As economies the world over continue to grow, many enterprises are focusing on adopting an aggressive sales approach. This has become imperative because changing market conditions have impacted and altered the buyer environment. Sales enablement, in that regard is a nebulous concept, defined differently by different organisations. In simple words, the process of sales enablement not only includes methods that empower the sales team, but also practices that impact each step of the sales cycle. As an all-inclusive and end-to-end approach, it defines best practices for strategizing, implementing, recruiting, enabling and analysing these aspects to drive optimal returns for enterprises and enable success in sales.
The elements of sales enablement aim to restructure and improve the sales cycle processes, the capabilities of the sales force, as well as the quality of sales tools and resources. In fact, many leading B2B firms have adopted this process as a tactical enabler. Here are five significant global trends that will shape the business of sales enablement in 2016.
Telesales: Telesales, which is now coming out from under the shadow of tele-operations, is an implementation strategy adopted by businesses that are looking to convert their feet-on-street soldiers to consultative managers, using the science of tele operations. One of the most talked about sales approach for the 21st century is that of arming your telesales force with consultative selling approach. Telesales engine is increasingly becoming the option of choice given the turnaround time, low geography barrier and optimum RoI (Return on Investment). Of course, there needs to be alignment with the overall objective that the organization is set out to achieve.
As part of the sales team, telesales representatives connect with customers on the phone to generate leads, process orders, make direct sales, support ground sales representatives by setting up appointments, or engage in customer service. According to CSO Insights, enterprises with mature lead generation and management practices have a 9.3 percent higher sales quota achievement rate. With the consultative approach, the sales person acts as a mentor, by gathering information from the prospect, weighing up the options that are available and returning with a solution.
White Space Database Generation: As per CSO Insights Study, 52 percent of sales people don’t meet their targets. While this is alarming, this is indeed not surprising. In today’s competitive business environment, everyone is gunning after the same finite set of customer database. However, there exists a huge gap between the addressed customer bases versus what really is the addressable segment. If we are able to expand the database universe and look at the newly explored contactable database of SMBs globally, this will solve the worries of the organisations tremendously. And with access to certain tools and methodologies, converting them into sales closures would no longer be an unachievable target. The future of sales enablement will see leveraging technology to generate white space database being a huge focus area. Addressing the untapped white space for increased sales closures will be a driver of higher sales impact.
Mobility: In the year ahead, mobility will continue its march into the enterprise on its way to becoming a first-class citizen, as it drives to organizational change, cost efficiencies and increased productivity. More and more consumers are dependent on mobile for commerce. A strong user experience is a key driver for adoption here. A strong experience for enterprise mobility technologies and services will drive future success.
Mobility is the fastest path to organisational change, cost efficiencies and increased productivity. Many enterprises are leveraging mobile solutions to deliver services worldwide. Mobile solutions help to automate the sales force and add on to the sales enablement process. Since the sales force is constantly on the move – be it on the ground for meetings or in office answering customer queries – mobile applications and solutions empower sales teams to perform their job better.
The ability to access information anytime, anywhere not only streamlines sales and enhances the sales enablement process, it also optimizes client/customer engagement, integrates back-end applications so that sales teams have a complete picture to resolve queries or offer personalized experiences, improves training and reporting of sales force, and offers secure access and control to sensitive information.
Cloud Computing: In a short span of couple of years, cloud computing has become an integral, perhaps even the most vital part of an enterprise’s strategy. It is acting as another add-on to sales enablement as enterprises can make content, training, etc. accessible across any part of the world, in real-time. Cloud improves mobility since enterprises can upload various applications on the cloud and provide them as services globally. When enterprises espouse a culture of agile, data-driven decision-making, it gives them a competitive edge. This is especially important for sales teams as customers today are far more empowered and knowledgeable. Hence, it is imperative that sales teams recognise the tools and techniques that will aid in improving productivity, enhancing sales and delivering value. It has helped free-up with the constrictions of legacy software and hardware licensing data center models, and has opened, revolutionized and to an extent democratized the way to delivers services and how the users access information, applications and business services.
Cloud solutions are highly beneficial for an enterprise and its sales force as they facilitate real-time communication, real-time collaboration, assisted context and information, remote and secure access to assets, and increased cost savings with a “pay-as-you-use” model.
Analytics: A key driver for sales enablement that is still growing and is largely reliant on human intervention is analytics. The right information is what enables sales success. Data-driven insights help improve sales and increase RoI. Analytics is a dominant tool for making informed decisions and discovering opportunities to improve. Enterprises can use analytics and content intelligence to tailor content to meet the buyer’s needs. By using metrics to discover the right content, leads can be converted into actual sales at a much faster rate. Content analytics also enhances visibility on the effectiveness of the content used, customers’ expectations, how the sales team is using the content, etc.
With analytics, enterprises can also discover the best sales opportunities, improve sales forecasting accuracy, identify and manage risk effectively, gauge the performance of sales representatives, etc. All these insights will give enterprises a competitive edge.
Snehashish Bhattacharjee, global CEO & co-founder, Denave