January 20, 2017 by Kimberly Mercer
Sales enablement is a deceptively simple term that encompasses pretty much everything and everyone customer-facing. It’s the process of empowering your teams and optimizing your tools to offer both strategic and tactical support across the entire sales cycle and account life. In short, win all the customers and keep them happy. Repeat. When a mandate is so big, it can be difficult to break it down into manageable, bite-sized pieces. So, this week, we’re highlighting three measurable advantages of sales enablement and specific metrics you can use to track your success.
The churn rate of sales personnel is estimated at around 25%. That’s unacceptable. And costly. If your churn rate is higher than ten percent, you have a problem with your process. People are an investment. Of time and money. Of space and effort. You put a lot of planning into hiring the right people. So, why not put that same effort into setting them up to be the best at what you hired them to do? You can’t just give them a laptop and send them out into the world, armed with nothing but Slack and an outdated deck. Why would you do that to someone?
Sales enablement begins on day one. Get new sales hires up to speed as quickly as possible to get them in the field, selling successfully. Training materials should include smart competitive intelligence and best practices on how to use it. Give them the tools to win and, assuming you hired the right people, they probably will.
An increased ramp time to productivity means higher revenue, sooner. It means happy, successful sales reps who are as invested in you as you are in them.
The truth is, we have less control over the sales cycle than ever before. Buyers listen to peers and do their own discovery long before they contact you. So, when you’re finally chatting in person, you don’t have a lot of time—they’ve already got a good idea of what their best options are. You have less time to convince them that the best option is yours.
Drop smart competitive intelligence into your funnel, starting right at the beginning. You’re not there to hold their hand, but you can still position your solution against your rivals. Your goal is to stand out as a thought leader and guide to someone who has a million other things to do and wants to be confident in the choices they bring back to other stakeholders. Help them look good. Help them help you. That’s how sales enablement flows through the sales cycle and optimizes every opportunity to send a very clear message – you are the better choice.
Give sales reps what they need to reinforce that message. Product sheets, demos, case studies, sales battlecards—all of it should offer a strong argument for movement to the next stage of the decision. Be mindful of your audience and the unique use requirements that may exist across different departments. Being bulletproof at this stage gets you the win.
Don’t stop at the win. Work just as hard—some would argue harder—after you’ve converted the sale. Great sales reps continue to monitor the client well after all the ink has dried. Smart Product Marketers understand that feedback from key users is like gold—they mine it to improve existing content and assets.
Win-loss analysis is a good place to start. You can download our win-loss toolkit here. There’s always room for improvement and this can give you an idea of where your gaps are. It’s a good way to get some intel on your top competition. Asking the right questions can yield a surprising amount of unfiltered insight on who was in the running with you.
Enabling customer success agents with key competitor intelligence and sales enablement training can give you an early-warning advantage in case a client shows signs of dissatisfaction or a rival comes snooping around. It’s not enough to get a heads up that someone called in asking to be matched to a competitor’s offer; no, you need to consider that a direct attack and go further to keep your customer base happy.
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