The Modern Salesperson: Four Strategies for Sales Enablement
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The state of sales is rapidly evolving. Marketplace disruption, changes to the structure within sales organizations and changes in buyer dynamics all are challenging organizations to shift their thinking and approach to sales in order to be successful. This is where sales enablement becomes not just a nice-to-have function for organizations, but a must-have.
The Changing Environment
In today’s marketplace, customers consume information primarily in a digital form first. This is only intensified by the fact that more and more people are living in urban cities each year, with 68% of the world’s population expected to live in urban areas by the year 2050. However, at the same time, the workforce is quickly aging, which means that there will be fewer people working in the next 50 years than the previous. On top of this, clean boundaries that used to clearly exist between industries are starting to break down and companies are beginning to compete across sectors that they hadn’t in the past.
Sales teams today also must evolve to the changes in buyer dynamics. In the current environment, only 23% of buyers consider salespeople as their preferred source for information and problem-solving. With less engaged buyers, more decision-makers involved and more expectations for content-driven information and interactions, salespeople need to focus on inspiration, how they are making buyers feel about the product, as opposed to just information that buyers can find on their own.
The Response from Sales Organizations
Simply put, successful selling does not look the same as it used to, and organizations are responding to the change. Where the past was focused on product sales, the present is now focused on solution sales, or trying to learn more about what an organization needs to help provide them the best solution. As we shift toward the future, more organizations are adopting digital technology and AI to adapt to the changing needs of buyers.
Performance for selling organizations now relies on two factors: relationships and process. The highest performers are those that are considered trusted partners by clients, going above and beyond to contribute value to the organization. When these organizations also use formal, dynamic processes they are able to get better value out of the sales process.
To keep up with the changing landscape, selling organizations need to invest in change through sales enablement to help sellers operate more efficiently.
Sales Enablement and its Value
Sales enablement is creating efficiency and effectiveness of the things that go into a sales pipeline. This is achieved by applying a simple equation to an organization’s processes: amplify activity by quality and divide that by time, and then divide all of that by distractions. When time and distractions are minimized and activity and quality are maximized, sales organizations are more successful.
The pervasive trend in successful sales enablement organizations is their ability to provide key services that maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales team. These include sales training services, coaching services, enablement technology, and content services. As a whole, companies with a dedicated sales enablement function perform better than competitors without it, reaching almost 89% revenue plan attainment with enablement.
As more organizations adopt sales enablement, there are four sales enablement strategies that companies should invest in to drive success for the future.
1. Make the Sales Team Value Engineers
What salespeople looked like yesterday is not what will be required for tomorrow. In the past, sales focused on selling solutions, but today, it relies on a salesperson’s ability to bring value to the client by adding perspective. Salespeople need to think of themselves as “value engineers” that are equipped to bring ROI to the table in a different way than just selling the product. By making sure that the sales team has access to training, best practices, and up-to-date content, organizations can help their sellers bring more value to their conversations with customers.
2. Next Generation Talent
The new needs for salesperson roles mean talent within organizations will need to look different. More organizations today are shifting toward an emphasis on analytical skills rather than a prioritization of emotional intelligence in their salesforce. While both types are still important, personality and the ability to build relationships is not the only trait that can define success for an organization. In the marketplace today, critical talents include motivation, interaction and the ability to relate to others, discipline to execute on tasks, as well as a higher focus on cognition and critical thinking skills. Organizations not only need to focus on hiring top talent, but also building it from within through best practice sharing and workshops, robust training and onboarding, and cross-team collaboration.
3. Process Maturity
The understanding that organizational execution is more important than individual autonomy in a sales role is essential to success. As things change and continue to evolve, salespeople will be asked to do things in a new and different way, and thus it’s important that they grow with each other as a unit rather than operating based on their own processes. A sales enablement function can help streamline and centralize the processes to create consistency in the way sales teams work.
4. Digital Enablement
The reality in sales today is that people spend the majority of their time not selling. Just 35% of their time is spent connecting with clients and prospects while 65% is spent on administrative tasks, traveling, training, and more. Digital enablement technology helps to reduce the time spent on tedious tasks to save resources so salespeople can focus on selling.
Buyers today are more demanding in terms of what they need from salespeople than ever before. In order for sellers to have effective engagements with buyers to guide them on their journey, sellers need guidance and tools themselves. With the role of the salesperson steadily changing to keep up with new trends in the marketplace, it’s more important than ever for organizations to invest in sales enablement to equip their sales teams with the tools they need to succeed.