This article was originally published on Business 2 Community on April 6th, 2018.
Sales enablement tools should be just that: tools that enable your sales team to work more efficiently and sell more of your products or services. It sounds simple enough, but according to Aberdeen research, about 92 percent of companies see lower conversion rates because of friction within the sales cycle.
In their eagerness to help their sales teams get the job done, too many sales leaders hamstring these efforts with misguided sales enablement strategies. They might make the mistake of throwing the wrong technology at the problem or provide lackluster content or inadequate coaching.
Want to avoid these pitfalls in your own organization? Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can implement to successfully empower your team to sell.
Evaluating Your Sales Enablement Tool Kit
Poor sales enablement efforts can take many forms. When it comes to technology, for example, some sales leaders prioritize customer relationship management systems that excel at tracking and forecasting opportunities through the pipeline instead of simplifying the sales process for their sales reps. Unfortunately, very few CRMs do both well. If you want to enable your sales team to sell more, make the sales process as simple as possible. It’s not about having the most tech tools; it’s about having the right tech tools.
Other times, leaders might focus on the wrong type of content for sales enablement. Giving your sales team members the right marketing content is a great way to help them articulate the value of your product and services to the prospect, but remember that content doesn’t close a sale — your reps do. Make sure you’re giving them something they will actually use.
Training is another challenge. We all know that practice makes perfect, but with the right kind of training, we continue to improve our performance even after we’ve mastered a skill. Role-playing alone won’t cut it for training and coaching. While some regular role-playing is helpful, it’s not reality. Without feedback on real examples, your team is missing a huge piece of the training puzzle.
Sharpening Your Team’s Skills
Do any of these struggles sound familiar? Maybe it’s time to ask yourself whether your sales enablement strategy is actually working. If you think it’s time to upgrade your strategy, consider starting with these four tactics:
1. Choose your technology wisely.
Don’t force sales reps to use technology that doesn’t enable them to sell more. According to InsideSales.com, sales reps spend only 37 percent of their time on revenue-generating activities. They also spend an astonishing 10 percent of their time working inside spreadsheets. Tech is here to help — but only if that tech empowers your sales team with efficiency and heightened productivity. At the end of the day, salespeople are held accountable for their performance. Don’t sacrifice team performance for tech features that might be useful to you alone.
2. Enable your sales team with the right content.
According to Salesforce research, 80 percent of salespeople in high-performing teams say their views on what they needed to exceed their goals aligned with their employers’ views. Not all content is created equal, however. Reps need content that helps them articulate your company’s value simply and efficiently. More content does not necessarily equal more sales. Don’t bog down the process by making your team recite passages of the beautifully designed marketing brochure you spent a quarter of your budget on if it’s not working.
3. Train hard — and train smart.
Although not always possible, leaders can provide the best coaching after sitting in on sales meetings and providing feedback immediately afterward, while it’s still fresh in their minds. If your team sells over the phone or via video conference, have team members record their meetings and review them together. Look at what your top performers are doing, and help your other salespeople replicate the behavior. To save time and maximize efficiency, you can use a coaching platform designed to help sales leaders coach more efficiently, including Balto Software, Chorus.ai, and Gong.io.
4. Empower your closers to close.
Clear the path for your closers to do what you pay them to do. Ideally, you have the time and resources to build out a top-notch prospecting team internally to tee up opportunities for your closers. If that’s not a viable strategy, use a technology that will help them prospect more efficiently, or outsource your appointment setting entirely so that your closers can focus on what they do best: closing new business.
We all have the same goal: to meet — and exceed — our revenue numbers. Most of us consider skills development and sales enablement critically important to this goal, but too many aren’t providing the tools and resources to enable their teams to succeed. Don’t let this be you. Get in the trenches, find out what your team needs, and empower them for peak performance.
Supporting your team and your pipeline with an outsourced lead generation provider may be the answer if you are looking to free your team to focus on closing deals. If you think you may be ready for outsourcing your lead generation efforts check out our guide, When it's Time to Outsource Your Lead Generation.