We are hearing more and more today about the rise of Sales Enablement tools, many AI driven, that accelerate and enhance the Sales Team’s customer outreach. What exactly are Sales enablement tools? Sales enablement refers to technology and related applications that are designed to help your Sales Team do their job more efficiently. It’s more than just call tracking, these tools educate and coach your Sales team making them much more effective in real time. Most integrate into your existing CRM solution while others can stand alone. Through apps, they can facilitate an automatic linkage between your other Marketing and Sales tools, providing visibility into your KPIs and strategies. With 43% of B2B buyers reporting to Gartner that they prefer a “seller-free” experience, Sales Enablement tools are becoming a necessity in the modern Sales Organization for B2B and B2C sellers.
There are numerous tools to select from. When working with a client, I first conduct an audit to understand the metrics they're already collecting because I believe that when you build a SMarketing (sales & marketing) engine, you do so based on the outcome you are trying to achieve. First, I learn which metrics have been successful for a client who is meeting their objectives. I double down on the tactics driving the success, and identify which metrics need to be improved to drive growth. Next, I understand their short and long term corporate goals and assess the existing Sales platforms/tools already in use. Sales Enablement tools are designed to automate many routine Sales tasks, streamlining workflow and adding back valuable time into their day. Choosing the appropriate Sales Enablement tools should be part of your broader Sales Management Strategy and Execution Plan.
Most Sales Enablement tools have been commoditized over the last three years because many companies pivoted during the pandemic to a streamlined, customer first approach turning to technologies that require Sales representatives to assume the duties of a Brand Development Rep (BDR) driving both Marketing and Sales with prospects. Additionally, McKinsey and Gartner both reinforce that your next sales leader needs to be a hybrid Marketing-Sales expert on your sales team. Therefore, we see not only usage of these tools increasing but also proliferation of new Sales Enablement tools in the marketplace.
Here are the four foundational categories of Sales Enablement tools to help you get started, many tools play across these three categories:
Figuring out which Sales enablement tools are right for a client, I go right to the Sales & Marketing funnel, to understand their sales velocity (how many days in the funnel) and analyze the data. Essentially, it’s a gap analysis of how clients use their existing data and what data are missing. I’ll first look at who's responsible to fill funnel – normally this is Marketing. Then I'll look at the sales compensation plan to see if it is driving the results we want and finally, are we selling the products and services that contribute to the bottom line? What’s the revenue? Have we optimized the funnel to improve revenue generation? This also allows me to plan out how the incremental revenue generated via the new Sales enablement tools offsets the investment in those tools.
I always follow the money. When I evaluate existing sales processes and plans, I look at the current margin on net revenue, how long it the sales cycle going to take? Is this plan easy to execute? Is the sales leader able to pass along the plan to the reps without any friction? I also look at how to remove friction going from top of funnel (Marketing) to the bottom – (orders going to the CSR group or the reps). I study all the pinch points within that customer journey and then I work with sales leadership on improving the handoff between Marketing and Sales and work with them on continuing the story throughout the funnel. It always starts with follow the money. I’m then able to recommend the Sales enablement tools that best meet the needs of the client from a need and budget standpoint.
Once we’ve selected and installed the new tools it becomes critical to embed them into the Sales Organization as part of their business system. It’s where the rubber meets the road and it’s also the most challenging part of this process. This is the work I love to do for my clients. I begin by creating a Tiger Team with the CRO, the CMO and me as the fractional CSO. We meet daily for 20 minutes to troubleshoot during the installation of the new Sales Enablement software. Post installation, I transition those meetings to track progress integrating these tools across the organization. I’ll either be onsite personally for the first week of integration, or we’ll hold the meeting virtually – both approaches work extremely well. We build metrics with dashboards that we review daily. Additionally, I am speaking daily with the sales reps, in one to one meetings, reviewing those dashboards. There are always issues to uncover and work through. For example, why can't we get certain data? The answer I might hear is, Zoominfo doesn't work correctly, or LinkedIn doesn't have emails or no one's calling me back. From there I can help troubleshoot solutions and I can also work up-funnel and help analyze marketing’s efforts. Why are people coming back? Are we not hitting the right pain points? This work is crucial to maximizing the ROI on a Sales enablement tool investment.
Think of technology as your friend. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. I've always used technology because it provides clear measurement to goals. There's a point that occurs for all companies where they must begin to use some type of technology to measure success or failure. I help my clients get comfortable with this concept while helping them build the right Sales enablement structure to accelerate their revenue growth. Clients, particularly the sales leaders I work with, appreciate this new approach because it helps them win. And if you're always winning, because you reach your goals faster, you and your team are motivated to do even more.
At Chief Outsiders our CSOs not only are great sales leaders and understand sales tools, but they also bring methodologies and the training that helps to build a strong Sales Enablement engine. Our CSOs know how to assess and build the appropriate engine to bridge the gap between marketing and sales all the along the customer journey.
If you want to grow your revenues by optimizing your sales approach with the right technologies, processes and messaging we should connect. You do not want to be left behind!