After more than a month leading the EMEA operations for Highspot, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a diverse range of customers and industry peers here in the UK and around the world. A common thread throughout these conversations is palpable excitement for how modern processes and technology are fundamentally transforming sales for the better.
This theme has dominated London’s Sales Innovation Expo. In the race for revenue, sales leaders and their teams need the most direct route to closing deals and wowing customers. Therefore, we must be diligent in evaluating the latest craze and its potential to make a tangible difference for the business.
Evaluating AI’s Sales Impact
When it comes to evaluating innovation in sales, no technology has received more hype – or scrutiny – than artificial intelligence (AI). While AI is finally beginning to deliver on its potential for sales, it’s not doing so by superseding human intelligence – as many once predicted – but because of human intelligence. Humans are combining data and intuition to personalise the buyer’s journey. Humans are leveraging machine learning to collaborate more effectively, integrate diverse data into new insights, and better understand customers’ needs. And humans will determine if AI makes a long-term business impact or fades out amidst the hype.
It’s at this point that many conversations about innovation stop without exploring any real-world applications. We need to dig deeper and examine how AI, and other innovations, can make a difference in our daily work.
From Under– to Outperforming
Consider a sales rep who has been struggling to meet quota. Her company adopts a sales enablement platform and quickly onboards the team. Now the rep can use guided selling: the platform’s intelligence that analyses data, compares patterns of action, and recommends next best steps. Combined with her own knowledge of each prospect, the rep can sell more personally, more efficiently, and ultimately, more effectively. This approach accelerates deals through her pipeline, and she hits her quota. What’s more, the platform reinforces the right selling behaviours so the rep’s habits improve. Meanwhile, her manager uses activity analytics to track her progress and layer real-time coaching into her development. The rep eventually starts exceeding quota, thereby contributing more revenue to the business and increasing the return on her company’s investment in her development.
This is just one example of how sales innovation is making a positive, concrete business impact, and it isn’t hypothetical. Our data shows Highspot customers achieve, on average, 11% greater quota attainment and reach quota much earlier in their ramp. It’s results like these that are motivating 90% of sales leaders to invest in technologies and methodologies that help their sellers engage prospects and customers effectively. Innovation is clearly an industry priority. The key is connecting those investments to measurable business outcomes.
Enablement is Real Sales Innovation
The competition for finite buyer attention is intense. And the pressure to deliver results for the business is immense. Strategically using innovation to gain a competitive advantage is paramount to success. In sales, this means delivering the best customer experience to accelerate revenue growth. Sales enablement empowers companies to deliver a better buyer experience, create alignment between sales and marketing teams, and set sellers up for success, ultimately resulting in increased revenue and more loyal customers.
This notion came to life at the Sales Innovation Expo. During our Expo section and the Sales Innovation Awards, we demonstrated how sales enablement technology creates significant distance between sales innovators and laggards. Highspot earned the Best Sales Enablement Platform Award, celebrating the leading provider of the solutions empowering sales teams and enabling outbound process – from leads generated through machine and web-based analytics to human-led insights.
Like customer relationship management and marketing automation before it, sales enablement is primed to define the next evolution of buyer engagement because it makes a significant, measurable, and repeatable impact on the business.
If you’d like to explore sales enablement further, read our guided selling eBook to learn more about how sales innovation delivers business results.