As you evolve your 2019 sales enablement strategy, read on for three guidelines from Mediafly’s Chief Evangelist, Tom Pisello, to help you enable more effective sales conversations.
Let’s explore two very different sales scenarios.
In scenario one, a well-dressed salesperson walks into a boardroom. He immediately launches into a somewhat dry, static PowerPoint presentation detailing his company’s history, touting impressive customer logos, and addressing the features and functions of his product. He’s well-spoken and obviously well-trained, as he’s been talking for the last twenty minutes about his company and the capabilities of the product he wants you to buy. The sales assets he’s brought to leave behind are glossy and attractive. The presentation is professional and informative, but a bit too familiar. You’re unsure if he understands your unique business challenges and you can’t pinpoint how his product differs from the one presented by another sales rep from another firm yesterday. You make a mental note to do a price comparison later and check your watch. His hour is almost up.
In scenario two, you’re multitasking. You have about twenty minutes before a meeting, so you begrudgingly agree to listen to a short sales pitch about a product you’re not even sure you need. The quick-witted sales rep whips out an iPad and begins sharing insights about several important issues she’s seen at similar firms and how costly these challenges were to these firms. She asks you a series of questions about your particular business, legacy solutions, and your current practices. You rattle off some numbers and she diligently plugs them in before presenting you with a very detailed analysis of where you’re falling short and what you can do to reduce costs, improve your profitability, and deliver a superior ROI.
She doesn’t stop there. She seamlessly pivots to videos of customers just like you who’ve solved the same issues using her solutions. She helps identify a couple of new issues you hadn’t given much thought to but realize are really important to solve. She puts numbers to a couple of key issues you know you have and provides you with the evidence you need to take the challenge up the ladder to your execs. She ties her solutions directly to solving your specific challenges, so you’re not left guessing. You ask if she’ll send you the information to share with some of your other stakeholders. She packages the insights research, a personalized report from your detailed analysis, the recommended solutions with pricing details, and customer videos and sends them to you via an email on the spot. You have everything you need to walk into Friday’s board meeting ready to discuss and prioritize the issue and make the business case for a new solution. You’re going to look like a hero.
Which of these scenarios do you think is more likely to result in a sales win?
It may currently be the road less traveled, but given evolving B2B buying trends and the undeniable success of our customers, we believe true sales success can only be achieved when sellers evolve from “pitch” to “purpose”. This means effectively quantifying and communicating the impact your product or service will have on your buyer’s business in the context of what your buyer cares about most. And new research validates that belief.
CSO Insight’s fourth annual sales enablement study reveals that while just implementing a defined sales enablement function is proven to increase the number of salespeople achieving quota by 22.7% and drive win rates up by 14.5%, the types of sales enablement services you invest in play an even larger role in driving positive sales outcomes.
As you evolve your 2019 sales enablement strategy, here are three guidelines to help you enable more effective sales conversations:
1) Sales readiness is a necessary component of sales enablement
Sales training and onboarding are a priority for any sales organization for obvious reasons. Getting a salesperson ramped up and knowledgeable about your product or service is expensive and often ineffective. Rather than the traditional method of overloading your sales force with information and hoping they remember what they need in the field, progressive companies are evolving from sales training to sales readiness. Sales readiness goes beyond education to provide sales reps with the confidence, capabilities, and credibility they need to effectively engage prospects. This includes focusing content to avoid overload and leveraging microlearning, mobile learning, and more contextual training. Facilitation and coaching, including role-play exercises and validation, also play a major part in this evolution. Sales training should be a continuous process that both aligns sellers with the tools and information they need to sell efficiently and effectively in real-time and ensures sales resources are optimized for success.
2) Value-based selling wins
Your buyers have changed. They have more information at their fingertips and are engaging with salespeople later in the buying cycle. In fact, sixty-two percent of buyers say they can develop selection criteria or even finalize a vendor list based on digital content alone. When they finally engage with a seller, they’re already familiar with your product specs. Engage earlier and differentiate yourself by helping to benchmark issues, tallying the high cost of doing nothing, and quantifying the value of your product in the context of what’s important to your buyer. Show them that you understand their unique business goals and challenges. Where are they wasting money or squandering opportunities? Will your solution help them meet their budget goals and annual revenue targets? Interactive tools including diagnostic assessments and ROI or TCO calculators empower your sales reps to easily uncover issues and opportunities in real-time and use analytical data and analysis to guide value-based sales discussions that resonate with modern buyers.
3) Content is (still) king
Just making sales content accessible via a sales enablement platform isn’t enough. To improve sales performance, content must be consistent, relevant, and dynamic at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Utilize an AI-powered sales enablement platform that can be tightly integrated with your CRM to quantify the impact your content has on revenue and ensure you’re driving the outcomes you seek. This data will provide invaluable insights into what’s working (and what isn’t) so you can optimize existing content, inform future content strategy, build sales confidence in the assets marketing is creating, and drive deeper relationships with customers.
Are your 2019 strategies aligned with this advice, ensuring you can deliver a differentiated buyer experience and increase competitive advantage? If not, let us do a quick assessment to determine how evolved your selling practices are and what you can do today to drive improvements.
“It’s Time to Enable Your Channel Sellers for Evolved Selling”, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Mediafly, July 2018.