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Marketing | Oct 17 2018
Monika Gotzmann on June 22, 2018 • 5 minute read
The CSO Insights 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study found that 59.2 percent of organizations now have enablement in place, compared with just 19.3 percent of organizations back in 2013. As recently as 2016, the figure was a little under 33 percent of businesses.
But, it’s not just growing. It’s morphing too. There is an increased focus being placed on the role of digital technology.
If your sales enablement team isn’t evaluating technology, you’re probably behind. In this article, I’ll share the various ways that digital technology is currently driving this enablement evolution and what you can do to take advantage of it.
One of the biggest ways in which digital technology is currently driving the evolution of sales enablement is through social selling. Put simply, this is where salespeople leverage social media in order to build deeper, more genuine, more mutually beneficial relationships with clients and potential future customers. They establish their own personal brand along the way.
According to research from CSO Insights, world-class organizations – defined as those who practice the top 12 sales performance behaviors – are two years ahead of average performers when it comes to adopting and seeing the value in social selling.
Moreover, the world-class segment outperforms all others by 21 percent. The success of Social Selling relies heavily on the strong alignment of social strategies of marketing and sales.
Aside from social selling, digital technology is also assisting organizations with their sales enablement strategy through content management solutions designed to provide easy access to content as well as the ability to track content effectiveness in the sales process. Ideally, this kind of system would be integrated with the company’s CRM system. Tools like HubSpot’s free CRM are built for social selling. The adoption of systems like these is very much in the early stages, as companies currently do not recognize the value they can add.
Among the key findings of the Pace Productivity report was the fact that around 22 percent of the average salesperson’s time is actually spent on selling activities. Around 12 percent is spent on order processing and post-sales tasks, while 23 percent is spent carrying out basic administrative tasks.
This research highlights one of the biggest potential uses for digital technology within the field of sales enablement – reducing some of the time spent on the ‘tedium of sales’ and freeing up sales reps to spend more of their time on ingenuity and selling. This is what they are actually hired to do in the first place!
In particular, artificial intelligence is emerging as an effective solution. It helps to automate many of the more repetitive administrative tasks, which do not necessarily require human involvement. This allows salespeople to focus their time on some of the more valuable sales activities, such as speaking with prospects on the phone, meeting with clients in person, connecting with people through social media, and so on.
Another of the most important ways that digital technology is helping to drive sales force enablement into a new age is through its use in assisting with training and coaching activities. In particular, voice recognition software and other methods of collecting behavioral data have become more popular. They help leaders better understand the specific strengths and weaknesses of individual sales team members.
Furthermore, we are seeing a decrease in the overall number of field sales teams as more and more business is done through teleconferencing technology. One of the key benefits of this shift is the fact that these sales conversations are easier to view and analyze, allowing for a more personalized, tailored approach to coaching.
In order to get the most from digital technology, however, it is important that sales manager training is provided regularly so that managers are kept up to date. This sales manager training should focus on equipping team leaders with the necessary skills and technical knowledge to make use of digital technology in their coaching.
Finally, in the modern age, it is no longer sufficient to leave customer service in the hands of the customer service department. Instead, sales organizations need to adopt the approach that your customers should always be at the core of your enablement efforts. Any team or department that interacts with the customer during their journey has an impact on this.
For this to be successful, all departments must align with this focus and digital technology can be crucial to enable success in this area.
“Every interaction a customer has with your business falls under the customer service umbrella,” says Michael Hawthorne, writing for the Miller Heiman Group blog. “Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter play an increasingly important role in the customer experience…but this communication needs to be carefully planned in order to manage customers’ expectations correctly and inspire trust.”
Sales enablement is a rapidly expanding concept within sales organizations. Most companies have dedicated teams in place and SMART goals that help them track monthly progress.
However, most are currently struggling to achieve their objectives. Technology is starting to help to drive the evolution of Sales Enablement through things like artificial intelligence, social media and specialist sales enablement training initiatives. These digital technologies can help companies to boost sales effectiveness, enhance learning and improve the overall customer experience. It looks like the digital evolution is just beginning in this area and we expect the daily work of salespeople to be transformed over the coming years with many new digital solutions.
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