For sales reps, innovation that matters is innovation that pays. Today we’ll illustrate how reps win more deals by leveraging modern sales enablement technology to stay focused when others waver. And how an aligned approach to sales and marketing innovation makes this possible.

Compare & Contrast

When you first heard about sales enablement, what was the problem you were trying to solve? How were your existing processes and technologies getting in the way of solving it? What strategies and tactics did you prioritize? Chances are, many of the issues encountered in the early days of your sales enablement journey persist today, if in a different and more competitive form. Odds are equally high that at some point, self-imposed distractions have prevented you from fully solving your original problem. As a consequence, your sales reps and their revenue goals have suffered.

One of the best practices we avidly recommend is to compare and contrast sales rep experiences pre and post-sales enablement. (This is equally applicable for companies progressing from early to later-stage implementations.) We do this for three primary reasons: 1) to keep sales reps at the center of sales enablement decision-making; 2) to ensure customers are measuring their sales enablement progress against a baseline; and 3) to capture tangible, time-bound representations of successes and failures.

Recent research indicates that companies with sales enablement tools increase revenue at a faster rate than their peers. In 2016, over 75% of survey respondents from companies using sales enablement tools reported that their company’s sales had increased over the past 12 months. Of these same respondents, nearly 40% reported sales increases greater than 25%. (Sources: Highspot and Heinz Marketing) Sales rep experiences are a key catalyst in achieving these results.

Illustrated below is a snapshot of challenges sales teams without modern sales enablement commonly face and how their experiences change once a solution that’s right for them is up and running.

Maintaining Focus

We realize relentless focus is easier endorsed than achieved, especially when evaluating innovations in the sales enablement space. With this in mind, here are five questions designed to keep your sales enablement goals on the right track while remaining open to new ideas.

  1. How effectively are your reps moving leads through the funnel this year vs. last year? Increasing conversion rates are a top indicator that the technology you’re investing in is yielding dividends and keeping reps happy. Alternatively, if you’ve deployed new technology that’s not yet generating returns, you might need to rethink your priorities and expectations.
  2. How much time are your reps spending on content customization? This tends to be a direct reflection of whether or not your sales and marketing teams are aligned. If so, fantastic; the technology supporting your business is likely accessible and utilized by both parties. If not, you’re settling for lower ROI than your organization might otherwise earn.
  3. Do your reps have visibility into content recommendations and performance? Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a central feature of modern sales enablement and a sales performance accelerator. By helping sales teams optimize their time and resources, AI is instrumental to sales rep efficiency and effectiveness. Reps working with AI wouldn’t want a system that doesn’t feature it. Those not yet working with AI will soon realize what they’re missing when competitors steal their deals.
  4. How many unique platforms are your reps using to find, customize, and share sales content? If it’s more than one, they’re trading their time and attention for lost revenue. No rep prefers unnecessary steps, especially when they involve accessing sales content on multiple platforms. Save yourself and your reps: consolidate.
  5. How much time are your reps spending on content discovery? Are they able to find what they need for every stage of the buyer’s journey? This relates directly the previous question, but with an emphasis on content management and the degree to which your sales enablement solution supports specific tasks and clear goals. Where it does, reps are happy. And happy reps are far more likely to hit their numbers.

Reps Invest Where They’re Best-Equipped to Succeed

Imagine you’re a new sales rep and on your desk is a rotary phone, fax machine, legal pad, and a note featuring the message Good Luck. This would be the 2017 equivalent of attempting to deliver on quota without modern sales enablement. You might also picture a scenario in which you’re given five logins to six platforms, none of which deliver precisely what you need and together squander more time than you can afford. I’m guessing you wouldn’t stick around either situation for too long.

In an environment evolving as fast as sales enablement, it’s easy to lose focus on the here-and-now for the sake of what-might-be. By keeping your eyes on what’s most important to your reps (and why), you’ll elevate your potential to make the most of both while delivering the competitive advantages your company needs.