The following guest post arrives courtesy of Monika Götzmann, EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company.
Sales organisations can find their overall sales performance suffering for a number of reasons, but one of the most common is a failure to provide their salespeople with all of the tools they need to achieve success. When this is the case, it may be time to invest in a more comprehensive sales enablement strategy.
CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group, define sales enablement as “a strategic, cross-functional discipline designed to increase sales results…by providing integrated content, training, and coaching services for salespeople and frontline sales managers along the entire customer’s journey, powered by technology.”
Here, we examine how businesses can successfully implement a sales enablement strategy in order to overcome ineffectiveness and improve their results.
Sales Enablement Services
Clearly, when it comes to enabling your sales team, things like sales training and coaching are important, and these should fall within your wider enablement strategy. However, in order to achieve success, you need to have a clear idea of precisely what it is you are looking to get out of your training.
In particular, you should have specific targets for the short, medium and long-term, and your training efforts should be measured, so that you can assess the extent to which targets are being met.
With that being said, enablement services do not stop with training and coaching. In fact, a significant part of enablement involves ensuring salespeople have access to the right content at the right time in order to advance a sale, and ensuring sales staff have access to technology that can assist them with their tasks.
Customer Journey Alignment
According to the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimisation Study, only 31 percent of businesses state that their sales enablement initiatives in the preceding two years met or exceeded the majority of their expectations. One of the biggest reasons for this is a lack of alignment with the customer journey.
Nevertheless, data from the study demonstrated a correlation between alignment and improved win rates, highlighting the value of aligned sales enablement. Indeed, those who dynamically aligned enablement with the customer journey enjoyed an improvement of 14.7 percent over the average win rate. For this reason, it is important to prioritise alignment to the customer journey first and foremost, before making adjustments.
“Listening to sales enablement discussions…I am astonished at how often the customers are not even mentioned,” says Tamara Schenk, research director of CSO Insights. “Effective selling requires salespeople to align their activities and behaviors to the customer’s journey.”
Avoiding Enablement Pitfalls
While ignoring the customer perspective is the most obvious reason for enablement failure, there are other pitfalls to be aware of. Avoiding these pitfalls can help you to reap the rewards and fall into the 31 percent of companies who initiate an enablement process that meets or exceeds expectations, driving improved win rates.
Miller Heiman Group’s infographic, entitled The 5 Top Derailers of Sales Enablement, points out that many companies find it difficult to break away from the way they have always done things, while successful enablement relies upon embracing new technology, new sales strategies and new methods.
Moreover, many organisations make the error of focusing their enablement efforts entirely on frontline sales staff. This is also a mistake, as many other groups, including sales development employees and sales managers, should be included in the process and enablement should always be cross-functional in nature.
Further information from Miller-Heiman on sales enablement can be found here.
Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It helps organisations improve sales performance with exceptional sales and service training. She enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts on service and sales training trends and strategies.