Now’s the Time to Modernize Your Sales Enablement. Here’s Why
Turbulent times are coming. If your sales organization hasn’t felt the impact, you’re probably on edge, hoping to get through this economic crunch unscathed. You’re watching your reps very carefully and doing everything you can to ensure they close deals and hit their numbers.
But it isn’t easy. Competition is greater than ever, buyers are cautious, your industry is constantly changing, and sales managers have little time to ensure their reps get the coaching they need.
And with budgets expanding very little—if at all—everyone is being asked to do more with what they have.
There’s one thing that can help you, though: technology.
“Technology has evolved as a competitive weapon in sales,” said Jim Lundy, CEO and Lead Analyst at Aragon Research, during a recent webinar, How to Hit Your Team’s Numbers During Tough Economic Times. “The world will never be the same. And today, you need to outfit your sales organization with the right technology.”
Look at your tech stack to make sure you’re equipping your team so when they’re out in the field, they have the right tools so they can be successful, he said.
This is a different strategy compared with previous economic downturns, Lundy said. Fifteen years ago, companies would cut back everything. But now they realize they can’t cut tech because they won’t be able to compete virtually if they do.
Sales organizations have to invest in tech, he said, because virtual selling is on the rise. And teams must evaluate their tech stack to make sure they are equipped to help their reps win.
Companies that think virtual selling is going away as the pandemic lessens are mistaken, added Wayne St. Amand, Allego CMO.
“Selling today is hybrid. It isn’t either / or—in person or virtual. It’s a combination,” he said.
As such, sales reps must think about how to create presence in their absence.
“Your competitors are in there selling, too. So, you need a way to be ever present,” St. Amand said. “It’s hard, but if you use some of the new virtual selling and hybrid selling techniques, you can create a presence outside of the normal meeting schedule, which is incredibly powerful.”
How Automation Helps Sales Teams
Leading sales organizations recognize the power of automation and are adopting technology to help both their sales managers and their sales reps.
For example, sales managers are using automation to inspect more deals in play, coach more reps, and provide ongoing training.
“A good sales manager has to manage seven things every day, and many can’t do it all,” Lundy said. “Automation helps them accomplish those tasks, as well as receive the coaching they need so they can coach their team.”
And reps are using automation tools to do role-playing, perfect messaging, improve virtual selling skills, and have personalized conversations and interactions with buyers, he said. As a result, sales readiness increases, reps have more productive conversations, deals move faster, and more sales are closed.
3 Modern Sales Enablement Tools to Adopt Now
1. Modern Sales Content Management
Microsoft Office and Google Suite are not sufficient for today’s sales teams. To compete in today’s economy, sales teams must use a modern sales content management system. Not only does it make it easier for sellers to find content, but content creators can provide guidance on how to use that content most effectively.
Plus, marketers can activate content in flexible ways that drive both awareness and adoption. This is done by pairing it with messaging, talk tracks, and win stories in an engaging video format to highlight the best use of the content, and recommend deal-specific content based on sales stage, competitors, and other factors.
With a modern sales content management system, marketers can also monitor whether reps use the content. And reps can see if their prospective buyers are engaging with the content they send them.
“If you’re still using Microsoft Office for your sales enablement, you’re doing it wrong,” Lundy said. “It’s time to upgrade and get real sales enablement. You won’t believe the analytics you can get to understand what’s really going on with your team’s outreach or the proposals your reps are delivering.”
2. Modern Sales Learning and Coaching
A corporate learning management system (LMS) might be a solid choice for company-wide compliance or training, but it isn’t suﬃcient to meet the unique requirements of your sales team. The elements of success are: micro-learning in the moment of need and informal, peer-generated information from the front lines of customer conversations.
Modern sales learning and coaching has six key components:
- Just-in-Time Learning: Reps have access to information when the need arises
- Peer-to-Peer Collaboration: Reps share insights and expertise from the field
- Coaching and Feedback: Reps practice their skills and receive feedback while on the go
- Field Reinforcement: Training is delivered when and where it’s convenient
- Micro-Learning: Reps receive high-impact, bite-sized content that is easier to remember and retain
- On-Demand Access: Reps can get information anywhere, anytime
Modern learning and coaching tools improve business outcomes two ways. First, by increasing coaching capacity via asynchronous collaboration that doesn’t take up selling time and second, by automating learning based on what’s happening on calls.
“If you’re still using a corporate LMS, I would argue it’s time for change, as an LMS does not go far enough,” Lundy said.
3. Conversation Intelligence
Conversation intelligence is the killer app that takes sales coaching to a whole new level, Lundy said. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to record, transcribe, and analyze sales calls to generate recommendations—powering every aspect of sales enablement with data-driven insights into performance.
With access to data from conversation intelligence, sales managers can identify skill gaps, prescribe training to fix the specific behaviors that lose deals, extract best practices for their entire team, and keep deals moving through the pipeline.
Conversation intelligence improves business outcomes by creating a culture of coaching and experiential learning based on deep call, market, and deal intelligence, St. Amand said.
It’s like coaching from “game tape.” Sales managers observe exactly how sellers interact with buyers in the field, the precise language they use, how they describe the company’s value proposition, and how they handle (or don’t handle) objections.
“Make it a goal to have a conversation intelligence tool before your next sales kickoff,” Lundy said.
Modern Sales Enablement Increases Sales Performance
Sales enablement is a core component of the new tech stack. It’s the anchor application for day-to-day selling: providing on-demand access to the right content and just-in-time peer insights, enabling virtual selling via digital sales rooms, reinforcing messaging, and supporting personalized coaching.
“More importantly, you can increase the performance of your teams faster with a sales enablement platform than without one,” St. Amand said. “When your fundamentals are strong, technology can turbo-charge performance and success.”
Download The New Virtual Selling Tech Stack: Essential Capabilities for Mastering Virtual Selling to learn the critical technology your team needs to build trust, nurture relationships, and close deals virtually.