7 Things to Consider When Evaluating Sales Enablement Software.


Recently there has been a rise in the number of vendors who offer Sales Enablement software. This leaves businesses wrestling with questions such as:
  • How to find the right software?
  • How to determine if the Sales enablement software is the one for their teams?
  • What are the key areas that should be looked into when buying Sales enablement software?
This post addresses the critical areas you should consider before investing in Sales Enablement software.

Ease-of-Use

Most vendors will talk of their system's "ease-of-use." Take the time to use and evaluate the system to judge if that is true. Don't rely solely on their claims.

Improves sales efficiency

Find out the extent to which your new software can integrate with your existing sales processes. How much autonomy does it provide to your sales team? Truly sales-focused software should integrate seamlessly with your sales processes, making them more efficient.

Next-Generation Marketing Avenues

New marketing and sales channels are evolving rapidly. First it was Blogs, now it's Facebook and Twitter. Find out if your new software caters to the modern marketing channels, and whether your software provider keeps track of new trends and technologies in sales and offers upgrades. It should be able to answer questions like which campaigns are yielding results and which ones are eliciting lukewarm response, which leads are ready to buy and which ones need to be nurtured, etc.

Search Engine Optimization

More than 90% of people research online before making a purchase. So, it is important to ensure that all relevant marketing and sales materials are search engine optimized. Consider if the system can automatically optimize your sales and marketing assets for search engines.  
Lead Tracking & Marketing Analytics Across Multiple Platforms

Your system should be able to provide Big data of your prospects and customers. This data should be actionable which helps you to identify which campaigns are yielding results and which ones are eliciting lukewarm response, which leads are ready to buy, and which ones need to be nurtured.

Advanced Lead Nurturing
Does the software that you are considering have advanced lead nurturing capabilities? The buyer today has too many distractions and too many choices. A good system is one that is dynamic, understands buyer behavior and responds appropriately.

Accessibility

How accessible is your new software? When considering a new platform, you need to remember that it will be used by sales staff that may be constantly on the move (hence the need for flexible software). How does the new platform cater to their needs? Does it have a mobile application? Or perhaps a notification system that would alert your salespersons when they have to respond to leads?

To put it simply, a truly next-gen Sales Automation program is one that increases the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales and marketing processes and brings about total integration of the two key functions--across multiple channels, giving the business a holistic view of its prospects, customers and sales and marketing efforts.

6 Steps to Mastering Personalized Selling

Customized, made-to-order, personalized, tailored or real-time marketing, call it what you may, but this is what makes content connect with your audience. Customized content means providing interesting, relevant  content to the right audience in real-time.   

Here are some quick stats that illustrate the importance of personalized selling
Stats:
  • In a recent customer survey, 40% said they buy more from retailers that personalize their shopping experience across channels
  • 41% said they buy more from retailers that send them personalized emails, and 39% said they buy more from retailers that personalize Web recommendations
  • Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
  • Relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails. (Source: Jupiter Research)
  • 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading personalized content
  • 81% of marketers perceive that an increase in customer engagement is the greatest benefit of real-time marketing
  • Nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g. offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests. (Source: Janrain & Harris Interactive) 
  • 57% of consumers are okay with providing personal information on a website as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in a responsible way

Steps to personalize
Let’s take a look at how you can personalize your selling in just 6 steps
1. Gather Data
You need to first understand prospects and customers so that you can serve them better. Track your prospect activity across different channels and evaluate their buying behavior. Start by tracking their website visits, Facebook and Twitter preferences, or how they respond to emails campaigns.
Data collection seems an enormous task, but owing to the sophistication of sales software today, you can easily tap into crucial information about your prospect activities in real time. However, not all data that you collect is going to be useful. So focus only on the data that you need in order to make a personalized shopping experience for your customers.
2. Segment your prospects
Using the data you have gathered, segment prospects into categories.  You can use a lead scoring system so you can sort out prospects by the order of their interest levels; or you can use a smart list feature that will let you sort prospects based on other factors like age, location, area of interest, industry type, etc.
To guide your prospects through the buying cycle, use a lead nurturing function. Personalize your messaging for every stage.
3. Create customized content/assets for your segments and track them
Customizing your content is integral to this operation. Take the time to understand and create content that will appeal to them. Using an asset management system you can regularly track how your content is perceived by your prospects. Ensure that you have a system that allows you to create personalized assets easily.
Identify the pain points for the various segments and design content for each one.  Get your team to A/B test your content every once a while. Maintain a variety of content (videos, blogs, e-guides, infographics, etc.) that will appeal to your buyers depending on which channel they choose to interact with you.
4. Be empathetic towards your customers’ needs
Incorporate “customization” in your selling.
Owing to the enormous increase in tools and platforms to interact with customers, strong personal interaction helps you stand out. Tell them about some discount they’d like to know about, send best wishes to  them on occasions like birthdays and anniversaries or just drop a “Hello”.  Instead of force-selling your premium products, take the time to understand what their specific needs are. Engage your prospects and customers in a healthy dialogue that makes them feel connected to you and your brand.  
5. Constantly revise your campaigns based on assessments
People’s needs change, so do the dynamics of personalization. Today’s buyers and sellers are equally adept at picking up on the latest trends that flood the markets. Inability stay abreast of trends, terms and technology can result in poor sales. Gather your sales team and give careful consideration to revising your selling strategies on a timely basis.
Use methods like A/B testing and social listening to determine what resonates with your audiences. Whatever method you choose, remember to keep “value-adding” as the basis of your ventures.
6. Invest in a smart sales enablement program
If you don’t have a sales enablement system, chances are you are going to lose out on the most important part of the exercise. Only a sales focused automation system can help you accomplish most of the steps mentioned in this post. Train your reps to combine the efficiency of a sales enablement system with their own selling skills to make personalization a core element of your selling game.
No matter what technology you use, remember that you are selling to people and they value the experience you give them. Customized selling with tailor cut content is a surefire way to get your customers to like you.

Lead Nurturing - It's Not Just for Marketing.


Lead nurturing, as a sales function, is highly underrated.  Once leads are qualified as sales ready, sales reps have a short time frame in which  to connect with leads before they move on. Because of the limited window of opportunity to engage prospects at this stage, many leads are lost just short of the final stage of the buying process. Therefore, sales reps must engage in lead nurturing activities from a preliminary stage to avoid these situations.
In this post we discuss some key strategies that sales teams should consider for lead nurturing:
1.       To tap into leads
Lead nurturing programs provide you with the opportunity to tap into leads that may otherwise be pushed back on the priority list. Usually, the onus of lead nurturing rests with the marketers. But, maybe it’s  time to get your sales teams to indulge more in the nurturing process. They can take over from the marketing team at mid-level instead of waiting until the last stage. This will help to eliminate the loss of leads that don’t get the attention they need to covert.
2.       Acts as a link between demand generation and a closed sale.
Lead nurturing drips create a process linking demand generation and the close of a sale. This process acts as a perfect bridge between your sales and marketing teams. From the marketing roles of demand generation and prospect tracking to the sales roles of prospecting and cold calling, ensure that every stage is well defined and there is less ambiguity as to who takes over when.
Lead nurturing drips also clearly set parameters for MQLs and SQLs and your marketing team is encouraged to forward the right leads to sales.
3.       Educate your prospects along the way
Sales reps know first-hand what your leads need at a given point of time. You can use this knowledge to engage prospects with useful bits of information. Build trust by educating your prospects. This will help convince prospects that your organization is most concerned about meeting their specific needs and interests.  
4.       Lead nurturing eliminate the costs associated with generating leads that fail to result in a sale
Every year your company spends a sizeable amount on demand generation efforts. You spend on email campaigns, promotions, attend tradeshows etc. yet, not all of these leads are converted to sales. Chart out an effective, personalized nurturing program and engage the failed leads with it.
A good nurturing program carefully guides your leads through the buying cycle, thus reducing the number of lost leads.
5.       Lead nurturing for channel partners
Lead nurturing need not be limited to new leads/customers alone. Of the many ways, one way to make your channel partners happy is by providing them with educational programs that guide them to sell better. Lead drips can also be used by companies to educate channel partners and independent sales reps about the company’s offerings, enabling them to sell more, faster. Get your sales teams to collaborate with your channel reps and create a drip campaign that is like a training program for your channel partners.
6.       To increase user engagement
Sales reps can use this platform to interact more frequently with your future customers. Nothing (yes, not even automating processes) beats the impact of a human to human interaction between you and your leads. Create drip campaigns where your leads are encouraged to interact with you. Enable your sales reps with a system that’s alerts them when a prospect shows interest so that they can  lead them further down the sales funnel.
7.       To get maximum ROI
Lead nurturing campaigns can help businesses generate revenue from existing customers through cross-selling and upselling. As sales reps have interacted with your customers in the past, they know very well what customers will find useful in the future. Train your reps to combine customer experience with analytics to track customer activity so you can upsell and cross sell better.

Have more questions on lead nurturing? Download our article here.

7 Ways to Lighten the Sales Team's Workload


Sales teams play a pivotal role in the organization.
They are responsible for making your business work. Without an effective sales team, an organization cannot function efficiently. As a sales leader, you need to try to make life as easy as possible for them so they can focus on sales.  
Here are 7 ways how you can do that:



  1. Onboarding and training guides
Sales reps need to be fed with regular training content. Onboarding is the first step towards getting your sales reps to know how your company operates. Also, providing them with handy training material ensures that they can always refer to them as they transition into your company and their role as an effective salesperson. Sales playbooks are ideal for this.
  1. An interactive dashboard
Ever gone shopping for a new car? When you slip into the front seat, the dashboard is the first thing you pay attention to. Depending on its design, it can determine whether you want to test drive that car or not.  An ill-designed, uninteresting dash can kill a sale at the outset.  Likewise, a fun, interactive and easy platform for your sales reps means that they are not turned off at the thought of using it. Ensure that your sales platform is exciting and easy to use.  
An interesting dashboard will be one that has a dynamic, intuitive design that they  can customize depending on the data they need to see.
  1. Mobile accessibility
Sales reps are travelling most of the time. By giving them mobile access to assets, playbooks or lead data you can ensure that they are worry-free when they are in a meeting or travelling.   They can stop fearing that they're letting a lead slip away due to slow follow-up.
  1. Lead generation roles
“Sales reps on average have to generate 70% of their own sales leads if they want to achieve their goals.”- If that’s the case then why not let them be in charge by giving them the tools for effective prospecting.?
Your sales reps are as equally qualified as your marketers to generate the right leads for your business. However, what they lack is the tool for effective lead tracking and lead generation. You can give them a sales enablement tool that’s supports lead generation and prospecting activities for sales reps.
  1. Simplify the asset personalization process
Give your sales team the tools that make personalization easy. Personalization requires three key ingredients to work effectively
  1. Collection of prospect information
  2. Availability of this information in real time
  3. Ability to act upon this information so it adds value to the prospect/customer
Once your reps have easy access to these three key aspects, on a platform that cleanly integrates all three, they will be able to personalize their assets better.
  1. Automate social posting
Companies are waking up to the fact that it is essential for a sales reps to be active on social sites. However, their schedules may pose a problem, since social media requires more time than sales reps can really invest. The solution is automated posts. Your reps can schedule posts well in advance. Also, if you have a system that includes a social listening feature, your reps can get ahead of your competitors by reacting quickly to customer and prospect needs.
Sales reps are used to their CRM systems and find it difficult to adapt to an entirely new system. In this case, you can opt for  automation software that integrate with your current CRM. This way they can get access their contacts from the old system and carry out automation activities with the sales enablement system.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments section..