Enablement The end of 2015 is upon us. One question that everyone seems to be asking is, “How can we be more effective with our sales efforts next year?” The popular answer is to employ innovative, inexpensive sales enablement tools that help reps more effectively engage prospects and customers by making collateral and materials easier to access.
Any sales enablement tools you plan for 2016 must accommodate your primary internal customer, the sales team, because your ROI depends on those individuals heartily adopting that solution. But, these busy professionals are often burdened with call reports, expense reports, time reports, sales reports, conference calls, and a host of other administrative tasks that all get in the way of, well, selling. How can you ensure they’ll be open to something new?
We have found four ways you and the management team can drive your sales enablement adoption plan, better align with marketing and sales strategies, and enforce new sales behaviors in your organization.
1. MAKE IT EASY
Mandating the tool’s use will only get you so far. If your new sales tools require extensive training and coaching, you have a lower chance of getting your system adopted. Any changes to the sales teams’ environment must be easy to pick up by the least-technical salesperson.
However, an easy-to-use tool shouldn’t replace a couple of hours of training or instruction on how to make the most out of the tool. Reps should be given the knowledge of how to jump right in and use its most powerful features.
2. MAKE EXPECTATIONS CLEAR
Not only make it clear to the sales team how you expect the tool to be used, and illustrate how it will help each individual be more effective. Emphasize best practices and trumpet examples of how others have used it to exceed productivity targets.
Here are some examples of how to emphasize tool usage and integrate it with your daily marketing and sales routine:
- Require reps to sync daily, and track that behavior if your tool allows it.
- Have marketers tell an impatient colleague, “you can find it on Showcase,” instead of just emailing it to them.
- Put submitting content to the new system on your marketing checklist.
3. MAKE IT RELIABLE
Sales enablement tools are meant to be easy and quick to update, so the marketing team has no excuse for not keeping the materials fresh with the most up-to-date price lists, catalogs, presentations, and videos. If the marketing team can’t consistently provide necessary or requested collateral, the sales team will form the idea that the tool is never up to date and will revert to old habits.
Some suggestions to help reliability:
- Work with marketers to establish a procedure to update regularly and review sessions to address any issues.
- Incentivize cooperation with bonuses, perks, or whatever it takes for both marketing and sales to use the tool.
4. MAKE IT EFFECTIVE
Make sure you are working closely with the sales team to understand what they need to have great customer interactions. Sales enablement tools should not replace those interactions but accentuate and support them. If the sales team is having trouble with the new tool or your sales strategy, be sure to listen to their pain points so that you can optimize their sales process and support their conversations.
If you’re planning to implement any sales enablement tools in the new year, keep in mind that success is more than the tool’s features and capabilities. If you want to rock the sales target for 2016, make sure you’re working to make changes to your sales strategy easy, clear, reliable, and effective. If you do, your sales team is much more likely to adopt the changes and sell more effectively.