Modern day B2B customers want something different from B2B sellers. They want a more omnichannel, frictionless buying experience and less direct interaction with salespeople until later in the sales cycle.
That’s why so many organisations are turning to B2B sales enablement. It’s been shown that B2B businesses that use sales enablement techniques are more likely to achieve or exceed their sales quota – and in a shorter period of time. Make sure you check out our in-depth guide to sales enablement here Sales Enablement: The Secret To Predictable Sales Revenue Growth.
Why is B2B sales enablement so successful?
Just as consumers of today expect a tailored, on-demand experience when it comes to Netflix or Uber, B2B buyers want a seamless experience. They want the right information, at the right time, delivered via their preferred channels.
Potential customers have high expectations around the content and input they receive from a business. B2B buyers are often younger too, and, having grown up in the digital age they’re highly invested in all things online.
Since lockdown it appears they’re demanding an even slicker experience. Since the start of the crisis, according to McKinsey
“ When researching products, customers’ preference for digitally enabled sales interactions has jumped significantly.”
Failing to meet their expectations could spell disaster.
B2B Sellers see sales enablement as a way to improve falling quotas
B2B companies need to find solutions to improve win rates, accelerate deals and build stronger customer relationships. To do this, according to SoPro they should be involved in
“The continual process of removing barriers to achieving sales. It can be realised and maximised through strategies, tools and processes.”
The role of a sales rep has changed dramatically
B2B prospects often complete the majority of their purchasing journey before they even meet a rep.
Personality, while still important, is not enough to push prospects through a predetermined sales funnel. The sales process today is all about identifying and catering to the key moments in a buyer’s journey, using different channels and targeting content and sales messages.
However B2B sales enablement is not just about ‘moving to digital’. The death of the salesperson has been widely exaggerated. It’s not that there’s no need for that human touch – It’s about working out how and when to deploy sales reps to best effect.
Sales and marketing must align
While there are other barriers to achieving higher sales quotas (for example, product development, service delivery or customer satisfaction) the underlying issue is the misalignment of sales and marketing teams. When this happens nobody has their focus 100% on practices relevant to a buyer’s persona or journey.
So a key aspect to B2B sales enablement is to ensure that marketing and sales develop close collaboration. Then marketing can create personalised, highly relevant content for sales to use within the sales cycle. Marketing and sales need to work together to craft messaging at the right times, and across all touchpoints, to engage customers and keep them moving forward.
Both teams also need to be able to track and understand the returns on investment (ROIs) of later stage content. Then they can maximise the reps’ ability to have valuable, converting conversations.
Sales enablement strategies, tools and processes
The path to sales enablement will differ from firm to firm. But anything that improves sales performance can be counted as part of a sales enablement strategy. Here are a few general points to consider when you’re planning sales enablement implementation:
- Firstly and foremost it’s essential to make sure content is being properly managed and delivered.
- Large B2B companies often have tons of content which can be living in different locations. It’s estimated that sales reps can spend up to 30 hours a month searching for, and creating, content. And materials that are outdated or off-brand can surface at any time: Customers who receive irrelevant content are likely to disengage themselves from the conversation.
- To fix this problem organisations need, at the very least, to create a content library and integrate this with a sales enablement solution. All content needs to be tagged so that marketing and sales can find what they need.
- Sales need to be trained on how to use the sales enablement system(s) to access custom content. And understand how to input their feedback so that marketing can produce better content going forward.
Sales enablement is a proven strategy. According to research by Aberdeen 84% of reps at companies with best-in-class sales enablement strategies achieved their quotas compared with 55% of reps at companies with average strategies (and 15% at companies with none).
These are powerful statistics that go to show that failing to keep up with the B2B buyer’s changing mindset could have dire consequences for B2B companies.