Chief Sales Officers, struggling with changing buyer behaviour and a continued decline in quota attainment, are increasingly turning to software-based sales enablement platforms that promise to right the wrongs within the sales team with the press of a button.
It’s easy to see why. In a challenging sales environment, it can be tempting to opt for a quick fix to resolve the problem – even if it’s just short-term. Inevitably, this has created an environment where fixes are expected to be delivered at lightning speed, with little time or tolerance for failure.
While this is great news for the platform vendors who can roll from one customer to another pitching their sales elixir, it is more problematic for the sales enablement leader left to deliver results once the budget has been spent and the platform installed.
So, if your sales leader is hell bent on a sales enablement platform as the cure to all sales woes, here’s how to make sure you deliver.
Don’t automate bad practice
Most people recognize they have a sales problem and want to solve it by changing or enhancing their sales enablement / CRM platform. All this means is that ‘business as usual’ continues, but so do the usual results. All technology has done is automate your existing bad practice or given you greater insight into how this bad practice is being carried out. The net result is unchanged.
There are some amazing sales enablement platforms out there, but only if you know what it is you need to improve.
Look before you leap
Look at the bigger picture. There are some amazing sales enablement platforms out there that can deliver great functionality and help drive sales improvements, but only if you know what it is you need to improve. Start with the end in mind. Work out what your end business goal is and how your sales team will achieve it. Break it down into component parts that need to be improved, added or changed. Only then should you look at vendors and see how they can help you achieve your goal, or at least the key components of it.”
Measure twice, cut once
This is great advice but there’s a difference between being cautious and just wasting time. Using software to measure how ineffective your sales team are will only tell you what you already know. It’s like taking the dimensions of a small family car when you know the proverbial elephant is never, ever going to fit in it. Rather, spend this time identifying your key sales challenges and how to overcome them. STR offers a Discovery service – it takes as little as a month and delivers a roadmap for change. It’s a great tool for cross functional buy-in and doesn’t require six to 12 months of letting poor sales performance continue in the interest of measuring the obvious.
Hit and run
Only with a clear roadmap in place as to how to achieve sales improvements specific to your team should you consider sales enablement vendors. Regardless of vendor, if a sales enablement platform is going to work for your business it needs to be set up to support the way your team sells. We consistently deliver an ROI tied to your business goals, including delivering a 10% growth in revenue, but it’s on the condition we work with you to tweak your system and set up regular reviews over that period.
Make it compulsory to onboard the sales team onto the platform. You can actively engage your audience in several ways.
– Sales – show them how the system will help them close out sales opportunities faster
– Sales managers – demonstrate how the system will help them to get better deal overview, and deliver a more accurate pipeline
– If you’re working across departments (and you should be), show marketing how they can track their most impactful content
– Show HR and the L&D team how their sales training can now be linked to in-field performance
The new breed of sales enablement platforms can deliver genuine business advantage and clear sales and process efficiencies. But proceed with caution, tech alone cannot ‘solve’ the inherently human interaction of bad sales practice. As a sales enablement leader your job is to help your organization recognize that. You must also help sales leaders accept the need for a short but intense period of Discovery to identify where the real sales hurdles and challenges lie. Only then can you identify the right sales enablement platform for your business, and that platform start to deliver what it promises on the tin.