Salesforce: Digital Transformation’s Effect on Sales Enablement – Soirée, San Francisco

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Tiffani Bova: I can tell you the role of a seller is not getting any easier. And if it’s not getting easier for the seller, it’s most definitely not getting easier for the people who have to enable the seller. So, you have to think about what is going on, what is the context, what is the reason that enablement is important? What are the things you need to do and why? And then what are the things you need to think about that’s around the corner for you on what enablement might look like in 2022, 2023, because that’s what’s really important.

The first big statement I’d say is sales is getting harder. We have social, mobile, cloud, and big data. The World Economic Forum calls it the fourth industrial revolution. We’re far more connected than we’ve ever been. Our customers are far more informed and enabled, and the pace of change is not slowing down. Because of that, the power has shifted from the seller to the buyer.

When I started selling technology in 1995, I can tell you that I knew everything about my product. I knew the price. I held the information. I was the one that would give out the three references. I would give the phone numbers. I would control who they were. I was in control. And then this internet thing happened and I was no longer in control, and then five years goes by, and I’m less in control, 10 years goes by and I’m much less in control. Now the power has shifted. The buyer has far more power than the seller. That gap continues to widen. The way you close that gap is enablement and value. So, it is getting harder, that is the challenge, but the opportunity is how do you make it easier.

Now, the reality is — that I’m sure you’re going to hear from some of the other analyst firms and people that are here — that quota attainment has gone down for the last five years. It’s sitting at around 54%-ish now. You’re never going to get 100% quota attainment. It’s not possible. Best in class kind of sits in the high 60% range. The point is, do you know what your percentage of quota attainment is for your teams and can you move it one, two, three, four, 5%? You will have a home run. Enablement will become the hero.

The second is, these are big anchor quotes, right? Half of your sellers will expect to miss quota — about 54%. Half of your sellers are going to miss quota. Sales is getting harder. The gap is getting wider. The other thing that you have to think about is the time that a seller spends on actually selling. So, 66%, it depends on whose research you read, but let’s call it high 50-60%-ish is spent on non-selling activities, and half of your sellers are going to miss quota. That’s opportunity. How do you give them back more selling time? You are not going to make it zero. You’re not going to make it in the teens. You’re not going to make it in the twenties, but let’s just get it to kind of the high fifties. Let’s get it to the middle forties so that you can give them back the time so they can do what you’ve hired them to do, which is to sell.

So, where do you focus? Where do you focus on improving that performance? With those big anchor items, two-thirds of their time spent non-selling, half your sellers are going to miss quota, the power has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Those three things should fuel everything that you do, because it’s all about how do I improve those dials? And in the end, what happens is you will find growth. Where do you focus? Let’s just start here.

This is a Gartner slide, not a Salesforce slide or a “me” slide, but I figured I might as well go back to my roots. This is the buyer journey. Awesome. And it feels a little heavy. Businesses do two things: we make stuff, we sell stuff. That’s it. Your job is to make selling stuff easier for the people who want to buy it. I can pretty much guarantee you, without question, never in the history of time has a customer of yours gone, “oh my God, today is the day, it is Thursday at 3:11 p.m., I am moving from stage two to stage three of the buyer journey.” They’ve never said that, they never will. Yet, that is what we do to them. We put them through our process. This is how we want you to buy from us, Mr. Customer, this is what we do. We have this thing called the funnel. So, we have to rethink because if we’re selling the same way — and I’m really over-simplifying, right? If we’re selling the same way and we’re enabling the same way and we’re doing all this fairly the same way, we cannot do that if the buyer has totally changed the way they buy.

The buyer journey and the sales process are not the same things. The buyer journey is what the buyer does. The sales process is what you want your sellers to do. The only time those two things meet is when the sale happens. That’s it. This is our reality. So, the way you have to do it is you actually want me to say, “I think he’s two-thirds of the way through the buyer journey, but I’m only in the first stage of my sales process,” right? Because I’ve only spoken to them once. And then I can quickly move forward through the sales process that matches more about my process being separate from when the buyer is going to make a decision to actually buy from me. It makes sense. That’s why the buying journey and the sales process are two different things.

I’m at the sales enablement event, I understand, but I don’t actually like the term sales enablement. I like growth enablement because I think selling is happening outside of sales. The actual role of someone having sales on their business card, it’s happening in customer service. It’s happening in account-based marketing, it’s managed by a marketer. So, I’m going to use American football as an example.

You have a running back that scores six points. You have a field goal kicker that scores one point or three points, right? They both score. They both sell, but they don’t have the same skillset. You would not take a field goal kicker and make him a running back. You would not take a running back and ask them to try to kick a field goal. They score different points, but still score points. Just like the sales department and customer service. Call the customer service team your field goal kicker, your sales department your running back or your quarterback, right? All those that are scoring the six points. But, that one point can win a game. That three points can win a game. When it’s time and there are three seconds left on the clock and the ball is on the 45-yard line, they do not call the running back. They call the field goal kicker. That’s the difference between sales and customer service. You have to enable the field goal kicker to hit the field goal, not the same as the running back, but you still have to prepare them to score.

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