Tag: sales professionals


The Competitive Edge for Sales: Dedicated Sales Enablement

Source: Business 2 Community

Does your organization have a sales enablement strategy?

It should!

No matter the organization size or industry, a thoughtful strategy for sales success—including a dedicated sales enablement (or sales readiness) team and a Sales Enablement platform—is a game changer.

Clients often come to us because they need help closing the divide that exists between sales and marketing, and our platform can help do just that. But, the platform is only one part of the equation, and we were curious how many companies have implemented holistic sales enablement programs across the board, what they consider as sales enablement activities, how effective they are, and how actively are organizations executing them.

So, that’s why we partnered with Heinz Marketing to conduct a study comprised of nearly 450 B2B sales and marketing professionals, aimed at answering those questions, and more.

In the interest of time, we’ve summarized the top five observations we gleaned from the study, which should help you plan your 2016 marketing investments.

1. If you think your sales team isn’t effective, you’re not alone.

It may seem like sales is getting thrown under the bus, but just over half of the survey respondents were from sales departments! This is a clear indicator that sales teams need more help, especially because 60-70% of the buyer’s journey happens before a prospect ever talks to sales. However, it’s the sales team’s job to engage with the customer and close the deal, and only 48% of survey respondents ranked their sales efforts as effective. Organizations with dedicated sales enablement teams scored much higher in this area. It’s worth noting, too, that a good sales enablement program can boost sales’ ability to meet quota by 50%, so the opportunity for improvement in this area is significant.

2. Companies with sales enablement teams perform much better on meaningful business metrics.

Across the board, organizations recognize the importance of sales enablement activities and rank them high in value. Sales enablement teams produce real business results, including:

  • increased conversion rates,
  • helping increase sales productivity,
  • improving sales’ ability to sell, and
  • improving marketing’s ability to deliver the right content to support sales efforts.

Organizations without sales enablement teams report very mediocre effectiveness in sales enablement tasks.

3. Sales enablement drives effectiveness in key areas.

The numbers reliability pointed to the effectiveness of a regimented sales enablement program: 57% of respondents with sales enablement teams reported that their sales efforts were effective or very effective versus only 35% without. Organizations with sales enablement teams were also significantly more effective (by as much as 25%) on key sales support activities versus organizations without.

4. Unfortunately, most organizations are slow to focus on Sales Enablement.

Even though its importance appears widely recognized, only 37% of organizations have a dedicated, focused sales enablement team. It makes perfect sense, then, that 31% of all companies reported that their sales enablement efforts were ineffective. The opportunity here is wildly untapped. And considering the benefits a dedicated sales enablement team brings to sales performance, organizations should make this a priority for 2016.

5. Content is king. But only if it’s in the right hands at the right time.

Four of the eight activities that defined sales enablement centered on content; producing, organizing, distributing, training on, delivering to prospects and measuring content. Solving the “content problem” requires a complete solution, including publishing, organizing, making accessible by sales, presenting or emailing to customer and measuring quality and performance. Without a reliable, structured way to distribute content, all of the other aspects of it become moot. The fact is, more than 70% of respondents rely on email to distribute content to their sales organization, and more than 45% rely on a shared network drive to deliver sales collateral and content—this is not efficient or effective. And without a closed-loop process to measure the performance and quality of content, marketing has no reliable way to improve content effectiveness. Only 12% have a dedicated Sales Enablement solution in place, which would help solve almost every aspect of the content problem, aside from actually creating the content in the first place.

How does your organization stack up in these areas?

If you’re falling short, don’t be discouraged. This is a relatively new area, and the study shows that most organizations have much room for improvement. Think of this as an opportunity to create a competitive advantage, not a problem.

For better sales performance, Make Sales Enablement a priority in 2016.

It’s very clear to us that:

  • Dedicated sales enablement teams deliver results because they help reduce the friction that often exists between sales and marketing and drive towards the common goal— increasing revenue
  • The right Sales Enablement platform can fix the “my sales teams can’t find the content” problem, and focus both organizations on creating better conversations with customers

Build Sales Effectiveness Your Marketing Team Can Be Proud Of

Source: Spiro

Sales and Marketing don’t always get along – but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other. As sales professionals, how are we able to best utilize the materials that marketing gives us?

Thinking about such things are people like Alex Lee, Head of Marketing at Cantina. Alex is a stickler for sales and business effectiveness. He’s spent over two decades in sales and sales management – so he’s spent a lot of time pondering on how to make his reps more effective.

Having sat on both sides of the table, Alex was able to offer us some good insight on sales effectiveness. He was nice enough to walk us through his top tips for success.

Do Your Homework, And Apply The Specifics

You need to let the other person know that you’ve done your homework. That means if you’re going to visit them repeatedly on LinkedIn before a meeting (for those of us even on it), make sure you know your stuff when you show up. You should be prepared to talk about the prospect’s business, and about their role specifically.

Alex says that the best sales professionals can do this with ease. They have their content prepared in such a way that it creates a sense of comfort with customers. And this doesn’t mean just regurgitating easily found self service help either – you need to show how the value add applies specifically to the customer.

This will result in trust – and we know that when you can demonstrate that you are trustworthy you are much more likely to make the sale.

Come In With The Right Level Of Energy

Sales professionals should come with energy to their meetings and calls. How off putting is it when you are dealing with someone who is just going through the motions? Imagine if April Ludgate was running all of your sales calls.

This does not mean you should be hyperactive, though. As a sales professional you need to be calibrated to your customer. A natural and fitting enthusiasm will go a long way with building good rapport with the customer.

Have A Repeatable Process (But Break The Pattern If You Need To)

There are many processes and methodologies out there that tell sales professionals what they should be doing next. Effective sales managers will often have repeatable techniques with measurable outcomes that are designed to help their reps be effective. Having a repeatable process is a great way to keep you on track and focused on the important things.

On the offhand chance that all the normal things aren’t working, then sometimes it can be helpful to change it up. Of course you should keep doing all the right things, but sometimes you need to be just a little different to stand out from the pack.

There are many ways you can break the routine. Emails getting stale? Try some hand written notes. Packed schedule? Try communicating after hours or on weekends. Sending gifts to gate keepers and administrators is also an effective way to stick out. Out of ideas of what to send? Make sure to do a quick scan around the office, or a quick poke around on social media.

Learn More

Some pattern breaking is good, especially if you don’t want to sound like a sales robot. Keep in mind – while you’re on your way to world domination, try not to sound TOO much like a sales guy.