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Sales enablement tools: The key to consistent coaching

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Committing to an ongoing and systematic approach to coaching throughout your business unlocks significant revenue potential. Typically sales reps are the primary point of contact for your customers and prospects. To maximise their potential, they require constant coaching, and in doing so will arm them with the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to land your strategy, as you designed it.

Research shows that 87% of training is lost within 30 days if it is not reinforced on a regular and consistent basis. So for any organisation wishing to make gains, the key is little and often backed up with systematic coaching. This is backed up by the latest research where 46% of sales professionals reported that training should be continual rather than a one-time event.

High-impact sales training

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In the current business climate, sales teams are challenged more than ever to win deals, manage their time, engage with buyers, and meet targets. A common reaction to this increased pressure is to double down on training, to add new content and focus even more on individual activity levels.

Whilst this is a natural reaction, it rarely works in the mid-to-long term because it does nothing to change the behaviours, skills and knowledge of salespeople. In many ways, it simply papers over the cracks only to have the fundamental issues reappear a short time later. A more effective approach to maintain sustained changes in rep behaviours, skills and knowledge,  is to collate these into sales plays that help all reps understand what to know, say, show and do in a given selling scenario.

By creating opportunities within the working week for learning and deliberate practice of these optimal selling behaviours through activities such as scheduled role plays or facilitated reviews of call recordings, behavioural changes can be driven at scale and with consistency. Once salespeople understand what good looks like, it is much more likely that they will be able to model that, in those precious moments in front of the customer.

The more intentional you are with this, the greater the likelihood that your salespeople will understand precisely what to know, say, show, and do when it really matters!

Identify and accelerate through AI and data analytics

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‘Sales’ is part art and part science. The part that is art, can be improved through deliberate practice. As for science, the rise of revenue technologies and the data associated with them has transformed the way sales teams think and feel in recent years.  And whilst intuition may be in the driver's seat, sales data has demonstrably taken the wheel.

In many cases, technology now allows this data to be captured and surfaced in a way that allows leaders to be precise with their intervention. Doing this successfully at scale requires the use of AI-powered analytics - I know of few sales leaders that can listen to hundreds or even tens of sales calls. Fueled by sales data, AI removes subjective commentary and replaces it  with empirical evidence-based insight that can be used to improve sales plays and hence  future sales engagements.

Data can also highlight how and where your team functions most effectively and where they would most benefit from additional resources, training or support. A data-driven sales team will save time, energy, and money — and within a climate where growth at all costs has been displaced by the absolute need for efficient growth, holding on to outdated and inefficient approaches is no longer an option.

Perfecting the sales recipe

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A sales enablement strategy’s fundamental purpose is to provide salespeople with the content, tools and coaching needed to effectively engage customers throughout the buying process.

Sales Enablement is a relatively new functional area for many businesses in Europe.,The weight of evidence from North America as to the benefits of a well-executed strategy suggests that it should be an integral approach to businesses seeking to grow revenue, increase sales productivity and improve customer experience. Put another way, it’s a cheat code that will drive efficient revenue growth, aid retention for salespeople and create a differentiated buying experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

If you buy into the concept of ‘if you give people a recipe, they’ve a much higher likelihood of baking a great loaf of bread’, then the first question to ask is where to go to build your sales recipe. Analyse top sales performers to understand what they’re doing, what they’re saying, how they are winning customers and crushing the competition.

Research from Techvalidate has shown that when companies commit to this approach using sales plays, they experience a 19% increase in the amount of sales personnel reaching quota, and a 24% reduction in ramp times for new reps*. For many organisations, this translates into millions of dollars, pounds, or Euros. Sales plays scale easily and are a highly efficient tool that activates every seller in a way that one-off training simply cannot.

So where do you start?

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Modern selling is built on a foundation of systematic coaching which leverages sales plays to drive the scale and consistency to help every seller develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to succeed.

New research shows  that in the UK, 72% of sales and marketing personnel agree that implementing a sales enablement is something their company should consider in the near future, starting here makes a lot of sense.

Sales enablement is to sales what Google is to search, and as sales leaders, we must pay close attention to this given that our role is to empower our teams with the right tools, effective coaching and the support they need in order to perform at their best.

By Andy Champion, VP and General Manager, EMEA at Highspot

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