The roles and functions of the B2B sales team have changed pretty significantly in just the past decade. Not only have there been revolutions in the way we sell, but there have also been transformations amongst B2B buyers, their behaviors, and their expectations. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, traditional sales methods are no longer as effective as they once were. And as a result, companies must adapt, implementing a modern selling strategy and modern sales tools to keep up with the customers.
One of the greatest factors in these advances is the integration of technology throughout the sales process, on both the prospect and vendor sides of the funnel. Since buyers are more informed than ever before, your reps need to know how to engage prospects in any sales situation. Dynamic sales enablement tooling can push “just in time” coaching to sales people, filling a real-time gap in your coaching mix.
Sales leaders are in a challenging role and are often operating under a lot of pressure. They have to direct their teams and coach and support reps, as well as report to and manage expectations from more senior leadership and work towards hitting organizational objectives.
With the pressure to consistently hit higher sales goals, today’s sales managers are increasingly turning to new coaching techniques and technologies to help their teams drive revenue. Below we have outlined just a few of the ways sales management can use sales enablement technology to inform their coaching strategy.
The first step to using sales enablement to drive a successful coaching strategy is to invest in the proper technology. Build a sales stack that will set your sales reps up for success by empowering them with the tooling to do their job efficiently and effectively.
Having sales enablement in your stack serves multiple purposes. First, it equips reps with the tools to improve sales execution, to gain meaningful sales insights, and to drive revenue. Secondly, a sales enablement tool enables sales coaches to push real-time guidance to the reps based on the specific sales situation, helping them know what to say, what to do, and what content to share to progress the sale.
It takes over half a year to recruit and onboard a new sales rep. And the time it takes new reps to get up to speed means that a company may not see the full benefit of their productivity for an additional 6 months to one year. For this reason, onboarding is one of the most critical times in a sales rep’s experience at a company, impacting the employee’s engagement, performance, and retention. And while almost 40% of B2B organizations identify “getting new sales reps productive more quickly” as the most important factor in hitting sales quota, one-and-done training won’t cut it, since 87% of that training is forgotten within weeks.
Companies with effective onboarding programs and ongoing training have higher rep retention rates. And with tools such as sales enablement in place, companies can decrease ramp-up time by 30-40%, getting reps fully onboard and productive much faster.
While only 45% of companies have a formal sales training process, even fewer have a plan in place for continuous coaching. In fact, research from Sales Benchmark Index found that the top complaint from sales reps leaving the company is lack of coaching from sales leadership. As mentioned earlier, sales reps need that ongoing training to reinforce what they have learned and to keep them up-to-date about changes in products, personas, and the industry. Research from the Corporate Executive Board found that just three hours of coaching per month helps reps boost revenue by 25% and increases the average close rate by 70%.
Another aspect for sales coaches to consider is how to challenge, educate, and support their reps throughout the sales process. A sales enablement tool helps to remove some of those obstacles to success. With sales playbooks, for example, management can provide just-in-time coaching, best practices, and next steps to help their reps advance the prospect through the sales funnel. It also makes training material and collateral such as talk tracks, kill sheets, and persona-based selling tips instantly accessible and recommends the most effective content based on the sales situation.
A key factor to having productive, efficient, and effective sales teams is cultivating a collaborative sales culture. That is, a culture where your sales reps can receive valuable feedback on their performance, share their secrets to success, and look to their peers for guidance.
The dashboards and metrics in a sales enablement tool can provide insights into individual rep performance and help to identify best practice content and processes. This culture of collaboration encourages sales reps to work with each other (and their sales coach!) instead of against each other. And a sales enablement tool helps to repeat those best practices across the sales organization.
The B2B sales space has recently seen a rise in data-driven sales coaching, which is executed through a clear understanding of key sales metrics and activities that signify success, as well as the ability to hold sales reps accountable.
With the dashboards in a sales enablement tool, sales coaches can track sales rep activity, visualize trends, and keep a pulse on which reps need more guidance and where there are opportunities for improvement. For example, if prospects continuously stall at certain stages in the sales process, are your reps missing relevant content for sales stage? Or are they missing key training on how to handle hesitations at that step? Having this data also reduces the objectivity in assessing reps and making critical decisions for the sales organization.