The Science Behind Sales Enablement
May 1, 2014
Technology has penetrated into the business sector like never before, and companies are beginning to leverage digital and social forms of communication for a competitive advantage. As a result, the definition of sales enablement remains somewhat fluid due to continual market evolution to meet consumer needs.
One of the top Google search results for enablement was a 2010 Forrester blog post, which defined the phrase as both a function and a task performed by individuals within a company.
“Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the selling system,” wrote Forrester’s Scott Santucci.
Take a scientific approach
It’s difficult to suggest a rigid definition for a sales strategy because certain methodologies work well for some reps as opposed to others. Effective sales techniques are fine-tuned over time and through trial and error, not through a company manuscript or a dictionary. That being said, there can be a certain set of guidelines that reps follow in order to increase sales enablement.
In taking a scientific approach to the matter, enablement can be improved upon in a sustainable, effective way, Business 2 Community suggests. Rational decisions predicated on quantifiable evidence are often at the heart of most scientific discoveries, and the same ideology – or the scientific method – can be applied to sales efforts by following these steps:
- Problem: Start by asking potential clients what their problem may be and work around the issue until a real pain is discovered. Conducting appropriate background research is also necessary in this instance in order to develop a better understanding of what the client’s peripheral needs are.
- Hypothesis: Once the appropriate data is harvested, reps should attempt to connect the dots between their products and services and the customer’s objectives. The features of a certain product can only be a benefit to the customer if a rep identifies where the pain lies, but once that information surfaces, an employee can begin to predict how his or her company can help the potential client.
- Experiment and Test: Once a sound hypothesis has been formulated, approach the customer with the proposal. The parameters of a pitch should be aligned with the information a rep found out in prior interactions, as not to waste either parties’ time, Inc. Magazine recommends. For example, a client concerned about price should receive accurate quotes, while a company trying to increase Web traffic should be shown how that will occur.
- Observation: Listening is one of the most important aspects of sales, so reps must be fully attentive during a meeting. Sales leadership should suggest that their employees take notes and review them after a face-to-face so specific results can be determined.
- Conclusion: Once the proposal has been pitched, a rep can communicate his or her post-meeting notes with the team or a manager and discuss what went well and what went poorly. In doing so, reps can optimize their success by leveraging best practices, hence why a scientific approach to transactional methodologies can yield quantifiable results.