Let’s have a look at ‘Sales enablement’. There seem to be many misunderstandings about this topic, but most companies don’t even notice it. It is time to set that straight.
Now, let’s first look at the definition of ‘Sales enablement’, which is the centre of your sales strategy:
Sales enablement is everything you need to do to enable your sales people to sell more.
This full stop might sound a bit harsh, but it is necessary to keep the focus on what sales enablement actually is. Sometimes, we elaborate too much on this topic, and people get confused.
In a worst-case scenario, people might think sales enablement is about control or letting your sales team fill out silly forms in fancy applications. But controlling or filling databases is definitely not enabling your sales team. Sales enablement is just what salespeople need from the organisation to close deals. Because, at the end of the day, you’ll either close the deal or lose the sale. And the persons that are most able to make this happen are your salespeople. Empower them!
It’s all about me (not you)
Now, as we discussed before: sales is helping clients buy.
But before we zoom in on the way people buy, we need to discuss a widespread problem we see with many of our clients. Most commercial departments seem to forget that the favourite topic clients want to discuss with you is them. People love to talk about their problems, their challenges, and their dreams, but definitely not about you (or your product or company). So give them what they crave: talk about them.
Just to make sure you get it: never ever start a sales pitch with a story about you, your product, or your company. That way, you’ll reveal yourself as the caricature of a salesperson.
The three important phases
To understand sales enablement better, we need to take a look at what ‘sales’ actually has to do. The buying journey of your potential clients generally consists of three phases: 1) the awareness phase, 2) the consideration phase, and 3) the decision or buying phase. In all phases, marketing and sales need to work together. Marketing takes the lead in the awareness phase. And depending on what you sell, the two departments work hand in hand for consideration, and sales takes the lead in the decision phase.
Let’s dive into what each phase entails:
- Touch the latent pain (awareness)
The objective in the awareness phase is to make the client realise THEY have a problem. You want to touch their latent pain; make them aware of a problem and that it can be solved. So, in this phase, you need to educate the target market about solutions and make them aware of their issues by asking questions.
- Tailor the deal (consideration)
In the awareness phase, the potential customers got to realise they have a problem; now, it is time to explore what solutions fit best. The consideration phase is all about getting the target market’s attention. They are looking for a solution and you need to explain why they need to consider YOU. This is the right time for your sales and marketing teams to tailor their deals to a specific client situation.
- Take control of the deal (decision)
In the decision phase, your potential client evaluates the risks and is internally preparing to buy. Marketing and sales, but primarily sales, need to take control of the sales cycle and close the deal
The decision phase is quite difficult for many commercial organisations. One common problem is that salespeople assume that their clients know how they buy. They don’t! Especially in the more complex or enterprise sales, your clients do NOT understand how their organisations buy. You have to guide them and navigate the deal through the company. That is your job.
But what do your salespeople need?
Back to enabling your salespeople. And how you can help them close more deals. Let’s begin by simply asking them. They know best, and every salesperson has different needs. Obviously, there are general features a commercial organisation needs to have in place to support clients in their journey. It starts with a consistent identity, value propositions, and positioning over every digital channel (direct and indirect). Content is important, ranging from thought leadership pieces, blogs, and trend reports to white papers, webinars, demos, and client cases.
However, most salespersons I know also need more human support. They want someone to consult and discuss approaches, scenarios, possible next steps, and how they can get unstuck in a deal. Someone that has the experience and can coach them in winning that deal. Usually (and hopefully) that coaching can be done by the sales managers…. (if they are not too busy with being ‘in control’).
Read more here.