Congratulations! You’ve purchased a fleet of iPads for your B2B sales team, and now, in addition to being the coolest kids on the block, they are all assuredly going to hit their number. Right?

Actually, it’s not that easy: successful mobile sales enablement requires the right apps, platforms, processes, and leadership to ensure ROI in the hardware, not to mention more President’s Club opportunities for your top performers.

An interesting question is posed by Aberdeen’s research publication, “Would You Buy from a 20th-Century Sales Rep?.” The somewhat predictable answer is well-supported by research data: Best-in-Class sales organizations are 29% more likely (63% vs. 49%) than under-performers to be very or extremely focused on arming their sales team members with modern sales effectiveness technologies. Buying the latest and greatest form factors and applications alone, however, is only the first step in enabling professional sellers with the proper tools they need to close deals efficiently and to delight their customers. Indeed, this pending publication introduces a series of core business processes, sales coaching imperatives, and customer-facing competencies required to turn these technology investments into measurable, quota-busting successes.

Now, a subset of Aberdeen’s vast Sales Effectiveness research library is presented in a new Research Report focusing on mobile sales engagement: utilizing smart technologies and proven business capabilities to transform remote and field-based B2B sellers into stronger performers through better analytics, customer insights, and content management. The ultimate goal: helping more sellers into triple-figure quota performance, and overall efficiencies in enterprise-wide sales productivity.

Headaches And Nightmares: What’s Keeping Sales Ops Up At Night

To begin this analysis, we look at Aberdeen research initially published in Sales and Marketing Alignment: A Primer on Successful Collaboration, which surveyed 261 companies to understand best practices in sales enablement. When asked to identify the top business pressures that stress them out, survey respondents indicated most frequently that sales cycle friction and overall visibility barriers within the customer acquisition lifecycle are the most common issues that inspire them to pursue better processes and new technologies that bring the marketing and sales lines of business closer together – Figure 1. The biggest concern among survey respondents represents an all-too-frequent speed bump that reps and managers alike dread: sales deal “leakage” or other slow-downs that extend deals into the next selling cycle, and expand the overall average window to close deals on a company-wide basis. Absolutely no one enjoys changing the estimated close date in the CRM record to the following month.

Figure 1: Top Business Pressures Driving Sales Enablement Initiatives

This is, however, not a universal problem: 28% of top-performing, Best-in-Class companies are actually able to shrink their average sales cycle on a year-over-year basis, compared with 15% of Industry Average firms and only 3% among Laggards. Shortly, we will identify the business competencies that separate these performance cohorts and help produce such disparate results. The remaining top business pressures from Figure 1 combine to paint a clear picture of an unclear situation: customer acquisition leaders simply do not have enough line-of-sight into their prospects and buyers, specifically around the consumption and effectiveness of the messaging presented to them by marketing and sales efforts. The resulting friction creates drags on seller productivity, managerial effectiveness, and content consistency that can debilitate even the most tech-savvy of sales teams if they do not pursue the right strategies to overcome these pressures.

Taking Action: Creating And Hitting A Better Target

Considering the visibility and chronology strains identified above, we now look at the strategic actions most commonly pursued by survey respondents around better marketing / sales enablement practices that help streamline their mutual plan of attack and also ultimately benefit their customers.

Figure 2: Key Strategies To Reduce Friction And Improve Visibility

In Figure 2, we see that by a significant margin, the most significant strategy pursued in the context of overcoming the barriers defined above focuses on customized messaging and storytelling. Such an approach helps a selling organization differentiate themselves from competitors and make potential buyers feel comfortable that their own needs are well understood. The first of these two tenets is obvious: we all seek to explain why our product, service, pricing, or value proposition is better than the next guy’s; hence the reason product marketers consume and act on so much competitive intelligence when developing their new releases and pitches.

The second point – customers receiving content and messaging tailored to their specific business needs – is far more important, though less universally executed by marketing and sales practitioners. Indeed, there is a real “content gap” that too often exists in organizations taking the traditional approach that begins by dictating that the marketing team sends one-to-many messaging out to a large population. This unimaginative, traditional approach that assumes that all hand-raisers responding to their message are genuinely ready to speak to, if not quickly buy from, a talented sales rep in an ensuing 1:1 conversation. In reality, there are many flavors of “sales lead” and prospecting discussions that require a more creative and customizable set of content options that both marketers and sellers are able to configure to each and every interaction they create with their potential buyer.

If we accept that “facts tell, but stories sell,” then the top strategy shown in Figure 2 rings very true. The additional actions that companies take to overcome sales friction and content visibility issues build on this credo: it is vital to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right recipient, especially in the modern day era when buyers own so much capability of researching the products, solutions, and providers in which they plan to invest. Much as marketing automation platforms are relied upon to help enterprises understand which of their campaigns deliver better results, so too do sales leaders need to learn and act upon similar feedback. Now, let’s explore which business capabilities are most effectively used by top performers in order to execute on these strategies.