Customer centricity is the most basic tenet of a sound sales enablement strategy. Particularly in this “Age of the Customer” we live and do business in, it is critical to provide the most positive experience to consumers before, during, and after the sale to boost repeat business, loyalty and profits.It takes a lot of work to assemble an end-to-end strategy for winning more deals with less work overall, which is a very simplified definition of sales enablement. It's true that the sales and marketing teams generally bear the brunt of the work, but there are many business components that contribute to a happy customer base. However, there are three less-obvious key functions that play a foundational role:
Sales Enablement Adoption Starts with Human Resources
The capstone of most successful selling programs is a top-notch sales team. The first step toward ensuring you’ve got the best of the best on the front lines of your organization starts with effective talent management and training. From job description language to employee onboarding programs, there are many opportunities for the HR team to inject customer-first verbiage into their initiatives to attract, engage, and prepare individuals with a compatible mindset.
Once a sales enablement system has been developed, it is imperative that new employees receive the proper instruction and fundamental understanding from day one. After all, the system will only be as effective as its least enthusiastic constituent. Setting the tone for a customer-centric culture, establishing expectations, inspiring the vision, and instruction on tools and processes should be at the core of any new employee training program.
IT’s Impact on Tools and Systems
One of the primary objectives of sales enablement teams is ensuring that data flows strategically through the organization so that each team has the intelligence they need for their own key initiatives. Depending on the type of product or service you sell, the IT team may play a very large role in the execution of sales enablement initiatives or they may be involved in more of a supporting-cast manner. Either way, it is important to keep them closely looped into the conversation around system development and strategy implementation.
When it comes to onboarding new technology or integrating existing applications, it is critical to have a firm understanding of any restrictions and feasibility that may affect selection, configuration, and direction. In my experience, system admins and developers typically don’t hesitate to raise concerns or objections when it comes to considering the best solution. And if you spend time nurturing a customer-centric spirit across the organization, I’ve found that these teams will be more likely to come up with alternative approaches when faced with a challenging objective.
The Role Accounting Plays in a Sound Sales System
Customers appreciate consistency and courtesy, plain and simple. Although the accounting team plays a less influential part in attracting prospects and nurturing leads through the sales cycle, they are much more significant in creating post-sale delight by providing a positive payment experience and assisting with issues promptly. Most AP and AR teams likely have their shit together when it comes to billing and collecting payment – businesses need money to continue paying their employees and vendors, of course. However, their systems and processes may get a bit more loosey-goosey around data capture and tech adoption.
In more sophisticated sales enablement environments, multiple platforms will be integrated in a way that certain data flowing through each serve as a trigger for actions in other departments. For example, the marketing team may use the contract end date to enroll current customers into a renewal workflow. Or they may use the product/service codes on contact records to identify upsell/cross-sell opportunities and market to them accordingly. If the accounting team does not understand how their actions (or inaction) in the software they use impacts the rest of the teams, there is a tremendous risk that the lack of intelligence will result in missed diminished revenue.
Getting Everybody on the Same Wavelength When It Comes to Sales Enablement
Developing a sturdy, effective sales enablement strategy can be difficult; developing the vision around it to inspire adoption can be even more difficult. As tempting as it may be to kill everybody with a firestorm of meetings and presentations, that’s the most surefire way to create dissonance and rejection across your team. When it comes to getting key influencers onboard for your sales enablement ideas and initiatives, we can help you cultivate a solid approach.