Sales Enablement means different things to different people, and though the definition varies widely, it’s one of the fastest growing trends in the world of B2B selling. More than 59 percent of organizations report having a devoted sales enablement effort, but only 34 percent are achieving their goals. It’s vital, then, that organizations develop a master framework to make their sales enablement more effective.
Today on The Sales Evangelist, Byron Matthews, CEO of the Miller Heiman Group, shares his company’s findings on sales enablement and the trends we can expect to see in sales enablement.
The growth has been so explosive, in fact, that sales enablement effectiveness dropped off in 2017, largely because so many organizations were wading into the concept. The learning curve that resulted brought down the overall numbers in terms of effectiveness, but those numbers should rebound quickly.
Why sales enablement is exploding
When sales enablement emerged as a concept, it was limited primarily to larger companies. Now, organizations with teams of 5-10 people are investing in sales enablement, largely because of the tremendous innovation on the buyer’s side of the transaction.
Effective sellers need more than just sales training and CRM systems. The relationship between the buyer and the seller has dramatically changed and sellers need new content services to keep up.
Byron stresses that more informed doesn’t mean better informed. But, he said, only 23 percent of buyers even look to a salesperson as a source of information. More than half of buyers engage a salesperson only after they’ve decided on a solution.
Sellers must provide value, insights, data, and meaning to the buyer. Because buyers rarely seek out sellers, you’ll likely have to be very creative to figure out what their needs are.
Once you understand their needs, you should seek to inspire them and add value.
Sales professionals as content marketers
If engagement is lower, then the stakes are higher. So where are buyers finding their information?
Organizations realize that customers are looking to digital channels, so they must focus on their content to make sure that the messaging is effective.
Companies must thoroughly understand what is happening with their sellers, to include the challenges they are facing. All of the company’s stakeholders must put together a roadmap and plan the way ahead.
The amount of change requires sellers to adopt a more holistic view of performance and what drives it. The effort requires training, technology, and content, overlaid with a plan to move forward.
This “steering committee” design results in a tremendous amount of buy-in across the organization because each segment can see the importance of its own role in the effort. No one wants to be the weakest link.
On the contrary, when a sales plan lacks transparency, individual components lack buy-in, which results in delays and failures.
The future of sales enablement
Sales roles are certain to adapt in the near future, as will the sales model design.
The growth of technology and AI in sales will reduce the tedium in the process, and free people to focus on the larger components of sales rather than the tedious pieces. The net result will be a redeployment of resources across the sales industry.
The other change is a shift from EQ to IQ. In past years, emotional quotient was important for building relationships and dealing with people. Now the focus is flipping to analytical information as sales professionals learn to work in a data-rich tech environment.
The biggest challenge, Byron said, is that companies are reluctant to make the change quickly because changing the selling model is risky. It’s true, though, that the companies that move boldly into the change are seeing the best results.
“Sales Enablement” episode resources
Grab a copy of Byron’s book, Sales Enablement: A Master Framework to Engage, Equip, and Empower a World-Class Sales Force. The book emerged after Byron’s company realized the incredible demand for information about sales enablement, and it offers insight into best practices, examples, and frameworks for success.
Make sure you also grab your free excerpt of the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen from our sponsors at Wiley. It’s a fantastic way to learn what buyers are thinking and how to sell the way they want to buy.
Also, check out the Video Jungle podcast to discover how to use video to take your sales to another level.
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