For many sales enablement and training professionals, it’s hard to know where you are, where you should go and how to get there in terms of setting your enablement plan for the year. To gain an understanding of how you stack up and where to go next, you can look at what leaders in the field are doing. The following insights are based on research that asked a group of Fortune 500 sales enablement leaders questions about 20 moments that occur in most sales cycles.

Leaders actively trying to improve...

Below are the top five sales enablement priorities of Fortune 500 companies.

1. Sharing a Point of View or Insight

There are two distinct approaches to driving improvements in salespeople’s ability to deliver insights to customers. The first is creating insights and a point of view centrally. This responsibility typically falls to the marketing team, and then the enablement team is responsible for getting the materials in the hands of the field reps and helping them practice delivering the messages. The second approach is the development of an insight creation tool that brings together customer understanding, the translation of data into insights and a format for the conversation. Choosing between these two models depends on how capable and creative your field organization is, but often, it’s best to use the central model initially.

2. Gaining Access to an Executive

The focus on getting in front of executive buyers stems from sales approaches that tell reps to sell higher, frequently above their traditional contacts within a function. To accomplish this task, many sales organizations are looking to social selling and account-based marketing tools. Whatever the tool your organization uses, the best way to obtain a meeting with an executive is to be referred by someone he or she trusts. If a referral isn’t possible, reps must immediately demonstrate that they understand what the executive cares about and that they can drive those results.

3. Uncovering Customer Needs and Priorities

Many sales methodologies rely on extensive questioning to uncover customer needs, but today’s buyers have less time and patience for this approach than ever before. The best sales teams have pared back the number of questions they ask by creating separate questioning models for different buyer personas. In doing so, they ensure that every question is interesting and meaningful and that discovery feels less like a lengthy interrogation and more like a conversation that rapidly converges on a solution.

4. Driving Adoption and Usage

There has been a recent shift to subscription sales and consumption pricing, particularly in software but increasingly elsewhere as well. Leading sales forces know that it’s no longer just the initial sale to IT or the business that matters but also getting users throughout the customer organization on board. The best enablement teams are creating customer success enablement and training that align with their sales approach.

5. Creating and Presenting a Proposal

As customer expectations shift, buyers are less interested in lengthy proposals that aren’t relevant to the results they care about. Leading enablement teams work with their marketing counterparts to create industry- or function-specific proposals and then curate carefully to ensure that salespeople know where they are and can quickly customize them. The proposals often center around the unique value that their solution offers to a specific buyer type rather than its features generally.

What to Do Now

To start quickly on improving your sales enablement, look at these five sales moments and how they connect to your team. There’s a good chance that these moments are the places you should start. If one or more doesn’t seem critical to you, uncover your own priorities: Ask yourself how your organization stacks up in the importance of each moment in your sales cycle, compare that information with how competent your sales team is in each moment and use the difference as a guide for crafting your enablement plan.

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