How do you help top salespeople improve their performance? It’s a question that’s plagued business leaders for decades, a question sales enablement is one step closer to answering.
In short, sales enablement ensures your sales team has access to the information, content, and tools they need to sell more effectively. It’s a concept still in its infancy which is why we need more people talking about their experience and sharing their knowledge.
In the spirit of sharing knowledge, I’m going to show you three sales enablement strategies that can help your sales team reach their goals:
- Provide on-demand consultation for sales reps
- Use AI for sales enablement
- Boost underperformance with a sales bootcamp
1) Provide On-Demand Consultation for Sales Reps
A study of over 2200 businesses found sales teams who respond to a lead within one hour are 7 times more likely to qualify the lead than those who waited an extra hour. They were also 60 times more likely than those who waited 24 hours.
Speed is of the essence for your sales team. Of course, that means your sales reps need instant access to information. This way they’re better positioned to advise potential clients and close deals.
On-demand consultation offers exactly that. An agile method of support that gives sales reps the information, resources, and advice they need, when they need it.
Here’s how to set up on-demand consultation for your business.
Analyze sales rep requests
You want to document all sales rep requests for analysis. You’re looking for recurring patterns; the more an issue comes up, the more likely improvements to those requests and their attached problems will move the needle.
Where to start with this is going to be individual to your business. However, I’d recommend starting with:
- Competitive intelligence
Competitive deals raise the stakes and your sales rep is going to need a little extra help to beat the competition to close the deal. You need to anticipate what the competition will offer and the kind of questions prospects will ask your sales reps so you can provide better answers.
- Deal Strategy
This is something that’s going to vary by large degrees as it’s related to the overall strategy you employ. Start by analyzing the rep requests at major choke points in the pipeline as these are the low hanging fruit that will bring the fastest results.
Jump on a call with your sales rep to work through potential solutions to those choke points. This could go no further than you and the rep, or it could involve other departments like Legal, Sales Engineering, or Sales Ops.
Sometimes this is nothing more than you offering a second opinion on the strategy your sales rep has already put in place. At its core though, it’s a consultation on a specific area of the strategy that doesn’t seem to be working.
Social proof is a powerful persuasion tool for any business. Linking your prospects with a happy current customer for a call can be a great way to remove any resistance and secure the sale.
You should be collecting information from the reps on the key questions prospects ask that might be better coming from a current customer than your brand.
Build your foundation
Once you’ve analyzed your reps’ requests and identified the key sticking points, you need to build a library of resources to answer them.
This library creates something of a swipe file of answers. You’re able to quickly pull out the most relevant answer to your sales reps question and send it directly to them.
With this in place, you’re ready to implement your enablement strategy. But you should also prepare for the final stage.
Track, Measure, Improve
The whole point of sales enablement is to help your sales reps become more efficient and effective. To ensure that your time isn’t being misplaced, you have to track how sales strategy is affecting overall success.
2) Use AI for Sales Enablement
Personalized on-demand consultation is an important part of sales enablement. However, I found that I was spending a large portion of my time answering high volume, run-of-the-mill questions that are low in value. These queries only require a templated response.
Email can be a good way to send these templated responses, but the better method is to automate the sales process by implementing a chat bot through a service like Slack. The level of personalization now available through chat bots makes them the ideal medium for sales enablement.
It provides an extremely convenient and personalized service for your sales reps offering immediate answers to sales rep questions.
Some of the benefits I’ve listed below:
- Push and pull messaging: While email can only “push” messages, and information on an intranet is only “pulled”, an automated ChatBot can push and pull on-demand and in real-time.
- No login required: A chatbot removes the hassle of gaining remote server access. Once set up, there’s no VPN, web address or password to remember.
- 24-hour instant response: Convenient for any schedule, in any time zone, answers are available fully on-demand.
- High levels of engagement: This study, reports up to 90% of text messages are read within three minutes, and Recart reports message open rates almost double email, with responses at just under 8X email.
3 months ago, we launched a SalesBot at HubSpot as an internal tool to help answer our sales reps questions.
For example, our sales reps can ask the ChatBot things like:
- Competitive intelligence
- Market research / statistics
- Pricing information
- Case studies
- ROI of HubSpot
- GDPR information
- Sales aids / sales decks / playbooks
Despite only being active for 3 months, the bot required almost no adoption time and answers over 500 questions each month. On top of that, I’ve personally reduced the time spent answering questions by roughly 20 hours per month.
I can also monitor the questions’ type and frequency, and then add them to the bot.
3) Organize Sales Bootcamps
Even with the most effective sales team in the world, some reps will outperform others. You need only glance at your CRM software to prove this quantifiably.
It’s easy to champion your superstar sellers and encourage them to do more of the same. But the fastest gains often come from low hanging fruit. Instead of rewarding sales reps who consistently do well, consider bringing the low performing reps up to at least an average success rate for faster improvements.
However, don’t fall into the trap of implementing a traditional lecture-style training model because sales reps typically dislike training that’s one-size-fits-all, overly structured and slide-heavy. Instead, offer them the personalization you’re trying to have them offer the prospect.
Before starting, be careful to clarify that sales bootcamp is not a “punishment”. Reps should be hand-picked based on their potential, on whether you believed they would hit their quota with some support.
Meet with reps individually to answer their questions, analyze their needs and ask them to create their own program from a menu of topics.
Enrollment must require an all-or-nothing commitment: they can come to every session or none of them.
Each session should be designed for engagement and flexibility. Limit the trainers to a small amount of pre-prepared material so there’s more white-boarding, discussion, and coaching.
Stepping back from the traditionally prepared lessons encourages trainers to go more off-piste. It gives them the freedom to focus on areas the rep finds valuable rather than simply flipping through slides.
This is the process we incorporated at HubSpot which helped our reps improve their quota attainment by an average of 31%. And more importantly, all but one rep maintained a higher performance level after the program was finished, with five attendees receiving a promotion.
Make it personal
I won’t pretend these strategies are a silver bullet for sales. But I’m confident that your team’s quota attainment, win-rate, and revenue this year will see a boost, by investing in deeper levels of on-demand personalization in sales enablement.
Also published on Medium.