5 Winning Sales Enablement Strategies
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The most prevalent question we must ask ourselves in today’s business environment is how to win in sales using modern technologies. By looking at current trends in the marketplace and evaluating the top digital selling technologies available, organizations can focus more intently on sales, how their marketing contributes to sales and how to fine-tune their technology stack for every part of selling.
There is no doubt that there is a much larger technology stack available today compared to four or five years ago, largely due to the accessibility of cloud technology. In this race to digitize sales, organizations need to step back and reconsider if it’s one magic piece to the puzzle or if it’s a combination of overlapping pieces that will help sellers compete and win in their space. Some believe that all sellers need is a proper CRM system when in reality, we are entering a new stage of integrated and prescriptive technologies. Part of this race means getting rid of paper-based transactions and recognizing that sales engagement opportunities are highly important for end results.
A modern technology stack makes this happen. For every company making this shift and doing it well, there are four other companies not doing anything. Whether IT is blocking progress, there’s no agreement on products or it is just being put off, those companies in the race are falling to the back of the herd. Meanwhile, the companies coming out on top have adopted a digital work hub for sales and use up-and-coming artificial intelligence capabilities.
For companies to get – or stay – ahead in the modern selling environment, they need to prioritize sales enablement. Here are five strategies for sales enablement that companies should focus on in 2019 to pull ahead of the curve.
1. Deploy a Sales Engagement Platform
If your organization does not have a sales engagement platform yet, get one now. The six critical components to consider when selecting a platform are content creation, sales content management, communications, advanced analytics, CRM integration, and partner applications. There are a lot of capabilities these platforms have to accelerate time to close, save time with data entry and automate updates on your opportunity management process.
Think about Salesforce; a lot of companies have problems getting reps to update Salesforce and enforcing its use. A sales engagement tool will do it for them automatically, and the great tools do it very well. Not only does this cover automation, but these platforms also get into the intelligence side of things. The analytics on viewer engagement, what people are looking at and what content is working, is yet another bonus from these forward-thinking tools, and a major reason why they are necessary.
2. Sales Skills: Have a Methodology that Works
The five best practices for selling are knowing your product and knowing your buyer, solving problems instead of selling features, listening to the client, closing for the next step on every call and leveraging your resources. Most people learn these skills early on, but every organization needs a sales methodology in place to turn their sellers into technical selling masters. There are a variety of methods out in the marketplace today and a trend we are seeing emerge is the adaptation of a methodology into a software capability. Perfecting the technical skills to sell a big deal takes time, so organizations that are serious about their sales need to invest in and implement a sales methodology that is complete for their business.
3. Make Time to Coach Your Team
If your organization has a methodology for their sales team, a common question is how much time should be spent on coaching. Sellers can be ranked into three categories: top, middle and low performers that all have specific behaviors that can be influenced by coaching. The top performers often don’t need the extra coaching because they are already excelling, but coaching teams should monitor their best practices and learn from them what content helps them win. As for the lower two-thirds, the middle and low performers, sales engagement technology can be utilized to get to the bottom of their pain points and learn where they need the most support.
Coaches can use the technology to increase visibility through the analytics of calls, talk-time, and content management and relate it back to close ratios in order to approach reps with their problem areas. If coaches can visualize what is actively going on in deals, they can train reps more specifically to improve in areas that drive overall performance.
4. Content Playbooks: Leverage Content at the Right Time
Most organizations are not satisfied with their content playbooks for sales. Take the time to assess your content and ask yourself how it could be better. The secret is using third-party validated research in a discovery situation that outlines why your organization is good at what you do. It’s not just white papers that do the trick, but actual branded research. Having someone else talk about your organization, not just you, adds credibility to the claims so that it doesn’t come off as biased. Refine your playbooks using a variety of content types such as case studies, thought leadership, webinars, podcasts and live engagement to leverage your position with your customers.
5. An Operational Plan for Success: Have the Right Incentives
Sellers need motivation. Implementing a winners circle to recognize top reps can help incentivize sellers to perform better. It does not matter if you have two people or ten people on a team, if your organization is not doing a winners circle, then you’re doing it wrong. This can come in the form of contests, leaderboards, awards for top performers or implementing compensation plans, and doing so in a fun way that celebrates success. There are several old school techniques that still work today, like having a sales gong, that requires minimal effort to implement. Make incentives that inspire your sellers to work hard and motivate them towards a greater goal.
To stay competitive in an evolving selling world, organizations must understand that digital selling is the future. That means they need to invest in sales technology that can help reps be more efficient and effective in their engagements with customers, ultimately driving sales. The time to start enabling your sales team with the right tools is now.