Published 2 January 2018
Inbound marketing may seem to have radically changed the sales process. The traditional cold call and pitch are no longer part of what we think of as the inbound sales process. Prospects come to you, with interest and motive already. The myth is that two-thirds of the sale is already completed before the prospect even interacts with a sales person.
The Myth of Easy Sales
Sales professionals know that isn't true. Dropping a lead is as easy as letting an ice-cube slip out of your hands. The myth that sales has suddenly become easy feeds into the self-justifications of under-performers and order-takers. Anybody who really succeeds in sales is busy pursuing prospects before they become leads. Sales people are strategically targeting and proactively pursuing potential buyers before their reactive competitors would even see the opportunity. In essence, there is no stopping a real sales professional.
SirisDecisions' studies found, in fact, that most major buyers are interacting with sellers from the very beginning and all through their buying experience, through the education phase, the solution phase, and the selection phases of the sale. The research found the most interaction between buyer and seller interaction actually occurs early on in the sale, during the education phase.
This is important because there are so many companies and sales teams failing to develop enough new business. They may be living in a fantasy world under the illusion that inbound marketing is sufficient, in itself, to keep their sales pipeline full. They may act under the Illusion that prospecting and hands-on sales died back in the 1990s. Sales is and always will be a challenging proposition. Sales professionals need all the help they can get.
Sales Enablement Systems
Sales enablement programs are whatever is needed to aid sales staff toward bringing about the final close. Although inbound marketing has automated much of the nitty-gritty sales process, the technology does not really diminish the work of the sales person, especially for B2B major sales. The sales enablement package provides the sales organisation with the information, content, and tools to help sales people sell more effectively. Information sales people need in the sales cycle may take the form of:
- Customer-facing content.
- Sales best practices tailored to particular circumstances.
- Various sales tools like key performance metrics (KPIs) with shared dashboard to support joint selling, training modules, shared leads databases and schedulers, customisable content, etc..
- Modules that record, transcribe, and analyse sales calls to help the sales team identify what works and what does not.
- Modules for analysing how the prospects are behaving on the company landing pages and websites. What parts of the web site resonate best with website visitors? This kind of data will help the sales and marketing teams optimise the website to convert more visitors into leads.
In many ways, sales enablement focuses, not on the seller, but on the buyer. The enablement package provides sales people with what they need to engage their target buyers. The tools help the seller assess the buyer's "pain points," then help the seller find the materials to meet those needs specifically. The best sales enablement programs include programs to track how fully the sales enablement package is actually being used. The program learns to optimise itself based on what materials are actually most useful.
Metrics and measurement are core elements of sales development packages. Software in the system will be able to define key sales metrics like average sales cycle length, number of sales representatives who achieve quotas, and average sale size.
Sales enablement tools help the sales person understand the buyer and what the buyer wants. It is a program that helps sales people communicate more effectively with customers.
Posted In: Marketing