Enabling a Digital Buying Experience

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The buying experience is changing, and it’s changing quickly. Digital strategies, tools, and experiences are taking over every industry, and the sales landscape is no exception to this transformation. Sellers must be equipped with the proper tools to support the growing need for digital buying experiences, and enablement has proven to be the key to their success in this new era of selling.

In the past few years, the power that comes with having a strong digital presence has become increasingly noticeable. For example, buyers increasingly turn to online sources to gather information, businesses are scaling their social media presence to engage with audiences, and younger generations who are entering the workforce are not only comfortable but more confident with digital tools and technology. With these transformations, there has been a digital boom and an increased need for sellers to adapt their strategies to keep up with the evolution.

Enablement is the key to preparing reps to tackle this new digital buying experience. Recent research shows that this year, 51% of enterprise organizations will be focusing on how they can equip their sellers to better drive a digital customer experience. Enablement allows sellers to focus on using digital content and tools to improve the customer experience in this growing virtual age by driving the behavior change needed to effectively leverage the tools that create a seamless buying experience.

“One of the biggest things I’ve seen in my tenure in the digital selling program at SAP has been that it is truly about behavior change and change management,” said Kirsten Boileau, learning experience partner, North America at SAP. “It’s not about teaching people how to use a tool. It truly is about teaching people what the new behaviors are that they should be leveraging, and then how to apply those behaviors to the tool.”

Below, learn how organizations are planning to expand their digital selling efforts this year, including how enablement can help drive effective transformation.

Develop Interactive Digital Content

It has become clear that the key to successful selling is having the ability to build meaningful connections––which requires artful storytelling to hook a buyer’s attention and keep them engaged.

Enabling reps with interactive digital content and tools can help them effectively tell stories that resonate with buyers and meet them where they are. For example, video messages, interactive pitch decks or presentations, and multi-media sales content can help buyers consume the content in different formats based on their preferences. This allows them to have more flexibility in when and how they engage with content, giving the rep more avenues to tell their story and opportunities to personalize their interactions.

“People are expecting the experience that they get from a vendor or for any company they’re in business with to be personalized to them and to cater to their needs,” said Julie Zhang, director of GTM enablement at Panther.

In fact, this is an area where many organizations are beginning to increase their efforts, as recent research found that 54% of organizations plan to invest in interactive content and tools this year. This means that it will be increasingly important for reps to be highly skilled and confident in leveraging the tools in their toolbox to deliver digital content and provide an interactive buying experience.

Enablement can help set reps up for success by not only training reps on how to leverage these tools but also surfacing insights from customers on what is landing and elevating creative peer-to-peer best practices to help reps tailor their approach.

“We cannot sell like we used to,” said Bryan Suit, customer and partner relationship manager at Siemens Healthineers. “We have to take in the aspects of understanding how our customers are interacting with our digital assets. As they look at engaging in the websites, we make sure we’re collecting that information and feeding it to the salespeople as much as possible, so again that we have a better way to personalize that customer journey and really focus on what’s important as we try to provide value back to solving business problems.”

Prioritize Time-Saving Sales Engagement

As the world becomes more digitally connected, companies have increased access to potential buyers. With larger global audiences comes the importance of personalizing at scale to ensure reps can effectively engage with the right audiences. But with an already limited supply of time for reps to execute sales activities each day, reps need tools to help them save time in the sales process while maintaining quality and consistency in their sales interactions. This is where sales engagement tools can be extremely valuable to streamline the digital buyer’s journey.

These engagement tools, such as automation software and digital workshops, can help reps efficiently interact with buyers in a consistent and repeatable manner to drive performance. In fact, research found that companies that utilize sales engagement tools see a 16-percentage-point increase in revenue from net-new customers. Similarly, 44% of organizations that don’t have these tools are planning on investing in them this year, demonstrating the growing importance of ensuring reps can efficiently and effectively engage with more buyers in the digital environment.

Enablement can help reps save time while deeply engaging buyers by working with sales leaders to reduce complexity in the sales process and guide reps through when and how to use engagement tools most effectively throughout the buyer’s journey.

“I think we presuppose that customers have consumed every ounce of the noise out there, and they’re fully aware of every message that’s been pushed their way, and that’s just not the case,” said Spencer Wixom, chief customer officer at Challenger. “The sales engagement tools that allow us to do very disciplined multistage, multi-mode cadences with customers are a super important technology to adopt.”

Understand Self-Serve Purchasing Paths

Digital innovation has given rise to online buying journeys that allow buyers to be more autonomous in their purchasing. While they still rely on support from knowledgeable reps, buyers are able to more quickly explore options and narrow in on the things they care about most through self-service purchasing paths. For example, buyers can leverage return-on-investment (ROI) calculators or online demos on their own time before deciding to proceed. This allows reps to then provide deeper value, as buyers come to the table more informed about what they want and what is possible.

“Nowadays, if you look at any buying process, by the time that the potential buyer interacts with you, they’re already more than 50% through the entire sales process, which means that they have already done their research,” said Malvina EL-Sayegh, director of sales enablement at Reachdesk. “Ultimately, to really make that buying experience as enjoyable and useful for the prospect, you really need to bring out those human elements so that you can stand above and beyond other salespeople who potentially aren’t doing those things.”

This is an area that many sales organizations are beginning to embrace, as research found that 37% of organizations are investing in self-serve purchasing paths this year. As it becomes more prevalent in sales organizations today, enablement can help prepare reps to add value for buyers and help them understand what is in it for them. That includes both arming reps with the content and resources that communicate value as well as the skills to effectively translate that messaging into impact for the buyer.

“Ultimately, the role of enablement is to equip salespeople with information and content that they can share with their prospective buyers that will help cut through the noise,” said EL-Sayegh.

As buyer’s preferences continue to skew more toward digital experiences, it is critical to enable reps with the resources needed to engage with buyers in this environment. Especially as organizations expand the tools they leverage to provide seamless buying experiences in the digital environment, enablement can be the key to helping reps navigate the growth of digital selling platforms to reduce complexity and drive digital sales transformation.

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