The events of last year meant sales enablement leaders had to regroup and restructure their entire sales strategy. As the world was shutting down, sales enablement leaders became the ultimate problem solvers in sales. But now as vaccines increase and things open back up, what will sales enablement leaders need to focus on for the rest of 2021?
The world is shifting gears daily as new information and research develops. Honestly, there’s really no way to know what shakeups will affect those in sales next. What we do know is that sales enablement strategies must become agile to quickly adapt to the industry’s changing demands.
Essentially, sales enablement leaders need to be prepared for any unexpected new scenarios throughout 2021. The proper sales enablement technology can help us accomplish just that. In a recent study, we realized just 59% of companies are currently investing in sales enablement. In this article, we’re covering the top 4 things sales enablement leaders should focus on to be successful throughout 2021.
1. Implement agile sales enablement technology
Undoubtedly, the last 18 months altered the way we handle business and in turn, customers changed their expectations. Today’s buyer requires a frictionless sales experience. In order to stay agile and provide positive customer experiences at each stage of the sales process, sales teams need to equip themselves with the proper sales enablement technology. The reality is that technology enables agile sales experiences. So, what does this mean exactly?
Agility means being able to provide the buyer with what they need when they need it. The right sales enablement technology gives sales reps one location to store and find necessary sales materials quickly and efficiently. Additionally, a great sales enablement platform will also allow sales reps to personalise each presentation, brochure, and more, to maximise the customer experience.
As a matter of fact, technology has always been agile — the information you put in it hasn’t. A sales enablement platform will connect to CRMs to better understand and track your contacts’ progression down the sales journey. With an agile approach to enablement, your teams can quickly respond following any shift in market dynamics or social trends.
2. Reinvent your sales enablement training for the modern age
Remember those days of long and boring sales training sessions? Okay, now forget them because sales enablement technology has innovated a new form of training: on-demand learning. Help texts and popups with productinformation, help onboard new sales reps faster and keep all your sales reps updated at all times. Storing this in the sales enablement platform enables salespeople to learn at their own pace.
Certainly, long-duration seminars eat into an employee’s productivity. With on-demand learning, sales reps can space training out over time versus learning for 8 hours straight. This method relates to modern work-life balance and incorporates training into a natural part of the everyday workflow. Moreover, studies indicate that the short-term memory is limited to only three or four items at a time. So, bombarding your employees with too much information at once will waste time and yield insufficient results. Instead of spending an entire day on sales training, sales reps are now able to learn a little each day. This gives them back the time to spend in client-facing tasks while also ensuring they’re learning on a daily basis.
3. Leverage sales analytics at every stage
In 2021, sales enablement technology is necessary to track prospects along their buyer’s journey. Though, it can also track the individual sales representatives’ success. Recently, we surveyed insurance sales leaders. 52% of the B2B salespeople reported receiving sales training based on best practices. With the right technology, sales rep analytics can show you which pieces of content a team’s top sales reps are sharing with their prospects. With this information, sales managers can train the rest of their team based on best practices.
On the other hand, sales enablement technology shows sales leaders which pieces of content matter most to their prospects. In real-time, salespeople can see which slides of a presentation or materials their leads are viewing and for how long. This insight enables salespeople to better understand their prospect and provide them with an offering that suits their needs best.
Generally speaking, the best sales enablement platforms will provide insights into the following in real-time:
- How your top sales representatives present to customers
- How your prospects engage with the interactive slides after a sales meeting
- Which slides individual prospects are visiting most
- What numbers/information prospects are putting into the value calculators
- Which links prospects are clicking on and more!
These insights, which over time become business intelligence, have the power to differentiate you from your competitors.
4. Prioritize virtual selling, and get good at it
It’s essential to prioritize virtual selling throughout this year and beyond. Some workforces are slowly heading back into the office. Yet, virtual selling has proven to be more effective than in-person sales. Through our research, we found it takes a salesperson more time to prepare for an in-person meeting versus a virtual meeting. For salespeople who primarily sell in physical meetings, over 50% of them report needing to spend more than 30 minutes to prepare for each meeting. Whereas, those who report mostly selling virtually spend a fraction of that time preparing.
Believe it or not, virtual selling is here to stay even as we start to “get back to normal”. Ultimately, it’s up to sales leaders to invest in sales enablement technology to enable successful virtual sales meetings. According to a recent McKinsey survey, even in an ideal post-COVID world, only 20-30% of B2B buyers globally ever want to interact with sales reps in-person again.
Furthermore, LinkedIn states only 27% of B2B buyers believe that salespeople are truly knowledgeable about the buyer’s specific business. Essentially, buyers are annoyed that they have to take time out of their day to attend a physical sales meeting, and don’t want to do it anymore. To add to the frustration, in some cases, the salesperson doesn’t even understand what the buyer is truly looking for. Thus, the buyer feels as though they are wasting their time.
Ultimately, salespeople need to provide ease of communication to overcome these obstacles. Your sales team needs to prioritize virtual selling while gaining a deep understanding of what the prospect’s needs are. With this combination, the relationship between buyer and seller can flourish.
The pandemic no doubt changed sales enablement leaders’ priorities. The shift from in-person to virtual selling has changed sales techniques for the foreseeable future. Is your sales team in danger of falling behind? Or will you make the necessary changes and adaptations to be successful in 2021?