Tips to make Sales Enablement work in your organisation

The buying process within most organisations has become far more complicated than it was in the past. This has given rise to the need for sales organisations to support their sales teams with a process to help them win, grow and retain customers. This need to serve far more complex sales journeys, saw the birth of the concept of “SALES ENABLEMENT”.

Concepts to Include in a “Sales Enablement” solution?

Sales enablement includes all of the following:

  1. Sales Talent acquisition
  2. Effective compensation packages to promote sales effectiveness
  3. The provision of Sales Content, information and resources to support buyers to travel on a journey filled with value and purpose
  4. Developing an affective “PREDICTABLE SALES PROCESS
  5. Sales training and coaching, to support the integration of your “SALES ENABLEMENT” solution into your organisation.

Although “SALES ENABLEMENT” includes all of the above tools and concepts, this article seeks to focus on providing insight into how to optimise how your organisation manages its sales content, information and resources.

Supporting your sales team to utilise your organisations “SALES ENABLEMENT” tools

As buyers have evolved and the buying journey has become more complex over the years, it has become necessary for organisations to provide their sales teams with additional support in the form of:

  • Sales Content
  • Sales information
  • Sales Resources

The technological advances over the past few years has turned what was a gradual “EVOLUTION” into a rapid “REVOLUTION”. These advances have resulted in an explosion of new sales and marketing platforms, to support sales teams to better support changing buyer behaviour and expectations.

The explosion of new sales tools and resources is great to support sales teams to be more effective, as they take their customers on a far more interesting, purpose filled, buying journey. The challenge though, is that all these new support mechanisms have made life infinitely more complex for sales professionals, as they strive to interpret their changing role in the buying process.

 Sales professionals need to change the way they interact with buyers

  • In the past sales was all about showing up, identifying challenges and then providing a workable solution for each customer.
  • Today the buyer journey has become far more complex:
    • Buyers expect far more from their suppliers today
    • They want them to integrate into their businesses, where they become an additional resource to them.
    • They want to be 100 % certain that what you promise, you can deliver
    • Buyers want suppliers to take far more risk than they did in the past.
      • In the past it was buyer Beware
      • Today things have changed to “Seller Beware
    • Buyers have a far greater expectation around value.
      • They want to see the value suppliers can bring throughout the buying journey.
      • Buyers expect to see value at each step, as they travel through your sales funnel

This more complex buying journey has resulted in a need for organisations to introduce a “SALES ENABLEMENT” solution into their sales and marketing processes. The full outline of what “SALES ENABLEMENT” encompasses is described above. In this article today, I am focusing on only one part of the “SALES ENABLEMENT” process, namely sales content, information, resources and sales tools.

Challenges with Sales Content, information, resources and sales tools

As you can imagine, if sales professionals want to be successful today, they need to utilise all the “SALES ENABLEMENT” tools provided by their organisation to:

  • Completely engage buyers
  • Show them value
  • Keep them interested throughout the sales journey
  • Optimise each buyers, buying journey

The challenge faced by sales professionals is as stated below:

  • They struggle to find the right content, when needed
  • Knowing, which content is the most relevant and effective for each buyer
  • How best to share and utilise any content, information or sales resources
  • How to track, which content, information or sales resources is engaging and achieves the required outcomes with buyers
  • How can sales professionals connect sales revenue, to content consumption by their prospective buyers?
  • How can the sales professionals find the most effective sales content, information or sales resources to support the progression of the sale through their sales pipeline?

Sales professionals struggle to find the right content when needed

The rapid “REVOLTION” of “SALES ENABLEMENT” has resulted in many organisations having a disjointed system in place for storing and accessing their sales content, information and sales resources. Research, which was conducted by Quark Software found that only around 20 % of organisations store all their sales information, content and sales resources in 1 to 2 locations. 45 % store their info, content and resources in 5 different locations and the remainder store their content, info and sales resources in 6 to 10 different locations.

This disjointed approach towards sales content, information and resource storage, causes major challenges for sales professionals, as it makes finding and utilising the requisite information very difficult. This disorganised approach results in a huge waste of time and resources.

  • Research shows that on average sales professional’s waste about 16 hours a month looking for the relevant content, information and sales resources, to support their buyers, as they travel the journey towards forming meaningful partnerships with them.
  • Having a disjointed system for storing and retrieving sales content, information and sales resources, also makes it difficult for sales professionals to uncover the right info, which will satisfy each buyers unique needs and circumstances.

Action Idea:

If you want to create an effective system for storing and retrieving relevant and effective sales content, then you need to dramatically reduce the number of places where you store content. Try to design or re-design your storage and retrieval system so that sales professionals only have to look in one location when they are looking for content, info or sales resources.

The best place to store your content was as follows:

  • One central storage system, which is:
    • Easy to access with an effective indexing system
      • This will support sales professionals to quickly find the most relevant information, content or sales resources to support each unique buying journey

Knowing, which content is the most relevant and effective for each buyer

As you can imagine as the buying process has evolved and become more complicated, creating and identifying the most relevant and effective content, information and sales resources has become crucial.

The challenge faced by sales professional, who want to find the most relevant and effective content, info or resources, to match each buyers unique buying needs and expectations, is as follows:

  • Content, info and sales resources are kept in too many different locations, so it is difficult for sales professionals to identify the most relevant content, info or sales resources
  • There is little, or no training offered to sales professionals, around the effective deployment of these resources.
  • The info is created in a random fashion and little or no thought is given to creating an effective indexing system, to support sales professionals to discover the right content, info or sales resources for each buying journey
  • Too many people are involved in creating content
    • The sales info, content is created in silos and not shared with everyone, who will benefit from it.
    • The best resources, content and info is often only known to only a few sales professionals within an organisation
    • There is no one in charge of collating, indexing and creating relevant and effective content, info and sales resources.

Action Idea

Organisations, who want to support their sales teams, to easily find and identify the “RIGHT” sales information, content and sales resources must do the following:

  1. Put one person or a dedicated team in charge of collecting, collating and indexing all the sales info, content and sales resources.
  2. Create a central resource facility, which is properly indexed
    1. This will make finding the right sales info, content and sales resources far easier
    2. Sales professionals will not waste unnecessary time searching for sales resources to support each buying journey.
    3. The best solution for storing and retrieving content was found to be a “CLOUD” based solution
  3. Design an effective training and coaching system within your organisation to support your sales professionals to learn how to find and deploy the right sales info, content and resources.

What is the best way to share or utilise any Sales content, info or sales resources

According to research conducted by Quark Software only 14 % of sales wins could be attributed to utilising the right sales content, info or sales resources.

The reason for this very low number is shown below:

  • Sales content, info and sales resources is not centralised, so it is difficult to find
  • Sales content, info and sales resources is not indexed, so it is hard to identify the right content for each buying journey
  • Sales content, info and sales resources is not controlled by one person, so there is a disconnect between what is available and what the sales professionals know can be used.
  • Ineffective or no training is offered to sales teams to support them to locate and effectively utilise the right content, info and sales resources.
  • Marketing creates content and does not share the reason for doing so, with the sales team
  • Marketing does not create relevant or effective content to promote the best buying journey

Action idea:

  1. Invest the time to develop a documented strategy and purpose solution, for creating, indexing and utilising any sales content, info and sales resources.
    1. Once you have an effective strategy in place, it makes creating the right content far easier for marketing
    2. Sales professionals have a road map, which will guide their efforts and one, which will support them to utilise the right sales content, info and sales resources, for each unique buying journey.
    3. The person or team involved in ensuring the info is properly indexed, collated and stored, will be equipped with the info they need to do this effectively.
    4. Marketing will have a road map to support them to create the most relevant and effective sales content, info and sales resources, to support their sales teams.
  2. Put one person or team in charge of ensuring the content, info and sales resources are centralised, properly indexed, kept up to date and that it meets legislative requirements.
    1. All the sales content, info and sales resources must be collected from all the places it is stored and must be made available in one cloud-based resource.
  3. Index the sales content, info and sales resources so that they are easy to find.
    1. This will save your sales professionals buckets of time
    2. It will also help them to uncover the most relevant and effective sales content, info and sales resources for each unique buying journey.
  4. Proper sales coaching and sales training must be developed and delivered to ensure that all sales professionals know:
    1. Where to find the right content, info and sales resources
    2. What content to utilise to support each unique buying journey

How can marketing and sales track how effective sales content, info and sales resources is?

Most organisations find it very difficult to evaluate how effective sales content, info and sales resources are, because of the fact that:

  • Content is kept in too many different locations
  • There is no clear understanding around what is the right content, info and sales resources to use in each buying situation
  • Marketing only has sight of part of the picture
    • Sales may have content, which marketing is not aware of, which they created themselves
    • Sales content, info and sales resources is shared from systems, which marketing cannot monitor
    • Research shows that sales content in excess of 40% of sales content, info and sales resources is kept in locations, which are invisible to marketing.

Action Idea:

  1. Store content in one cloud-based location, so that it is easy to track what content is being utilised
    1. This will make it far easier to connect content consumption to closed deals.
  2. Track and evaluate how sales content, info and sales resources is utilised by your sales team, to optimise each sales journey.
    1. This is a crucial process, which must be regularly shared with all sales professionals, to support them to identify and utilise the right sales content, info and sales resources.
    2. The sales leadership team is perfectly paced to facilitate this.
    3. It may at first seem like a lot of work tracking how sales content, info and sales resources is used, but the huge benefits with doing this will son outweigh the work required to do so.
  3. As the sales content, info and sales resources is tracked, adequate sales coaching and sales training must be introduced to support all sales team members to take advantage of the new insights.
    1. Sales coaching and sales training must be ongoing, so that effective adoption and implementation is assured
  4. Track, which content is effective in each buyer situation.
    1. It becomes far easier to evaluate, which content, info and sales resources are the most effective in each buyer situation.
    2. When this done effectively it becomes far easier to evaluate what new content needs to be created to support different buying journeys.

Using the most effective sales content, to support each sale as it moves through your sales pipeline

Keeping buyers interested and engaged, throughout your sales process can be challenging. It requires a strategic approach, where sales content, information or sales resources are created, specifically to support each sale to move through all the stages in your sales process.

  1. Each stage in your sales process requires different sales content, information and sales resources to keep buyers engaged
    1. Develop a system, which will help you to identify what specific info, information and/or sales resources are required to keep a sale alive and the respective buyers engaged and interested, at each stage of your sales process.
    2. One person or team must be involved in co-ordinating this process
    3. Every bit of sales content, information and sales resources must be carefully indexed and assigned to each stage of your sales process
      1. This is crucial to support your entire sales team to take advantage of any materials, which will support them to keep deals alive as they move through your sales funnel.
      2. This will also help with developing any sales coaching or sales training to support the adoption of this new crucial process.
    4. A strategy must be developed and documented, which outlines all the requirements to support the flow of deals through your sales pipeline
      1. This understanding is crucial to support the co-ordinated development of the right support content, information and sales resources, to support each buyer journey.
      2. It will also help your sales professionals to identify the right materials to use
      3. This documented process will also help to develop the right sales coaching and sales training, which will support the effective implementation of your “SALES ENABLEMENT” solution

Yes, developing and effective “SALES ENABLEMENT” solution will take time, a lot of effort and require the allocation of a significant amount of resources to do effectively. The reality though is simply this. If you do not start the journey towards developing a “SALES ENABLEMENT” solution, you will be left behind, and your sales team will begin to find it harder and harder to close sales.

The positive impact of introducing an effective “SALES ENABLEMENT” solution will very quickly show positive improvements in all of your sales professionals’ performance and results. It will also help your organisation to be less dependent on your few sales super stars, who help you achieve your sales targets each year. An effective “SALES ENABLEMENT” solution puts the right materials, systems and processes in the hands of all your sales professionals, so that they can “ALL” achieve great sales results.

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