6 priorities for sales support in 2022
This year we have seen empowerment continue to adapt to meet the changing needs of sales organizations in the context of digital selling. We spoke with six empowerment leaders to get their perspective on the priorities heading into 2022.
Back to sales basics
After two tumultuous years, sales support practitioners and salespeople have learned to adapt like they never had to before. Now that we have settled into a certain version of our new normal, many practitioners and sales organizations have returned to the basics of the âhowâ of selling. When selling in a fully virtual environment, salespeople had endless leads and customers at their fingertips. While the amount of sensitizations has increased dramatically, the tendency to use generic rather than thoughtful and relevant sensitizations has also increased.
Now the emphasis is back on quality. Sending communications, such as emails, presentations and proposals, personalized to the client is common sense, but not standard practice. This is starting to change as customers demand information and knowledge that helps them stay ahead of their competition. Customers ask for advice on navigating their own internal sales processes where they would only trust someone to do it if they consistently produced high quality assets. Salespeople going back to basics to think about the âhowâ of selling form trusted partnerships with their customers that set them apart from other salespeople.
Liz mccormick is Senior Director of Sales Effectiveness and Enablement at Pegasystems, where she focuses on accelerating the performance of frontline sales managers through coaching, strategy and the practical application of sales since joining in 2015. Liz has over 15 years of success representing the ‘voice of sales’ to business leaders, partnering with sales leaders to use proven sales techniques and driving global sales activation and efficiency programs.
Deeper cross-functional alignment
As a Sales Enablement Leader, work to strengthen your Enabling Charter, foster deeper alignment between the cross-functional leaders you work with, and plan how you will rally to support senior management’s strategic goals. for 2022.
What do your senior leaders care about the most for the year ahead? What results do they want and what actions matter most? For example, is it:
- Improve digital sales practices and the management of virtual opportunities to increase success rates?
- Reinforce new product launches or develop a specific product range?
- Improve up-selling and cross-selling to maximize current account growth?
- Increase profitability without sacrificing turnover?
- Increase C-Sat or NPS odds?
- Implement and adopt a buyer-centric sales methodology?
- Achieve gross revenue growth to secure the next round of âX-Seriesâ funding?
Or do they want something else or a combination of the above results?
It is What To do. How? ‘Or’ What you do that will also matter a lot. And this is where alignment around results, initiatives, shared responsibilities, deliverables and deadlines will enable you to prepare, activate and support your sales force and other members of the revenue team. to achieve the results you are aiming for.
Mike kunkle is an internationally recognized expert in sales training, business efficiency and sales support. He has spent 26 years helping businesses generate dramatic revenue growth through industry-leading training strategies and proven sales transformation systems. Mike works as Vice President of Business Efficiency Services for SPARXiQ, where he designs business trainings, conducts workshops and helps clients improve sales results through various business efficiency services. His book, The building blocks of sales activation, was published in 2021 by ATD Press.
Focus on KPIs
Next year will be the year in which activation focuses on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that companies are interested in: forecasting accuracy, sales efficiency and sales productivity. Each KPI underpins predictable, positive and measurable revenue growth.
Most empowerment programs have focused on leading metrics such as number of seats or content consumed, and a few have started to move towards secondary outcomes such as success rates, speed of transactions and size of transactions.
Boards of directors, investors and management teams want predictability in their businesses. They want to know that an investment in sales and marketing will generate specific income. In addition, they want to be assured that they will hit the target when they project revenue to the markets.
Enabling teams can work closely with operations, sales management, and other key leaders to build predictability into the model.
To achieve this outcome, empowerment will need to take ownership of this challenge, linking its efforts to this predictability and working with key leaders in their business to support these outcomes.
This orientation will allow him to take the coveted seat at the leadership table and move it to the strategic role he has long desired.
John moore is the founder of The Collaborator and is responsible for the creation of Trust Enablement. Trust Enablement is the # 1 source for vendor-independent information on the planet, helping enablers and CROs around the world understand how to create positive, measurable business results from their enablement efforts.
Plan your sales activation schedule (flexible)
What enabling activities do you plan for August next year? If you don’t know, it’s time to plan. Here’s one way to get started:
1. Start on paper.
2. Block the end of the month (EOM), the end of the quarter (EOQ) and holidays. No training therefore.
3. Block annual events: customer conferences, trade shows your sales teams attend and your own ATD International Conference & EXPO or SELL dates.
4. List the training needs: role play, presentation techniques, sales methodology, telephone canvassing practice, etc.
5. Drop them into the calendar.
6. Mark not only virtual and live training events, but also all pre-job requirements and post-event reinforcement.
Upload the document to a shared calendar or Excel spreadsheet and socialize it. Talk to sales management, marketing and product managers. Sell ââyour vision of benefits to the sales team and bottom line income. Take the comments. Shift where necessary and push back if necessary too. If you know that sales methodology training will give a better ROI if it is spread over time, then pressure it rather than just one event.
Business organizations change rapidly, and so do you. Having a written annual calendar gives you a head start in strategically developing the capabilities of your company’s sales team and, by extension, the bottom line.
Jill emerick is Director of NA Income Talent Development at First Advantage, where she supports over 200 people in organizing sales and customer success. She and her team enable the sales organization to improve their sales skills, lead better sales discussions, and ultimately meet their quotas.
Realign your customer focus
For me, the kick-off to 2022 is the time to review and realign our customer focus. In a customer-centric empowerment organization, making sure your reps are in tune with any changing market dynamics is essential. First, do you understand which engines are important to your prospects, what drives them to buy, and why are they buying now?
One of my favorite ways to do this is with a deceptively simple tool: use case mapping. It’s about aligning the reasons your customers buy, the problems they’re trying to solve, and how you approach them. This is then mapped to specific features or subfeatures of your product.
Once completed, your use case mapping can be the cross-functional foundation for creating a wide variety of tools and trainings (for example, discovery discussion leads, demo guides, product program, and trainings. launch, return on investment generators, even integration). The list is only limited by your imagination. As an added bonus, when your entire organization is aligned with use case mapping, you have strong guidelines to maintain consistency across all functions, making it even easier for your reps to do their jobs.
Jennifer robinson is the Director of Sales Activation at Proxyclick. She is passionate about how the alignment between sales, marketing and empowerment can give sales professionals the content, programs, training and coaching needed to move business forward, increase business size. and shorten sales cycles.
Authorization and sales preparation training
The past two years have been difficult for sales assistance practitioners. We have adapted to delivering programs in a virtual environment and engaging our sales teams.
In 2022, we will focus on these four specific business skills:
- Sales skills
- General skills
- Basic product knowledge
- Sales tools and process
Now more than ever, sales professionals need to differentiate themselves and better understand their customers. Customers don’t want to hear the same story. They want to know what’s new and why they should invest or use your product. Sales professionals need to articulate the story, the value proposition and the âwhyâ for their customers. Gartner data shows that 48% of salespeople don’t do a good job of expressing the value of their product, and 74% of salespeople are too focused on themselves.
We need to empower our salespeople to tell the story and get the message across. This base is built over time during sales training and preparation. Developing and focusing on core competencies will allow you and your team to be successful.
Jason gwilliam is a senior sales and training manager who has worked in the medical device industry since 2005 and has led sales support and customer education programs since 2008. He has worked for small medical device companies developing new programs and has developed sales support programs for BTG Vascular (now Boston Scientific) and Abbott, leading sales support for the Structural Heart franchise.