Why most sales enablement strategies fail

AdobeStock_246166003Sales enablement has become a pillar of scalability and success. While each organization executes its sales enablement strategies in a unique way, they deliver huge value to the overall buyer experience. 

 

What is the purpose of a sales enablement strategy?

The purpose of a sales enablement strategy is to provide sales representatives with the tools and resources they need to sell effectively.

This strategy is typically modified to meet your team’s specific needs so they can reach your target audience with value-added messaging. Sales enablement is an ongoing process, where sales leaders continually offer the guidance, training and content their team needs to thrive.

Because there are so many moving parts within a sales enablement strategy, it’s important to have a plan for enablement that aligns with your business goals. This might include maintaining real-time visibility into customer engagement, connecting your sellers with updated content, and using advanced analytics to optimize your sales pitches.

Of course, sales enablement is closely tied to your sales and marketing strategy, and it’s important that a 360-degree feedback loop is created.

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Why sales enablement strategies fail

Today, many sales enablement strategies (and thus, implementation and execution) fail because these seemingly basic concepts are not followed. We know of fairly large, complex organizations that still operate in silos and do not align on the points mentioned below. The issue then is that leaders may be aware of the need, but they fail to execute these points properly.

We’d go as far as saying that if you don’t take the following elements into account within your wider sales and marketing strategy, which effectively ties into your sales enablement strategy, you simply won’t have a strong enough foundation for today’s tough marketplace.

 

3 elements to include in your sales enablement approach

1. A value enablement framework

Without a solid framework in place, even your best intentions won’t amount to measurable results. To move your sales enablement strategy away from ambiguity, you need every team member aligned on the primary objectives and projected outcomes you are working towards.

One of the best ways to align is by developing a sales charter – specifically, one that focuses on value enablement. Rather than simply outlining your goals and how you might achieve them, a value-based charter presents an opportunity for your sales team to differentiate themselves from the competition.

 

The need for value enablement

B2B buying processes are more scrutinized now than they have ever been before. Before a sale is made, B2B sellers have to convince more people than ever.

Gartner reported that nearly half of buying journeys ended in “no decision” and a clear majority (94%) of surveyed B2B buyers experienced a canceled purchase cycle.

Therefore, whole organizations (not just sales teams) need to align on what value means to them and then provide that to prospects throughout the entire customer engagement lifecycle.

Questions to ask include:

  • What does value mean to our organization?
  • Is that statement true for all departments across the business?
  • What value can we add that differentiates us from our competitors?
  • Where and how can we add this?

A value-based blueprint can guide you in forming a customer-centric vision that captures the attention of your target B2B buyers. Instead of honing in on what you sell, value enablement communicates, quantifies and delivers value to your customers during each stage of their decision-making process.

Conscious value enablement has the capacity to inspire and motivate your prospects, move them in the direction of a purchase decision, and grow those relationships into long-term retention. With that said, keep in mind that to reach peak effectiveness, value enablement must be adopted by every department – not just the teams who generate revenue.

 

Though this idea may sound rudimentary, value-based practices are greatly underutilized among today’s sales teams.

 

Without value alignment, businesses are much more likely to miss out on important growth opportunities or chances to elevate the customer experience. But with a value enablement lifecycle approach, you can clearly communicate your company’s differentiating value (to then maximize the value promised to your customers).

 

2. Localized personalization

According to Deloitte’s findings, one in five consumers who are interested in personalized products are willing to pay an impressive 20% premium to access them. The issue with conventional personalization is that it often creates value for your sellers (segmentation) instead of your buyers.

The solution comes in the form of localized personalization, where valuable insights and experiences are shared with buyers on an individual level. From a localized perspective, sellers are encouraged to reference the latest information about a specific buyer and their industry, and to develop a better understanding of the problems they’re currently dealing with.

Salesforce has revealed that “53% of customers now expect the offers they receive to always be personalized, and 62% expect companies to anticipate their needs.” To meet such expectations, companies must implement technology that can create individualized services and unique experiences – while also leveraging real-time feedback to make real-time adjustments.

In the same way, internal teams need access to collaborative tech that provides a single source of truth (e.g., data and content) for customer-facing employees. To allow for more value-added personalization, you want to integrate insights into your sales enablement platform from your CRM so those details are readily accessible to each of your sellers.

What’s more, you should also make sure relevant buyer information (across departments) is integrated with your CRM and your sales enablement platform. By recording and analyzing customer interactions, sellers can deliver localized (or hyper) personalization, customized content, and messaging alignment for increased consistency.

To emphasize this point, see Forrester’s Planning Assumptions 2022: B2B Sales, where they recommend precision-based personalization of interactions using AI: “Use […] AI-driven insights that allow better precision in the use of resources to help sellers personalize their interactions.

Ensure sellers have visibility into buyers’ digital interactions so that they can cater their next interaction to the knowledge and content needs of their buyer at that moment. Also give sellers visibility into all members of the buying group by linking all relevant contacts to the opportunity and sharing all interaction information as part of that opportunity data set. Use sales content solutions to automate sellers’ process of finding and personalizing content for buyers.”

 

3. A sales playbook which includes coaching

One of the easiest, yet most underrated ways to empower your team is with a modern sales playbook. Utilizing this resource, reps are bound to spend less time searching for the materials they need and more time focusing on what really matters: customer engagement.

A comprehensive playbook can increase sales agility and adapt to evolving buyer behavior, because it captures sales best practices and communicates them to salespeople in a concise format. Playbooks describe what reps should do or how they should respond in a variety of circumstances they are likely to encounter.

Moreover, playbooks can become an integral part of your greater sales enablement approach, since they hold the most important information to be relayed to your prospective buyers. A dynamic playbook should contain the key metrics and leading indicators needed for a product launch, a competitive sales play or a new buyer role.

 

  • For example, as you prepare for a product launch, your playbook could lay out the revenue from sales opportunities (that include the new product), as well as indicators like the percentage of reps with new product pipeline. These statistics ensure sellers have exceptional knowledge and confidence around what to say or what to show their prospects.

But while playbooks are no doubt effective on their own, their impact is significantly increased when they are used in conjunction with sales coaching. Continuous sales coaching helps your team reach their full selling potential because it enables reps to learn from an experienced mentor.

Although the advantages of sales coaching are well-documented, too many companies have failed to develop a solid coaching program. To help reps sharpen their skill set, you will need to continue their development education and include just-in-time training, individualized training paths and other intuitive coaching methods to continue their professional development.

 

Leverage sales enablement software

Using an intuitive sales enablement platform is just one (albeit important) piece of the puzzle.

For any kind of tech integration to fulfill its purpose, you must have the necessary strategic framework in place first.

 

  • As you review the different software and services available to you, look for platforms that include all the elements you need in your sales enablement tool kit that integrate well with your CRM and other systems. The best systems will boost productivity and streamline workflows via advanced automation, built-in reporting and remote engagement functionalities.

With the help of reliable software solutions, your organization can lay the groundwork for a scalable enablement strategy that is prepped for success.

Interested in learning more about Pitcher? Request your Pitcher demo and experience our sales enablement Super App in action.