Sales enablement enables sales teams by various means—the most common being content management systems. But in the post-pandemic world, sales enablement can’t be just contained within the peripheries of making the right content available. With the ever-evolving market requirements, the vendor/seller must meet those needs and go the extra mile to convert a prospect to a client/buyer.
What is the extra mile? Let’s take a quick look at the factors accounting for the need for a strong sales enablement strategy and how to make it work for your sales team.
Problem statement from Buyer’s perspective
In his 2021: The Sales Enablement Year In Review blog, Peter Ostrow, VP (Research Director) of Forrester, states that 'Millennials & Gen Z workers are graduating to leadership & purchase influencer roles and are holding significantly different expectations of sellers than the previous generation. They demand both instantaneous access to information and increased engagement before making a purchasing decision.'
Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Survey highlights that the buying cycle is now split 45/55 between personal and self-guided interactions.
Gartner indicates the distribution of buying group’s time as 27% spent researching independently online, 22% meeting the buying group, 18% researching offline, 16% misc./other activities and only 17% in meeting the potential supplier/seller of the product.
Problem statement from Seller’s perspective
It is critical for a seller to create engaging conversations along with the precise information that the buyer is after when they need it and how they want it. The problem is in creating content and getting it to the right people at the right time.
Today's sellers spend 16.4% of the sales cycle managing internal complexities.
One of the Forbes leadership articles opines that around 80% of the content created by marketing goes unused by sellers because they are either unaware that it exists or don’t have the time to find it.
How do you bridge the two?
The solution to the challenges buyers and sellers face is a Sales Enablement Automation (SEA) solution.
Bertil Chappuis, Sr. Partner in McKinsey discusses the new trends that are driving sales operations today. He indicates that 'companies that build world-class sales-operations functions can realize one-time improvements of 20 to 30% in sales productivity, with sustained annual increases as high as 5 to 10% in some cases. Our research also shows that companies that invest one resource in sales support for every front-line sales resource drive significantly higher sales productivity than companies that invest less.'
That said, the arduous task of choosing the right fit from the plethora of available platforms is also concerning. Organizations need to focus on tools that can offer:
- features to learn with modern tech inclusive ways in contrast to the existing ways
- feature to provide feedback
- features to enable friendly communication between the trainer and the trainee
In his article about sales enablement tools, Jordan Bryan from Gartner says 'There has been an increase in the use of complex machine learning algorithms and AI included in sales training and coaching technologies.'
Sales enablement automation solutions that offer a quick plug-&-play functionality should be a good option. For instance, a feature to quickly create or play around with already available templates of Sales Playbooks, where the marketing team needs to place the content, and voila, it’s ready to be consumed!
Sales enablement automation that can easily integrate external data sources and serve as a single, well-synched source of truth for all the content, if made available for the sales team, could greatly help the team.
As Peter Ostrow rightly says in his blog 'Sales enablement functions must be agile in supporting sellers as buyer needs change, namely optimizing competencies and internal processes to reflect new priorities and expectations.'
Sales enablement solutions must be tech inclusive, agile, provide easy integration, and be flexible functionality-wise.
Now coming to analytics. AI/ML is here to stay and has been instrumental in many domains, including increased sales!
Steve Rittberg, Sr. Director Analyst in Gartner, states in a press release 'Advancements in sales technology, particularly in the areas of AI and ML, are forcing sales enablement leaders to rethink seller skills they will need to teach and enable.'
The above-mentioned measures are only a few out of the whole list of solutions that would help the sales team do their job more effectively. A sales enablement automation solution could be a win-win for both—the seller, who would struggle less to sell the right product with the right information & the buyer, who will not be overwhelmed by non-useful product information and will be able to make an informed decision!