If you have been following our blog, then you know sales enablement
has shown to be an effective strategy for revving up sales performance while increasing sales efficiency andreducing costs. Enablement is the foundation for providing sales teams with the tools and information they need to successfully engage with customers throughout the sales cycle. What happens when there is no set sales enablement process? We’ve seen that most companies default to one or more of the following strategies, resulting in at a minimum, fewer sales, an unhappy sales force and high turnover. Let’s take a look at these strategies, the ones that just don’t work.
In an effort to foster a more genuine interaction between the sales rep and prospective customer, some companies encourage their sales team to “just wing it.” The idea is that instead of following a structured sales process or message, the sales rep winging it will have more natural communication with the potential client: the sales rep will be able to assess the customer’s needs, make their sales pitch and close the deal all over the course of friendly conversation. The expectation is that the free-form nature of the sales process will drive higher sales. Our findings say, “not true.” What actually occurs is an extended sales cycle, missed upsell and cross-sell opportunities and lost sales revenue. According to CSO Insights, companies in which salespeople use the company’s methodology and receive consistent coaching see 73 percent higher quota attainment. You can’t wing numbers like those.
In business, there is often an assumption made by the rest of the company that the sales team has received everything it needs to be successful, from marketing collateral to training. But more often than not, the sales team is the last to know about new product offerings or marketing campaigns. This can result in the end customer being more knowledgeable about a product or campaign than the salesperson. Ideally as part of your sales enablement strategy, marketing and production should provide information early in the product lifecycle so the sales team can plan and prepare for new releases.
In order to be successful, your sales team needs to know what they’re selling and how it benefits prospective customers. Training on product knowledge – how it compares to a competitive product, the value it delivers and target customer markets – is key to a sales enablement strategy. Often marketing or production will procrastinate getting documentation and resources to the sales team until all bugs or kinks are worked out. This results in the product going to market more quickly than the sales reps can be trained. Effective communications and training timelines need to be considered in all rollouts. Tomorrow might seem like a better day to clue the sales team in, but in reality, often there’s no time better than the present.
There is no doubt that content is key to the onboarding process. Presentations, differentiators and discovery questions should all be part of content. Having content as part of training is key to making sales reps comfortable with holding complicated conversations with customers. Content plays into training and ramp-up, but it’s also a support mechanism to aid in the sales process.
The use of computer-based training and/or online content to deliver sales training information has become common. And why not? It offers companies and their sales force convenience and flexibility. The downside, however, is a lack of human interaction between the trainer and the sales reps. Roleplay and live scenarios are invaluable for allowing the sales team to ask questions and implement new skills and tactics. If the sales team doesn’t completely understand the products, services and market, customers recognize it, which can result in customers deeming the sales process (and maybe even the product) unreliable. Studies show that continuous training as part of your sales enablement process can yield 50 percent higher net sales for each employee, according to The American Society for Training and Development. The moral of the story is that while content is crucial, it’s not a cure-all.
After helping capture almost 25 percent of the world’s global market for athletic footwear, Nike’s “Just Do It” marketing campaign has stood the test of times since its launch in 1988. But while it’s a good marketing campaign, it’s a poor sales enablement strategy. For a sales team to be successful, members not only need clearly articulated goals that align with the company’s sales strategy, they also need to understand how they directly connect to and impact the strategy. They need to be part of the larger picture. Leaving the sales team to figure it out for themselves leads them feeling inadequate and can make them lose confidence in the company.
Now think about your organization. Are you practicing any of these non-strategies? Are you assessing whether your company has the right foundation established to empower your sales team? The professionals at Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales enablement capabilities and identify areas for improving and accelerating sales. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.
HireDNA helps technology companies source, screen, and qualify sales candidates faster and smarter using data and science. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.
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