Deploying Sales Enablement Technology to Increase Efficiency, Sales Velocity, and Sales Revenues
Updated: Feb 1, 2019
"How to increase sales revenue, without adding staff, with sales enablement."
Lack of time is a challenge that most sales professionals have in common. Whether struggling to manage the needs of a large client portfolio or working late each night to catch up on all of the admin work that couldn’t be completed during the day. We have all been there, and for many people working in sales, “too busy” has become the accepted norm.
Most people reading this blog will have attended training courses along the lines of Effective prioritisation, Time management, Quadrant 2 planning, etc. But in real life, sometimes no amount of planning seems able to help you hit that challenging target and meet the expectations of both clients and internal leadership teams.
To make matters worse, expectations of leadership teams don’t always align with the personal priorities of sales professionals, which are mostly centred around generating income and keeping customers happy throughout a transaction or longer term relationship.
Paradoxically, in order to actually make more sales, many sales reps spend more time solving internal process and delivery points and chasing for things to happen, than spending time talking to customers and selling. This, in turn, negatively affects the customer experience and the reputation of a business.
Does any of this sound familiar?
What is Sales Enablement?
Technology exists to substantially increase the amount of time sales representatives actually spend engaging with customers and selling. Not only can Sales Enablement increase the “velocity” of sales, but the same systems and methodology can be put to work around all of the processes and actions that a sales team take, to solve any wider process or task-related issues.
This technology, software, and the processes to identify and solve problems in the sales cycle is called Sales Enablement.
Benefits of Sales Enablement:
An effective Sales Enablement Strategy will achieve many benefits for businesses and customers, such as:
Increasing the number of contacts your business converts into leads
Increasing the amount of time salespeople spend with customers
Making sales happen faster, and selling more (this is increasing velocity)
Defining, refining, and perfecting existing sales processes
Identifying and fixing problems with existing processes which damage value
Substantially reducing sales admin time
Providing management teams with more accurate forecasts based on deal-flows
Improving the quality of sales content, communication, and information
Sales staff and customers are happier, healthier, and supported by technology
Sales enablement process planning example
You ask a member of staff, or a consultant to walk through the existing sales process for your business. Unlike a normal process flow, the planning begins with the type of customers you are selling to and then the customer’s first engagement with your company. With this first engagement often being several steps before they currently make contact with you:
1. Customer profile building – creating buyer personas.
Most companies have prominent types of customers, and these few types of customers make up a large volume of sales. All planning for sales enablement starts with customer profiles or buyer personas, and most businesses start with 3 or 4 “key” buyer personas. These personas form the basis of all sales enablement planning, where you can review the sales cycle, process and information needs of each customer type at each stage.
2. First engagement – examples
You are likely to find that specific types, personas or buyers, engage with the business in different ways. The next step is to identify which are the most common first contact points, or points of engagement, for all customers. Then to assign to the buyer personas you have generated. Examples:
Web searches – queries and results where customers interact with your company
Social media posts or advertising click through
Blog content and calls to action
Google ad-words or other forms of traditional advertising or print media
Landing page capture
Referral sales – through which platforms (LinkedIn, email, website, phone?)
Consumer forums or informative articles and guides
3. Key lead generation channels – by personas
The business then reviews a range of example sales or takes input from front-line sales staff to understand and determine, for each type of buyer, the approximate % engagement and most common engagement, and also the detail of how the customer came to register their contact details for the sales cycle to begin. Some examples:
Website embedded contact forms
Product specific landing pages
4. Assessment and optimisation of lead generation
So the work has been done to understand how your key customers currently (and mostly) engage with the business. Now it's time to analyse the gaps that exist and look at ways to increase lead generation from your existing platform and content. Most businesses have some, but all are lacking specific technology that could be simply added to increase leads from the assets, content, and contact platforms you already have (Web, Blog, Email, Phone, etc.)
Here are some ideas for your check list.
Web Chat – many businesses are still missing this essential technology, and most of the time it can be added and linked to a central CRM such as HubSpot in minutes…
More landing pages and more contact forms – build more landing pages that serve a specific purpose, based on the needs of your key customer profiles.
Write more blog posts and include calls to action – once you have your customer profiles or buyer personas written – you can target more content on the concerns, challenges, and needs of these specific customers. Answer questions, address needs and be an industry leader – all long before the customer makes the first call.
Add calls to action into blogs, landing pages, and website content – use calls to action to prompt a response and collect contact details from interested customers earlier in the sales cycle. Most businesses have digital assets they can offer to download: Brochures, Quotations, E-Books, Buyers Guides, Arrange a Viewing, Quote for a Part-Exchange, Arrange Finance or simple Send Product Details. These are calls to action that prompt responses and likewise will increase leads and sales.
An online diary or appointment booking solution – giving customer many opportunities to arrange a call back when the time is right, or book a meeting or product viewing. Add the same option to book a meeting to your email footers.
Use bespoke product videos - If a customer is interested in a product or service, but time is limited – offer a click through and a brief form entry to enable a 1:1 video to be sent – based on their exact needs.
A call back request button - on all relevant product pages, simple, but it needs to be…
An automated chat-bot! - Science fact, and far easier to do than many companies perceive. It’s a case of standardising many of the things you do with every customer anyway and making this interactive. Meaning website sales keep working while your team is offline.
There are lots more ways to generate leads than the above, but certainly, some ideas to think about.
5. Lead Generation into a Deal Flow… Sales Enablement Examples in Practice
So you have completed the research and work to optimise inbound sales, customer engagement channels, calls to action, and lead generation from your existing sales platform. Now you can build a process or deal flow that maps out exactly what needs to happen for each customer type to buy
Unlike many business process plans it’s really important to do this from the perspective of your customers, using the buyer personas already created. This process will be fairly detailed and maps out the stages, actions, and tasks needed by your business to progress and close a sale. It also looks at the task owners and examines whether to automate, if possible, appropriate, and within budget to implement. Reducing administration with technology increases efficiency and in turn increases the velocity and volume of sales, without adding human resources. Some examples:
i. Linking all lead generation channels, directly into a CRM - like HubSpot. Then all website form entry, calls to action, diary booking or emails can be set up to automatically generate a contact, lead or deal and link to an existing contact or salesperson within your team.
ii. Creating rules for deals and automating the task ownership – so a new customer fills in a contact form on a landing page, to request a product brochure. This, in turn, sets up a standardised set of actions that are automated by the CRM or sales platform. Also a set of tasks that are assigned and completed to agreed timescales. Let's say we assign a lead to a sales manager based on a set of rules (product type, location, value, etc.), and then personalise an automated email to the client from the sales manager, send a link to an online diary to book a call or meeting and schedule a task for the sales manager to contact them.
iii. Moving the lead into a deal and creating deal stages – once we have an active new lead, the lead can be linked to a deal and moved through defined sales stages. At each of these stages, we can both automate work and content sending, which helps progress the sale AND manage tasks and actions that are required by the organisation to ensure the sales opportunity is maximised and followed up in the right way.
iv. Content, forms, sales and marketing assets - during the sales process we need to think about the content or resources that will be needed and can be standardised to help to move the customer forward in the buying process. What are the common things that all customers or each customer type needs at each stage of a deal, which you could automate based on the customer type product you are selling? Follow up emails, Meeting calendars, Brochures, Guides, Finance Applications, Insurance Quotes, etc. Using HubSpot as an example Sales Platform, with the right content, web links and files ready to upload, such a deal workflow could be generated within an hour, then go on to save you multiple hours of sales admin work every week for 3 years - providing often radical improvements in efficiency and an increase in leads closed and sales revenue.
v. Automating sales follow up emails – again it’s simple with a tool like HubSpot to automate emails and follow up a client at each stage of the deal. You know those emails you are working on late at night and never getting sent on time! Two examples:
New deal – warm info email is sent with some product information and a diary link to offer a call to answer any questions, this is based on a previously setup template based on best practise emails and includes links and attachments. The salesperson is also notified of the new deal and receives updates when the client opens the email and clicks on any content links. A task is pre-set for an intro call that afternoon.
Sales presentation – the customer sets up a meeting using the links in the automated email. The salesperson has a meeting booked automatically and based on their real availability. The customer and salesman then receive an email and diary invite to a web call, which is automatically linked to the conference call facility and provides a range of options.
6. Building a process plan
There are a number of ways to plan a process, ranging from BPMS diagrams to flowcharts. Also, there is a wide range of software to help you create polished and good looking process maps such as Adonis, AuraPortal or Orbus. However, for a sales enablement process plan and implementation to work, the actual format is unimportant. It's equally possible to create a great plan on a whiteboard or using post-it notes on an office wall, then capturing the design with a digital camera.
It's important to break down the process into ‘lane's’ where the plan and automation will interact with the customer, staff actions and the exact automation needed by your chosen software, and the content and digital assets or documents that will be required at each step, for it to work properly.
You can plan this in steps, and implement gradually, stage by stage, over a period of weeks, or you can map the whole thing at once. It's also very important to involve the key stakeholders within your team, and if you can break up the task of content gathering and generation, it will make light work of even a very complicated process.
It's also fair to say, that whatever you design on day one is likely to evolve and change over time, through a process of testing and eventual live use.
Whatever format you use – make sure you capture everything and make sure there are owners and tasks set in to follow up, along with a timeframe and launch date for each project.
7. Sales Enablement Technology and Platforms
Many different platforms exist to manage lead generation, sales enablement, and workflow automation in the ways we have considered in this blog. CCS have a broad experience of building bespoke software, CRM’s, automation technology, and to provide help to organisations to map a process and needs to the most suitable software. Some examples:
Bespoke CRM and Marketing Software Design and Development
HubSpot CRM, Sales and Marketing Platform Automation Packages as a turn-key solution with monthly pricing
Enhance Existing CRM for Sales Enablement, with a range of additional technology, apps and software add-ons
So we have looked at a methodology to plan a sales enablement strategy and examples of sales enablement within a typical deal-flow scenario. Now it's over to you to begin the process of planning for your business, put ideas into practice and increase your sales!
With CCS initial consultancy and advice is offered free of charge. We like talking to people and sharing ideas – so get in touch if you would like some help or advice on any of the topics covered in this blog. Just click the link below to book a 30 minute call with our team today...