Sales enablement is in danger of becoming a cliché - a buzzword flying around that seems to attach itself to anything involved with enriching the sales team as it ventures into designated markets. The picture becomes more complicated when one considers the range of sales enablement platforms being promoted and the difficulty of discerning what works for you. In our view, understanding needs requires grassroots realism to give you a handle on this intriguing business innovation.
First off, there’s a dividing line in the sales enablement arena that separates reps looking for flexibility to manage their content on the selected platform (commonly referred to as Sales Asset Management) and preparing reps to have a meaningful conversation with their customers (commonly referred to as Sales Readiness). Consider this as part 1 of a 2-part exposure where we are going to focus on Sales Readiness only.
The Process of Sales Readiness is a 4-Stage process
If you don’t know where you are going, all plans to get there are generally hit-or-miss. Establishing direction and keeping your reps on message depends on getting your company mission and most pressing visions connected to your sales and marketing team. Recruiting a team of modern sellers goes hand-in-hand with supporting sales with smart resources, attached to the ultimate goal of delivering the right message for every conversation.
A culture centered on structured training and coaching solutions that lead to better conversations should be integrated into your organization from the beginning. And the big cultural key that drives a more efficient and effective sales team is getting agreement on goals and objectives that will not only benefit the business but also the team members (i.e. intellectually and on a monetary level). In summary: the essence of Stage 1 on the sales enablement journey lies firmly in deriving consensus on goals (that are mission & vision-connected underpinned by a unique corporate culture) as intimated above.
There’s no substitute for introducing a system able to guide your sales team when things look obstructed or plans come off the rails. Goal oriented plans onboard reps quicker especially if they see it can help them to engage customers by giving them a better personalized buyer experience
Diverse aspects often slot appropriately into customer presentations. Therefore any sales enablement cited as facilitating better conversations should be plugged into all possible informational sources that can have an impact. In other words, for conversations to resonate with your customers they have to contain a value proposition with a substantive degree of innovative content. Innovation, in turn, centers on astute customer anticipation, invariably drawing on business activities that are not inside the rep’s scope of operation. Typical examples of this: certain customers respond warmly to charity donations the company makes from time to time; or to public financial statements signifying the strength of one’s holding company. This means it is essential that the sales enablement platform integrates all divisions (like human resources, your CRM, PR, and investor’s PR divisions, etc.,)
Don’t waste time on the things you like but are of little interest to the customer. You need to rate your priorities on the premise of closing more deals in less time, which simply means meeting buyer expectations. As a rule, the modern B2B buyer expects you to discuss, demonstrate, and present so that he or she (i.e. the buyer) can buy smarter and faster. From a conversation viewpoint here are the pivot points that make the difference between an average pitch and one that turns new prospects into new customers:
Knowledge Enablement: very simply it means applying every feasible way to bring more pertinent data into the customers’ arena of awareness to accelerate the closing of a deal. The available features and options on sophisticated automated sales enablement platforms are endless. They include learning modules suitable for selected and invited customer groups with common issues that your product or service can solve; mobile app and bite-sized content files to update customers on “breaking news” happenings like machine learning and AI Powered new features (a big hot-button these days), or recent customer narratives that impart knowledge at the same time, and perhaps some interesting case studies.
Virtual, digital, and offline connection: It goes without question that the platform must seamlessly connect to and can import information from file storage and synchronization services like Google Drive or a video sharing website like YouTube, or similarly Dropbox and Slideshare. The rep should also be able to upload/download and edit word docs, images, PDFs, and PowerPoint files to customize presentations for any knowledge-imparting function under the sun. Content creation has vast possibilities: training sessions, for example, work great when quizzes are inserted into the material to keep the audience engaged. Then, in keeping with the key goal of sharing content solutions and experiences with customers, the employed system should enable the user to discover, replicate, and automate inside the virtual paradigm in seconds if need be. Another feature on the platform spectrum should be gamification as a way to engage the reps through challenge and entertainment; one that also rewards users for adding groundbreaking content.
Rep skill development covers formal and informal training and coaching solutions and guiding your sales team including (but not limited to) case studies, structured coaching through podcasts, webinars, and other online or offline formats. These should be versatile enough to transcend geographic borders and time differences, as well as provide conferencing features to allow for audience participation. Role-playing with audio and video feedback are not only fun events but invaluable in replicating real sales interfaces. There is no doubt they enrich the sales teams’ ability to engage buyers, accelerate onboarding, and differentiate your buyer journey. By getting your value proposition repeated many times in different scenarios with vivid reviews the company creates true belief that there are no sales that can’t be closed. If your approach facilitates the buyers buying smarter and faster they should end up buying from you.
Automated workflows, best practices libraries, and contextual remediation: The sales enablement platform has to be automated and underpinned by neural channels that are intuitive and easy to navigate. Omnichannel engagement positions sales managers and team members to employ, store and easily access video/audio recordings for peer-to-peer advancement. Examples: success stories, yardstick events or achievements – indeed any content that impacts sales through exposure to others and closes skill gaps in customer presentation.
Content effectiveness and Analytics: The system should be able to pinpoint the highest performing content and, conversely, that which rates poorly. Sharing the right content with the right people at the right time elevates the importance of rewarding solutions and experiences. This implies a built-in capability for measuring the content impact on business and reporting back to all relevant sources. It is particularly pertinent when it comes to delivering, maximizing or missing on ROI and revenue targets.
As we have said, the range of “connection tools” is virtually unlimited, and like everything budget limits are always there as a containment factor. Without a comprehensive roadmap the best laid strategies with the best intentions may never be practically implemented. It has to be constructed to realistically plan for product enhancements and expansions; control the purchase of hardware and software infrastructure in a timely manner; scale up strategies and processes as needed; find the quickest time to value, and assess support costs during and after rep successes. So, in short, it has to prioritize what’s most important.
Prioritizing requires that management harness the best-learning-per-$-spent modules to guide individuals or groups in head office and in different locations alike, via all available avenues. These are (to reiterate): invitation to seminars, webinars, podcasts, demonstrations, and bite-sized content files that impart success stories, new benchmarks as they relate to sales performance, relevant award certifications to reps as compelling recognition motivators, case study enactments (role plays), data-driven content recommendations, and on-brand content etc. The channels for communication as stated are proven for imparting competitive insights, connecting to marketing collateral in the fastest and most positive ways, and creating short and long-form training material.
Dynamic, intuitive, and machine learning technologies facilitate the development of content and its delivery most economically. Budgets should allow management to customize, assess, and adjust content at all times to meet changing standards and objectives. Moreover, flexibility, range, versatility, and willingness of others to support the programs and subprograms are staples of every functional sales enablement program no matter how big or small the budget is.
Pitcher the best of all sales enablement worlds
Pitcher Ready’s focus on Sales Readiness represents the elevation of your business activities to the next level of effectiveness and productivity. Development of the modern sales rep’s skills is dependent on continuous processes that are interactive and opportunity-driven. It is contains all the features you will ever need - literally at the push of a button (or verbal command) - providing pre-approved marketing and sales readiness material filled with quizzes, video chapters, alerts, and valuable feedback.
Pitcher Ready employs Pitcher Insight centered on a vast body of configurable data and a cube/dimension approach to generate user-level analytics. We even facilitate reporting to Salesforce.com for a master data benefit. Analytics often bypasses its target because it fails to account for hierarchical level of appreciation, visualization of the viewing audience, or kinks in the process cycle itself. We at Pitcher inject checks and balances to get all this right nearly every time, as well as create latitude to accept further learning recommendations, plus suggestions for improvement to suit every rep’s capability and skills development.