Sales Enablement is a topic that has blown hot and cold over the last few years. Mega corps through to smaller firms have all had to wrestle with the pros and cons of implementing a formal Sales Enablement programme. The countless debates that surround Sales Enablement continue to rumble on.
In the world of Sales Enablement, opinions are plentiful – from offering smart, creative and engaging ways of ensuring buy-in from users through to carefully considered planning around how to sustain quality and maintain usage. Then, of course, there is the battle between tech vendors around design, functionality and ROI. Vendors promise great things, purporting to support sales people all the way through the sales process which in turn leads to the inevitable debate around breeding laziness and stupidity within a sales force. Does spoon-feeding information mean they no longer have to engage grey matter?
Add a smidgen of debate around BI and analytics and you have a sales topic that everyone has an opinion on but few are able to demonstrate any real success in…
The one common thread amidst the noise is that an imperative within all Sales Enablement programmes is the quick and easy access to a company’s latest and greatest sales materials.
I have to confess that it’s at this point that my patience finally snaps.
Having worked with a wide range of businesses to tackle the Sales Enablement challenge, our experience points to the vast majority of sales materials being resolutely unfit for purpose. Sales Enablement programmes stand and fall on the quality of the sales materials within the system…and most are failing.
So, this blog is a heartfelt plea to heads of Sales Enablement programmes to take another look at your current processes. Review the reasons why you’ve invested vast amounts of time, money and, in likelihood, tears in your Sales Enablement programme and look at how you can ensure that the available sales materials are as world-class as the finely tuned process and technology within which they sit.
Based on our experience of working with businesses facing this challenge, we’d offer the following advice:
No. 1 – Create VALUABLE Content
Ensure that your sales materials are as valuable as possible by addressing the real issues faced by your sales people. For too long, Sales Enablement programmes have been a catalyst for simply refreshing and recycling existing underperforming sales materials rather than going to the core issues that impact sales audiences.
Step away from the quick fix temptations of ‘lipstick on a pig enhancements’ and dig a little deeper.
No. 2 – The ‘Black Market’ Warning Sign
To ensure you deliver on your efficiency and quality objectives, review how your sales materials are being used. I was shocked when working recently with a global organisation that despite having invested hundreds of thousands of US$ in the rollout of their Sales Enablement programme, were still struggling to contain a very healthy ‘black market’ in unbranded and off-message PowerPoint slides. These ‘dirty secrets’ continued to pop up at key stages of the sales process, including final pitches to win high profile enterprise deals. The system was not working…
Take time to truly listen to your sales teams and provide them with optimised tools that they will use and value.
No. 3 – Think of your Audience
Finally, my plea is on behalf of the ‘end consumer’s’ of your sales materials. Prospects and customers will be the biggest beneficiaries of a more concerted and focused Sales Enablement programme. Ensure your Sales Enablement programme is (healthily) obsessed about winning business through more valuable sales conversations rather than an inward-looking exercise in report creation or drooling over the shiny interface your tech vendor is so proud of.
In summary, many of the frustrations Sales Enablement leaders face (getting buy-in, sustaining quality and maintaining usage) can be addressed by simply making the sales materials more valuable to both salesperson and prospect. Great quality material that is PROVEN to win the deal will ensure your Sales Enablement investment will be all the more effective and all the more appealing to your sales team. Everything else should be viewed as merely an enabler.
So please keep it simple. Focus on tools that truly help win the deal – by doing so, you can guarantee that not only will your sales team be on board but so will your customers.