As buying patterns change, so must selling approaches. What is HCL’s take on the evolving practice of sales enablement? Let’s find out.
Today’s buyers are a different breed from what their predecessors were just a decade ago. Social media, cloud, general mobility, and business intelligence continually impact buyer behavior. Many of today’s buyers have grown up in the digital age with instant access to information, and thus, tend to be information seekers. This behavior not only applies to their personal lives but is also evident in the professional sphere. Around 75-80% of sales activities are now happening digitally₁, and remote selling is replacing face-to-face (F2F) selling at an increasing rate, regardless of the industry or the sales channel.
Today, buyers demand a customized selling approach that specifically addresses their unique problems. Earlier, a more general selling approach might have helped a seller get through the proverbial door. However, in today’s accelerated selling cycle, the door remains shut for anyone not offering a targeted and customized approach.
The role of sales enablement as a strategic function is imperative to empower today’s sellers with the right sales assets at the right time. Sales enablement is no longer about providing simple sales support to free up sellers’ time or offload administrative tasks. It has moved toward a model that relies on control and organization of information, including sales assets. It also harnesses the power of analytics to shape and improve behaviors with regards to sales assets, among other things.
The adoption rate of sales enablement strategies by organizations of all shapes and sizes has increased exponentially over the last few years. Two out of three organizations have ‘sales enablement’ as a function or some program now₂. Its importance is growing as more organizations realize the need to move away from data silos toward an integrated, organization-wide information system that can be mined for accurate business intelligence with the help of AI.
How can an organization move from sales support toward true sales enablement? The most obvious thing to do is to connect real or perceived operational silos by weaving business intelligence needs across them.
Generally addressed functionally and not organizationally, business intelligence (BI) needs to exist at every level in an organization. Not doing so results in duplication of effort and unnecessary costs. It also leads to missed opportunities for connecting organizational functions to leverage shared interests/sources or realize tangential connections. Lack of organizational knowledge sharing via BI harms the accuracy of customer targeting, brand messaging, and selling processes.
Creating a central BI function to support an organization’s needs can be a critical and compelling event in the journey toward a modern sales enablement approach. Central BI functions must be enabled by the right technology and the right people to deliver real results. Such a system will enable decision-making based on real-time data, facilitate rapid and targeted content delivery to sellers, and support the evaluation of content consumption and content effectiveness. This, in turn, generates valuable insights around targeting and selling effectiveness.
- Sales Force “State of Sales Report” 2020
- Highspot: State of Sales Enablement 2020
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