Selling is hard. Doing it well is even harder. On any given day, a seller has to keep track of multiple tasks, diverse objectives, and different layers of information in order to have a chance at making the sale, not to mention meeting quota.
To start, a sales rep has to have the most up-to-date information on products, and be trained on new versions, new messaging, and new features and functionalities. Reps have to understand and put into action their company’s sales methodology whenever they engage with prospects. And they must have just the right content on hand, ready with the information their prospect needs to help them progress through the buyer’s journey, taking another step toward making a purchase decision.
This is a lot to juggle, but getting all of these pieces right is critical in today’s competitive sales environment, where there is very little room for error. Gone are the days when the seller held all the cards and could lead the buyer’s journey from beginning to end. Sales reps now have to figure out how to succeed in an age where the buyer is firmly in the driver’s seat. Today’s buyers have done a great deal of research before ever engaging with a seller and as a result they expect nearly instant responses and personalized communications when they are ready to interact with a sales rep. Modern sellers can scarcely afford a misstep, or the buyer is likely to move to a competitor at a moment’s notice.
While sellers face ever-increasing demands to execute, there is less and less time in the work day to do so. Sales reps must navigate longer, more complex sales cycles, and have to run to keep up with the changing needs and expectations of prospects and customers. The explosion of technologies and tools that have been implemented to help sales teams can create some significant advantages, but unless they are deployed effectively, they can also give sellers significantly more administrative work. Reps are feeling the pain and struggling to spend enough time selling, spending an astonishing 64 percent of their time on non-selling tasks, rather than on building new customer relationships. This means that when they are selling, they need to be engaging with the buyer as effectively as possible.
And it isn’t only the sales team that is feeling the heat. Marketers create volumes of content in an effort to support sellers and provide the assets that will move the needle on sales but are stymied by a lack of visibility into which content sales is actually using, and how effective the content is. Without insight into what content is performing well, marketers are unable to use data to create and update assets reps need to have successful engagements with prospects. This is why good sales and marketing alignment is an indicator of company success, with 74 percent of high-performing organizations having strong alignment across both departments. But it is not always clear how to go about achieving that alignment.
Selling is hard, and it is difficult to find and combine the right mix of elements to achieve sales success. But all of these difficulties can be managed with good sales enablement, which holds the solution to today’s complex sales puzzle.
Where Guided Selling Comes In
Guided selling is an essential component when delivering enablement to a sales team, providing information to reps during the sales process that they can lean on to keep buyers moving towards a purchase decision. A well-built sales playbook is at the foundation of any guided selling solution, and aligns an organization’s sales methodology with the buyer’s journey as it lays out the steps of the sales play. It gives the seller information on precisely what to do and what to communicate in a given sales scenario.
A dynamic guided selling tool delivers assistance to sales reps via the system where they live — the CRM. Integrating guidance into the workflow of reps puts all relevant content, training, and tools at their fingertips and in context, making it easier for them to have effective sales conversations.
Though the point of guided selling is to offer sales reps tailored information that applies to the buyer they are speaking to, the approach can’t be too rigid in order to be truly effective. After all, not every buyer, or conversation will be the same. An effective guided selling approach needs to be dynamic and adaptable to unexpected changes in the sales interaction, to shifts in stages, or to moments when new stakeholders join the conversation. A guided selling tool should be more like an interactive map that gives sellers the ability to find and share what the prospect wants and needs in any given scenario, while continuing to navigate effectively through the sales process.
The most innovative guided selling solutions employ AI that leverages analytics to determine the best information to use as selling scenarios evolve. When done right, guided selling provides a holistic experience for sales reps allowing them to respond to prospects as needed throughout the buying journey and is adaptable enough to allow for the variations that are bound to occur.
Many elements make up comprehensive, responsive and effective guided selling. Check out our new whitepaper, The Guide to Guided Selling, to better understand the necessary components that will truly enable reps to sell more effectively.