4 Tips to Maximize Sales Play Effectiveness
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Transitioning sales plays from being in three-ring binders to fully digital has transformed the way that sales enablement practitioners deliver guidance to the field, specifically how reps consume, practice, and execute sales plays. Modern sales plays have allowed them to both identify areas of opportunity and reflect on best practices, ultimately providing space to implement effective changes that help sales reps succeed.
Sales plays are fundamental to establishing consistency across the behavior and performance of sales reps. When sales plays are designed effectively, sellers become armed with clear guidance that highlights what to say, when to say it, and how to say it most effectively.
In creating sales plays, enablement can focus on four specific guidelines, all aimed at maximizing consistent performance across the sales team and fostering exceptional customer experiences.
Emphasize the Importance of Training
Regardless of if it is in-depth or short and sweet, training at various levels is crucial in arming reps with the tools they need to effectively deliver the sales play with buyers. Whether conducted through self-service e-learning, webinars, small group sessions, or exercises with the entire team, training on sales plays aims to provide reps with guidance on how to execute the key components of the play.
“We need to make sure that we’re delivering content, information, tools, and training in ways that are both digestible and accessible to all different types of learners, all different types of levels,” said Hillary Anderson, sales enablement leader.
Training on how to land and customize the play helps teams easily identify what they need to share with prospects, along with which specific assets to use in delivering the play itself. Beyond just learning what the key components of the play are, training helps reps gain confidence in putting the key elements of the play into action in conversations with customers.
For example, talking points have the ability to make or break a sale, making them crucial for reps to thoroughly understand and be able to personalize to a buyer’s preferences through training. By conducting practice pitches and role-play scenarios with the play, reps can build their skills to effectively land the play with potential customers and ultimately move the deal forward.
Equipping reps with training specific to the sales play helps to ensure that everyone is aware of all of the necessary details, and that there is consistency across the entire team in how key messages are delivered. Reps can gain a stronger understanding of their responsibilities, along with the knowledge and skills they need to sell successfully.
As technology continuously advances and evolves, sales reps need to maintain access to all relevant information to be able to act efficiently. Having consolidated material in a centralized location that reps can refer back to allows them to have access to the latest and greatest content, making it easier to communicate with prospects at the right time.
“Having a single source of truth for a lot of this information is probably one of the most important things, because then your sales team knows this is the place to go to,” said Harrison Waid, senior director of commercial enablement at Synthego. “Whatever tool or technology you use, you should have a source of truth for everything.”
Meanwhile, advancements in technology also allow enablement professionals to extract and analyze data more comprehensively. For example, sales enablement tools can provide content metrics such as how much content has been viewed and at what frequency, as well as engagement metrics such as how much content has been shared, how many calls have been made, and how many opportunities have been created. Together, these types of metrics can help provide insight into how the play is being leveraged by reps as well as how it is resonating with customers, giving practitioners valuable data to reassess and refine the play.
Be Proactive in Helping Reps to Adapt to Change
Adapting to change is inevitable as the sales landscape continuously grows and evolves, which typically presents a common challenge among sales reps. However, sales plays can be a valuable tool in helping reps navigate change, such as new product launches or shifts in buyer personas.
Sales plays can serve as avenues to understanding why the change occurred, why it was necessary, and how to communicate with buyers as a result. This understanding provides further insight on the change itself, while simultaneously increasing confidence in the play among reps.
In addition to streamlining communication between sellers and buyers, sales plays help to rally other reps who may be hesitant, creating a “fear of missing out” phenomenon when reps see the play influencing the success of their colleagues. If everyone is dependent on this new play, then gaps in understanding can reveal a lack of individual inclination to learn and to accommodate to the change. To combat this, enablement can celebrate the successes of those that are effectively leveraging the play in navigating a change to help build momentum and motivate reps into action.
“You’ve got individuals out there who are very focused on change…and they very quickly see the realization of why that change can work,” said Aaron Evans, director of sales enablement at GlobalData Plc. “When they start implementing that change, we celebrate their success. Then they become almost a totem for the organization of, ‘if you make these changes, you will succeed, you will do well.’”
Buy-in from sales management makes it significantly easier to land any new sales play in the field, as they are the frontline leaders for sales reps and often have earned their respect and trust.
“Sales management has to be number one,” said Waid. “They ultimately are the ones that have to proliferate your message and the actions that get taken on the play, and so they’re not involved in that process if they’re not involved in creating it.”
In achieving buy-in from sales leaders, practitioners need to ensure that open and honest communication is present, and that these conversations are happening on a frequent basis. Through frequent communication, practitioners can work with frontline managers to identify gaps, strategize solutions, and fully formulate the importance of the play.
Breaking down silos within the organization is also a necessity, as it allows for input from multiple teams when launching a play. Some teams to collaborate with while creating, evangelizing, and refining the play include product, marketing, and account development teams, who can all provide a wide variety of inputs toward obtaining relevant information to then accordingly implement the play.
Adapting sales plays to the needs of customers, evolving markets, and a diverse team of reps can be daunting. However, designing sales plays to be structured and formalized guides that are consistent across all members of the sales team can help make transitions far more fluid. With the four guidelines in mind, sales enablement professionals can help to maximize effectiveness across their sales teams, allowing for sellers to engage with prospects successfully and ultimately attain their goals.