Sales Enablement: How are you ensuring your sales team is selling effectively?

Your sales processes and product offerings are constantly changing and evolving to keep your organization competitive. That means your sales teams and channel partners need ongoing support and updated information to sell effectively. But if your sales enablement program is ineffective at keeping pace with these changes, sales will be affected.

IDC defines sales enablement as getting the right information into the hands of the right sellers at the right time and place, and in the right format, to move a sales opportunity forward. So providing your sales team with the information they need and enabling them with the tools to do their job is essential.

IDC found that a lack of proper sales enablement results in $14 million in wasted sales and marketing expenses and $100 million in lost sales opportunities for a "typical" $1 billion company. Granted most of us are not typical $1B companies (though we have hopes and dreams), but we can agree that many organizations, of all sizes, are not getting sales enablement right and it ultimately has an effect on sales.

What your sales team knows and the tools available to help them is what drives sales. Here are three areas that you need to ensure your sales teams are updated on at all times to grow your sales.

#1. Pricing and Configuration

This one should be obvious but it’s so important and yet so often missed that it’s necessary to mention here. Sale reps and channel partners need to be updated on all pricing and configuration changes… even before they happen. Yet as important as this is, many sales organizations fail to keep their teams updated effectively. What do I mean by effectively? I mean more than just an email that’s sent in the belief that sales reps and partners will notice them (among the hundreds of other weekly emails) or the quarterly conference calls.

The issue becomes more critical when pricing and product changes occur regularly. And when the inevitable happens and quotes are created using the wrong pricing or configurations, order entry issues increase and sales costs go up.

To reduce quoting and pricing errors, organizations need to consider using CPQ sales quoting and configuration solutions. They not only automate the process of creating sales proposals, which increases sales productivity, but ensure sales reps always use the most up to date pricing and configurations.

#2. Cross-Selling and Upselling Opportunities

Sales models have changed, especially for organizations selling SaaS and subscription models. With more and more traditional solution providers moving to, or looking to implement, subscription models, customer lifetime value is the name of the game. It’s no longer about securing that one big deal. Sales reps, and sales teams as a whole, are measured by their ability to acquire and maintain customers for the long-term.

Keeping your customers satisfied for the long run means not only showing them continuous value for the existing solution you’ve sold them, but finding ways to provide enhanced value. That makes it is essential to offer them new and complimentary solutions.

To do this effectively your sales team needs to be kept up to date on cross-sell and upsell opportunities. Your sales enablement program needs to update sales reps on which solutions to sell, when to sell them and how to effectively present their value. You also need to educate your team on which customers can benefit from the addition of the various products in your portfolio.

While information sharing and sales training are usually the first thing you would think about for improving this, it’s not enough. Sales enablement should be built into your sales process. You should consider implementing sales tools that can automatically suggest up-sell and cross-sell opportunities during the sales process. Many CPQ solutions can provide this capability. They can help sales reps propose the right up-sell and cross-sell solutions based on the customer profile and the solutions the customer has already implemented.

#3. Sales Support Materials

Looking back at the IDC definition of sales enablement, it talked about getting the right information into the hands of the right sellers at the right time and place, and in the right format. So looking at your own sales process, is your team getting customers the information they need and in the format they need to make a decision?

Many of the customers I speak with send sales quotes that are single one-page pricing tables. Sometimes they do this as it's easy – they simply copy their Excel spreadsheet. Other times it’s the way the quoting solution they’ve implemented generates quotes. There’s no question the customer gets the pricing information they need. Yet, if only selling were that simple.

It’s more than likely a sales proposal will need to be considered by more than one decision maker or influencer within the customer organization for approval. Did your sales team meet with each of them? Does each buyer have the information they need to make a decision? Could there be any information they’re missing that could help move the opportunity forward? Making a decision is never about price alone. Each of these buyers has their own interests and requirements that need to be addressed.

Keeping your sales team updated on the materials and collateral that will help customers make a decision – and decide to purchase your product rather than a rival’s – is crucial. CPQ solutions can also help with this. They’re able to automatically provide your sales reps with the right product information, case studies, ROI calculations and other forms of support materials to help customers decide on the right solution for their needs.

Sales enablement is critical to the success of your organization. Whether you choose to implement traditional sale enablement methods or automate sales enablement within a sales quoting solution, make sure your sales team and channel partners are equipped with the information and tools to move their opportunities forward and win business.


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