A paradigm shift has taken place in the tasks and activities of the modern day sales rep, and the tasks and activities that once belonged to a more traditional style of selling. The need to knock on doors and pitch a hard sell to close a deal is long-gone. Today, sales teams are empowered by technology.
Technology has shifted the job of the sales team from sales reps who push a sale and act as walking billboards, to concierges. Customers have so much product and industry knowledge at their fingertips that they don’t need someone to tell them that their product is the best – they need someone to assist them in their sales journey. After all, 70% of the information customers see before making a purchase decision is self-discovered.
The advent of sales enablement technology has provided so much data at the hands of marketing and sales teams that the need for sales reps to be more organized and have more control of their internal processes has become critical. Today’s sales enablement comes in the form of sales aids that are used on sales call to record the interaction – so that when the meeting is over, marketing has a better grasp of what it is the customer was looking for to refine campaigns for future prospects.
Sales enablement technology ensures that a sales team has all the collateral they need, when they need it, and where they need it. Because the sales rep has become mobile, this has lent itself to the need to become more organized and in control of customer data, touchpoints, and all related sales (and marketing) activities.
Let’s look at 4 ways sales enablement helps sales reps
1. Maintains control over documents
Studies show that the opportunity cost of unused or underused marketing content is roughly $2.3 million for enterprise organizations. Where is the content? Is it compatible with each stage of the sales cycle in terms of the needs of the customer? Is it easily accessible and easy to retrieve? Sales enablement helps sales rep maintain control over all documents so that when a need arises, the sales rep is there to provide information momentarily – via email, via phone and on sales call.
2. Keep sensitive material in compliance
Protecting company reputation and your brand is critical. You don’t want your company having an information privacy breach. Sensitive information needs to be protected as part of a daily routine across the organization. Even a single instant of unauthorized access to data could have significant consequences. The right sales enablement tool keeps all material in compliance.
3. Organize files and devices into meaningful groups
Organizing customers into groups is beneficial because it enables marketing to create campaigns around where customers are in their buying journey. This, in turn, provides better targeting and messaging, and enables sales reps to have transparency into the sales cycle.
4. Making sure users always have the most up to date versions
Making the most impact with sales presentations begins with having the latest versions of sales enablement technology. The more up-to-date sales and marketing teams are, the more it is possible to be organized and in control of the conversation.
A study conducted by CSO Insight found that organizations with sales reps at the forefront that used mobile CRM and social sales tools won 7% more deals than their competitors that did not use mobile tools. Tablets deliver a customer experience like no other. And with real-time access to the right information to advance the sale process, Mobile Sales Enablement is setting the bar high when it comes to the sales rep/customer relationship. Staying ahead means adopting new technologies, and when we are in control and organized with our content, it becomes easier to engage with customers.
How effective is your content collateral? Do you need to boost sales performance by becoming more organized and in control of your content? vablet can get you there.
Imagine rolling into the office in the morning, ready for a full day of back-to-back client meetings only to look at your schedule and find 3 out of 5 of cancellations. How would you react? Perhaps you would be happy just to know that you’ve got a meeting with 2 great prospects… Perhaps you would be thrilled about having time to do some more prospecting… Perhaps you would simply feel great about having a day to take it easy. But sometimes your light-hearted disposition takes a different turn. Your mood derails, you get discouraged, and you forget that today is wonderful just the way it is and absolutely nothing can stand in your way.
In one form or another, we’ve all experienced days that get the best of us. But how do we counter these emotions? How do we overcome the forces that aren’t within our control knowing that no matter what happens, we will make the most out of any situation? Let’s examine how top performing sales reps exercise Emotional Intelligence (EI) to achieve success and contribute to revenue growth for their organizations.
What Makes for a Successful Sales Rep
There are many key factors that make for a successful sales rep, but there is one quality that stands above the rest; and that’s Emotional Intelligence. A study of over 40 Fortune 500 companies revealed that salespeople with high Emotional Intelligence outperformed those with medium to low EI by 50%. Emotional Intelligence applies to everyone, but it is the key trait of top performing sales reps. According to the Business Dictionary, Emotional Intelligence is defined as:
“The ability to identify, assess and influence one’s own feelings and those of others”
Emotional Intelligence is an aptitude that can be trained and developed. It has taken years for the most successful sales reps to achieve high EI in an effort to improve their sales processes. Below is a list of the 4 major components of Emotional Intelligence that characterize top performing sales reps.
1. Self Awareness
Having a clear perception of the kind of personality you demonstrate to your prospects and customers is a key element to self awareness. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to emphasize the positive aspects of your personality. It allows you to better understand how the customer perceives you and grants you the ability to respond according to their needs. Self awareness is the first step in interacting with prospects and customers, enabling the sales rep to build the relationship based on relatability and understanding.
2. Self management
Another key skill that Emotional Intelligence encompasses is self-management – keeping your impulses under control. Self awareness doesn’t have any value if you can’t control your emotions. Letting emotions get the best of you puts your ability to make connections with customers at risk. In an effort to adapt to any situation, you need to keep your emotions in check, because that’s what will translate into maintaining rock solid relationships with your prospects and customers.
3. Social Awareness
Having social awareness allows you to assess a situation objectively, and puts you in another person’s shoes; so when you get a couple of client cancellations, you don’t focus on how this has negatively impacted your day, but you focus on practicing empathy. You try to figure out why the cancellation took place and drive the relationship forward based on the circumstance. Sales reps that practice social awareness persevere through rejection, and are not only aware of their own actions, but try to understand the actions of others.
4. Relationship Management
Delivering an excellent customer experience is argely based on good relationship management. Nurturing relationships is an ongoing practice. It can take months and even years to build a strong relationship with a customer. The strengths and bonds between a client and a sales rep are based on how well you carry the relationship forward, and achieving this is largely dependent on EI.
The importance of enhancing emotional intelligence comes with the territory when dealing with customers. Sales reps in the beginning of their careers have very different attributes as compared to those in their later years after gained experience. What’s more is that companies who do a better job of communicating with their employees outperform those who do not, financially. On average a company with an exceptional communications program delivered a 47% greater return to shareholders than the least communicative firms. If you feel that you lack in emotional intelligence and things at times get the best of you, don’t fret – it’s just a key part of growing as a sales rep. How effective is your sales exec at managing emotional intelligence among your team members? Have you seen growth in your own EI over the span of your career?
When CRM software entered the digital sales world, many companies jumped on board, eager to reap the benefits. Today, however, after the dust has settled, some are finding that their CRM systems aren’t always fully adopted – either internally, or by end users.
A 2015 Gartner Group study found user adoption rates below 50%, and concluded that $9 billion of the $20 billion CRM market is being wasted on poor adoption (Source: TopSalesWorld, 2015).
Sales teams who are stuck on using old processes that lay within their comfort zone, may feel that CRM software doesn’t support the work of field sales reps as it does C-level execs that use it for reporting.
The question becomes: How can you overcome these barriers and ensure that your CRM system is wholeheartedly adopted? Let’s explore the different methods that make this happen.
Involve Both Internal and External Users from Day One
Implementing CRM should solve problems for users, and streamline processes – not create more work or mere vanity metrics. To make sure this happens, it’s important to involve end users and team members right from the start.
When employees feel that they have a say in what a new system does, how it operates, and what it can do for them, they are far more likely to adopt it quickly, and use it to its full potential.
Managing change is always a challenge. To further motivate the adoption process you could consider:
- Rewarding or incentivizing end users who adopt the CRM process early.
- Appointing (or voting in) a CRM ambassador to represent the applicable teams in your organization.
- Investing in training employees early on.
- Identifying and clearly separating ‘People problems’ from ‘system problems’.
Make it Easy to Adopt
The thing about CRM is that it can be tailored around existing processes, instead of creating new ones that are difficult to understand, or use. Your sales team should find it easy to get the information they need about leads, contacts, or accounts across all their devices.
During the design phase, make sure you’re gathering feedback from the people who will actually use it most, and if it makes sense, implement the system in stages.
Make it bulletproof for end users, bearing in mind that it will likely meet with resistance. Work to make it pleasant for users to use by making it as seamless and simple as possible.
In the end, your results on the bottom line come first; and technology isn’t a far second. Whatever strategy you settle on, it’s important to align your objectives and priorities with the things that really drive sales, and help to sustain a healthy bottom line.
Looking to kickstart your sales team? CRM software will get you there along with Sales Enablement.
Every sales rep on the sales team should be aligned to the same end goal – closing more deals. Sometimes, however, new prospects will leave the sales cycle because they feel a lack of trust.
Whether it’s an over-ambitious (or poorly educated) sales rep, or the prospect’s struggle to find a straight answer, or simply your choice of company colors, something didn’t feel right, and the result is a lost sale.
While you can’t please everyone all of the time, there are steps you can take to make sure you come across as dependable, reliable, and trustworthy. The following strategies can help.
1. Clearly Demonstrate your Credibility
Because you have a business, potential customers expect you to be competent. This is a given in the B2B space. Likely your competitors have a level of credibility too, so to set yourself apart, you’ll need to go the extra mile.
Preparation is key. A deep understanding of your prospect’s needs, problems, and all the alternative solutions to their most pressing challenges will foster a sense of trust.
Dig deep. Instead of using generic or vague messages, probe into the details, and show how your brand meets their immediate needs. Arm your sales team with the relevant facts, and equip them with the right technology to make them an expert on the customer’s business.
2. Be Transparent
Never hide important facts. Play open cards with your prospect. A surprise further down the line will harm your reputation, and erode the trust you’ve built.
Transparency should include your pricing, Web content, customer feedback (not only the glowing reviews), and also the scope and range of your product and brand.
3. Provide Social Proof
Clients make snap judgements about your company’s worth based on the available information. Make sure that testimonials, social links, certifications and symbols of trust are visible throughout your campaigns and digital presence.
4. Show Empathy
Customers don’t like to feel pressured to make a purchase decision. Instead, if you come across as having the desire to help, solve problems, provide assistance and guidance, you will foster trust.
If prospects can relate to you, half the battle is won. This way a two-way dialogue is opened, and your prospect feels more comfortable about the buying process – after all, emotions play a huge role in sales. If you nurture the right feelings in prospects, trust will naturally set its course.
5. Be Consistent
Your consistency has a major impact on building or destroying customer trust.
A 2014 McKinsey study clearly pointed to the benefits of consistency in marketing. They showed that “maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to lift revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%.”
Prospects who are interested in your brand should feel that they are in safe hands right from the get-go. They should feel that you’re credible, transparent, consistent, trusted by others – and above all, that you consistently deliver on your word.
How successful are you at enticing trust with your audiences? Perhaps sales enablement can help you get there.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is becoming adopted at a far larger scale than it has ever been before.
ABM is a strategic approach to marketing that has attracted loyal followers, particularly in the B2B marketing landscape, along with claims of big successes.
ABM is a shift away from the typical inbound marketing funnel towards an alignment of sales and marketing that works to focus on one account, or a small select group of accounts. For many B2B companies this makes sense:
- ITSMA published a report, showing that over 80% of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM initiatives outperform other marketing investments.
- According to the Alterra Group, 84% of marketers said that ABM had significant benefits to retaining and expanding existing customer relationships.
Evolving marketing technology has made it possible for companies to take this approach – an approach that is about delivering a relevant message to the most relevant people within an organization. In other words, no more devising campaigns that target a large audience – the focus now shifts to one customer.
ABM is an Integrated Approach
B2B Strategies often employ the use of customer personas, and use marketing content as a wide net to catch as many of the right kind of fish as possible. With ABM, we’re using a spear instead, targeting just the one big fish.
It’s a strategy that pays off for many companies. According to Harvard Business Review “Individual customer stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t. ”
Sales and Marketing Teams are Better Aligned
“All companies practicing ABM claim to be at least somewhat aligned with sales, with 34 percent saying they were tightly aligned.” – source: Newswire.
One of the greatest advantages of adopting ABM is that it forces our sales and marketing teams to align. Since the target is set more clearly, the individual team goals naturally fall into place. With an ABM strategy, your metrics are aligned to one account – and so must inevitably become less contradictory and misaligned. Instead of operating in a silo, sales and marketing teams work together.
It’s More Personalized
Personalized messages are more effective than generic ones. The Aberdeen group reports on the preferences of online buyers: “75% say they prefer personalized offers, and 61% say they’re even willing to give up a degree of privacy to enable personalization.”
When your marketing messages speak directly to your target’s core business, address their biggest problems, and is tailored to their specific need, it becomes that much more effective.
Perhaps ABM is a natural step for your marketing process. Is focusing on one account instead of a number of prospects at the same time something worth spending time on? ABM may be the answer to increasing close rates – one customer at a time.