As published in an article by Salesforce, “74% of buyers choose to work with the sales representative who first added value,” but “just 20% of salespeople are currently seen as valuable by their buyers.” With this challenge at hand, sales teams need to be equipped with the tools, methods, training, and activities that prepare and support them to close more deals. Incorporating sales enablement best practices into your sales process will provide all the resources your sales reps need to do their job better.
What Sales Enablement Best Practices Can Do for Your Sales Team
- Provides buyer insight. The marketing team can look into how leads are interacting with the brand online and pass that information to the sales team, so they know which leads are worth tapping. Understanding shopping behaviors and buying motivators help sales teams create a better pitch.
- Provides company insight. Marketing can give sales a better idea about the company they are selling to, focusing on the decision-makers (or people who stall) within an organization. Sales reps then know how to navigate the hierarchy and engage with the right individuals.
- Provides individual insight. By reviewing the timeline of sales activity, reps can look for patterns and triggers that prompt a buy.
- Improves communication. With the right data on hand, sales reps can communicate the brand’s value clearly and explain brand differentiators through a more compelling story.
- Helps the team work in sync. Sales enablement processes keep all your sales reps on the same page, even as they talk to different prospects and clients.
Overall, sales enablement facilitates communication and interaction between marketing and sales departments so that each team is able to perform their functions to the best of their ability without overstepping boundaries. With the right sales engagement platform and some sales enablement best practices, your team will be creating more value for prospects and customers, leading to more closed deals.
Best Practice 1: Hire the Right People
An important aspect of building a great sales team is to find people who are the right fit for your company and represent well your brand image. Depending on your industry and the nature of the business, you may need to hire salespeople who are more aggressive, or softer in their approach.
Since buyers today have more access to information and are more educated, your sales reps also need to possess the skills and knowledge to be consultative. Think about the top qualities you want in the ideal employee, including:
- Tenacity. While some argue that tenacity gets sales reps in trouble because they don’t know when to stop chasing a prospect, great sales managers would rather have to tell a rep to stop pursuing a lead than to always be on them about following up.
- Optimism. Hired to improve the turnover of MetLife’s insurance agents, Dr. Seligman, a psychologist who studied optimism and positive psychology, followed a group of approximately 15,000 MetLife new hires. Using an optimism screening test he developed, Seligman discovered the agents with an optimistic outlook drastically outsold the pessimists by as much as 21 percent in the first year and 57 percent in the second year.
- Listening skills. How often have you heard that a great sales rep could sell ice to an Eskimo? This idiom conjures up images of a person who is a great talker. But, the best sales rep is a great listener. Those reps with the ability to pick up on and read into what the prospect is saying and then translate it into exactly what the customer needs from them to make a purchase are the most successful.
- Lack of Discouragement. In his book based on extensive research and interviews with more than 1,000 key information technology decision makers, top technology salespeople, and vice presidents of sales, Steve Martin observed that “less than 10 percent of top salespeople were classified as having high levels of discouragement.” Martin also noted that over 85 percent of top performers in his research played organized sports in high school, indicating a direct correlation between sports and sales success. Martin believes that having practiced a sport, the salesperson is better able to manage emotional disappointments, bounce back from losses, and mentally prepare for the next opportunity to compete.
Best Practice 2: Align Sales and Marketing Teams
Sales enablement comes easier when the sales team works in tandem with the marketing team. According to HubSpot, misalignment between sales and marketing technologies and processes costs B2B companies 10% of revenue or more per year. However, when sales and marketing teams work together, companies see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales win rates.
Marketing should share all their lead intelligence data with sales so that the sales representative is aware of the level of engagement of those leads. Similarly, sales should share customer information so that marketing can re-engage with existing customers and keep a finger on the pulse of what motivates your best customers to purchase your product or service. We also recommend having regular meetings between marketing and sales teams to align around goals and results to determine what’s working and what’s not.
You can close more deals by more closely aligning your sales and marketing departments and creating a marriage of cadence and content that informs and engages your prospects and customers.
Best Practice 3: Observe Sales Activity
Continuously observe sales activity, monitoring and comparing individual and team results. Establish benchmarks for all stages in the sales cycle. At a minimum, you need to know how many leads are coming in, how quickly your reps respond to inbound leads, how much time your sales reps are spending on prospecting activity, and how they are going about the selling process.
When you observe their activity at close range, you gain a better understanding of your team and insights into common pitfalls that you can avoid. This information provides for great coaching opportunities. All of this data should be available to you in a sales engagement or sales enablement platform like Salesvue.
Best Practice 4: Evaluate Sales Activity
After observing your team, you should evaluate their activities to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Some things to assess are:
- Which sales activities work and which don’t
- Which campaigns are successful versus the ones that didn’t click
- Which sales reps are most productive versus those who haven’t delivered on their targets
- Which industries and job titles garner you more sales versus those that have low conversion rates
By zeroing in on these improvement drivers, you can take a step-by-step approach to improve your sales process and create a repeatable “success formula.”
Best Practice 5: Use The Math of Sales™
Salesvue empowers your sales and marketing teams with real-time, effective data that can help you close a deal quicker. Our detailed and comprehensive reports give you a snapshot of sales activity, such as:
- When and how your leads are being touched
- How often your sales representatives are interacting with prospects
- Which interactions bring forth the best results, and more
Salesvue’s sales engagement platform helps you replicate and automate the exact steps that led you to your successes.
Follow these sales enablement best practices to make sure your reps have the right types of conversations and the right tools to drive prospects and customers through each stage of your sales cycle.
Salesvue is a Salesforce-native sales engagement and sales enablement platform that helps you bring synergy to the whole team. Because you and your data never leave Salesforce, sales and marketing teams have easy access to share and manage all customer and prospect data.
With Salesvue, you get real-time insights into how your sales team is performing, what is being discussed in each call, and the effectiveness of your campaigns. Data analysis even shows you objection patterns, so you can manage the marketing message and the sales conversation better. Request a demo today to see how we can empower your sales organization to do more, close more, and improve more.