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From Content to Close: Removing Friction with Sales Enablement

Posted in:  Buyer Engagement, Sales and Marketing Management, Sales Enablement Strategy

Salespeople are acquainted with the phrase Always Be Closing.  The faster they can reach quota, the better their business will run.  Modern sales enablement helps reps accelerate conversions by streamlining processes and saving time. Today we’ll describe how advances in fully integrated content management and customer engagement have made this possible.

From extra clicks to added steps and mistimed syncs to incompatible platforms, friction in the sales process is expensive.  It creates distance between reps and prospects, delaying productive conversations and interrupting the flow of information among sales, marketing, and customers.

Removing friction requires a holistic approach to aligning objectives, teams, and the content required to succeed.  In short, it centers on accomplishing more with less, a central tenet of sales enablement.  What distinguishes leading platforms from stragglers is the magnitude of savings and performance improvements attributable to sales enablement. As indicated by Aberdeen Research[1], best-in-class companies with sales enablement practices in place achieve 50% greater quota attainment, 3x higher annual revenue growth and a 9.5x improvement in their average sales cycle compared with average companies.

Let’s say you’re working with a sales enablement platform allowing you to quickly find the content you need and customize it as necessary.  All that stands between you and your target audience is pitching your content and measuring results. The last thing you should want to do is transition from one platform or program to another, let alone download and then upload your content as an email attachment or copy a link to a disassociated program in order to make this happen.  This not only costs time (which is money) and focus (which is time), but also lost data and insights.  It’s far from friction-free.

Last week during a sales enablement workshop, attendees and I discussed how to transform their sales content challenges into opportunities.  Group feedback was consistent: sales content management, while incredibly valuable, is one part of the puzzle. Effectively putting content to use – in a friction-free environment accessible to both inside sales and field sales – is another.  It’s this latter component, commonly referred to as customer engagement, that is too often a barrier separating reps and revenue.

As you evaluate sales enablement options, imagine yourself as a seller who has identified content you want to pitch.  Map the sequence of clicks and entry points required to deliver your content to your prospect, taking into account the full range of preferred options, from email to live pitch to screen share.  How many platforms are required, and how many rules?  How many logins and passwords, and how many tracking systems?  As logic and experience should indicate, less is more.

Having built our platform with efficient customer engagement at the core, we’re happy to field questions, offer scenario-based perspectives, and share insights on what reps value.  In our experience, four sales enablement platform features are most commonly referenced as vital to improving customer engagement and by extension, conversion rates.

  1. Seamless pitching capabilities: Reps want the ability to complete a variety of sequential tasks on a single platform, from finding and customizing content to sharing and analyzing what they pitch. Multiple disconnected platforms look better in the rearview mirror.
  2. Platform integration options: The combination of flexibility and control will never go out of style. Trouble is, not enough platforms deliver on their promise of either.  Sales enablement solutions offering cross-category integration alternatives ranging from Outlook and Gmail to ToutApp, Zoom, Salesforce, GoToMeeting, and many more reduce friction and help make sales reps more effective.
  3. Analytics: Pitching content proven to engage – and tracking each content engagement as it happens – helps reps work smarter. It increases close rates, enables sales and marketing teams to relay important knowledge, and raises the potential value of each interaction.  To summarize: limited data leads to substandard engagement, which leads to fewer deals (which leads to frustrated reps).
  4. Efficiency and effectiveness: Sales enablement leaders and the sales and marketing pros they support need to know that every phase of the sales cycle can be addressed quickly and with precision. From early-stage essentials such as launching platform capabilities and accounts to pitching content in just two clicks, fortune favors teams that can reach out to customers at a moment’s notice and move opportunities forward in seconds, not hours.

Regardless of company size, industry context, sales role, or sales stage, the principles of customer engagement are the same and proximity to your content is just one ingredient. Being able to pitch it without friction is another and at least as valuable.  Keep this in mind and adjust your expected ROI accordingly[2].

It’s hard to compete with speed and accuracy.  We want you to have both – and the close rates that go with them.

Coffee, anyone?

[1] Source: No Longer a Luxury: Why the Best-in-Class View Sales Enablement as a Must-Have.

[2] Also be sure to check out: Deconstructing Sales Enablement ROI.