Align Sales Enablement With Buyer Expectations

Increase the quality of buyer interactions to maximize sales effectiveness

Today’s buyers are navigating an increasingly complex purchasing cycle. As they move through the process, they are looking for suppliers to guide them forward and provide value every step of the way.

In response, sales enablement teams are being called upon to deliver the training, content and tools needed to help sales reps more effectively lead buyers. However, not all efforts are measuring up, because sales enablement teams typically aim to address the needs of the entire sales organization, leading to overly broad or watered-down training.

By giving buyers what they want and need, sales teams will shorten the buying cycle

What’s needed are tailored sales enablement strategies that enables sales teams to provide the personalization and high-value interactions that buyers want. Sales leaders risk lengthening an already tedious purchasing process and, even worse, creating varying levels of buyer satisfaction.

Tailored sales enablement

Today, many organizations divide their sales teams into specific groups, such as those  organized by geography or industry. But few organizations have the capacity to do this with their sales enablement teams.

While the advantages to division in sales are obvious, sales leaders should also consider how specificity can positively affect sales enablement efforts. Each role and interaction with a buyer should be tailored as it applies to the tools, content and training provided to sales. No buyer is the same; thus, each interaction in the buying process will have different goals or opportunities for sales to deliver product-related information or overall value. For example, sales representatives may need to assess their buyers’ readiness, which may be irrelevant to staff who interact with a buyer further along in the sales process.

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The benefits are twofold: By giving buyers what they want and need, sales teams will shorten the buying cycle, increase close rates and, most importantly, boast higher revenue.  

“To maximize effectiveness during the sales process, suppliers need to adopt a sales enablement approach that is tailored to the specific needs of the various individuals (and roles) that are involved in the sales process, even those that report into other functions,” says Todd Berkowitz, managing vice president at Gartner.

When sales enablement strategies are skewed toward one role, suppliers will likely see lost revenue opportunities as a result of failing to consistently demonstrate value.

Ongoing and strategic

Far too often, sales enablement teams spend a large portion of time focusing on salespeople who bring in new business while neglecting those who may be responsible for nurturing existing relationships, cross-selling or upselling. Neglecting the needs of any sales staff may prove challenging when trying to consistently demonstrate value, resulting in a loss of revenue.

Sales enablement efforts focused around specific events, such as product launches, acquisitions or annual sales kick-offs, miss year-round opportunities to support sales. While some sales periods are more critical than others, sales enablement strategies should more holistically reflect how they can support the ever-changing needs of sales.

Suppliers need to be taking a hard look at what they are doing today and seek to transform their sales enablement strategies

As sales team grow, performance is likely to be uneven. Coupled with hiring, pipelines and forecasts will reflect the ebb and flow of performance. Sales enablement teams that adopt an ongoing, strategic partnership within the business will be best positioned to interpret situations impacting sales and respond quickly and efficiently with new content or training.

“While quarterly sales pressures can’t be ignored, suppliers need to be taking a hard look at what they are doing today and seek to transform their sales enablement strategies to better align to the new buyer journey and the heightened expectations that accompany it,” says Berkowitz.

Taking a role-based approach to content creation and the delivery of training can significantly improve effectiveness. Considering the perspective of buyer role and stage in the purchasing journey will help establish consistent value for the customer that can improve deal velocity. In addition, year-round staffing and support of sales enablement will allow for quicker responses to situations that may pop up along the way.

Gartner for Sales Leaders clients can read more in Suppliers Should Tailor Enablement by Sales Role to Align With Buyer Expectations by Todd Berkowitz.