Sales enablement (SE) as we know it today was never a mainstream corporate activity. It hovered in a twilight zone, wedged somewhere into a conglomeration of diverse departmental activities. For example, marketing claimed messaging and lead generation as its own; Sales jealously guarded deal flow & process, and HR felt that team cohesion was its responsibility.
Modern B2B business doesn’t have the patience for inter-departmental semantics along with the resultant time lags. In the 2019 commercial arena, competitive companies merge ramp time, sales velocity, close rates, and organizational transparency under one department - Automated Sales Enablement (ASE). Delineation lines disappear as this emergent juggernaut takes over a range of critical functions for the quickest time to value.
The dynamics driving the transition boil down to vital challenges that have substantially changed company priorities. These have one thing in common: they all directly impact ROI and Revenue.
A. New Pressures
The need to drive a more efficient and effective sales team and lower customer acquisition costs (CAC) is front, center, and back of management planning. There's an urgency to deliver the right message for every conversation. This ties in with the drive to turn new prospects into new customers at an accelerated pace.
B. Change in the Tech Environment
Content, content, content! It revolves around uplifting the SE initiative to new levels of achievement. A tech environment capable of delivering instantaneous response, seamless communications between company participants, and ready access to the highest performing content is essential. Lagging in the tech arena is no longer an affordable luxury.
C. Understanding Buyer Dynamics with pinpoint accuracy
There's an overwhelming requirement to sell the way buyers want to buy. Drilling down to understand buyer motivations and supporting reps with smart resources is vital. "Close more deals in less time" is the Holy Grail dictating company strategy in all divisions.
So what has all this to do with the three "E's?"
The litmus test of ASE success is superior revenue generation and ROI but connecting exact cause and effect is quite another matter. Indeed, the three "E's" energize these two success indicators in the most positive way. Focus single-mindedly on the Education + Empowerment + Efficacy part of the equation and you’ll easily counter the three challenges posed above. You’ll find that profitability looks after itself.
There's a mountain of articles on educating your reps on content application, understanding, and accessibility. There's also an overriding belief that reps forget over 80% of content taught within one month. Here are some useful tips:
- Concentrate on the "hot buttons" and fundamentals as they apply to real-time situations to give new content greater meaning.
- Don't forget to reinforce critical items as they contribute to solutions.
- Allow the reps to absorb the bigger picture and understand how the parts impacted their performance.
- Hold the goal of an unbeatable Sales Pitch as being "the gold at the end of the rainbow."
- Remind them that modern buyers insist on buying smarter and faster, and staying ahead of this curve is a must.
- Encourage the sales team and marketing personnel to innovate “content that moves mountains.”
- Share solutions and experiences in a case study forum - it has high impact value. Education that works best depends on a system vested in rehearsal, reinforcement, reiteration, and connection to what's happening out in the field.
Faster education that sticks longer is the natural result of staying with “common-sense rules” as shown above.
No sales enablement journey is a straight line. There are bumps and curves, the unexpected, and disappointments all over the show. Indeed, the sales and marketing teams driving the sales enablement initiative should anticipate diversions and welcome the challenge. The better they can think logically on their feet, the better.
Empowerment for SE professionals depends on the provision of robust materials in the right hands, at the right times. The ideal empowerment mindset focuses on updated (not antiquated), dynamic (not stagnant), eye-opening (not stale), and practical (as opposed to academic) solutions. As sales teams appreciate the versatility and applicability of the content, the more they'll use it and show a willingness to learn more. Also, you’ll see a build-on effect where content expands as experiences grow.
The current ASE era rests on empowering the reps from every possible angle:
- Data-driven content recommendations that visibly build buyer trust and rapport allow the team to develop industry-leading, best implementation services.
- Intuitive, easy to navigate tools provide flexibility in volatile environments.
- Expect the unexpected and bridge the divide by empowering your reps to deal with any eventuality.
After all is said and done, what kind of impact did you make in closing the deal? That's the big question behind efficacy. Education and Empowerment without an acceptable evaluation process leave the former somewhat impotent. Salespeople earning on sales performance respond to an objective, well-thought-out assessment protocol - especially if it carries recognition and other rewards with it.
An evaluation process should not omit any member of the sales enablement effort. Also, translation into a numeric score is beneficial for both the recipient and the adjudicator. All the hoopla and sideshows loose impetus if, indeed, the participants in the sales enablement program can't engage buyers and ultimately close the deals.
Tied into efficacy is also the evaluation of the tools and content the company is providing. Beware getting into a chicken-and-egg scenario: If an underperforming rep gets rated with a "thumbs down," he or she may blame it on your SE support as being at fault. However, if the rep majority approves company support and favors the tools they are working with, clarity emerges and excuses dissolve.
The biggest strike against ASE tools and content is that the company fails to update things. Buyers have no patience for old news. Headway in the selling process aligns with creating value for the buyer and differentiating the selling experience. Staying current is a task in itself and evaluating the impact of sales and marketing materials in the hands of capable reps is integral making changes as required. Never forget, company goals and sales goals overlap. If your reps succeed collectively and individually, it feeds through to the company's bottom line.
Pitcher is a groundbreaking company immersed in the three E's. It advises modern sellers in every industry on omnichannel engagement strategies. Pitcher directs management on the approach needed to employ education alongside personnel empowerment to onboard reps quicker. Its professional team is particularly well versed in evaluation methods that provide accurate feedback linked closely to your ROI and revenue objectives. Education, Empowerment, and Efficacy is an integrated three-prong foundation for every Automated Sales Enablement program. Pitcher makes sure it stays prominently in focus at all times.
To experience Pitcher first hand, interested parties can request a demo at pitcher.com.