In case you needed further proof that sales enablement optimization is gaining momentum as a key factor in growth, look no further than this recent CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study. The survey results emphasize the importance of a dedicated and defined sales enablement process that is collaborative, dynamic and accountable. Increasingly, cross-functional responsibility for sales success is shared by product, marketing and sales teams, though sales enablement mostly reports to executive sales functions—over 60% of the time. The key is finding the right process and the right people to manage it.
The benefits of dedicating resources to structured sales enablement are obvious:
To name just a few.
Simply put, it saves time and makes money. Nearly 33% of respondents to the survey report focus on formal sales enablement efforts, up from 19% three years ago. Success means cultivating cross-functional cooperation and accountability.
Sales force enablement must constantly update the company’s responses to changes in the marketplace, which will require providing sales with a constant stream of new or improved information.
Sales process and practice must reflect the buyer’s journey and react to it. That requires study and knowledge. It requires attention and analysis. Loss rates go down 9% when sales enablement is aligned with the buyer journey. Win rates go up by 15% to 53%. (If you’re looking for a reason to get on the bandwagon, consider this: loss rates equal a disastrous 34.3% when the buyer journey is ignored. The first and most important step when integrating customer point of view into your strategy is win loss analysis.
Just ask them. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will get easier once you start getting measurable value from the exercise. We put together a pro win loss interview toolkit with CI expert Tim Rhodes that will outline the process for you. Build win loss analysis into every step of your sales cycle. The feedback will help you build better content across the funnel—especially important as more buyers access product information independently, leaving you less time to influence them directly. They have to see themselves and their needs reflected back to them in your inbound content as well as in the case studies, white papers, demos, webinars and product sheets that populate the late stages of the sales cycle. Sales enablement optimization requires customer POV to be integrated in your training and coaching materials, as well. Sales battlecards, on-boarding materials, training and forecasting all benefit from a holistic approach. You will gain smart competitive intelligence in addition to deep insight into your buyer’s needs and expectations.
All of this requires a functional team of people to be in charge and to accountable. That means a standardized system of measurement and a dynamic structure that allows quick adjustments in the face of market changes, trends and disruption.
Most frequently used channels used to share sales enablement content, such as sales battlecards and win loss analysis, are email, Sharepoint-like repositories and CRM platforms like Salesforce. The challenges to these systems include accuracy, relevancy and accessibility. Sales enablement optimization means providing tools that are current, targeted and available all the time, to anyone who needs it. Training, coaching and sales assets should be dynamic.
If your organization hasn’t embraced sales enablement optimization yet, I assure you, your dropping win rate will soon give you the motivation. The upfront costs of implementation and organization may be high, but once you get buy-in from key people who will benefit from this more strategic and practical approach, the results will prove the value of adoption.
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