It’s no secret that the digital age has had a significant impact on the way we, as sellers, sell. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, analytics/reporting tools, and most recently AI-powered sales assistants are just a few ways that digital systems are helping to empower the sales teams of today. Technology plays a pivotal role within sales enablement, by supporting the bigger picture it acts as one of the critical elements that helps support sales teams on a day-to-day basis.
When we talk about sales enablement here at Firestarter we talk about structuring, organising, and embedding of long-term cultural and habit-forming practices designed to optimise the sales performance of each and every person in your team. Through technology supporting sales enablement, sales teams are able to benefit from a wide range of tools and platforms that align with sales productivity practices that drive each team member’s performance.
In this article, we will examine how sales teams are maximising their productivity by using the right digital tools while still maintaining a focus on traditional selling skills as part of their integrated sales process.
Taking a Holistic Approach to B2B Sales Enablement
Sales enablement is the process by which the productivity and performance of sales teams is enhanced by giving them whatever they need to close more deals. As such, it is necessary to take a holistic approach to developing any programme of sales enablement activity – as the enhancements to your sales teams’ productivity could come from potentially anywhere within your organisation.
When we consider the role of digital tools in a sales enablement programme, it needs to be as part of an interconnected strategy which focuses on aligning organisations towards a common goal of optimising sales performance.
In the digital age, a salesperson’s skillset is no longer fully reliant on how well they can sell but how well they can adapt to technological advancements and changing customer expectations.
With sales enablement programmes changing dramatically over the years, gone are the days of role-playing, objection handling and relying on company dependence. Now, there is a heavy focus on training sales teams to be able to educate buyers on ways that their products or services can help meet their buyers’ needs. With the integration of digital systems in the sales process, sales enablement training incorporates metric management, assessment programmes, CRM platform training, the use of sales automation tools, and working with AI-driven sales assistants.
With modern technology such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, sales teams can leverage these tools to bring in specialists, customer service representatives and executives to the sales process. But while technology can help to streamline the sales process, it can only go so far. Salespeople must excel in their role by nurturing relationships with buyers and undertake training to develop a customer centric approach that is focused on customer needs and pain points.
Integrating AI and Automation in Sales Enablement
In 2023, the big topic that is on every salesperson’s mind is the use of AI. Whether you’re for or against AI, there’s no escaping it, AI is here to stay and is already dramatically changing the way we work. With AI-powered sales assistants such as Salesforce and Hubspot, salespeople are now turning to AI to analyse customer data, past interactions and browsing history to provide themselves with real-time insights and recommendations. This AI driven support enables a salesperson to make data-driven decisions and deliver personalised approaches to the sales process, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates and an overall improved sales performance.
Chatbots can play a crucial role in automating the sales process. When prospects or customers visit a company’s website, a chatbot can engage them in a conversation, asking questions to understand their buyer needs. In a study conducted by Tidio, when comparing chatbots vs customer service agents, 62% of customers would use an online chatbot to see if it could help them out instead of waiting for a customer service rep. Now in B2B specific industries where products or services are highly technical and require specialised knowledge, customers may prefer to interact with knowledgeable human representatives who can provide in-depth insights and solutions. However, chatbots can provide an efficient means of quickly routing customers to the most appropriate sales contact.
Although AI and automation tools can improve sales efficiency, it’s vital for the human element to remain in sales interactions. For instance, during a sales call, salespeople must actively listen to prospects’ needs, provide empathetic responses, and build genuine rapport.
The Power of Digital Content
Modern large-scale sales teams typically work with multiple types of digital tools to help deliver valuable information to prospects and customers. Digital content has become a powerful tool in modern sales, GetAccept found that 97% of respondents to a digital selling tools survey use at least one digital selling tool. Here are some ways companies are using digital selling tools in sales enablement:
Digital Sales Collateral
Salespeople of today no longer need to carry around a briefcase full of brochures, pricing guides, and business cards, through digitalisation a salesperson can enter a sales environment with an armful of digital content at their disposal. Items such as, presentations, brochures, case studies, and product videos allow a salesperson to provide relevant information quickly and efficiently.
With analytical CRM systems and other digital tools pumping out so much data, the need to create personalised content has become such a powerful tool. Personalised content could include voice notes, retargeted ads or bespoke explanation videos which allow the salesperson to explain products and services relevant to the buyer. This type of digital content allows salespeople to create a more tailored experience which can address the unique needs and pain points of a potential buyer, more on this in the next section…
Virtual Demos and Webinars
Virtual product/service demos and webinars for prospects are a great way for salespeople to convey their sales messaging regardless of their physical location. Virtual demos and webinars enable scalable presentations, saving time and resources. Tools such as Lucidchart, Google Slides, Vidyard and Microsoft Teams have all been instrumental to empowering sales teams, helping them to connect with new prospects from anywhere in the world.
Automated Email Campaigns
Through industry leading CRM systems such as Hubspot, marketing teams can work with sales teams to create email campaigns that nurture leads over time. These campaigns are able to automatically deliver valuable content to prospects at strategic intervals helping to keep the company on top of the buyer’s mind during the selling process.
Salespeople can use a combination of their own digital content or make use of their company’s social channels to really push the message of what they are trying to sell. Content such as articles, industry insights, thought leadership and case studies are just a few ways digital content can fuel their social efforts.
Embracing Technology While Maintaining a Human Focus
It is no secret that the advent of technology and digitalisation of sales processes has undoubtedly revolutionised the B2B sales landscape. Sophisticated data analytics, automation, personalised content, and AI are aiding sales teams by increasing sales efficiency and enhancing their customer interactions. However, it is essential to remember that despite these technological advancements, B2B sales remains a customer-centric and human-focused sector. Technology can provide valuable insights and support throughout the sales process, but it cannot replace the human understanding of pain points, unique needs, and the ability to build genuine relationships.
The importance of human interaction is especially important when you begin to analyse the buying cycle. Using the buyer’s cycle model as an example, sales teams can gain a deeper understanding of where prospects are in their buying process. With this knowledge, they can tailor their interactions, providing the right kind of human interaction and support at each stage, ensuring a smooth and successful journey for the customer. The hesitation stage is where a human focus is vitally important, prospects may have lingering doubts, uncertainties or have specific concerns that require personalised attention. Technology can help to provide valuable data and insights, but it won’t be able to fully understand the emotional elements or unique circumstances a prospect is facing.
Sales Enablement in the Digital Age is an evolving journey where technology plays a vital role in enhancing sales efficiency and customer engagement. While technology empowers sales teams with data-driven insights, automation, and digital content, it is the human element that remains the driving force behind successful sales enablement programmes that drive productivity in large scale sales teams.
To find out more about our Firestarter Sales Enablement Programmes, get in touch today.