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Even the most skilled sales staff in the world needs the tools and assets to market and sell products and services effectively. You cannot achieve your revenue targets without the right resources.
In a competitive marketplace, it is crucial to have a high-quality sales enablement process. It may even be the most important factor that makes you stand out among your competitors.
Consumers are empowered more than ever with all the information they have at their disposal. Salesforce research has revealed that almost 90% of customers conduct online research before purchasing anything. A Salesforce study also found that 64% of shoppers feel they don’t fully understand their needs and desires.
You must personalize your approach in digital age. Selling to educated customers is no easy feat. Your sales team must be empowered to build a real connection with clients and buyers. You can empower your sales teams with the latest resources.
Booking.com used sales enablement, for instance, to increase its sales efficiency. LeadBoxer was used to identify leads and provide valuable behavioral data to the enterprise sales department. This enabled the sales team focus on buyer intent as well as consumer interests.
It may seem simple to equip your sales reps by providing them with more resources. Sales reps are often the ones to blame when they don’t meet their sales targets. They need better coaching, training and content to increase their performance.
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to understand about creating a sales enablement strategy that works, the challenges you face, and how to bridge the gap between marketing and sales.
In this article, you will learn about the characteristics of a sales leader as well as the importance of understanding customer personas when creating sales enablement strategies.
It is important to equip sales reps with the right tooling
Is sales enablement worthwhile?
Here are some reasons why your sales reps should have the right tools:
They can spend more time selling: Sales representatives waste a lot too much time creating presentations, contracts, and other content. Instead, sales enablement gives them access to a wealth of content. They can then spend more time on what they love, which is selling products and services. Sales enablement accelerates the execution process. They can forecast accurately: Sales teams without sales enablement have lower win rates for forecasting deals. Sales enablement, on the other hand, has an average win rate of 49% in terms of forecasting sales. Sales enablement tools remove the guesswork from your sales forecasts and provide insights about prospects.
They Can Close More Deals Than Ever: With sales enablement, your sales team can reach their goals quickly and close more deals than ever, thanks to the advanced training and coaching as well as meaningful metrics.They Can Embrace Technology: Whenever a new technology is introduced in a company, employees are always resistant. However, sales enablement ensures that your reps continue to embrace and learn new tools, including email tools, CRM software, and other technology that your company has invested in.
Now that you’re aware of the importance of equipping your sales rep with new tech, let’s move on to the challenges of sales enablement.
Top 5 Sales Enablement Challenges
CSO’s fifth annual sales enablement survey identified 5 key challenges sales leaders must address.
Their survey of more than 500 sales organizations revealed that sales leaders perform poorly in several areas including coaching, content strategy and tracking results.
Below are the top five most difficult challenges to overcome:
1. Formalizing the Function
The survey found that 73% of respondents exceeded their sales enablement goals because they used a formal approach, while nearly 73% failed to do so.
To achieve the desired results, corporations must approach sales enablement using a formal charter. To formalize the function, you must create a vision and a strategy plan to implement that vision. According to the same study, this strategy increases your win rate by 15%.
Failure is most likely when you approach sales enablement without having a clear strategy.
Sales enablement strategy, also known as sales enablement planning, is the process of giving the right training, guidance, tools and information to support the sales team.
You can begin by defining your S.M.A.R.T goals and expectations, as well as needs and specific purposes, to create a framework. The sales enablement charter is a formal document that outlines this framework.
Sales teams can be disorganized and haphazard in their approach to nurturing, pitching, and closing clients if they don’t have a charter. This charter should not be considered a “rulebook”. Marketing and sales are dynamic. Therefore, it is important that the sales enablement charter be flexible and constantly improving.
Formalizing the function requires that all stakeholders, including your sales, marketing and customer support teams, participate in it. This will allow you to integrate their ideas and help break down silos.
2. New Hire Onboarding
The survey also identified a challenge in onboarding new employees. Organizations view onboarding as a one and done situation.
This strategy won’t help you achieve maximum sales effectiveness when you are hiring salespeople.
Research shows that 20% of staff turnover happens within the first 45 days after a new hire is hired. This means you must create a high-quality sales onboarding program to allow your reps to thrive in a new environment.
Many new hires forget what they learned in the initial training and onboarding process.
A sales enablement team may create a sales playbook (in software form) that includes a variety of sales methods, roles, responsibilities, clear objectives and measurement metrics.
You can also use the same approach or framework that your current salespeople use to close deals. This strategy will ensure that newly recruited sales reps work within pre-approved messaging, while still allowing SDRs freedom to work independently.
Partnering with an eLearning content creator who can create interactive onboarding material for you is another great strategy. You can provide bite-sized content in the form videos to help employees understand their job roles.
Gamified training content can be used to help new employees retain company policies, rules and regulations. You can also create videos where coworkers and executives of the company introduce themselves.
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Sales representatives should provide feedback to improve the sales enablement process. The time required to successfully onboard new employees will eventually decrease.
Your new sales reps will therefore be able close more deals in less time.
3. Strategie for Training and Coaching
CSO’s fifth annual sales enablement survey found that 60% of companies use a random or informal approach to sales coaching. 87% of companies spend less than $2,500 annually on sales training.
Training and coaching are essential to achieving your sales goals. Proper sales training results in 17% higher quota attainment rates and 10% higher win rates.
Therefore, it is important to have a structured sales coaching strategy that guides reps. You might be concerned about how much money you would need to train additional sales reps. However, your increased sales will far outweigh any cost.
4. Content Strategy
A viable content strategy for sales enablement is essential to build better customer relationships and increase win rates. According to the CSO report, 52% of businesses consider content services a priority.
In practice, however, only about 1/3 of sales enablement functions involve a formal content strategy. Salespeople don’t want their time spent developing content when they could be closing deals with prospects.
Sales reps can use the right content strategy to help them deliver the right messages at the right times to the right buyers. It will also reduce the time salespeople spend on activities that are not related to selling.
It also reduces the number of nonproductive activities.
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5. Measuring ROI
To be successful in sales, you must be able measure the impact of your initiatives. Only a handful of companies use sales enablement to measure their ROI.
Your sales team will be able to improve their performance with the right data and insights.
These statistics are available in sales enablement tools.
Reports on the most promising leads to assist in analyzing which tactics worked and failedOverview of sales cycle. Best performing content in different segments of the customer’s journey
You can increase your win rate by measuring your ROI.
Four Ways to Develop a Better Sales Strategy
You are now aware of the issues and can discuss how to improve your sales strategy.
1. To persuade customers, create a powerful value proposition
Many prospects don’t know how to articulate their problems or aren’t able to recognize the challenges. Your prospects won’t appreciate the true value of your product or service if you don’t make your message compelling or strong enough.
Forrester reports that 74% of buyers would prefer businesses that have a clear buying vision. It’s not the best sales strategy to highlight your product’s features.
Instead, talk about how your product solves buyers’ problems in a way your competitors cannot. Unbounce’s value proposition states “Build, Publish, and A/B Test Landing Page Without I.T.” This clearly addresses the problem (technical overhead) and outlines the solution (test landing page with zero I.T. Support.
2. Make an urgent request
Change is often associated with danger and threat. You must make compelling arguments to convince your prospects to step out of their comfort zones. Your real competition is the status quo.
In order to make your value proposition more compelling, you must use stories and insights. OnePlus triggered a massive FOMO (fear-of-missing-out) by selling phones only on an invite-basis in its initial stages.
3. Avoid the Commodity Trap
Salespeople tend to frame their messages around the identified needs of prospects. This strategy is problematic because your competitors may be using it. This is known as the “commodity trap”.
Instead, make sure to alert your prospects to unmet needs and missed opportunities.
4. Take Control of Your Insights
Most companies have a standard approach: salespeople start with discovery questions. Most prospects don’t want to be asked any questions, they just want to know what to expect. You should use data and statistics to tell a compelling story and give context from the real world.
In the next section, we will discuss the characteristics of a sales leader who is effective.
Effective Sales Leader
Adam Buttaro works as a sales manager. He has over 8 years experience in sales leadership and has led SaaS sales teams towards exceeding their monthly quotas.
Adam speaks with Cognism about the characteristics of a sales leader. He believes that leading by example is the most important quality. He says, “This, in my view, is what separates great leaders from the rest.”
“Great leaders will go into the trenches with people.”
These are some other traits that make a sales leader effective.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) states that the most successful sales leaders are those who have a clear vision and can meet deadlines. They are focused on the target and have self-discipline to ensure it is met.
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They can keep negative thoughts in check and prevent distractions. No matter what the situation, a sales leader can keep the team focused and motivated. This team is able to quickly achieve their revenue goals.
2. Resourcing Talent
High-performing sales leaders hire salespeople who have experience controlling the sales cycles, are persuasive, and are skilled in relationship-building with other people.
Contrary to popular belief, high-performing sales leaders are more inclined to rate their teams above average or exceptional.
3. Strategic Leadership
A sales leader who is effective can devise a sales strategy that will outsmart the competition. They use a cost-effective model of sales to maximize revenue, and then they chart the best course.
The gap between sales and marketing content can be bridged
Many businesses encourage sales enablement in order to link marketing and sales. This is important as most buyers interact with businesses via digital channels. 67% of buyer’s journey is now digital.
Moreover, 87% of B2B buyers believe that online content has a significant influence on their purchasing decisions. The marketing materials have a significant impact on the sales process.
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Potential customers and clients may be reading case studies, downloading whitepapers, attending webinars, or consuming social media content before ever getting in touch with you.
However, it is dangerous to assume that sales is not important. The buyer’s decision is shaped by sales interactions.
Your salespeople need to know the content that prospects have viewed before they call you and how it has influenced their decisions about your products, business, or services.
This will allow you to see where your prospect is at the end of the sales funnel. Sales enablement is achieved through sales-marketing alignment. This allows you to break down communication, data and content barriers.
Salespeople can personalize their communication with prospects by understanding the buyer’s journey.
1. Keep track of content in CRM
Tech silos can also be eliminated through sales enablement. CRM software is an excellent sales enablement tool. It allows for better communication and visibility. This information is crucial for your sales team, as it relates to the buyer’s journey.
The CRM also keeps track of all information about existing and prospective customers. Sales leaders can use CRM to monitor the progress of their sales teams. They would have a better understanding of the progress and opportunities to reach sales goals.
2. Send personalized video emails
You can create personalized video emails for your prospects using CRM and sales enablement tools. Hippo Video makes it easy to record, edit and share videos via email.
Embrace Customer Personas
The B2B marketing world has many implications when it comes to creating buyer personas. Personas will determine whether or not you really understand your customers.
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Although this concept isn’t new, buyer personas can have a profound impact on your sales process. They provide useful material for your sales team.
The other benefit to embracing customer personas are the benefits it has for you in developing a targeted sales and marketing strategy. It’s unlikely, for example, that an Instagram campaign can reach a 70-year old woman if you have one of your customer personas.
Similar to the above, if another buyer is aged 19, you’re less likely targeting her with a paid editorial campaign in a well-established magazine.
Your sales and marketing teams can also leverage buyer personas to create thoughtful, pragmatic campaigns. This will allow you to bring more creativity and innovation into the advertising world.
Benchmarks for Practical Use
These are real-life examples that have proven to be successful in sales enablement for these companies.
Procore’s sales strategy combined the content strategy, technology stack and unique structure. This resulted in a 95% retention rate and a 115% growth rate over the past five years. Applied Systems has a strong sales enablement team that supports corporate initiatives, not just for the sales and marketing teams, but all departments.
1. Who is responsible for sales enablement?
All functions and tasks related sales enablement are managed by the head of sales. Other people are responsible for sales enablement tasks including those in sales operations, the upper management and marketing.
The number of tasks that one is responsible for will depend on how the company is managed, its size, and the type of management. A sales manager may be responsible for multiple tasks.
A sales enablement manager may be assigned most of the tasks by another company.
2. What does sales enablement software refer to?
Software tools for sales enablement are digital tools that allow marketing, sales and customer service teams to easily create, edit, manage, and share content. HubSpot and Zendesk are some of the most popular sales enablement software programs.
Sales enablement is about equipping your sales, marketing, customer reps, and other staff with the tools and resources they need to reach the target revenue. It is a powerful strategy to align sales and marketing, as well as remove tech silos and data barriers.
Your salespeople will be able to spend more time selling products or services. Your revenue will rise with more sales than ever before.
To implement a successful sales enablement strategy, make sure to address all the issues in this comprehensive guide.