Sales team success occurs from more than just relationships and a good brand name. That supports only 5% of the sales population and for the rest, they require much more from their company. Sales are not unlike any other area of your business, contrary to popular rhetoric.
Established effective business units such as accounting, finance, and operations have well-defined structures, discipline, and resources that ensure the business operates effectively and your people excel. These processes encourage a positive contribution to the company. In a recent study conducted by Sales Focus International, it was identified that less than 35% of sales departments adhere to these types of formal structures. In order to align the performance of the sales team with their peers, a methodology of sales enablement should be applied. The question is what is sales enablement? It is best answered as:
Sales enablement is the ‘systematic approach to assisting salespeople to prepare for customer interactions, engage effectively with customers, and advance sales opportunities to close’.
The key to sales enablement is the facilitation of compelling content and communications whilst developing salespeople to tackle the most challenging and difficult tasks within their roles. Companies must embrace this critical function of sales enablement in order to succeed in current market conditions. The days of personality-driven sales and selling autonomy have given way to the pressure of highly competitive markets.
There are three key contributors to sales enablement
- Information, timing, and complexity
Training is a critical element that enables salespeople within your organisation. Effective training captivates, engages, and motivates stakeholders. Training programmes should be customised to meet the various levels of expertise that exists, for example, new hires vs existing salespeople. Further, to support the sales efforts the appropriate selling tools should be provided and made readily accessible. Appropriate collateral allows for active engagement with prospects and customers. This should include a breadth of instruments including, approved presentations, brochures, videos, et cetera.
- Process and systems
Sales enablement provides a consistent and systematic approach that promotes valuable conversations with customers. It promotes the correct and appropriate actions applicable at the various stages of the customer lifecycle. The facilitation of the practice maximises a return on investment.
The above statement clearly defines what sales enablement should look like for businesses today. It formalises a structure and process that eliminate practices and procedures that have failed in the past. This is the most complex area for companies as it requires them to consider the tools, information, technology, and importantly an understanding that will enable the sales force to be confident professional experts in customer facings. Sales enablement is about creating thinking individuals operating in a structured and focused manner capable of delivering the results.
- Alignment of marketing and sales
The successful alignment of sales and marketing will translate to success in many instances. These two functions complement one another. Further, silo thinking and behaviour is to be negated by all costs. It is common for many departments to develop silo mentalities, and this is often preceded, by lack of information sharing, reduced efficiency, and failing corporate culture. The successful alignment of these two departments can produce stellar revenue results. It fosters the correct presentation of brand messages and ensures that the tools developed by marketing remain relevant to the selling process.
To reflect upon your companies sales force alignment, let’s consider the following:
- Are you enabling your salespeople to create value at the highest level with customers?
- Are you providing salespeople with the tools and capability to support over goal sales results?
- Are you enabling your salespeople to develop customers with a lifetime value?
- Alternatively, are your sales teams unequipped, making them value destroyers?
- What kind of enabler are you?
Sales enablement is a critical function requiring structure and process to ensure it is supporting the sales end goals. Adele Crane assists companies in the implementation of sales enablement disciplines for companies. Please contact our office to discuss your specific situation.
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