Earlier this year, we provided a list of best practices to help sales teams improve buyer engagement.
If you can’t effectively and consistently engage potential customers, your deals stall and you miss revenue goals. Of course, achieving high buyer engagement rates is easier said than done, and that’s why a range of modern technology platforms have emerged to help your team to connect with buyers.
Recent Gartner research examines sales engagement technology. ‘Gartner defines sales engagement platforms as sales tools that unite disparate sales enablement functions to enable sellers and other customer-facing resources to engage with buyers and provide a better customer experience, with a view to improving sales results.’ (Gartner, Market Guide for Sales Engagement Platforms, Melissa Hilbert, Mark Paine, Alastair Wollcock, Theodore Travis, 13 August 2019).
In its findings, Gartner details three ways in which sales engagement helps to create a holistic enablement programme:
- Content, coaching and training capabilities
- Ability to improve execution and the effectiveness of sellers
- Seller and buyer engagement analytics
Why Content, Coaching, and Training Matter
Buyer engagement is defined as interactions between buyers and sellers. Some examples of buyer engagement include opening an email, watching a video and reading the content provided by a salesperson. The more meaningful the interaction, the more likely a buyer is to work with a seller.
But before salespeople can attempt to interact with prospects, they need valuable content that will compel buyers to want to learn more. Considering that 74% of buyers choose the rep who was first to add value and insight, sellers don’t have much room for error when delivering content. As the bedrock of all buyer and seller conversations, sales teams must understand where and when to use which asset.
That’s where guidance becomes critical. Guidance refers to placing context alongside content, so that sellers understand what to know, say and show in any situation. Guidance is most effective when delivered comprehensively – at the point-of-action through platforms like Highspot and in ongoing sales training and coaching. This holistic approach ensures that salespeople are prepared with the knowledge and best practices to land their content in every interaction. And it’s especially important early on, as CSO Insights found that comprehensive sales onboarding improves win rates by 14% and quota attainment by 6.6%.
A solid training foundation, further strengthened with consistent coaching, helps salespeople to confidently navigate difficult buyer conversations and win deals. Sales enablement platforms increase seller effectiveness by putting all of that intelligence and guidance within sellers’ workflows.
Analytics Improve Seller Execution
Today’s buyers expect to engage with content that’s insightful, timely and delivered by a salesperson who is both an expert and a partner. However, there’s only one way for sales leadership and enablement teams to know if their sellers are executing effectively – they have to quantify the impact of buyer engagements.
Tracking sales activities and the resulting engagement data provides insight into which practices and content are working and which are falling flat. Knowing which sales pitches are opened, which content is viewed and if those deals move to closed-won provides sales managers with concrete best practices that they can use to coach sellers. It’s no wonder that Aberdeen Group found that best-in-class companies with sales enablement were 50% more likely to have sellers who achieved quota.
With a modern sales enablement platform, sellers get real-time notifications and alerts when a prospect has opened, downloaded or shared content, including the time spent on each page or individual slide. This allows salespeople to strike while the iron is hot by using real-time insights about the features or benefits that interest their buyers – ultimately elevating the conversation to drive revenue.
To gain a comprehensive view of Gartner’s research on sales engagement, download its Market Guide for Sales Enablement Platforms.