Updated: Oct 7, 2019
Most companies mix up sales training with sales enablement for one simple reason. They don't know the difference between the two!
Within the last eighteen months, I've had several discussions with middle and senior-level executives on improving sales within their organisations by training their sales teams. As we got deeper into the conversation, however, it was realised that some of the challenges experienced in closing opportunities/sales were way beyond the sales team.
Every customer-facing organisation in Trinidad wants its sales to improve. Do they have all the factors in place to enable the improvement they seek? In most instances, no and that's what we will be discussing in this article.
What is sales enablement?
Why is the importance
Are companies focused on Sales Enablement in Trinidad & Tobago?
Which Industries benefit most from Sales Enablement?
Who is involved in sales enablement?
Seven 7 best approaches companies in Trinidad & Tobago can take
What is Sales Enablement?
Sales Enablement is a holistic approach an organisation takes in making sure that their marketing and sales team(s) are equipped with the skills, resources, content, information, tools and technology necessary to sell effectively.
Why is Sales Enablement important?
The short answer is that sales enablement prepares sales teams and by extension organisations to be more effective and increase their sales results and grow market share. But that's a very one-dimensional view as it's more than just looking at selling effectively.
For sales enablement to be successful, companies must consider the most important thing which is its buyers/customers. You cannot improve in sales if you do not have a better understanding of your buyer, how they feel about your organisation before, during and after the sale, what's important to them, etc.
Yeah, but that's not our process so we can't facilitate - Large local conglomerate to a customer.
Are companies focused on Sales Enablement in Trinidad & Tobago?
The overall approach for companies to increase business by mainly focusing on the customer is low. In a survey conducted in 2017, it was noted that customers ranked their satisfaction levels or net promoter score levels lower than 60% in Trinidad and Tobago.
If we look at most companies mission/vision statements, they claim to be customer-centric but when you look at their processes it's more company driven than customer-driven. This may have worked in the period when the business first started but there needs to be a definite change across the board.
Which industries benefit most from Sales Enablement?
While most articles may lean heavily on business-to-business (B2B) as being the best fit for Sales Enablement. It's my honest opinion that sales enablement benefits all industries B2B or B2C (business-to-consumer). Because it encompasses not just how one sells on the frontline but also on the back end as well.
Companies can benefit more by taking the time and develop their sales representatives into experts, collaborating more with their marketing or digital marketers team(s) to send the right messages to attract the right clients. Companies that are even in the eCommerce or retail space can develop systems to better understand the buyer's journey and make improvements where necessary.
One of us is not as strong as all of us - Ken Blanchard
Who is involved in Sales Enablement?
Sales Enablement is predominantly owned by the marketing and sales teams. However, all other departments such as service, operations, finance, etc. have an integral role to play in adding to the sales enablement process.
Why? Because they all have a part to play in the customer/buyer journey.
Example: A customer might commit to purchasing a product or service because the sales and marketing process was smooth. But if the delivery or implementation process is poor then that affects the buyer's journey and future business. Not just from that customer but from everyone he/she shares their experience with.
If all departments come together to work more effectively and not in silos, they will see higher conversion rates as they share a common goal, vision and understanding about the customer. As Ken Blanchard said his "One Minute Manager" bestseller "One of us is not as strong as all of us"
It's more than just doing a survey - Lyndon Brathwaite
Seven (7) best approaches local companies can take
The term sales enablement might be new to many in Trinidad & Tobago. There are many different approaches companies can take in having a sales enablement strategy and it varies from industry to industry. Here are just some tips to help start the process.
Don't just do surveys: There is a very lazy approach in getting customer feedback today. Marketing departments are pumping out surveys to get feedback but they should go a step further by sitting with your buyers to better understand of who they are, what's important to them, where do they get their information, etc.
Improve Collaboration between Sales & Marketing: There is a challenge between these two departments as one does not support the other. Let's get this clear right now that marketing does have a role to play in generating sales or at least leads. These two teams must sit together and share their ideas, strategies, goals, etc. so that marketing can help generate qualified leads (MQL) that sales can take action on.
Replicate High Performer Best Practices: While your top performers may not be the best options for leaders, they can be used to help develop a sales culture that the company lives by. Document top performer activities and use this in your sales playbooks so that it can then be refined and shared across the company.
Create Sales Material/Content: Create content/sales related material that help supports the sales teams while they are on the field. This can be done with playbooks, an online learning centre, competitive battle cards, etc. These resources will help sales professionals be better prepared while facing the buyer at different stages of their buyer's journey.
Create Buyer Centric Material/Content: Marketing and sales can create content that is specific to the buyer and I'm not speaking of brochures. This material would be specific to who they are and how your organisation supports them in achieving their goals.
Develop a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) philosophy: While CRM, as we know it today is tech-based. It's also a philosophy that companies must adopt. CRM tech will not immediately solve your problem or take you to the next level unless you break the acronym down in its true form being the Customer, the Relationship they have with them and how they intend to Manage it.
Technology: Tie everything around your CRM software formalize your process and monitor it, that way you get to measure customer interactions in a more holistic format.
In closing, sales enablement is a broad approach to improving a company's ability to sell more efficiently. It does this by taking both an outward and inward look at its customers and their processes.
Companies should start having deeper conversations with their internal teams and their customers to understand what they experience has been like and make the necessary improvements. This is the only way to improving sales and growing your business in 2020.