Even if your internal sales enablement audience – your sales force – loves what you do, it is not enough. Sales enablement’s effectiveness is measured at every stage along the customer’s journey. And that requires centering sales enablement strategies around the customer. Recent research by CSO Insights found that buyers want salespeople to do four things more often and more consistently:
- Understand their business
- Demonstrate excellent communication skills
- Focus on post-sale
- Give them insights and perspective
Based on these findings, sales enablement leaders should review their enablement strategies and sharpen them based on the selling behaviors that buyers expect. The key question for enablement leaders is, “Are the challenges in our sales organization currently addressed in our enablement strategy in a way that is designed to create the selling behaviors that buyers expect?” You should analyze this question during a review of your current enablement charter. If you don’t have one, create one, because capturing your priorities in a formal enablement charter can improve sales productivity by up to 27.6 percent. During your review, pay close attention to these areas:
1. Revisit how you provide product knowledge and how you develop business acumen.
Product knowledge is a prerequisite, of course, but it’s not the element that increases salespeople’s relevance, value and differentiation. Product knowledge covers all the capabilities your organization’s portfolio has to offer, but, in the age of the customer, buyers are primarily interested in what your product and services mean in their context. That requires connecting the dots between product knowledge and situational knowledge.
Your enablement challenge is to engage, equip and empower salespeople in a way that they are able to map their capability knowledge to their customers’ specific context using the situational knowledge of a specific buying scenario. Only then are your salespeople able to have business-level conversations, to inspire with insights and perspective, and to show buyers what your solutions would mean to them.
2. Make value messaging a top priority, and ensure its consistency across all training and content services.
In the age of the customer, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all value proposition. Instead, value messages have to be tailored to the different phases of the customer’s journey, to different buyer roles and buyers’ changing focus. While value messages have to be tailored, they also have to tell an overall consistent story throughout the customer’s journey. That requires a strategic approach, ideally orchestrated by sales enablement to ensure that value messaging can work as the glue that holds your enablement services together. It’s not easy to ensure that your value messaging is consistent from brand awareness, demand and lead generation throughout the different sales stages in all your enablement services, in product training, customer-facing and internal content. Without addressing these two areas properly in your enablement strategy, your sales force will have a hard time consistently and effectively providing insights and perspective.
There are two more areas that require revisiting your cross-functional collaboration abilities:
3. Collaborate with your sales managers, and ensure that they coach their salespeople along the entire customer journey.
We all complain about bad mass prospecting emails that come from salespeople who clearly didn’t do any research on the recipient of the message. Developing and implementing a coaching process that covers the entire customer journey helps, as does developing sales managers’ coaching skills accordingly. Formal and dynamic coaching approaches can improve win rates by up to 27.6 percent.
4. Collaborate with sales operations on processes, methodologies and customer’s journey alignment.
Effective enablement services cannot exist in a vacuum. Ideally, they are connected to the different phases of the customer’s journey that should be reflected in your internal processes. That requires close collaboration with sales operations professionals, who are usually responsible for designing and implementing a platform for sales productivity and performance. The better the customer’s journey is aligned to the internal processes, the better the quota attainment; improvements by 13.5 percent are possible, according to research.
After reviewing and adjusting these four areas, your enablement strategy will be much better aligned to meet the modern buyers’ expectations. That means your enablement approach will be set up for more business impact and greater success. It will be well-invested time. When do you begin?