The cutting edge can be a lonely place to work. While sales enablement has been around for years, we’re now inventing the future of this category thanks to incredible technology and methodology advances. This means many of us in the enablement community are feeling both the thrill of new horizons and the challenges of trailblazing. This rollercoaster means that we’re banding together like never before, creating a swell of demand for community events that elevate the art and science of enablement.
It’s no wonder that the Sales Enablement Soirée has gone global. Developed in partnership with Sales Enablement PRO, the Sales Enablement Soirée is the only industry event designed specifically for this ever-growing community. What began as a way to unite and encourage networking has grown to an event that draws thousands of attendees across three major cities spanning two continents.
At the first inaugural Sales Enablement Soirées in London and Boston, the excitement was palpable. There were phenomenal speakers, including Mary Shea from Forrester, Peter Ostrow from SiriusDecisions, and Spencer Wixom of Challenger, delivering rich insight into where our category is headed and the steps we need to take to get there.
Modern Buyers Demand More
We know that sales processes are becoming more complex. During his keynote presentation, Challenger’s Spencer Wixom attributed this to four major factors: diffusion of risk, information overload, globalization, and complex solutions. Combined, these factors lead to drawn-out buying cycles and overwhelmed buyers.
Historically, it has been the rep’s job to guide buyers through the sales process — but the methods many reps rely on haven’t kept pace with buyer evolution. Old-school practices, such as strictly following top-down procedures and only relying on thought leadership to convey value, aren’t enough. Buyers are looking for a compelling reason to purchase. In response, the modern salesperson must be a catalyst — igniting action by telling a story that drives buyers toward a decision sharing new knowledge and challenging assumptions along the way.
Coaching is Critical
Behind every great athlete is an equally impressive coach. Reps are no different. As selling processes continue to grow in complexity, so too has sales coaching become increasingly critical to reps’ success. According to Peter Ostrow’s Boston keynote, this reflects a pivot from away from compliance-based training to training focused on execution. In place of assessments, sales enablement teams are looking for whether or not reps demonstrate their training in real-world scenarios. Coaching is a key part of ensuring they can.
Now, sales training is replacing one-to-many delivery channels with more intimate relationships between sales enablement team members and reps. Working in partnership, coaches and reps collaborate to prepare for major customer calls, strategizing on how to drive urgency and navigate competitive deals. Ongoing training like this sets reps up for success; after all, no successful player heads out for the big game without hours of drills behind them.
Metrics Must Match Your Business
As we define the future of sales enablement, we’re also working to better measure and show our value. This topic emerged repeatedly at both of the Sales Enablement Soirées, and the recurring theme was that when it comes to measurement, inconsistency is the most consistent trend.
However, this inconsistency isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, Soirée panelists who spoke on this subject agreed that it’s best to match your success metrics to your unique business and audience. For instance, large enterprises with mature sales enablement teams may emphasize retention and training over the explosive growth metrics an emerging startup desires. When it comes to audience, a COO likely cares about how you’re lowering costs and increasing productivity, while a CSO will be more concerned about your contributions to pipeline health. The bottom line: focus on finding the metrics that mean the most to your business and your stakeholders.
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And if you missed the London or Boston events, don’t worry — there’s one more Sales Enablement Soirée left this year. Join us in San Francisco on November 21st for the largest event of the bunch, where you can learn from the best and brightest sales enablement experts.