Today’s post is by Shawnna Sumaoang, director of Marketing at Highspot. Her background is in strategic development and the execution of marketing and communications programs in the technology industry. Shawnna’s current mission is to elevate the role of sales enablement to a critical business function charged with driving radical improvement in sales effectiveness.
Want to hit your revenue targets more reliably? It’s time to invest in sales enablement.
More than 100 years ago, True Temper tools rolled out the slogan, “The right tool for the right job.” Profound in its simplicity, this slogan has been adapted over the years to express the importance of using the right tool to get a job done.
When it comes to selling more, a modern sales enablement platform is absolutely a critical tool in the seller’s toolbox. With the right platform, your sales team will be able to access the right content at the right time in the buyer’s journey, making hitting revenue targets significantly easier (to both close and predict).
If you’re still using shared drives, legacy systems, and/or email – i.e., the wrong tools – to empower your sales team, it’s time to consider a structured, measurable approach to sales enablement. And there’s still time to make a measurable impact on 2017 numbers.
Don’t take my word for it, though – listen to your peers. Recently, Highspot released its annual “State of Sales Enablement” report, a compilation of survey results from nearly 600 sales, sales enablement, and marketing professionals conducted in December of 2016. The overwhelming feedback from these folks who are “in the trenches” pointed to the power of sales enablement processes and technology to help sales teams improve productivity and scale best practices.
Top findings include:
- The sales process is becoming more complex. A majority (64.5 percent) of respondents are experiencing more complex sales processes, and this is more pronounced among larger companies. However, companies with a dedicated sales enablement team are more than twice as likely to experience a sales process that’s becoming less complex. This isn’t surprising, as we have seen time and again that sales enablement helps streamline sales activities and accelerate desired outcomes. To help optimize the sales processes even further, we recommend aligning to the buyer’s journey instead of the seller’s expectations.
- It’s more important than ever to align to the buyer’s journey. Companies with a sales enablement team are 52 percent more likely to have a sales process that’s tightly aligned with the buyer’s journey. Conversely, those without a sales enablement team are 67 percent more likely to have a sales process that’s only lightly aligned. The fact is, most sales processes are built around a seller’s perspective instead of a buyer’s perspective, and the two are quite different. Reframing your sales process around buyer expectations – managed through your sales enablement process – will provide even better top-line results.
- Sales enablement helps align content to the buyer’s journey. As sales processes are re-framed around the buyer’s journey, so too must sales content be. Respondents with a dedicated sales enablement team were more likely to consider their sales content closely mapped to the buyer’s journey. These differences were especially notable in buyer’s persona (44 percent more likely) and sales stages (52 percent more likely).
- Budgets are increasing based on tangible results. Companies with sales enablement personnel, processes, and technology are increasing their budget allocations – an indication that the high ROI expected by sales enablement is being achieved. Of respondents indicating a rising budget, more than 30 percent cited gains of greater than 11 percent year-over-year.
- Sales enablement drives revenue. Companies with sales enablement tools reported revenue increases surpassing their peers. More than 75 percent of respondents from companies using sales enablement tools reported that their company’s sales had increased over the past 12 months. Of these same respondents, nearly 35 percent reported sales increases greater than 25 percent. The correlation between sales enablement and increased revenue is a clear call to action for companies still determining whether or not to invest. Given strong results among sales teams of all sizes, we anticipate sales enablement remaining a key growth driver as companies continue to scale.
We’ve seen time and again that implementing the right platform can
- Help combat sales process complexity – a pervasive challenge with expensive repercussions.
- Help improve alignment among sales processes, content, and the buyer’s journey.
- Have a significant impact on sales conversion rates and revenue growth.
In other words, sales enablement can be a win/win for sales leadership and sales reps (and the organization on a whole).
Want to learn more? The 2017 State of Sales Enablement report is available for complimentary download.