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Sales enablement best practices

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Sales enablement best practices

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One of today’s biggest misconceptions about sales is that “great products and services sell themselves.” But when salespeople lack the tools or knowledge they need to do their jobs, it doesn’t matter how great the product is—sales suffer.

What are the principles and practices at the heart of sales enablement?

One of today’s biggest misconceptions about sales is that “great products and services sell themselves.” But when salespeople lack the tools or knowledge they need to do their jobs, it doesn’t matter how great the product is—sales suffer.

What are the principles and practices at the heart of sales enablement?

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Sales enablement best practices

  1. 1. The most important digital play no one’s talking about: It’ s SALES ENABLEMENT (yes, really)
  2. 2. Introduction Here’s a simplified version of a business plan we see a Just take a look at the data 1: lot of these days: 41% of salespeople say that they don’t know which sales tools to use, how to use them, or when Step 1: Create a relevant, quality product/ On average, salespeople spend an estimated service/cupcake store that directly solves a 30 hours per month searching for and creating target customer’s need. their own selling materials Step 2: Watch the profits roll in. (“This That’s a lot of inefficient salespeople spending time away software/fitness class/chocolate-sea salt from their primary job – generating revenue. cupcake is amazing! It will sell itself!”) Random acts of sales It’s one of the most common misconceptions in business today. In fact, nothing sells itself. We all get that organizations need to make sales to drive revenue. But what are you doing to equip your people with the skills and knowledge they need to sell? If you’re honest with support: disjointed efforts that lead to yourself, it’s probably not enough. When it comes to sales enablement, most organizations practice what Forrester Research calls “random acts of sales support”: disjointed efforts that lead to unused unused tools buried somewhere on a tools buried somewhere on a web portal. web portal. 1 Source: IDC (International Data Corporation) INTRODUCTION /1
  3. 3. A framework for aligning sales As with any employee engagement, rallying sales teams to greatness means creating experiences that follow five Principle #3: Useful guiding principles. Helpful, generous, turning people into willing users and participants Principle #1: Purpose-led Anchored in the business and brand purpose and intent Principle #4: Intuitively designed Anticipating how users will want to interact Principle #2: Creative and cut-through Telling, enabling and building stories that cut through the clutter Principle #5: Expertly delivered Brought to life creatively, effectively and impactfully A FRAMEWORK FOR ALIGNING SALES /2
  4. 4. Sales Experience Required So how can you turn your 1. Sales tools This may sound familiar: a new sales tool is announced to your company into a selling machine? salesforce with great fanfare. It has attracted all sorts of attention (and dollars), but then fizzles out shortly after its launch (or sometimes even Sales enablement is, at its heart, about brand experiences: both the before). Why? Most likely because it simply wasn’t useful. experience your salespeople have with your brand (through tools, training, and messaging), and the brand experience they ultimately Sales tools need to be useful to be used. And the only people that can deliver to customers. confidently tell you what is useful are salespeople themselves. Involve them in every step of sales tool development – from identifying the need It’s up to you to craft these experiences in ways that inspire to prototyping and testing – to ensure tools are relevant, intuitive both audiences. and helpful. Let’s take a look at how you can make three common sales enablement touchpoints work harder for you – and your bottom line. 2. Sales training Be honest. When’s the last time you got excited about completing a corporate-mandated training course? Most of us see training as something to endure, not something of value – because frequently it just doesn’t add Four key value to the things that are most important to getting our jobs done.. More often than not, corporate training doesn’t capture the imagination of sales people who’ve heard it all before. ingredients: Successful training has four key ingredients: inspiration, instruction, exploration and evaluation. Most companies skip right over the inspiration part – and those programs are doomed from the get-go. You’ve got to inspire as well as educate, and that means ensuring that inspiration, salespeople truly understand the value they are offering customers – not just a list of product features. instruction, 3. Messaging. Salespeople need to deliver the right message to the right customer in the right way. So, yes, the message is critically important. But repeating your exploration message is not the same as staying on message. Message maps are useful tools, provided that the messages are targeted, differentiated, and answer real customer needs. (And, of course, that your people are trained correctly on their use). Successful messaging is as and evaluation. much about understanding your customers and your competitors as it is about knowing your company’s products and services. SALES EXPERIENCE REQUIRED /3
  5. 5. ABC: Always (and Anywhere) Be Closing Let’s face it. We communicate differently than we used to, and Not only are budgets tighter than ever, but time-to-market has the rise of smartphones, tablets, social networking and our accelerated in nearly every industry. Your window of opportunity always-connected culture means new opportunities for is small: Wait for the next regularly scheduled training module and sales enablement. you may be too late to capture the opportunity. Consider this: Salespeople need to be connected to the absolute latest information – and their peers – at all times. In a world where more and more 82% of millenials expect to have an app that helps people work outside traditional offices, it’s imperative to give them them gain knowledge and skills2 “anywhere access” to the knowledge they need to do their jobs successfully. 60% to 70% of work-related learning occurs in informal contexts 3 Instant messaging, social networks, Skype and other tools can put the latest information and advice at their fingertips. Use them. 10% of content delivered to sales reps is currently done so in “a useful format” 4 Training is no longer about one-and-done events or courses. Learning needs to be continuous, easy-to-access, and The 21st-century salesforce immediate to be most effective. is more social, mobile, and The days of (only) getting everyone together once a year to review the new sales aid are behind us. agile than ever before. 2 Source: ASTD (American Society of Training Professionals) 3 Source: ASTD (American Society of Training Professionals) 4 Source: Tinderbox ABC: ALWAYS (AND EVERYWHERE) BE CLOSING /4
  6. 6. Tech Support Of course, your salespeople aren’t the only ones living a more digital life. Your customers are too. That means that sales calls themselves are changing. There is still unparalleled value in face-to-face interactions, of course, but are your salespeople following their customers and prospects on Twitter? Do they schedule Skype touch-bases and “share screens” to go over quick updates? Send additional information that can be easily viewed/interacted with on a mobile device? Of course, your salespeople And how are those in-person sales calls going, anyway? We’ve seen sales forces have great successes with digital aren’t the only ones living selling tools, interactive content, and tablet-based programs. a more digital life. One caveat: we’re not advocating using technology for technology’s sake. We are advocating for using technology Your customers are too. to interact more frequently, more efficiently, and more organically with your most important audiences. Salespeople need to be trained on how (and when) to use technology and digital tools to become more effective. TECH SUPPORT /5
  7. 7. Cupcakes Anyone? Here’s the bottom line: successful sales enablement is critical to growth. (Don’t take our word for it: Fortune 500 companies with strong sales enablement programs report an average 15.3% growth). It takes a company-wide commitment to create the tools, training, and messaging that will best help your sales force succeed. It takes Fortune 500 companies a willingness to embrace our newly connected and digital world. And it takes a belief in the power of your people to deliver a top- notch brand experience. Or you could cross your fingers and hope to discover with strong that mythical product/service/cupcake that does indeed sell itself. (And if you find it, please let us know.) sales enablement Joe Panepinto, Phd is Vice President, Senior Strategist at Jack Morton. You can reach him at programs report strong growth. joe_panepinto@jackmorton.com. CUPCAKES ANYONE? /6
  8. 8. TALK TO JACK ABOUT JACK MORTON Jack Morton Worldwide is a global brand experience agency with offices on For information about Jack Morton, contact five continents. Our agency culture promotes breakthrough ideas about how liz_bigham@jackmorton.com. experiences connect brands and people—in person, online, at retail and Follow us on twitter @jackmorton through the power of digital and word of mouth influence. We work with Visit us online at jackmorton.com both BtoC and BtoB clients to create powerful and effective experiences that Read our blog at blog.jackmorton.com engage customers and consumers, launch products, align employees and build strong experience brands. Ranked at the top of our field, we earned over 50 awards for creativity, execution and effectiveness last year. Jack LEARN MORE Morton is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE: IPG). Look for Jack Morton’s forthcoming research on © Jack Morton Worldwide 2013 experience brands in March 2013. Additional research and white papers can be found on Jack Morton’s Slideshare channel. FURTHER READING Forrester Research, Sales Enablement Defined, Scott Santucci (2010) Jack Morton, Your People, Your Brand: Creating a brand means looking at the experience from the inside out (2013) ABOUT JACK MORTON /7

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