Your company was built around a mission: Change the world. Inspire healthy choices. Build safer products. Make life easier. But how do you get there? Hire the best talent? Yes. Drive innovative ways of thinking? Sure. Market yourself to the right buyer at the right time? Of course. While there’s a million little (yet, big) things that go into achieving business goals, there is one thing that prevails across all companies as a success factor: Revenue.
In 2018, more than half of salespeople missed their annual quota.
No sales = no revenue. There’s really no workaround here, you can’t do much without revenue. You can’t hire the best talent. You can’t take your time on innovating new products. You can’t target your ideal buyer persona effectively. It’s all about the bottom line here, so let’s talk about that. And how sales enablement can help you get there.
We’ll work backwards. If the end goal is revenue, the step before that is developing a happy customer. In order to get a happy customer, you must align sales with marketing for flawless execution and coach sales reps to be prepared for every interaction.
Sales enablement transforms the buyer experience.
Forget what you think you know about business buyers. Today’s B2B customers have similar characteristics to B2C customers in the way they want to be treated like an individual person with unique interests instead of a small fish in a large general pond. It all comes down to the buyer’s perception and feelings of the overall sales experience, the brand itself, and the product or service. Yes, your buyer has emotions! They are human, afterall.
80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important
as its products and services.
57% of customers have stopped buying from a company because a
competitor provided a better experience.
Imagine these two customer experience examples:
Example 1: A popular, well-known meal kit company continuously sends promotions to customers who have been active subscribers for years. The promotions are eligible for first-time customers only.
Example 2: A smaller, less known dog food company sends targeted content such as “What you should know about shih-tzu health to keep Charlie alive longer” with a listicle of shih-tzu specific health tips.
In the first example, is it really the end of the world to receive promotions that don’t apply to me? No, not really. It’s a quick delete and it’s out of my inbox. But this experience becomes heightened when comparing it to the pet food content that speaks directly to me and my concerns. It’s not a generic “Keep your pet healthy” message. They specifically call out my dog’s name and breed which reels me in to engage with the article. Because they are sharing insightful data that directly correlates to my world, I feel understood, valued and appreciated as a customer.
While both companies provided great products, and their customer service teams have been sufficient, I, as a customer, have options. Lots of options. I don’t need to purchase meal kits in order to eat. I can go to the grocery store. I can go out to a restaurant. I can even order my food from competing meal kits with better ingredients and higher price points. And this is exactly what your prospective customers will consider if they are not having a favorable experience with your brand. Don’t forget – you need them more than they need you. So why don’t we treat our customers better?
The goal of sales enablement is to create a world in which buyers enjoy sales interactions because of the value it brings to them. If 67% of customers say they’ll pay more for a great experience, then why do so many reps rely on boring presentations comparing features? Consider incorporating ROI calculators and TCO comparison tools to liven up the engagement and demonstrate real value to your buyers while providing them personalized actionable insights. Sales enablement technology provides sales reps the opportunity to meet buyers where they are on their journey and deliver sales experiences that align with their goals. Which brings us to our next topic…
Sales enablement aligns sales and marketing.
Sales and marketing alignment results in buyers having an immersive and distinctive experience. Isn’t that the end goal here? Engage more buyers to purchase your solution and get paid.
Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before. Align sales and marketing. Get on the same page. Don’t work in silos. We hear the message loud and clear. The previous customer examples demonstrate why the buyer experience is crucial to generating revenue. But how can marketing get in on the enablement of sales?
70% of customers say connected processes
are very important to winning their business.
Only 33% of firms correlate sales wins with content utilized by sales
to influence the buyer’s journey.
Measuring content usage is only half of the picture. Viewing and downloading content does not translate to successful sales interactions. The best way to improve content effectiveness is to measure the impact it has on revenue. Here we are, back to our main point about generating revenue. Marketing plays an instrumental role in determining what content will resonate with buyers in order to keep moving them down the funnel to purchase.
Without marketing, sales enablement doesn’t work. Buyers want a consistent message, painless experience and to be guided along the buying journey by a trusted advisor. But sales and marketing alignment is not sales telling marketing what content they need for their next presentation. Alignment comes from a true strategy backed by data, optimized over time and scalable for future growth.
Next comes the challenge of getting sales reps to use the content they’re given. We know 65% of content created by marketing is never used. But it’s not just because the sales reps can’t find it. Even with data to support its effectiveness, sellers perceive the content to be of low value or irrelevant to their selling scenario. Could it be that the sellers haven’t been educated on how to leverage the new assets? It’s not enough to create new materials and push it out to the reps and say “go”. They’re going to need more support than that. If your reps don’t know how to use the content, it’s all for nothing. Which brings us to our next idea…
Sales enablement provides reps with continuous sales readiness and coaching.
Our last point in generating revenue is where you should begin. In order to align your sales and marketing efforts, sales training must change. The reason so many sales and marketing teams work in silos is because sales doesn’t trust marketing’s materials and marketing can’t get the right data to prove their content is working. Classic story of the chicken and the egg, am I right?
You can’t properly align the two teams without educating your reps on the proper messaging and contextual instructions behind each piece of content. Sales readiness provides ongoing coaching, training and exercises to continuously improve the skill set and competence of sellers, resulting in enhanced buyer experiences.
27% of companies do not offer any sales onboarding program,
but of those who do, 26% of reps say their sales training is ineffective.
If your sales reps don’t feel they are learning and growing in your organization,
you’re at risk to lose upwards of 60% of your entire workforce within 4 years.
While there’s no excuse for offering zero support for your sales team, it’s even worse to offer something that doesn’t provide value to sales reps in order to check a box. Effective sales coaching can improve win rates by as much as 29%, so stop considering turnover as an acceptable outcome for missed quotas, and instead, evaluate what you can be doing to support your reps to win more deals.
Sales readiness equips reps with ongoing coaching and training that provides just-in-time learning opportunities. Traditional onboarding during a new hire’s first week gives reps the bare minimum needed to get by. In as little as one month, people forget almost 80% of what they’ve learned in training. So imagine how much information your seller has forgotten six months or a year later. Not only that, but sellers should keep their skills sharp with ad-hoc programs, dynamic roundtable discussions, and coaching to ensure preparedness for intelligent sales meetings.
Another way to keep sellers up-to-speed is to create courses or videos to accompany new materials or product releases. The reason 95% of new product launches fail is lack of preparation. Companies are too focused on designing and manufacturing products instead of thinking through a go-to-market strategy. You can have the best product in the world, but it means nothing if the value cannot be properly articulated. (New Product Success)
Organizations that invest in a dedicated sales enablement function improve sales results by an average of 29%, and as we know, sales results leads to revenue. Revenue is what your company needs to hit goals and successfully achieve its mission. So what do you think? Want to give sales enablement a go? Contact us to get started today.
- Salesforce Research, “State of Sales”, 3rd Edition, 2018
- Salesforce Research, “State of Sales”, 2nd Edition, 2017
- Hyken, S. Customer Experience Is The New Brand. 15 July 2018. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2018/07/15/customer-experience-is-the-new-brand/#479e77617f52
- Ostrow, P. and Papoulias, I. Is Your Content Driving Revenue? 5 Dec. 2018. https://www.mediafly.com/webinar/is-your-content-driving-revenue/
- The Salesperson’s Perspective on the Impact on the Impact of Sales Training. 25 Sept. 2018. TrainingIndustry. https://trainingindustry.com/articles/sales/the-salespersons-perspective-on-the-impact-of-sales-training/
- Lavoie, A. 6 Ways to Avoid Losing Your New Hires. 23 June 2014. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/3032099/6-ways-to-avoid-losing-your-new-hires
- Lohia, V. Sales Enablement Function: A Necessity for Effective Training and Development. 23 Oct. 2018. Sales Management Association. https://salesmanagement.org/blog/sales-enablement-function-a-necessity-for-effective-training-and-development/
- Jordan, J. The Powerful Sales Metric No One Is Measuring. 16 Jan. 2017. Vantage Point Performance. https://blog.sellingpower.com/gg/2017/01/the-powerful-sales-metric-no-one-is-measuring.html
- Savara, S. The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve – And How To Overcome It. https://sidsavara.com/the-ebbinghaus-curve-of-forgetting/
- Emmer, M. 95 Percent of New Products Fail. Here Are 6 Steps to Make Sure Yours Don’t. 6 July 2018. https://www.inc.com/marc-emmer/95-percent-of-new-products-fail-here-are-6-steps-to-make-sure-yours-dont.html