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We stand for the human connection. We maximize the human connection at the heart of the sales cycle.The SAVO Group is a sales enablement focused software provider that provides salespeople with the information they need at the moment they need it. John Aiello and Drew Larsen are the founders of SAVO Group.
Do you want to learn more about SAVO behind the scenes? If so, you’re in luck. We are pleased to introduce our second Geek of the Month! This series is aimed at helping you get to know more about our employees and why they are such an integral part of the SAVO community.
This month’s exceptional employee is none other than Nicole Curutchet! Nicole has been a loyal SAVOite for just under 2 years now and she is excited to share her west coast journey with us!
Tell us a little about yourself and your role at SAVO.
My name is Nicole Curutchet and I am a California native, lived in the Bay Area just about my entire life. I had a short jaunt in Boston for a year. I was a Sales Executive for 22 years and made the transition into Customer Success just over 3 years ago. My role at SAVO is helping sales organizations increase productivity and effectiveness. I love watching my customers’ grow in enabling their sellers. Makes me feel like a proud mom.
Explain what an average day at work is like for you.
Well, I cover the West Coast but because SAVO is located in Chicago, I start my day at 5am and typically don’t stop until 5pm. I send a ton of emails starting at 5am to Chicago. I do this because my hopes are to have answers for my customers by the time they start their day here in California. I have customers located in the Central and East Coast time zones as well. I have 2 customers I do calls with at 6am PST because they are located in India and the UK. The point is, my customers are working and I want to ensure I respond to them as quickly as I can. I average about 4-6 appointments/calls a day. Some calls are only 30 minutes and some could last 90 minutes. The calls can be as simple as “hey, I need to pick your brain on the best way to”? Another type of call is sharing with our customers all the new updates we are rolling out. I travel onsite to the customers as well for more strategic type of meetings. That provides me with the opportunities to work with not only the Sales Ops people but to work with other departments as well who are involved with enabling sellers.
What’s a fun project that you’ve worked on recently? What was your role in it?
The Customer Success (CS) team has recently started working on putting together Customer Use Cases for our internal sellers to reference to. It’s much easier to talk about how SAVO has enabled customers by providing real life customer challenges. It’s more relatable to a potential customer. It’s fun to watch some of the newer sellers we have internally relate to these stories. You actually can see the “lightbulb go off” when we express the challenges. My CS is very collaborative. This is such a cliché, but there truly is no “I” in team with my crew. We enable each other every day.
What attracted you to work at SAVO?
Being a seller for 22 years, I experienced so many challenges as our customers do today. I watched the videos and read the blogs that SAVO had posted about enabling sellers. I totally got it. I understood the pain since I was a seller myself and I was ALWAYS putting my own presentations together. This is where I knew, I can TOTALLY relate and help customers be successful in enabling their sellers.
What do you like most about your job?
First off, I have an AMAZING boss! I’m not saying this to win points. He challenges me every single day. My CS team I work on has over 100 years of experience in Customer Success. This makes me want to step up my game every day. My teammates are wicked smart when it comes to making customers successful. I love picking their brains and being collaborative with them.
Is there a person in your career who really made a difference?
I’ve had one or two VP of Sales who always helped me be creative to bring in the deal. Since I made the transition to Customer Success, my boss and my “friendtor” who is a teammate have made such a difference in my career. Again, they love to challenge me. They force me to think strategically which is new to me. It has taken my career to a whole different level and for that, I am so appreciative.
What is the nerdiest thing you do in your spare time?
Read, read, read! Knowledge is power. I’m constantly reading.
Is there a person in your career who really made a difference or a geeky story you’d like to share? We would love to hear in the comments below! Tune in next month to see which SAVOite will be featured next.
Nicole Curutchet is an accomplished customer advocate with over 20 years of building relationships across multiple technologies. Successfully managing relationships from C-level to end user customers servicing Fortune 500/1000, Start Up,Hardware/SAAS companies. Energetic and passionate when it comes to building quality, long-term relationships with her customers.
Sales prospecting has become one of the most effective tools in a sales leader’s kit. One study by the Kellogg School of Management and InsideSales.com found that by specializing sales teams into prospectors and closers, the close ratio leapt from 10% to 17%.
It’s important to stay on top of sales prospecting best practices because buyer journey trends are drastically changing B-B businesses. Your sales leadership and sales enablement teams must equip your prospectors with the tools and processes that make them effective.
Sales Prospecting Calculus
Sales prospecting is both an art and a science. The science is that you can measure the inputs and conversion rates through the prospecting process. As you tune and enhance these numbers you can dramatically improve the outputs.
The two primary drivers of the math are:
Number of Outreaches to Prospects X Conversion Rate to Good Conversations X Conversion Rate to Meeting = Number of Meetings
While this does over-simplify some elements on an individual rep basis, it is useful to work through at an aggregate sales manager level. Let’s take a look:
Number of Sales Prospecting Outreaches
If you are able to increase the number of touches to potential targets you are much more likely to be effective. But there are many elements that can slow down your prospecting, including:
Time spent looking for contact information. If you have to navigate through a name directory or guess and email addresses, you are again adding 2-3 minutes per outreach. Over 90 times a day, well you get the idea.
Time spent on wrong connections. Your prospector works hard to make a connection and finally they get someone on the line. But they quickly discover that that person is unqualified or fundamentally uninterested. Could you have avoided adding this person to your prospecting queue in the first place to focus on likelier targets?
ZoomInfo looked into this sales enablement issue and pointed out the importance of having access to good, current data for the prospecting team. When prospectors have current email addresses and phone numbers, they can more quickly reach more people. And their connection rates increase significantly.
Use algorithms and data to identify best practice messages for your key buyer personae.
But perhaps the most important point to be made is around getting the right connection in the first place. Look at your buyer personae to understand your ideal target. When you know the job title, industry, location, and other criteria of your best buyer, you can better identify more people like that. Using algorithms driven from data science, you can predict which elements best match your ideal persona. That means you’re feeding your prospecting teams with not just lists, but prioritized sets of prospects that sales prospectors are more likely to close.
Conversion of Conversations to Meetings
I started by looking into a commonly cited metric from Sirius Decisions. The classic understanding of the metric is that 67% of buying decisions are complete before a buyer speaks to sales.
But that’s a misunderstanding of the data. It actually says that 67% of the buying decision is done digitally. So, buyers are looking at content, reading thought leadership, and engaging with digital communications. But is that information actually being guided by the sales person? It must be. Sales people need to proactively engage and steer buyers through the purchase process.
Why? Because most B2B sales are not inbound-sourced where a prospect arrives with their needs well catalogued ready for purchase. In fact, some data points out that it’s less than 5% of buyers who fit that model. The vast majority either weren’t considering your solution or don’t have a formulated business case for addressing a problem.
So, if 95% of the market is out there, not actively searching for your products, how do you get them into play?
The Rise of the Challenger Sale
In this approach, the 95% of the market is an opportunity for sales people to get ahead of their competition and open untapped buyers. But to do so, you need to recognize what’s happening with those buyers.
They’re not standing by idly waiting for you to approach them. They have 20 priorities on their desks that they’re working through. For you to get them to move forward with you, you have to get them to re-prioritize your solution above other projects that are in-flight. That means that you need to get them to think about their company in a different way. You need to challenge their status quo.
After all, your prospects are deluged with messages from sales people every day. Why would a prospect decide to take 30 minutes to meet with one of your account executives? You need to provide them with information and insights that let them dramatically improve a key aspect of their business. A great bar to think of is would your prospect have paid you for the meeting you’re setting? Simply trying to sell a demonstration is not enough to get a prospect to re-prioritize their activities.
How is Sales Enablement Doing Today?
How well are sales teams meeting this goal of bringing value to prospects? Not very well. Recent surveys of B2B buyers by Forrester shows that from 61 to 80% of sales people add no value in a sales conversation. When sales people add no value, send messages like “just checking in”, and in general behave like order-takers, how can you expect a prospect to want to take 30 minutes?
How Do You Address the Issue?
So how do we as sales enablement professionals and sales leaders tackle this issue? You have to look at sales enablement tools that help you to communicate value to prospects. How do they communicate to the prospect?
Through what they tell prospects in email and phone conversations
It could be through how well they know the product they’re selling
It could be through the content they share that helps prospects build business cases or justify their meetings
Each of these issues can be addressed through effective sales enablement content. For instance:
Great sales scripts or conversation starters that support email and phone conversations
Product training and related materials that give just-in-time information for prospectors to address product questions or competitive challenges, for example
Compelling content that helps buyers understand how changes to their company can have a major positive impact
It’s critical that the content that’s being used – whether it is scripts, training, or business content – is effective. That means avoiding the classic content issues of using content that is:
Generic: If content doesn’t speak to the buyer persona you’re targeting it’s not going to go far. Make sure your content focuses on the buyer persona that you identified early in this sales enablement process
Old: Out of date and inaccurate content won’t get you far with a prospect. If you’re trying to communicate about your cutting edge technology but you’re missing key functionality in your product sheets. Or, if you’re communicating thought leadership with analyst data from 5 years ago, you’ll struggle to win over your prospects.
Ineffective: Just like marketing automation taught us, you need to test your content to understand what’s generating interest with your prospects. Measure it and push best practice material across your prospecting teams.
This is especially important because 95% of B2B purchases are directly influenced by content. So, ensure that your sales prospectors are having great conversations and conversions to meetings by equipping them with sales enablement tools and content they need the most!
Being in the Sales Enablement Technology space, our sales teams are always interested the new features of our software, the product roadmap, the new analyst report. Anything that shows off how are capability is better than the competition.
We recently gave our sales team some bad news. It’s not about the features. It’s about PAIN. The stronger the pain, or business problem you are trying to tackle, the stronger the desire to fix the pain.
Let’s say you break your ankle walking on your way to work (or wakeboarding on a lake). What is your next move? It’s to the hospital to get that fixed. NOW! Whether you have the money or not, you’re going to get that fixed and worry about the paying later. However, you don’t just want anyone immediately pulling and prodding or dumping drugs into you. You want to be properly diagnosed by a qualified, experienced physician to ensure a proper recovery and long term success.
This analogy can be related to how buyers buy in the Enterprise. There are different levels of pain that invite different levels of investment.
Itches and Annoyances can be self-diagnosed and fixed through education and light consultative help. It’s the Acute and Chronic pains that require larger investment and longer term partnership.
What does this mean for an Enterprise seller? There are 3 competencies that become important for a seller to master to get to the pain before introducing features and functions.
Sincerity – If the buyer only believes your selling them and not helping them, it’s over! A buyer has to believe a seller sincerely cares which means they have to sincerely care!
Diagnosis – Does the seller understand the buyer’s business and role well enough to know whether their solution can fix the problem? Are they willing to walk away if it doesn’t?
Solution-ing (not the product-ing) – the seller needs to orchestrate a solution experience for the buyer. They need to SEE themselves in it and BELIEVE it!
Once your past Solution-ing, features, function, company reputation, etc. are relevant to provide comfort that the solution is real and has sustainable success.
The 3 competencies above are not just on the seller to master. The entire organization (sales, marketing, operations) have a hand to ensuring their sellers can engage buyers in this manner. Understanding these competencies can be the cornerstone of your Sales Enablement Program!
So, you’ve decided to host a webinar. Great idea! Webinars are a perfect way to generate top-notch leads and can help you build stronger relationships with your existing customers.
But hosting a successful webinar? Now that’s a whole different ballgame. If you want to host a webinar that’s worthwhile, there are a lot of moving parts that you’ll have to consider… and not to mention a plethora of things that could go wrong.
Sound intimidating? It is. But with the right preparation, we can ensure you don’t make any mistakes that could lead to a kind of, well, crappy webinar experience for your listeners.
Here are 5 things you should-absolutely-not-do when preparing for/hosting a webinar. Unless, of course, you want to permanently scar your audience (yeah, didn’t think so). Drumroll, please…
1. Promoting Your Event
Don’t let all your hard work go to waste by hosting a webinar that no one attends. To get “butts in seats” you need to leverage all of your marketing channels to get the word out. We’re talking email, social media, website, blog, PPC ads, and any other creative channels you can use to spread the word. These are great ways to promote your event and bring in the audience you’re looking to attract.
2. Not Practicing Your Webinar Beforehand
Pshh, who needs practice? Oh, wait, everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a public speaking guru – everyone needs to practice before hosting a live webinar, especially if your co-presenting with a colleague or influencer. Do a dry run or two before the webinar so you have time to work out any kinks or issues that may arise during the real thing. Practicing will make you feel more confident and will ensure you know the information you are presenting like the back of your hand.
3. Not Reminding People About Your Webinar
Send an email reminder at least one week before the webinar reminding registrants when and where the webinar is and include some teaser content to keep them excited about attending. Be sure to include a direct link to the webinar on the day of so it’s easy for them to log in, and write up a short reminder of the webinar’s topic and the value it will provide.
4. Not Editing Your Slide Deck
You’re running a webinar for a reason – so your attendees don’t have to look at a bunch of words and a real live human can explain it to them instead! But when webinar slides are cluttered with content, attendees spend all their time reading instead of absorbing what is actually being articulated. To avoid overwhelming your audience, select images or statistics that are easy to digest and compliment the message you’re trying to convey.
5. Not Interacting with Your Audience
A significant benefit of attending and hosting webinars is the ability to interact with your audience. You might consider: sending out polls and surveys during and after the webinar, using your webinar platform’s chat function to field questions during the webinar, keeping the conversation going on social media by using a webinar hashtag, etc. These examples are great ways to keep your audience engaged and fall out to a minimum.
Hosting a webinar can be intimidating. But, if you avoid these 5 mistakes, your webinar will totally and unequivocally rock.
What else makes for a terrible, awful, no good, very bad webinar? Share your horror stories in the comments below (so we can all learn from them).
You have a wealth of great content available. Marketing content, training resources, sales kits — even internal expertise. All of this material covers a range of business-critical topics that support selling. Topics like onboarding, product launch materials competitive information, and more. And now, with sales kickoff about to happen, you have a golden opportunity to make sure that content gets accessed and used by your sales team. Let’s talk about how you do it.
Show Your Experience
Throughout the year you’ve likely received a lot of requests for content from your sales colleagues. They might be looking for case studies or datasheets. Of course, the best place to go is your content portal or repository. But do your sellers know where to do to get the content they want?
The easy solution is to demonstrate the portal to them. Highlight how easy it is to find the content they need. In particular, show them how they can receive an experience that is tailored to their own unique profile and role. The more that they get a tailored interaction with the portal and don’t have to struggle to find what they need, the more likely they are to return.
And your sales kickoff is a perfect time for this. You have all of your sales team — and likely a lot of your content creation team — in a room. You can show them your portal and demonstrate its value. Plus, with sales leadership there as well, they can also reinforce the value and the need to use the portal. A two-for-one impact!
Gather Input on Needed Content
The reason 75% of content doesn’t get used by sellers isn’t just that they can’t or won’t find it. Of course not. It’s also because the marketing and training teams aren’t always producing the kinds of sales enablement assets that sellers truly need. Do they want a high-level infographic to sell in the late stage to a senior, technical decision maker? No.
So, ask your sellers what kinds of content they want. They likely will have a wealth of input into the types and levels of content they need to support the sales process. And since everyone is available in a single room, you can have breakout sessions to discuss the details of what kinds of content the content creators should produce more of. Build great content, and they will come.
Nothing breeds success like success. So, again, with everyone in the same room, you can show the team stats on how content has a direct impact on the success of sellers. Linking revenue back to individual assets —without overweighting the value to the detriment of sales skill — can help show sellers the value in using the assets you make available.
Reinforce Over Time
Now that you have the sales team on your side and eager to use the content in your repository, the next step is to make sure that they use it on an ongoing basis. That means helping to reinforce the muscle memory of content use. The most effective way to do this is not through email barrages and reminders. No, the best way to do it is to come to sellers where they work.
That means appearing in the workflow of your sales team. One of the most common places that sellers work is the CRM. So, by pushing content recommendations to sellers in that environment, you constantly reinforce correct content usage. So, keep the momentum going even after the kickoff is completed. And keep sellers equipped with the sales enablement resources they need to succeed.
Whether your brand is a startup, small, or large enterprise organization, growth is always the goal. Outside of my corporate marketing day job, I run a couple niche social media accounts and I have managed to grow my social following significantly and improve engagement. Here are my growth tips for increasing your social following and engagement:
#1) Be Consistent
Social media is usually the first touchpoint for your brand or organization. You want to make sure that the brand messaging is clear and consistent across channels. Be consistent with your brand colors too. Your look and feel should be unique and match the tone of your messaging. As a result, your account feels authentic. When your followers are scrolling down their feeds, they will be able to notice you in a heartbeat and engage with your posts.
Growing a social media following is similar to becoming a professional athlete. You need to put in the time and effort everyday if you ever want the results you seek. To put it simply, you need to provide value, whether it is a laugh, smile, or helpful tip on your brand’s product or service. When you start being consistent, your following will start to rise.
Pro Tip: Try scheduling posts during lunchtime and after work as these are the most active hours on social media. Many are taking a break from their day to interact on social platforms.
#2) Engage with Your Network of Influencers and Fans
The key is to find influencers who do NOT have competing products with you but also target the same audience that you do. Reach out to brands with similar audiences and try to create a regular sharing strategy that works for everyone. Due to the decline of organic reach, share for share is a great way to increase followers without paying for sponsored posts. Don’t forget to interact with your most engaged followers as these are fans you don’t want to ignore. Treat your followers like prospects. Those that like or comment on your posts can one day turn into customers!
Pro Tip: Create or join a social influencer group on sites such as LinkedIn. Become friends with others in your space and create a sharing strategy. Do not forget to tag each other when promoting those in your social circle.
#3) Create Notifications and Be The First to Share
As a social influencer, your followers will come to expect fresh content. If you are just reposting other articles or images, you are providing no real value to your followers and you cannot grow. Your followers need to be able to count on you for their daily dose of inspiration, or guidance on a certain subject that they cannot find elsewhere.
However, posting only original content takes a lot of bandwidth and resources and is not suitable for every organization. You can minimize the need for original content and provide value to you followers by being one of the first to share updates in your space. Being one of the first to re-share new information to your fans has the same power of original content and this is how you become a social influencer to your following. For example, if you are running a tech review blog, you should create notifications when companies like Apple or Microsoft post and share the relevant news to your audience.
Pro Tip: Use tools such as IFTTT or Zapier to create real-time notifications based on social triggers and receive notifications when another account posts.
If you are a Sales Enablement Practitioner one of your responsibilities might be to run your sales team’s kick-off and quarterly business review sessions. These sessions are the vehicle to execute aspects of your sales enablement strategy. Proper planning, organization and follow through will get you the results you are looking for: Improved sales execution!
Here are a few tips you can use to prepare, execute and reinforce learnings from your kick-off.
The following tasks and activities will help you to prepare for your kick-off event.
Review survey results from previous kick-off and QBR sessions.
Giving a survey to the participants is a must, and if you are like me, you anxiously await the results. After the event you analyze the results and follow up with any important requests, but after that likely you don’t review again. In preparation for this year’s kick-off, dust off the results from the previous one, often there will be some good suggestions/feedback that you can incorporate. It will demonstrate to your participants that you listen and that their feedback is valuable.
Create and align on meeting objectives and expected outcomes.
Based on what you know about the performance of the sales team, the company’s goals and objectives for this year, create clear and measurable meeting objectives and outcomes. Vet these with the sales leadership team to gain alignment. This not only helps set the stage for your presenters, but it gives your sales participants clear instructions for what they need to get out of kick-off.
Prepare your presenters.
As a Sales Enablement Practitioner, you serve as the voice of sales when collaborating with other business units like Marketing. To help guide them provide a framework or suggested topics. You know sales needs to execute successfully in the field. Schedule a dry run session so that you can preview the content and provide feedback ahead of time and determine if sales could benefit from pre-work.
Craft an agile agenda.
Don’t we wish things could all go as planned? Have any of you experienced executives or presenters going over time, leaving you scrambling with the rest of the agenda? As you put the agenda together, pad your timing between sessions to account for the inevitable. Prepare some games or exercises to perform knowledge checks that you can quickly plug into the schedule, so when the timing isn’t working perfectly, you have back-up.
In Session Execution
Even when you prepare, and plan for each minute, things can take a turn. Use these tips during the meeting to get maximum return on your investment.
Monitor participants engagement
At this point, you have put a ton of work preparing for this kick-off. During the sessions, be sure to monitor the engagement of your sales participants. Are they on their computers/Ipads? Are they asking questions? During or after your presenter’s sessions, engage the audience on their feedback, or ask a question to gauge retention of the topic being presented. Use this opportunity to call on sales participants to site examples from the field. Call on the strengths of your top performers to share their perspective. These tactics will help to create an engaging environment and keep sales attention.
Adapt to the natural flow of the meeting.
Balance the need to get through the topics on your agenda, with what organically occurs in the meeting. There will be times where a topic needs more time and attention than was planned. Here is where those games or exercises you prepared for will come in handy. Plug those in to fill any gaps or pivots you had to take with the agenda.
Share content in the moment.
One way to get the sales participants to start using the new content is to share it with them during the kick-off. Leverage your SE platform to bundle and share content live while in the session. You can measure engagement right in the moment. Analyze who is using it and who may be checked out.
Post Kick-Off Activities
So that your learnings are put into practice, create a reinforcement strategy and gain alignment with sales leadership to help pull it through in the field.
Review your current processes.
Did anything you taught at kick-off change any current processes? Were there any recommendations to alter your CRM to accommodate new learnings? Have you made all the content available to the participants? Look to see how you can incorporate any of the content or topics into the sales team’s daily routine to help guide them situationally.
Solicit feedback from participants.
The quickest way to get feedback about the kick-off and all the topics is a survey. If you make it anonymous your participants may be more honest in their answers. This is going to give you a good idea of what topics you may need to reinforce more than others. Ultimately you are striving to have a big impact and promote change so listening to how the participants received the information will give you the insight you need to build on this over the course of the year.
Gain alignment with sales leadership.
We all know the stats on how much sales retains from a kick-off, it’s not good. Review the objectives and expectations with the sales managers and develop a plan to incorporate the learnings into their cadence of coaching. The plan should be something that the sales managers can easily execute. Sales enablement can and should assist in the reinforcement efforts. Some ideas that the sales managers and sales enablement can partner together on are:
Develop a Certification program to measure competencies.
Create assessments to test knowledge.
Incorporate enablement in sales team meetings. Work with your sales manager on a framework and timeline for topics.
Measure your agreed upon expectations.
Work with sales ops to investigate options in measuring your kick-off objectives and expectations. Take initiative to report out on those efforts to sales leadership.
Given the time of year you may be in any one of these phases of kick-off. It’s not too late to incorporate any one of these tips to maximize the investment in enabling your sales team. Thorough research, preparation and attention to detail makes for a smooth-running session, while a reinforcement strategy ensures your objectives and expectations stick. Use this 6 step checklist to help jumpstart your sales kick-off!
Late in 2017, I attended the first national conference of the Sales Enablement Society. It was the first event of its kind, specifically for sales enablement professionals. There were many valuable and lively discussions, but several key themes ran through the entire event.
First, there was a lot of networking and sharing of best practice; second, there was quite a bit of talk about the future of sales enablement; and third, there was a lot of debate about what sales enablement actually is and whether or not it is effective at boosting sales productivity.
One of the keynotes was given by Dr. Howard Dover, University of Texas, Dallas. Dr. Howard and the University of Texas, Dallas are at the forefront of more formalized education for sales and sales enablement professionals. Dr. Dover posed an interesting and serious question….
Are we in a sales productivity dustbowl?
While a sales productivity dustbowl is nowhere near the human tragedy that the dustbowl of the 1930’s was, he did make some very compelling parallels between the causes of the dustbowl and the current state of sales enablement and productivity today. The three main contributing factors were the environment, population, technology.
Massive, sudden changes in the environment set the stage for a plunge in productivity and in the case of the dustbowl, human suffering and disaster. Leading up to the dustbowl, parts of the country had been suffering a drought for up to 8 years. In the case of sales productivity, the rapid changes in technology innovation have created the digital economy and have caused massive shifts in value creation and buyer behavior. Buyers are now more sophisticated and educated and have much higher expectations about how sellers will engage with them throughout their journey and how much value and advice they will provide vs. just providing product or solution knowledge. This constantly changing environment has set the stage for making selling much harder than it has ever been.
The second major factor in the dustbowl was the US policy of westward expansion of the late 19th century where 1.6M homesteaders moved west to claim 270 million acres of free land. In essence, the US government had a problem, they wanted to settle the western half of the US and they needed to incentivize people to move west. They threw people at the problem of settling the western part of the US. These dramatic increases in population contributed to falling productivity and over farming the land. Today, many sales organizations face a similar problem. They have steadily increasing sales targets to meet year after year, so they continue to throw people at the problem by hiring more sales people to increase coverage and drive higher sales numbers. Recent research suggests that nearly 70% of sales organizations plan to increase headcount in the next fiscal year.
By the 1930’s the stage was set for the dustbowl. The last contributing factor was new farming technology such as new tractors, combines and the steel disc one-way plow that made farming the land very efficient. Because there were so many farmers and a surplus of produce, prices fell. This drove farmers to leverage technology to produce more from their fields, which ultimately lead to over farming the land. New farming technology combined with over farming and the drought, accelerated the erosion of topsoil causing the “black blizzards” of dust. Something similar is happening today in sales enablement. Over the past several years there have been massive investments, over $5B, in sales enablement technology and the number of sales enablement applications has exploded from a few dozen to over 425 in just a few years. While arguably these technologies have made sellers more efficient, have they really contributed to making them more effective and boosting sales productivity?
The Current State of Sales Productivity
When the environment, population and technology combined in the 1930’s it caused the perfect storm that destroyed 125 million acres of farmland through topsoil loss. The numbers suggest that the current state of sales productivity is in a very similar state today. Despite hiring more sales people and investing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in sales enablement and technology, sales productivity continues to steadily decline. Today, on average only 53% of sellers make quota and only 55% of all forecasted deals result in a win. So are we currently in a sales productivity dustbowl?
A New Way Forward
I believe we are in a sales productivity dustbowl and in order to get out of it, we need to think differently and bring forward new solutions. It is clear that just hiring more sales people or continuing to do what we are doing today more efficiently with technology is not working. Now more than ever, a strong Sales Enablement function will be the key to leading the changes necessary to drive sustainable sales productivity increases. The good news is that a strong sales enablement function is proven to increase sales productivity. According to the 2017 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, by CSO Insights, 73% of sellers make quota when their organization has a dedicated sales enablement function with a formal sales enablement charter. It also shows that when sales enablement teams have initiatives that enable dynamic alignment to the customer’s journey, they can improve win rates on forecasted deals by 10%. The only way to dynamically align enablement to the customer’s journey is through the appropriate application of a comprehensive sales enablement technology platform, instead of simply automating random parts of the sales process.
Competitive intelligence is a critical piece of most sales cycles and often a top concern for sales teams. Sales teams that do not have the right intelligence (intel) face the potential to feel discredited, or ill-prepared in front of prospects during the sales cycle. Check out this article for 5 helpful tips to successfully prep your sales teams for the competitive intelligence they need.
Today’s B2B decision makers have access to more information than ever. Customer’s buying decisions are the most important decision for any sales force as they lead to the revenue numbers most sales organizations are measured by. Sales professionals do whatever they can to influence this decision, and sales enablement can help by equipping the sales force to be relevant, valuable and differentiating in every customer interaction. In this article, Tamara Schenk highlights the importance of the customer experience and why it should be the focus of your sales enablement framework.
Sales leaders may be focusing too much on the leaderboard and not enough on the insights of their sales team. This could be the reason your sales teams haven’t been hitting quotas. As a sales leader it is important to broaden company goals and metrics to better track progress beyond simple revenue targets. Learn how to make your sales team more profitable with this article by Sean Callahan.
As we begin the new year it is already time to start thinking about and preparing for new business goals and new sales targets. This means reflecting on the past year, refocusing and making changes where necessary. Consider these 7 new year’s resolutions so that you can set yourself up for sales success in 2018.
Sales enablement roles and responsibilities are growing and changing exponentially. As a consequence, it is very important to develop frameworks that are customizable to all types of clients. We talk to Chris Tratar, VP of Strategy at SAVO, about how SAVO sales enablement software is being used today. A big part of this is content being in the right hands at the right time. See what Chris Tratar has to say about the SAVO sales enablement platform in this Q&A:
How does SAVO’s software equip sales teams with the right information at the right time?
SAVO’s solutions are designed to help internal content owners who are responsible for enabling your client facing teams have the right conversations in front of customers. SAVO’s sales enablement products include solutions for content management, customization and engagement which address the problems our sales teams are facing.
What type of clients are using SAVO’s sales enablement platform?
All types of business sectors are currently using SAVO’s sales enablement platform. A large chuck of our clients fall within the financial services space – with 30% of clients in this sector. We work a lot with the commercial banking industry, as well as treasury management, investment services, wealth management and credit card transaction clearinghouses.
What features are unique to SAVO’s platform?
Content restriction is a huge part of SAVO’s success in the sales enablement software industry. It allows salespeople to focus on what they were hired to do which is SELL. It helps sales teams become more personalized and attentive to the customer and eliminates the distractions of competing content.
Why is content restriction so important to SAVO’s client base?
SAVO provides content restrictions so that employees who shouldn’t have access to that content can’t stumble upon it. Content managers are given tools that allow them to instantly update employee permissions and data access at anytime from anywhere in the world. These managers can then track different versions of documents –monitoring where they go and who handled them. Our goal is to craft a solution around the personas of all employees so that they only get as much access to content as they’re allowed. Some of our clients prefer to keep the locks open to their employees where as many of our financial service clients are very strict regarding their compliance and workflows. We offer a software solution that is scalable to the size and scope of each clients’ operations.
Is SAVO’s platform scalable to clients of all sizes? How does it help the financial service industry to maintain content compliance?
We offer a software solution that is scalable to the size and scope of each clients’ operations. SAVO offers very rigorous security and compliance controls for our software and infrastructure. That makes it scalable to any size operation and helps maintain compliance with content management, engagement, and customization options. Customizable security levels make accessing documents practically impossible for an employee without the correct permissions. From a compliance perspective, we think about the personas that interact with our software and we factor that into our solutions.
What makes SAVO’s sales enablement platform so desirable?
Integration into our software is extremely fast, with a 6- to 8- week onboarding process that takes new clients from contract to being fully online. This is what our clients are looking for. They want a smooth transition into a new platform and we can offer that. Clients also get the peace of mind that their content management solutions are secure, with minimal downtime. We have very rigorous standards around uptime for our solutions and we continue to run tests on a regular basis so that we can always improve.
Are you interested in maintaining content compliance through a customizable sales enablement platform. Industry experts are constantly buzzing about the topic, check out this article to learn more!