First 3 Pages
WHAT IS SALES ENABLEMENT...
AND WHAT IT’S NOT
THE CHALLENGES OF THE CURRENT SALES CLIMATE
A new age has dawned for buyers and sellers alike. New technologies continue to change the way sellers access, share and store information, and how they connect to and interact with their customers. At the same time, customers and competitors have more access to company and product information via the Internet than ever before.
Buyer behavior has shifted because of technology; they now can obtain expansive product information without ever talking to a salesperson, as well as the opinions of industry voices and other customers, all of which play into their decision-making process. Research shows that a buyer’s journey is 57 percent over before he or she ever speaks to a sales rep, which means a seller needs to be even more persuasive in the 43 percent stake a rep retains
in the buyer’s decision.
Because buyers are savvier and more educated, they expect salespeople to present them with new product information that they simply can’t get themselves.
Sellers need to be able to apply their product knowledge to the customer’s specific need or situation contextually and confidently present reasons to buy their products. If a salesperson is not able to add value – information on how the product will help the customer succeed, or how other customers have seen success – the buyer will be unresponsive. This means that sellers must find new ways to connect with and engage with their customers.
Selling is no longer about going door to door with a suitcase. Now sellers must be able to satisfy requests for highly detailed product capabilities or applications from the exact perspective of a specific buyer. Without a customer-centric approach to selling, a sales force will not succeed.
There are tools in the marketplace that can facilitate this customer-centric approach and usher along the sales process: sales enablement platforms. This white paper provides a few ways of defining sales enablement, describes what sales enablement platforms are, and, more importantly, defines what a sales enablement platform should not do.
Competition is heating up in the B2B space. Companies with sales enablement see a 10.2%
higher revenue performance than those without. *
SOURCE: CSO Insights Sales Enablement
WHAT IS SALES ENABLEMENT... AND WHAT IT’S NOT
WHAT IS SALES ENABLEMENT?
Ways to define
Sales enablement is a relatively new term that may be
defined in several ways:
A collection of tasks and tools intended to improve the execution of key sales activities (making sales calls, pursuing leads, managing accounts and targeting prospects).
The delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place – i.e., content as a selling tool, given within appropriate parameters and through multiple access points.
The provision of tools to sellers that collect, structure, process and report information that enables selling, with the idea that the more assets sales reps have at their disposal, the more effectively they can engage with prospects and customers.
Training and coaching that improves sellers’ skills and knowledge and allows them to better close deals.
An assortment of disciplines and best practices that allows sellers to show why their solutions are better than those of the competition.
A way to keep all salespeople within an organization on the same page if multiple sellers are talking with different buyers at the same company.
The ability to ensure that marketing collateral proves to buyers that they cannot live without the product, and that this collateral actually makes it to the buyers.
A strategic, continuous process that gives sellers the ability to consistently and systematically show the value of the products to the right set of customers at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving lifecycle, creating the greatest possible ROI.
An alignment between marketing processes and goals that gives sales the tools it needs to effectively engage with customers and bring in revenue.
Clearly, there are multiple ways to define sales enablement, but the most rudimentary definition is anything an organization can do to better equip its sales force to bring in revenue. There is a technology behind it that makes all of the above goals achievable and
measureable: sales enablement platforms.
WHAT IS SALES ENABLEMENT... AND WHAT IT’S NOT
SALES ENABLEMENT PLATFORMS
What are they, and why use them?
In the most basic sense, it is a technology that enables sales enablement. There are four main benefits of a sales enablement platform:
Sales productivity: A sales enablement platform allows a rep to locate, prepare and file assets to send to buyers, but also serves up the right content to the rep within the selling process. A business’s content assets can accumulate into the tens of thousands; prescriptively serving up content can eliminate hours of searching, freeing up sellers to do their job – sell.
Sales effectiveness: Marketers often are pulled into sales conversations and tasked with creating presentations or other collateral for customer meetings. A sales enablement platform instead helps the sellers create their own customized content based on the sales
stage, customer industry and more, pushing out the right content based on qualifiers the seller provides.
Consistent messaging: A sales enablement platform ensures that sellers are not using outdated content or templates, preserving the correct messaging and protecting the brand.
Content analytics: Sales enablement platforms give visibility into what content sellers are using, and more importantly, what works and what doesn’t, giving marketing teams better insight into the marketplace and future content.
SAVO Group research over the past three years has shown that implementing a sales enablement function is becoming mainstream.
In a 2012 study, 19.3 percent of the firms surveyed had personnel dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of the sales organization. That number rose to 22.6 percent in 2013 and to 25.5 percent in 2014, with another 6.7 percent of firms reporting that they planned to do this in 2015.
Additionally, in the SAVO study, the firms that had a sales enablement platform in place attained 88.5 percent of their revenue plans for the year, meaning the average revenue performance of firms with a sales enablement function is 10.2 percent higher than firms without. That means that a firm previously at $100 million in revenue that implemented a sales enablement platform and met the average 88.5 percent performance level would experience a $19.5 million increase in revenue.
This makes a compelling case for investment in sales enablement platforms – an investment a firm will recoup many times over – and many businesses are beginning to see the value in them.
But when searching for the right sales enablement platform, and knowing there are a variety of ways to define sales enablement, how does one know what to look for?
It might make sense instead to determine what a sales enablement platform should not