3 Sales Enablement Trends Shaping Seller and Buyer Experiences
The B2B buying journey has changed tremendously. It’s no longer linear, it’s digital, buyers are much more empowered, and there are multiple stakeholders on the journey, each taking their own path.
In a word, it’s complicated. That means B2B selling is harder than ever.
When things get complicated, people seek clarity. They want someone to make things easier. Sellers must enable buyers differently to help them navigate the purchasing process. And that means sales organizations need a new approach to sales enablement.
It’s up to sales enablement and marketing to make things easier for sellers. Sales teams must ensure reps have the best training, tools, and content to win deals.
Reps must then use those resources to make the buying process easier. If they can do that, they’ll be able to engage today’s B2B buyers and close more deals..
3 Cs of Sales Enablement
Three sales enablement trends are influencing the seller and buyer experience: convenience, customization, and comprehensive technology.
In today’s virtual world, sellers and buyers want a convenient way to collaborate, highly customized experiences and content, and comprehensive technology that reduces the number of tools needed. When organizations address all three, they provide the type of buying experience both sellers and buyers crave.
During a recent webinar, Enablement Leader’s Guide to the 3 Macro Trends Shaping Sales and Buyer Enablement, I had the pleasure of talking with Allego’s Laurie Long, Chief Customer Officer, and Bob Basiliere, Vice President of Sales, about the rise of those trends, their impact, and how organizations can create convenient, hyper-customized experiences using comprehensive technology.
Here are three Cs and key takeaways from our conversation regarding the latest sales enablement trends.
1. Convenient Access to Information Boosts Engagement
When things get complicated, people want convenience. This applies to buyers and sellers alike.
Sellers need a convenient way to learn and get content—so they can understand and succeed in a complicated world. Learning must be highly tailored and easy for them to consume and absorb. And it must be available within the sellers’ flow of work.
Sales teams also need a tool that makes it convenient for sellers to connect with buyers and share information with them. It must be agile and available on any device, from any location.
“Sellers and buyers are really, really busy. And sales enablement teams want to make it easy for salespeople to connect with their buyers,” Long said.
Long also said sellers must be able to quickly change direction during the course of a conversation and substitute content based on what the buyer says.
“How many times have people gotten onto a call with a prospective customer, thinking they know what they’re interested in buying, and then they learn in the middle of the call that the customer is interested in something else,” she asked. “Sales enablement must make it convenient for salespeople to quickly pivot and demonstrate they heard what the buyer said to them.”
Like sellers, B2B buyers want convenience—a single point of access for information in a world where having multiple tools creates confusion instead of efficiency. Buyers also want conversations to have relevance. Sellers who provide those things will stand out and win deals faster.
It boils down to making the buying journey as easy as possible for customers. One aspect of that is determining the best way to communicate with stakeholders. That isn’t always via a live meeting. Sometimes asynchronous communication is better.
While sellers have always been able to communicate asynchronously via email, they have better options available to them today.
“The problem [with email] is the number of transactions in that communication process in any typical sales flow is tremendous. It’s nearly impossible to collaborate with lots of people via an email chain,” Basiliere said.
Fortunately, sales teams have new technologies, including Allego’s Digital Sales Rooms, that allow sellers to create digital collaboration spaces. These spaces are very secure, and by simply clicking a link, decision makers can see all the communication and content in one location. That includes recordings of meetings, content relevant to the conversation, and contract documents.
Takeaway: Create agile sellers who can differentiate themselves and win deals faster with a single point of access for information for themselves and their buyers.
2. Customization Improves Relevance
Convenience is one thing, but if the learning and content is not relevant, it will fall on deaf ears.
On the learning side, 75% of employees say they want personalized courses based on their goals and skill gaps. So, sellers need relevant content that’s going to help them and make them top performers.
On the content side, marketing must collaborate with sellers to ensure they produce content that’s relevant to buyers. Sellers must be able to access the right learning and content to create a valuable buyer journey.
Long concurred, saying marketing plays an important role in creating the content and then organizing it so sellers can quickly find relevant information for buyers. Then sales enablement can create a template for a Digital Sales Room that sellers can personalize based on the buyer’s needs and interests.
Types of personalized, customized content that sellers can share include their observations about a trend or issue, case studies, product sheets, and explanations about how they can solve the buyer’s problem.
“Allego customers are really personalizing the collaboration spaces they create and using them to stay connected with their buyers,” Long said. “These aren’t just static content centers, but spaces where they guide the buyer through the process personally.”
Sellers can then monitor the buyer’s engagement with the content. Are they downloading the documents, watching the videos, sharing the content, or asking if others can access the content? High engagement not only ensures the content is on target, but it also indicates high interest.
This type of personalized content helps sellers create presence in their absence.
In a virtual world, it becomes increasingly difficult to build credibility and trust with your buyer outside of a live meeting or a live webinar. But strategies like these make connections easier and make interactions more impactful.
Basiliere agreed, saying, top sellers orchestrate the entire process and all the players to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
One thing sales reps can do is create short custom videos and insert them in many forms of communication. By doing so, they’ll provide a much more personalized experience, Basiliere said. This is especially effective—and important—when sellers can’t meet buyers in person like they used to.
“It’s about creating an experience for the buying group,” he said.
Guided selling tools can also help sellers personalize their interactions with buyers, Long added. They can, for example, automatically identify the best content and collateral to share with buyers based on customer type, opportunity stage, and product and present it to sellers within their CRM.
Takeaway: The key is to provide the customized content in the flow of the seller’s work. Don’t make them go into another tool to go looking for it.
3. Comprehensive Sales Technology Saves Time and Effort
Sales teams have many tools available to them—maybe too many. Allego research revealed that sales teams have an average of 5-13 tools. It also found that using multiple tools at once can seem like a second job for both sales leaders and reps—and this can end up undermining the impact of those tools.
When you think about the day in the life of a seller, it’s become very difficult for them to navigate that complexity. As a result, sales teams end up with wasted resources and missed quotas. In fact, 76% of companies say poor adoption of sales tools is the top reason why teams missed their sales quotas.
Sellers need a comprehensive, easy-to-use platform that provides multiple capabilities, eliminating the need to log into multiple tools, improving adoption, and increasing efficiency and productivity.
The modern definition of sales enablement spans beyond just onboarding, training, and coaching. It includes marketing and product teams working together to launch products and deliver messaging to the sales team. It includes sales content management. And it involves empowering sellers in a digital and virtual environment.
Top-performing sales organizations are implementing tools that allow them to centralize all those sales activities, Long said. Plus, they’re making it possible for sellers to access everything via any device.
With sales organizations having so many tools, it’s imperative they make sure they’re being used and delivering value. They must assess whether sellers are having any issues using the tools—if they’re using them at all—and if their tech stack can be simplified.
Takeaway: Identify all the tools your team has, evaluate their capabilities, assess their usage, and consider whether you can gain further efficiencies with a comprehensive solution that collapses your tech stack and combines some of your disparate tools into one.
Better Seller and Buyer Experiences
Seller and buyer expectations have changed. Both groups demand highly customized and convenient selling and buying experiences—and comprehensive sales technology to facilitate the process. Organizations that deliver those things will help their sellers stand out and achieve greater success.
Watch Enablement Leader’s Guide to the 3 Macro Trends Shaping Sales and Buyer Enablement to get advice on how to create convenient, hyper-customized experiences.