3 Core Business Challenges That Enablement Solves
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It’s no secret that the effects of a changing work environment and a more challenging business landscape are accelerating. Today’s buyers are faced with increasing choices and are turning to more digital channels for a self-guided journey than ever before. Businesses across industries are introducing new offerings to keep pace and attract new customers, but sales reps are now faced with an intensified challenge to appeal to the modern buyer. Reps are faced with understanding where their company’s products fit into the current market, how they can solve a buyer’s problem, and the types of conversations that will resonate the most.
“I strongly believe that the customer has changed in saying, ‘I’m the buyer, this is what I want and need, can you deliver?’ I believe loads of companies need to change their strategies to survive,” said Robert Bosch, vice president of sales enablement at ExxE Energy GmbH. “I feel strongly that many types of industries are changing because of buyer behavior.”
The rapid change in the business landscape has increased competition across markets and has led to a sharper focus on the buyer experience to stay ahead, which means having the right talent to sustain high performance amid change is more important than ever. As reported in the State of Sales Enablement Report 2022, the top three core business challenges executive leaders noted include competitive pressure (46%), hiring great talent (43%), and customer experience and retention (34%).
Enablement can help solve these challenges by developing skills among revenue-facing teams to help them prioritize the customer experience and stand out against competitors. When organizations strongly invest in a sustainable enablement function, reps can feel more engaged, motivated, and knowledgable on how to land value propositions that differentiate from others in the market.
Learn how enablement can be a strategic advantage that helps stave off competitive pressure, develops great talent, and impacts a positive customer experience to drive retention and ultimately influence revenue.
Combatting Competitive Pressure Through Buyer Insights
Regardless of economic conditions, competitive pressures continue to be a significant factor for companies to grow, innovate, and gain a greater market share. Almost half of the organizations surveyed in the State of Sale Enablement Report 2022 said they struggle with feeling pressure from the competition. Enablement can be a strong partner in equipping reps with what they need to communicate to prospects on their organization’s value positioning and differentiation from competitors.
“You have to be able to react very quickly if you want to beat your competition,” said Joe Booth, vice president of revenue enablement at Oni. “You have to be able to train sales reps on the message and the process and the systems, but you also have to be able to go internally and look from a really strong business perspective and say, ‘What are the operational efficiencies that we can figure out now that are going to make it easier for our sales reps to get their jobs done?’ And ultimately, that’s going to help with things like deal velocity, deal size and also just overall morale when it comes to your sales team.”
To help keep an ear to the ground on competitors’ strategies for attracting buyers, enablement teams can conduct regular analyses on competitors and help keep insights and intelligence relevant to help reps win against the competition.
“Competitive intelligence takes a close look at why we win and lose against the competition, and then we take those reasons of why we win and lose, and then we build programs around that, and then we pull in the specific subject matter experts when necessary,” said Booth.
Providing competitive insights to reps helps them better position the product or service’s value and can help them more effectively overcome objections and answer questions. In fact, 30% of respondents revealed that sales enablement is heavily involved in competitive analysis efforts within their organization, and when it is involved, organizations report a 3-percentage-point increase in win rates.
“When we knew that we had this perfect profile of a customer, we would see our deal size go up, our sales velocity increase, and just much happier sales reps making a lot more money,” said Booth.
Developing and Retaining Great Talent
The search for the best people in sales organizations can seem daunting and never-ending. With the difficulty of hiring and retaining top talent in some industries, alongside hiring freezes or layoffs in others, the ability to focus on how to develop top talent is becoming even more essential. Enablement can help organize these efforts to develop and retain high performers and help revenue-facing teams navigate significant organizational change.
“I’m a big believer in radical transparency in the recruiting process, and you can still recruit great talent even if your team or business is going through a low period,” said Christie Spain, sales enablement manager at LaunchDarkly. “As long as you’re honest about it and you’re equipped to share what they’ll be gaining by joining you, I think this is where sales enablement can align and really equip hiring managers with these insights in order to build that value story.”
Sales enablement can help build a team of engaged reps that will achieve a consistent impact on the business. When enablement develops programs that cultivate a positive seller experience, reps can be more motivated to reach their goals and less likely to leave the organization. For instance, companies with low rep engagement are 30% more likely to experience rep turnover. For example, a robust onboarding program can set the stage for continued success among new employees and ensure reps are getting a solid foundation for what to expect in their role and prepare for their daily responsibilities.
“[Enablement] is poised to be such an asset to any sales organization,” said Radhika Parashar, sales enablement leader of emerging markets at Figma. “I think it’s an indicator that a lot of maturing sales organizations are getting ahead of onboarding. It’s getting ahead of thinking through how reps are going to be successful. When it comes to removing barriers, I think onboarding is such an equalizer. Creating a really robust onboarding program about an industry, about a space, can really help, at least at the very beginning, remove some of those barriers of understanding how to sell a product and training for skills.”
Enhancing the Customer Experience to Drive Retention
Understanding the impact an organization has on a customer and how it approaches the relationship with a customer is a critical component of any successful business. Regardless of planning or strategy, the experiences between reps and customers are often top of mind when thinking of how to grow business, stay informed on buyers and how their needs have changed, and anticipate what to expect in the future.
The increasing complexity of the customer decision-making process continues to be a challenge for many businesses as it can create difficulty in identifying factors that reps can influence to not only win the deal but also increase and deepen customer value over time. With accurate insights into what is most valuable from the customer’s perspective, enablement can help reps reduce this complexity to deliver relevant information and engaging experiences.
“What if we were to look at our processes from the customer perspective, thereby we’re facilitating a sale versus selling to the customer,” said Kevin Casey, sales enablement leader. “The more we’re able to help them drive their decision-making process internally, the more that we’re able to help consult them.”
With more information now at the buyers’ fingertips, reps are looking for ways to provide value to their customers and personalize their needs. In fact, 43% of executive leaders noted that buyers now prefer a digital-first experience. Through enablement, companies can help equip reps with the right information to engage buyers at a deeper level and provide unique value. Organizations with dedicated sales enablement teams are 57% more likely to experience high buyer engagement than those without enablement functions.
Engaging the customer at every stage of their journey is important, but continuing to engage with a customer post-sale can help forge deeper relationships for the future. With 22% of teams prioritizing the customer experience as a key enablement goal this year, reinforcing the importance of delivering meaningful value throughout the entire customer journey is critical. Enablement can provide comprehensive support that deepens post-sales teams’ value with their customers. For example, enablement can help map out the customer journey tailored to the customer’s specific needs and streamline processes to ensure smooth handoffs for a customer throughout their lifecycle with an organization.
“Sometimes I think sales is able to more generically customize the pitch, as they’re still learning all of those customer details,” said Emily Garza, vice president of customer success at Proton. “But for the [account management] team, it’s an expectation that you have that understanding. Anything that you are talking about in terms of a growth opportunity, it’s very customized to the customer that you’re working with.”
Enablement can often be seen as a connective tissue across revenue teams poised to help solve some of the biggest challenges businesses face today. In fact, the top two goals for sales enablement recorded this year closely align with many of these challenges, which include increasing win rates (36%) and increasing revenue (31%). Both goals are strategic imperatives for any business to succeed, especially when differentiating in highly competitive markets. By arming reps with the competitive intelligence needed to effectively resonate with buyers, developing stellar talent, and creating a best-in-class customer experience, enablement can help an organization thrive with more revenue in the pipeline and more wins against the competition.