Podcast Roundup: Allego Executives Share 6 Sales Enablement Strategies
Podcast hosts are turning to Allego experts for advice on improving sales results. That’s because sales teams are under intense pressure to win deals and hit quota. It’s understandable, as sales are what drive a large part of a company’s success. That demand, however, may cause sales reps to pressure buyers. (“What can I do to get you into this car today?”)
But in today’s B2B world, sales teams must think of selling as a service—the service of helping people buy, said Allego President & Co-founder Mark Magnacca. Sellers must adjust to accommodate buyer needs and preferences.
To do that effectively, sellers need the right sales training, content, and coaching. That’s where sales enablement comes in, he said.
Magnacca was one of four Allego executives featured on the IT Visionaries Podcast, The Sales Development Podcast, Sales Enablement with Andy Paul, Salesman.org Podcast, Sales Leadership Conversations Podcast, and The Sales Hacker Podcast. In this roundup, they share their sales enablement strategies to improve the buying experience and drive results anywhere, anytime.
Just-in-Time Learning Key to Virtual Selling Success
The need to interact with customers via video calls has forced sales reps to change years-old best practices. And these changes are going to be with us for a while, as increasingly more B2B buyers prefer virtual meetings over in-person meetings.
That means companies must learn how to engage their marketplace and their buyers remotely, said Allego CEO & Co-founder Yuchun Lee during an episode of the IT Visionaries podcast.
One way sales reps learn remote selling techniques is via sales enablement platforms that pull in sales collateral, thought leadership content, videos, win stories, and more and make it available in sales reps’ moment of need.
“The pandemic accelerated the need to sell remotely,” Lee said. “There are sets of skills that a seller needs to be better at. We are leveraging technologies, leveraging videos, and leveraging virtual collaboration to form a new set of activities that, at the end of the day, are more productive.”
Sellers using Allego can engage their clients five to 10 times more than they could have in person because it takes so little time to switch to another meeting virtually vs. getting on a plane and flying to another city for an in-person meeting, he said.
“Virtual selling is all about being able to engage, communicate, and collaborate virtually,” Lee said. Allego has “capabilities that help you, in essence, simulate some of the interactions you would have in person, but online using a virtual room that you can interact with.”
>> Learn More: Listen to the podcast episode—The Gambler: Why Allego CEO Yuchun Lee Is Betting Big on Just-in-Time Learning—to learn more about how to develop sales reps’ virtual selling skills.
Selling Today Is Hybrid—and We Won’t Be Going Back
Employees aren’t going back to working five days a week in the office. Not only that, but 75% of B2B buyers prefer virtual interactions with sellers, according to Forrester. Put the two together, and you have a recipe for long-term hybrid selling.
That being the case, sellers must adjust to how customers want to communicate, said Magnacca during an episode of The Sales Development Podcast.
“There are different ways to communicate, and it doesn’t have to be face to face,” he said. “It’s giving the buyer more options, which works better for the salesperson because they can match the buyer’s preferred communication style and remove obstacles and friction.”
For example, forcing a first meeting to be in person puts a lot of pressure on the buyer if they are early in the sales cycle. Buyers in that situation are more likely to accept a virtual meeting during which the sales rep can develop rapport and build the relationship—eventually leading to in-person interactions.
“We can’t forget that we’re dealing with human beings,” Magnacca said. “Human beings don’t follow like a marble just dropping from one level [of the sales funnel] to the other. Human beings have their own buying process.”
>> Learn More: Listen to The Sales Development Podcast and get more advice about building virtual sales relationships.
Why Sales Reps Must Rethink their Purpose
If you ask a sales rep what their job is, they will usually say it’s to persuade someone to buy their product. What they should say, however, is that their responsibility is to help prospects make better buying decisions—even if that decision isn’t to buy from them.
To do that, sellers must listen to their buyers, determine what is most important to them, and then help them get that, Magnacca said during an episode of Andy Paul’s podcast.
It’s easy to think you know what’s most important to a buyer from a first impression or snippet of a conversation, he said. But if you aren’t really listening to them, your conversation will be off the mark.
“One of the things the pandemic has helped accelerate is when you can use a tool like Conversation Intelligence to assess how much you’re talking vs. how much you’re listening, it’s incredibly revealing,” Magnacca said.
If you see low win rates, it flows back to the experience between the buyer and seller. And a Conversation Intelligence platform will help sales managers get visibility into that, identify sellers’ mistakes, and determine specific ways to help those sellers improve.
>> Learn More: Listen to the podcast episode—Mastering Virtual Selling with Mark Magnacca—to get advice on how to succeed at virtual selling, including actions before, during, and after meeting with buyers.
How to Use Digital Sales Rooms to Enhance the Buyer’s Journey
Having thoughtful conversations with buyers and sharing pertinent information goes a long way toward improving the buying experience. But salespeople can enhance the buyer’s journey even more with Digital Sales Rooms.
Digital Sales Rooms are a great way to close the gap between the buyer’s journey and the seller’s process, said George Donovan, Allego’s Chief Revenue Officer, during an episode of the Salesman.org Podcast with Will Barron. Through a secure virtual space, customers can access all the content sales reps provide, as well as interact with the reps.
“It’s one place [customers] can go to for all the exchanges that have happened between them and the salesperson. It could be the history of emails; it could be video recordings if you had a recording with the prospect; it could be proposals, spreadsheets—you name it,” Donovan said. “And the nice thing for the customer is they can share it with other people.”
Plus, the salesperson can see if people are engaging with the content—reading the articles, watching the videos, and downloading the reports. “So, they know who’s in the sales room, what they’re doing, what content is hot and what content is not,” Donovan said.
With more customers preferring a “rep-less buying experience,” as a recent Bain & Company research report revealed, salespeople must maximize their time and drive value. Technology such as Digital Sales Rooms makes that possible “by making sure that we’re getting the customer the right content at the right time based on their needs,” Donovan said.
>> Learn More: Listen to the podcast episode—Digital Sales Rooms: The Future of B2B Sales?—to learn more about the benefits of Digital Sales Rooms.
Seller Activity Before and After Meetings Affects the Buyer Experience
What sales reps do behind the scenes and before meeting with a buyer plays a huge part in whether the experience is a good one. This includes organizations’ ability to enable their sales reps at their moment of need, said Allego Strategic Partnership Director Tim Kasida during an episode of the Sales Leadership Conversations podcast.
“A salesperson may have a meeting coming up,” he said. “What do they have at their fingertips to help them better be prepared for that meeting in terms of content, the ability to collaborate with their peers, and maybe get coaching from their manager?”
If sales reps can watch videos of what good looks like when delivering content and see win stories in the same vertical as the customer, they’ll be more informed and can tell better stories about how customers use their product, Kasida told host Tim Hagen.
Organizations can go even further and enable reps to practice their pitch and get feedback from their manager before they engage with the customer. Such technology also allows reps to record and send a personalized thank-you video to the customer, summarizing what happened at the meeting.
It’s important that collaboration is easy to do—easy for the reps to practice their pitches and easy for the manager to provide coaching, Kasida said. If not, then they won’t do it.
“Think about the rep’s moment of need and what’s important for them to succeed in their next sales call,” he said. “What do they need at their fingertips? And on the customer engagement side, what tools and capabilities do they need to extend the interaction and make it more meaningful?”
>> Learn More: Listen to the podcast episode—Allego Is Changing the Sales Enablement World—to get more advice on how to help sellers enhance the buying experience.
2 Tips for Enabling Sales Managers
Sales reps need training and coaching, but so do sales managers. That’s especially true when an organization tends to promote sales reps into managerial roles, said Donovan during an episode of The Sales Hacker Podcast.
To help first-time sales managers succeed, the first thing you teach them is how to be selfless, Donovan told host Sam Jacobs. And that’s hard for them to do because a lot of first-time managers were individual contributors who focused on themselves and their goals.
As an individual contributor, “of course you care about your teammates. But now as you step into leadership, you are second. Your team is first; your team takes priority. Your needs go to the backseat, and that’s a hard transition to make,” he said.
The second thing first-time managers must be taught is to take off their superhero cape.
“Great sellers who become managers want to continue to be great sellers. They want to swoop in with their cape on and better their salespeople and sell for their salespeople,” Donovan said. “So, they aren’t teaching and coaching salespeople; they’re doing it for them.”
The solution involves developing your company culture and teaching people to “play the long game,” not looking for that quick sales high.
“It’s about building a team for the long run and ingraining that into people from day one so that they understand that it’s OK to fail. If you miss a month, a quarter or two, it’s OK so long as we’re building for the long term,” Donovan said.
>> Learn More: Listen to the episode—How to Take Risks and Fail Fast—to get more sales enablement strategy advice.