Recently, a client shared a frustration with me once that I believe most organizations struggle with. We were discussing plans to expand our engagement, and I was excited. My marketing team has been working their rear ends off for this client and we knew they were happy. Any time you’re discussing what the next level looks like you’re in good shape.
My team had put together a plan for our next campaign sprint that included a heavy dose of what we call Sales Enablement. We were proposing several projects including custom dashboards for their CRM (Salesforce), ongoing integration support between their HubSpot marketing automation software and Salesforce, and enhancements to our lead management process. As I went over the plan my client interrupted with something like:
“Eric, this is great! This is exactly the stuff my bosses boss wants to see solved. We have so much information, but it’s spread out all over hell. The CEO is constantly asking for better visibility, the whole organization is really. This is the kind of stuff that could really make an impact on the entire organization.”
I explained that this is exactly the direction our agency was going and that we were committed to developing people and toolsets to improve the offering he stopped me again:
“I can’t imagine how every organization isn’t challenged with this stuff like we are. I’ve looked around for support options in the past and there just isn’t much out there to choose from. If you can get ahead of this you’ll have a great competitive advantage.”
He was right. This is why I believe all inbound marketing campaigns are dependent on a strong sales system to be successful. It doesn’t matter how many leads your digital marketing efforts produce, they have to turn into sales or it won’t mean much.
The sales landscape has changed, has your approach?
When was the last time you answered your office phone when you didn’t recognize the number? Does your office assistant screen your calls or transfer anyone who calls right over to you? If you’re highly selective about whom you’ll speak with you’re not alone. According to TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group, in 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. In 2013 it took around 8 attempts.
The dynamics of the sales landscape have changed dramatically over the last decade with the rapid proliferation of technology and information available to buyers online. We possess instant access to information we didn’t used to have. The mobile, technology-driven world we live in has changed the way prospects make buying decisions.
The amount of new technical information is doubling every two years and 95% of all of the data in the world has been created in the last two years! - Rick Bates via Main Broadcast Coalition, October 2015.
Access to information has shifted the balance of power
Your management team needs to be keenly aware of how the changing landscape affects the way our prospects make purchase decisions so you can lead the overhaul of your sales methodology. With the ability to access information at any time, from any place the game has changed for businesses trying to compete for consumers looking to buy. Gone are the days of potential buyers relying solely on sales people for information on our products or services.
As an example "shopping" for cars is often performed online, rather than a dealership. People only go the dealership when they know what they want, and they’re often more educated about the individual vehicle than the sales rep that greets them in the lot.
89% of US internet users search online before they make a purchase, even when that purchase is made at a local business - HubSpot
Build an online library of information & resources
Because the decision making process has shifted from the salesperson to the prospect your business needs to compete for the attention of those seeking to self-educate. If you want to empower our sales staff for success your online business presence needs to present well, present everywhere, and stay front-of-mind. Consider developing a cohesive strategy that puts resources, information, and brand messaging into cyber space as widely and frequently as possible. Here are some steps to consider:
- Build a website that speaks directly to your prospects, educate them on your services, and confirm sales claims.
- Publish resourceful whitepapers, case studies, and articles that inform potential customers.
- Build a social community that provides your customers a platform to provide feedback and your prospects a history of your service record.
- Develop an email strategy that provides a steady source of resources to nurture prospects to maturity.
- Manage everything through marketing automation and sales management software.
- Monitor the right performance indicators, and make continual adjustments for improved results.
Give your sales team the power with interactive tools
To maximize your team’s potential and production, focus on enablement through development of fantastic sales tools. By implementing interactive sales tools you’ll empower your sales staff with effective methods of answering questions, presenting features and benefits, supporting their claims, and building credibility.
A Power Point bound in a spiral notebook isn’t dynamic. Sending email after email with no idea if it’s being opened or not is so 2007. In today’s digital world we have amazing sales support software platforms available to us. They enable sales to be more efficient, informed, and effective than ever before. The ability to integrate different software solutions allows sales professionals the tools they need to perform to their potential in today’s digital world.
Evaluate your team to see if they have the ability to do the following:
- Research companies visiting your website, identify key personnel, qualify them before their first interaction, and connect with context the prospect doesn’t know they have.
- Harvest valuable insights, contact information, and company statistics with a couple clicks of a mouse.
- Present personalized materials virtually and send interactive follow-ups that empower their prospects to choose the right solutions and self-identify.
- Monitor the movements and engagement of their prospects’ entire decision making process by tracking every email, clicked link and document for real time engagement and intelligence.
- Work with real-time intelligence that seamlessly syncs between sales and marketing systems where re-engagement of stale leads is no longer their responsibility.
- Access and send interactive sales and marketing assets from any mobile device.
The ability to give your sales team these capabilities relies on the software solutions you choose and requires you to set them up to work together. When integrated, the buyer’s journey can be enhanced by the elements I’ve outlined. The result will be an empowered sales team ready to execute effectively on every opportunity.