Today's guest post is by Alex Gorbansky, CEO of Docurated.
Talk to most sales reps about sales enablement, and at best you will get a healthy dose of skepticism. At worst they will tell you that it is the bane of their existence. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, after spending the last few years speaking to hundreds of sales leaders, we have identified four simple steps to curing the ills of sales enablement.
1. Adopt highly targeted tools.
Many sales-enablement solutions fall flat trying to sell customers on solving the entire sales life cycle’s problems – from prospecting to responding to RFPs to managing leads and contracts. Aggregating disparate workflows into a single tool leads to a Frankenstein-like creation. As a result, rollouts span months (and sometimes years), reps get mediocre capabilities, and administration costs can be two to three times the actual software costs.
Don’t fall into the mediocrity trap. Identify your key pain points and areas of friction, and see if you can solve them with simple, tactical tools. (Solutions our team likes to use include @yesware, @insightsquared, and @InsideSales.)
2. Stop trying to force reps to use materials they don’t find useful (or can’t find at all).
Reps will find creative ways to evade the system and create their own materials and decks (especially when informal materials are the easiest to find and access). Instead of trying to control and limit what your sales team does, empower your team members. For example, give reps the choice of using the “best,” “most popular,” or “custom” case-study slide to help advance a particular deal. “Custom” is important, as your reps have the most knowledge of what will appeal to their prospects. The best content will win, and eventually everyone will want to know how the top performers landed the deal.
3. Respect your reps’ existing workflows.
It is incredible how some of the most expensive sales-enablement solutions also require the biggest changes in workflow. The expectation is that sales reps will abandon their existing processes and instantly switch to the new solution. When was the last time you saw that work? Look for solutions that seamlessly fit existing workflows or require minimal changes.
4. Before buying, investigate management and deployment costs.
Traditional sales-enablement tools are often just retooled content-management and document-management systems. This model requires upfront costs to get started, and then a dedicated project team is needed to continuously manage new materials, e.g., tag content appropriately, put it in the right folder, let the team know where it is, etc. This approach and these additional internal headcount investments can be a nightmare to scale. Look for simple deployments that don’t require headcount to scale and in which approved content is seamlessly uploaded and presented to your team.