by Rebecca Bell Ellis
You’re proud of your Sales Enablement capability and programs but you’re smart enough to know it’s not a trophy to place on your shelf and admire; right? Because of its very nature, Sales Enablement should not be seen as static, nor should it be considered merely a set of KPIs. Intead, think of your Sales Enablement program as a fine automobile with many moving parts, that in whole—and indepently—need precise attention and care.
As we evaluate the current state of Sales Enablement it’s clear that companies with active, finely-tuned Sales Enablement programs benefit handsomely. They benefit not only with harmonious sales and marketing partnerships but with the increase in revenue that results. So treat your sales enablement like a high-performance car that needs care, not like a trophy that only needs an occasional dusting. Here’s how!
Continual care PLUS scheduled tune-ups
Many sales enablement updates (aka tune-ups) happen only when new products are released. It’s not unreasonable or uncommon for people to use new products as the trigger to re-think their sales and marketing process, handoffs, and KPIs. Budgets are suddenly open to re-tooling and even organizational responsibilities are reshaped, all in support of the new product’s promise for revenue, market share and higher margins. No doubt, implementing new products generates inspiration and motivation for both you and your company. Of course you’ll want to take advantage of this energy, frame of mind, and budget. How do you do that?
Here are a couple of effective (and fast) ways to improve your sales enablement outcomes:
Consider your current sales enablement platform and explore the features you’re not yet using. Many Sales Enablement tools are rich with features so there may be expansion capability from within your current contract you can take advantage of. Feature-rich platforms include; CallidusCloud, MindMatrix, RO|Innovation, Seismic and Qvidian.
Automate your marketing content to match the customer sales process and your customer personas. Your stakeholders will appreciate a tool that matches the buying stage with precise and relevant information. Highspot, PointDrive, KnowledgeTree and Postwire are a few good tools for enabling this matchup.
Add a monitoring tool that can alert your salespeople to indications of interest in real-time. My favorite tools for this are LiveHive, ClearSlide, and Yesware.
Today, your Sales Enablement inputs are anything but homogeneous and can differ based on channels, sales skills, buyer journeys, content, and so on. You might be dependent on more than one channel for acquisition. You likely have targets for customer retention, as well as for converting anonymous visitors. Your sales team and partner networks will have a wide range of sales enablement needs. In every instance, customers expect their experiences to be highly relevant and personalized. So make certain you have the matching capability and resources to fuel your sales enablement “engine.”
One of the most critical types of Sales Enablement fuel is timely information. Certainly there’s no lack of information. To be useful, however, information needs to be packaged for ease-of-access and be inclusive of social dialog. Here are a few tools that meet those specs—and they can co-exist with your existing platform: Avention, InsideView, FirstRain, rFactr, XTRA iQ.
Velocity and hairpin curves
Clean handoffs and straight-line destinations are not today’s reality. And buyers’ behavior often conflicts with our internal target metrics. Sales velocity indicates how well we’re meeting today’s wide variety of demands for sales enablement capabilities.
Buying cycles have grown longer and buyers have moved much of their purchase consideration activities to anonymous channels and to social references. This leaves a smaller amount of time for our sales time to command control, putting high-octane demands on all components of our sales enablement “vehicle.”
Your sales enablement process will need to accommodate a wide range of sales types and buyer stages without it affecting deal velocity. As the saying goes, it’s “easier said, than done.” If you would like a 30,000 foot view as a starting point, check out Forrester’s Peter O’Neill’s Dec 9, 2014 blog post “Six business goals of sales enablement.”
Surprise views along the way
As you steer your high-performance Sales Enablement vehicle toward the horizon, you’re certain to identify changes and opportunities along the way. Stay observant and adjust with the terrain. Remember, just like a luxury car, you’ll need to keep your Sales Enablement wheels in alignment and your engine finely-tuned if you want to get where you intend to go, as fast as you intend to get there.
How about your sales enablement engine and road map? Has it been updated and polished in the past 90 days? Are you still proud of the results, even in-between product launches? What’s your latest improvement, newest addition?
Disclosure: Many of the tools called out above are customers of Smart Selling Tools.