I enjoyed participating in the launch of the Sales Enablement Pro Soiree on 22nd May and reading the report The State of Sales Enablement Pro 2019. The report tracks the growing maturity and business impact of sales enablement, and I have highlighted below what you need to know.
Sales enablement unlocks tangible business gains in the form of increased win rates, quota attainment retention and collaboration. I agree with Brainshark who say sales enablement is more of a philosophy or strategic approach than it is a specific step-by-step plan. The actual tactics of sales enablement will be different for each company depending on their size, resources, and industry.
In the 1990s, I was a seller of financial products to individuals and businesses, in the time of cold calling and targets. Since then what I have experienced and learnt is that while only 50% of salespeople hit their quota, it is not because they cannot sell. It is a combination of the culture does not support customer-centric habits, the coaching and mentoring are not personalised, the customers’ experience is not consistently satisfactory, and the sales, marketing, operations and business strategy is not fully aligned to a customer-centric mission.
As a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management, supporting companies in Key Account Management, I do not teach sales professionals to sell. Through Scale Your Sales my sales enablement framework, I transform salespeople and processes to build digitally connected key account relationships consistently. Scale Your Sales is a strategic transformation to enable sales.
The sales enablement report findings document the perspective of sales leaders versus (vs) sales enablement who think buyers have become more consensus drive in the last 18 months and the leading causes surveyed are:
- 45% sales leader’s vs 42% of sales enablement state buyers conduct extensive research before engaging with sales.
- 49% vs 51% of buyer require further justification
- 50% vs 41% of buyers have increased expectations of value-added insight
- 49% vs 39% buyers look to peers for recommendations about vendors
- 19% vs 30% of Buyers are more impatient and expect immediate responses
- 45% sales leader’s vs 23% sales enablers of buyers are consensus-driven.
The Sales Enablement Pro Soiree in London was a collection of sales thought leaders and sales enablers. We heard some of the research findings teams that invest in sales enablement see:
- Reps achieve 35% higher quota attainment
- Experience 25% lower rep turnover
- In Europe sales enablement process and practice longer than two years’ experience 70% quota attainment compared to 51% less established
- 23% higher lead to conversion rates
- 13% higher win rate for companies investing for more than two years in sales enablement tools
There was a great line-up of panel discussions I particularly liked the presentation from, Tamara Schenk on the five critical factors for sales enablement to succeed.
- Sponsor, strategy, and charter:
Executive sponsors need a tailored approach to the sales enablement charter, which are the foundation of any sales enablement success. Only 9.2% of organisations get this right, but those that do improve their win rates by 19.2%. It’s a no-brainer, says Tamara.
- Customers are your primary design point:
I agree that the focus must be a customer-centric approach with the central design point for all sales enablement efforts on the customer’s path. It is crazy that only 20.7% of organisations align their processes dynamically to the customer’s path says Tamara, but they drive their quota attainment by 8.9%.
- Customer engagement set up the right way:
Tailoring your content and value messaging to buyer roles, and the different phases of the customer’s path are crucial to driving customer engagement. Only one-quarter of organisations get this right, but they improve their win rates by 11.5%
- Sales coaching matters most:
This does not change in all sales training; the most effective enablement service is coaching. 40% of organisations leverage the potential of sales coaching and can improve their win rates by up to 16.6%.
- Technology enables sales enablement:
The CRM system must be the anchor of all your enablement technologies to ensure a one-stop-shopping experience for salespeople. Tamara says, not so many organisations get this right, integration matters and CRM systems set a foundation for 8.5% better win rates.
One thing is clear from the findings and the presentations made is that sales enablement is gaining widespread adoption as organisation realise its impact on results and its effectiveness that get better over the longer term as the people and process are adapted to become best practice.
You can get the State of Sales Enablement research finding here and learn more lessons from the pioneers of sales enablement. The quicker you adapt the competitive pressure driven by buyers and the quicker your sales accelerate.