Digital is the new normal. And this new normal is rapidly impacting the buying and selling process in today’s increasingly digital marketplace. Gone are the days where a handful of well established companies controlled the narrative during the buying cycle. Today’s buyer has free access to the latest market trends and intelligence available on his smartphone. And with markets evolving at a fast pace, companies are compelled to invest in improving their sales processes to stay relevant and grow. To summarize,
- The new buying process is driven by the buyer as opposed to the seller
- The sales team has transitioned from leading the sales process to guiding it
- Today sales teams are facilitating the buyer’s buying process
This shift to an agile and engaged selling process requires organizations to enable their sales team with the right tools, content and processes to drive success. Here we discuss five reasons your business needs to define and execute on a solid sales enablement program.
Informed Sales Team
With a constantly changing marketplace and an already knowledgeable buyer, it is vital that your sales reps are armed with the latest knowledge and information about your industry and the problem space. A successful sales enablement program gives your reps several opportunities to absorb vital information and content so that when they engage with prospects, they offer value. Additionally, it is also important that your sales reps are consistent with your company’s overall messaging and positioning. Today, buyers are engaging with your company and your offering across multiple channels at different stages of the relationship cycle. They engage with,
- Content on your website when they research you on the web.
- Third party sources that talk about trends, challenges, and opportunities in your target market.
- Sales Development Reps (or Inside Sales Reps) who nurture them and qualify the opportunity.
- Sales reps during value proposition and negotiations.
- Customer-success teams to ensure the continued success of the engagement.
A formal sales enablement structure offers the necessary foundation to bring messaging and content consistency across these different channels.
Effective Company-Wide Enablement
It is often misunderstood that the responsibility for enabling sales lies with the marketing and sales enablement team. It is true that marketing and sales enablement managers are the primary orchestrators of the sales enablement processes. However, a successful sales enablement function requires a contribution from all divisions of the company. A 2018 survey conducted by CSO Insights highlighted that only one-third of the content, sales reps need along the entire customer’s path, comes from marketing. If you ask your sales reps, you will learn that they are already working with every department in the company. It is rare that your sales team is only connected with the marketing team and is insulated from the rest of the organization. However, a hub and spoke communication and enablement model (where the sales rep is the hub and the different departments are the spokes enabling the rep) is bound to result in chaos and low efficiency. It is therefore important that an organization have a well-defined sales enablement structure and process that allows,
- Vetted and trusted information to consistently flow to the sales team.
- Business functions to enable sales efficiently by reducing redundant sales-communication threads.
- Marketing and sales enablement to control the accuracy, quality, and consistency of information shared with the sales team.
Easier to Scale Success
It is quite likely that your company has a significant capital of brain trust among its employees. You have product experts, architects, subject matter experts, etc. spread throughout your organization. And short of having every one of these experts available for every customer interaction, organizations are spending an excessive amount of resources and capital to scale this brain trust. Companies are continually trying to package proven best practices and scale them to other groups in the organization. A sound sales enablement program is a fundamental prerequisite to scale this success. A sales enablement program,
- Gives companies a vehicle to package best practices. For example, when a sales rep wins the first tier-one deal, you want to wrap the learnings from that win and share with the rest of the sales team. Having a conference call where the deal team shares their winning formula is not enough. You need a process that works beyond a single training event.
- Provides the means to distribute these best practices efficiently so that they can be adequately impressed upon the audience. Sales Enablement program stakeholders are well aware of the effectiveness of different communication channels. This know-how allows them to select the most effective channels where they are bound to drive the highest returns.
- Provides sales reps the right environment and tools to adopt these best practices so that they can leverage them in their daily prospecting and selling cadence.
Successful onboarding of new sales reps is a critical factor in the success of a sales organization. And a well-structured sales enablement program can make a big difference to the success of the newly on-boarded sales reps.
Management thinker Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Every company’s leadership will tell you that enabling sales with the right tools, knowledge, and guidance is crucial for the existence of the business. However, enabling sales in the absence of a properly defined sales enablement process is like throwing darts in the dark. In today’s highly data-driven world, it is vital that organizations can monitor and measure the returns on their enablement dollars. A formal sales enablement structure not only tells stakeholders what is working and what is not working. It also arms them with insights that help them explore newer enablement techniques and channels that are well suited to their organization and their sales teams.
Engaged and Committed Sales Talent
Neil Patel, in this blog post, argues why companies should replace their sales reps with ambassadors. He distinguishes ambassadors as those who don’t just fill orders, but they’re responsible for the entire customer lifecycle. They handle marketing, sales, and support. We are not saying that sales should start wearing marketing and support hats. However, with increasing competition and the control shifting to the buyers, it is paramount that an engaged and committed sales talent is representing your company and products. An often overlooked benefit of a successful sales enablement process is that you end up with a highly engaged and committed sales force. With a sales enablement structure,
- Your sales team is productive and therefore more engaged.
- Your sales team is committed as they see an organization that is investing in enabling them.
- There is less disconnect between marketing and sales.
- Hard data and not guesswork drive future enablement decisions.
There has been an explosion in marketing processes and best practices in the last decade. And organizations seemed to have cracked the formula for getting prospects through the door. However, industry research indicates that there is still a big gap between prospects knocking on the door and customers signing the check. If you are trying to stop these leaks in your company, a well-structured sales enablement program will help.