Winning With an Evolved Sales Enablement Program
2020 was a transformational year for sales enablement programs. The challenges caused by COVID-19 launched a boom in virtual selling and an estimated 90% of B2B sales are now virtual.
Sales organizations ramped up tools and tactics to support this new paradigm, with mixed success:
- 48% of sales professionals say remote selling has made it harder to close deals.
- 62% of sales professionals say they’ve lost a sale because they couldn’t meet personally with a buyer.
This data reveals the impact of the pandemic. Virtual selling requires new skills, new content, and increased “backstage” support. Practice, role playing, call coaching, reinforcement—all the traditional tools in a sales manager’s arsenal—have typically been done in person.
But with reps AND prospects working remotely, making quota is harder than ever. Sales leaders are often no longer physically in the same office for observation and mentoring of their team. And fewer buyers are opting to meet face-to-face, with many preferring virtual engagements as a first point of contact.
Today’s sales organizations must evolve to meet these new demands—or risk falling behind competitors who are taking their sales enablement programs to the next level. To be effective, companies must rethink how they onboard, train, and enable both new hires and veteran performers.
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales enablement is having a moment. Selling is harder than ever and more organizations are dedicating people, processes, and technology to supporting this critical function.
If you work in sales or marketing, chances are you’ve recently heard the term sales enablement. Although it’s a hot topic, there seems to be some confusion around how the profession is changing during this inflection point in its history.
According to SiriusDecisions, “The job of sales enablement is to ensure that salespeople possess the skills, knowledge, assets, and processes to maximize every buyer interaction.”
At its core, your sales enablement program is the ongoing process of maximizing revenue per rep, by ensuring sellers convey the right concept using the right content throughout each stage of the buying process.
The essentials include content, skills training, knowledge, coaching, and tools to effectively sell your product or service. These tactics must be integrated, driven by a unified strategy, and enabled by sales enablement technology.
Today’s competitive economy—and the new requirements of virtual selling—have increased demand for sales enablement. There is a greater need for sales teams to be flexible and responsive and to align more closely with their marketing teams.
Functions that were siloed—training, learning, and coaching—are merging with content creation and management. Now that most B2B sales are virtual, a holistic sales enablement program is more critical than ever for keeping teams on track.
Choosing the Right Technology
Evolved sales enablement is rep-centric, AI-scaled, and virtual-first. Not all sales enablement technology is created equal. It’s vital to implement tools that your team will actually use and that will help them perform their jobs more effectively. Three core capabilities of your sales enablement technology:
Evolved sales enablement arms your sellers with the right content at the right time, but also surrounds that content with the insights and institutional knowledge they need to leverage it for maximum impact.
Evolved sales enablement supports scalability and efficiency for distributed teams to empower as many reps as possible with the right training and content. But remember, even the best technology is ultimately powered by the people that use it. An ideal solution blends the benefits of artificial intelligence with the human element, allowing your team to work more efficiently without sacrificing quality.
Evolved sales enablement measures everything your sellers do and translates both quantitative and qualitative data points into actionable reporting and analytics. This enables continuous improvement and brings transparency to your sales enablement program’s impact on business performance.
Future-Proofing Your Sales Organization
Businesses—and markets—change all the time. New competitors, new products, and new customer needs can disrupt your current plans overnight.
Your company might be growing, making it risky to rely on an informal or dated onboarding process. Your reps may sell a rapidly-changing product or service. You may do business in a regulated space with stringent compliance requirements. Your buying process may have become more complex. You could have significant messaging changes related to M&A or a new go-to-market strategy.
These are challenges that most companies will face at one time or another. According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, there are over 30,000 new products introduced every year, and 95% fail. Many organizations must shift their sales strategy or make major changes to their value proposition over time.
The new normal is continuous disruption and adaptation. And in this environment, evolving your sales enablement program is critical to drive sales success.
Get your copy of Sales Enablement Evolved to learn how to evolve your sales enablement initiatives for a new era of success.