The evolution of sales enablement is a trend we’ve been following with keen interest over the past few years at Clarity International, and momentum on this front has been gathering.
As we’ve discussed previously, it’s essential that businesses and organisations consider how they can both boost the productivity of the staff they already have, and – as the sales team grows – lift performance with renewed focus on improving win rates and customer satisfaction.
Sales Enablement generates a lot of buzz, but can it generate real results?
What is it?
One way to imagine Sales Enablement is as “a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results and productivity by providing integrated content, training, and coaching services for salespeople and front-line sales managers along the entire customer’s buying journey, powered by technology.”
That’s a rather hefty explanation, so let’s see how we can apply it to something more tangible.
Oil and Water?
Consider the rapport between your company’s marketing and sales divisions. How well do they work together? Is there two-way communication and a shared goal?
The working relationship between these two entities is often plagued with challenges. While sales teams focus on quotas and targets, marketing is pressed with ensuring that high-quality collateral and enablement materials are available to help close deals.
Sales teams may view the content marketing prepares as being off-target, received in a timely manner, or inconveniently located. Conversely, feedback on the relevance of the materials often takes time to reach the marketing team limiting their ability to adjust accordingly.
Smoothing out this process is where the real challenge begins.
In the past, we’ve created customer experience walkthroughs that have been tremendously successful for our clients. In launching an intuitive and easy-to-use tool for the sales agents, marketing teams were awarded the chance to assess the content afterwards thereby answering critical questions.
When, where, and how was the content used, and by whom? Did it help set up another meeting? Did it (hopefully!) close the deal?
While it’s true that you need to spend money to make money, the cost of the status quo is greater than the cost of change. Neglecting the customer’s experience is a sure way to impede any business. In today’s digital economy, growth is unsustainable if it lacks focus on the customer sales experience. One great way to remedy this; keep an eye on your customer service training.
The Yin to Your Yang
Companies are currently spending tens of billions a year on sales and customer service training; an enormous number for something that many people find somewhat ineffective. The question then becomes; how can we find ways to improve sales enablement efforts and provide them at a lower cost?
Our experience has taught us that one answer to this question is through a beefed-up training offering. The most effective training programs involve interactive eLearning – a perfect match for technology and sales applications.
To incorporate sales applications into an overall learning environment, you can begin by:
1. Starting with orientation and basic information: Introduce initial product information that the salesperson needs right away, focus on basic techniques to create great customer relationships, and then work on effective closing skills.
2. Making information readily available: It is best if the information and training can be part of the daily work flow and reached in just two or three clicks. Add learning modules and prompts to the customer relationship manager platform if you can.
3. Combining content, training, and coaching: Using all three is much more effective when delivered with context before and during a sales conversation.
4. Tracking which content salespeople are using: With progress reports, managers can offer specific coaching to close any gaps. Individualising the training help identify which content is the most effective and which needs to be reworked.
That’s it, that’s all, that’s everything…
The above needs to be undertaken in an atmosphere of consistency. It’s prudent to first tweak some key items before trying to refine every part of your sales flow.
By syncing your sales enablement strategy with top-notch technology, quality eLearning, and the data to understand its effectiveness, business leaders can streamline processes throughout the company while making a tangible impact on sales growth.