room where customers can enter on invitation only.
In certain businesses, there are no good tradeshows, or your launch didn’t make it on time for the big industry event. In that case consider a road trip, bring your product to your customers instead of the other way around.
18.    Target Customer Profiles
When looking for new customers, it helps sales tremendously if they know with whom they have the highest chances of success. Most companies have some market research on this, translate it into sales lingo and share with your sales community, they will thank you for it.
19.    DMU & Buyer personas
When selling complex products to complex organizations, you are sure to have a large Decision Making Unit at the table when negotiating a deal. Having sales trained in the various types of stakeholders and their needs, will considerably strengthen your negotiation position. Make sure Sales has a good view of the buyer personas in the DMU. Don’t bore them with fake lifestyle personas, but link it to functions, clarify what their main concerns are and how to tackle these.
20.    Product Quotes & Term Sheets
Like almost everyone, sales people are not a big fan of too much administration. Make sure your products are easy to quote. Load your CRM with the necessary documents so that sales can quickly answer any quote requests without loosing time searching for the info.
21.    Leadtime sheets
When your product comes with a lead-time, sales needs to know when goods can be delivered. A product marketer makes sure their sales team remains in the know and sends out lead-time sheets on a regular bases. These sheets show per product family, what the current lead-times are.
22.    Virtual walkthroughs & simulators
If your product can not be physically demoed, this should not hold you back letting your customer experience your solution. Consider a product simulator, software that allows you to experience your product without having it actually in the room. Think virtual reality or augmented reality, and let your customer experience the ins and outs of your product in a digital way.
23.    Sampling and Trials
A proven methodology to convince customers, is to let them actually use your product for a certain period of time. Sampling, providing a small trial batch of your product to a customer , is a well-know way of achieving this. In some cases, especially in software products, you can actually let the customer use your product for a certain period of time. Make sure you have the necessary legal documents in place to arrange liabilities and such.
24.    Technical specifications
The standard product sheet offer the technical specifications of the product. Make sure you catch all the necessary specs and use the same criteria amongst all members of the product family. Too often, some of the critical specs are missing, not allowing your customers to make the right comparisons.

Part 3

25.    Compatibility matrixes
Especially when your product is integrated into an ecosystem, it is important to indicate what other products your solution has been tested with and how it performs under certain conditions. Invest in describing the available API’s (if you’re in software) or any other available interfaces you offer. Don’t claim what you don’t have as this can seriously backfire along the line.
26.    Channel tools & training
When there is a channel between you and the customer, you need to enable them too. Get them all the tools and training they need. There is an important caveat however. For your channel, you’re just one of the many products they offer. So if you want to succeed, you have to make everything as easy as possible. Unlike your own sales staff, there is nobody who forces them to learn about your product, so make it as enticing as possible.
27.    Design tools
These are tools that help you design the final solution, especially handy when you are selling complex solutions like HVAC systems or network-solutions. With a good design tool, a customer or your salesforce can easily determine how much of what is needed to build a certain solution.
28.    Product Configurators
Automotive uses these types of tools all the time. If your product has many options and not all options are compatible, invest in software that allows your sales force to configure a working solution that fits the customer’s needs.
29.    Independent audit reports
Just stating your benefits works perfectly in a world where customers unquestionably believe everything you say. In the real world, having an independent audit report is better. Get your critical claims audited and proof your customers you’re right.
30.    Commercial Specifications
We like to call these the Human Specifications. Where technical specifications will state, for example, how much storage capacity your solution has, human specifications will say what this means for the customer. Think ‘ a thousand songs in your pocket’ when the Apple iPod was launched, instead of xMb of storage.
31.    Sales Stories
Human psychology is a somewhat strange thing. We know for a fact that stories work better then endless spec sheets. Take your customers on a journey where they can taste the benefits of your solution inside their head. And don’t forget to tell these stories also to your sales community.
32.    Digital Content (Lead generating & conversion content)
Sales people adore product marketers who offer them valuable leads. By generating the necessary product ads and digital story snippets, you can create interest in the market. If you combine this with a product landing page optimized for lead conversion, they will probably build you a statue (If your leads proof to be valuable that is).
33.    Social Media Product Packs
If we want our customers to keep our solutions top of mind, we need to maintain a constant communication stream. Adapt your content so it becomes palatable on social media. Let your sales team unleash this on their social networks and greatly increase your communication reach. Build a social media repository and let your sales team post regularly. Getting top of mind is all about regular exposure.
34.    Tender documents
When competing in a tender market, which is almost always the case if you service the government or participate in large projects, have a set of tender documents. Nobody likes to write a project specification, so if you can help specifiers by providing ‘standard’ tender specifications, you help them tremendously. If these specs are somewhat favouring your solution, you also help yourself.
35.    KOL & Influencer packs
In certain industries, like healthcare for example, ‘Key Opinion Leaders’ are critical for success. Especially when introducing a new type of product. Provide them with all the necessary info and product they require to evaluate your solution. As a product marketer, work closely with them and give them all the attention needed. If you can convince them to talk favourably about your solution, sales will love you for it.
36.    Product Events
Any opportunity to get together with customers is a good opportunity. So why not build opportunities around your product. Use any milestone you have and build a moment around it to interact with your customers and further enlighten them about your benefits. You can organize events (physical or virtual) around launches, line extensions, updates etc. You can even throw a party when you reach certain sales milestones or celebrate the most successful reseller. Make it fun and enjoyable, and customers will think more kindly of you.


Hope we’ve inspired you and get your sales enablement activities started. Any tools we’ve missed in this list? Let us know. Want to share some good examples of certain tools, leave a comment. Always eager to learn.

About the Skein Company:
Imagine a sales and marketing agency that helps you throughout your journey from product concept to market leadership. People who understand both the complexity of your market and your products. A team of senior experts you can rely on to help you solve your sales and marketing challenges, when the rest of your staff is too busy running current business. 
With seasoned experts in all aspects of B2B sales and marketing, Skein offers support from digital product marketing to channel management. Give us a call if your team needs some extra shoulders to carry the load.

Part 3