Endless meetings. A disorganized sales process. Communication that lacks clarity. These are just a few common pain points for B2B organizations.
And, amid a looming recession, it’s never been more critical to resolve these issues ASAP. That’s why sales enablement can be an invaluable tool to help you navigate the choppy waters ahead and build a more efficient sales department.
In this blog post, we’ll look at 7 sales enablement best practices that you can implement to optimize your sales team’s performance and remain profitable no matter what happens with the economy.
Let’s get started.
What is the goal of sales enablement?
Sales enablement is a strategic approach centered on providing sales teams with the necessary resources and strategies to increase their success. It focuses on aligning sales goals with customer experience, product knowledge and tactics that will drive sales volume.
For example, it might involve providing salespeople access to customer data, training on product features and benefits, or using technology to automate sales processes. Sales enablement also helps to ensure that salespeople are equipped with the right knowledge and resources to easily access relevant information when closing deals.
Ultimately, the goal of sales enablement is to create a culture of success and collaboration among sales reps so that they can meet their quotas and drive revenue growth for the company at large.
7 sales enablement best practices for 2023
Now more than ever, investing in effective sales enablement processes can be the difference between a business’s survival or failure. With a potential recession on the horizon, the following seven sales enablement best practices can help your business stay competitive and increase sales despite a challenging economic climate.
#1 Use exegraphic data to better understand your ideal customer
Annual revenue, employee numbers, industry or geographical location don’t define your ideal customer. Think about it. Even if you could accurately define these qualities, it doesn’t mean that all customers within that definition are alike.
Instead of relying on traditional demographic and firmographic data, use exegraphic data to help you better understand your customer. Exegraphics give insight into how a company operates and behaves when executing its mission.
For example, you might focus on topics your ideal customer is talking about in their press releases and social media postings. Are they investing in a new sales process or customer service platform? Are they launching a new product or feature? What are the challenges that their customers are facing?
By understanding what’s going on with your customers, your sales reps can anticipate their needs better and position your solutions to meet those needs.
#2 Create content that addresses different stages of the buying process
Content is a crucial component of sales enablement. It not only helps you build relationships and trust with prospects, but it can also accelerate their buying process. Consider creating content that addresses different stages of their buying process, from early-stage education to late-stage product comparisons and success stories.
The more relevant, helpful content you create, the easier it will be for prospects to make decisions. Plus, by having content tailored to each stage, you’ll be able to track which pieces work best for your buyers.
How do you know what type of content will resonate with your target audience? Spend time analyzing your buyers’ behavior and use qualitative (interviews, surveys) and quantitative (analytics) research to understand where they are today, how they make decisions, and what content will move them through the sales process.
For example, imagine knowing that nearly 70% of your ideal customers prefer to get information through a series of short articles instead of one webinar. With that information, your marketing team can create blog posts, ebooks and other content pieces that align with those preferences.
Exegraphics can also help with this process, as this type of data can help you decide where and how to distribute your content to reach the right people at the right time.
#3 Ensure your marketing and sales team have shared goals and definitions of success
Misalignment between marketing and sales teams can be a significant roadblock to sustainable revenue growth, especially during an economic recession. Why?
Well, these days, your leads and prospects are doing their own research and often interacting with your company’s marketing content before they even consider making a purchase decision. According to a HubSpot study, 60% of prospects only want to engage with sales after they’ve researched and shortlisted all of their options.
That means it’s essential for your sales and marketing teams to understand each other’s roles, align on the customer journey, have shared criteria for qualifying leads and agree upon the metrics for success.
For example, can your marketing team create more effective lead-nurturing campaigns by better understanding the sales team’s messaging? Probably. What about your sales team? Can sales reps better identify and prioritize qualified leads if the marketing department regularly provides them with more detailed customer insights? Absolutely.
#4 Equip sales reps with sales enablement tools that are
The sales toolkit is growing and evolving fast, with new solutions popping up all the time. So, how do you decide which ones are essential for your sales tech stack? You have to understand the needs of your sales team and analyze which tools can best support them.
For example, if you’re in a B2B sales environment, then having a well-integrated CRM system will likely be essential. Or suppose your team has trouble identifying and closing deals with high-fit target accounts. In that case, you may benefit from a Sales Development Platform that helps you build and prioritize a list of accounts that look and behave like your best customers.
Having the right tools to support sales reps can make all the difference when it comes to closing deals successfully. But it’s not just about having the best tools. It’s also important to have processes ensuring sales reps use those tools effectively.
#5 Invest in sales training that teaches reps how to maximize sales tools
If your sales reps are using sales automation software and tools, they need to know precisely how to leverage and use them to their full potential to drive efficiency. For example, if you have a sales prospecting tool, reps should know exactly how to use it—everything from creating templates for cold calls to setting up automated email follow-up sequences.
Why invest resources into this type of training? Because sales automation software and tools were designed to help sales reps get more done in less time. That means, when maximized, these tools can help shorten your sales cycles and increase your win rates, making you better equipped to weather a potential recession.
#6 Prioritize customer retention over customer acquisition
In a recession, customer retention takes precedence over customer acquisition. After all, even during economic upturns, it’s harder and more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing customers.
That’s why, according to the Twilio Segment Growth Report, 67% of companies agree that retention is one of the best ways to respond to uncertain economic circumstances. But how do you go about it?
Sales reps can emphasize customer retention by managing customer relationships proactively instead of reactively. They should learn to recognize customer pain points and propose solutions to those issues. Additionally, reps should understand the importance of building strong relationships by regularly following up with customers and providing helpful information to ensure they remain loyal.
You can also use exegraphic data to prevent customer churn. How? For example, by gaining deep insights into a company’s investment level in customer support, you can proactively launch programs to show how your solution helps to address this problem.
#7 Measure results and look for ways to optimize
There is no way for your sales team to know what’s working and where there is room for improvement if you aren’t regularly measuring results.
For example, you can identify areas for improvement in your sales process by looking at performance metrics like win rate, average deal size and close cycle time. You may also be able to recognize sales reps who are consistently performing well and incentivize them to share their strategies with the rest of your team.
You might also identify patterns in the customers who are most likely to close deals, so you can focus more energy on targeting those types of prospects. Using Rev’s Sales Development pPlatform, you can even automate this process and prioritize your target account list based on data showing a company’s readiness and fit for your solution.
A potential recession may cause stress for B2B sales professionals. But with the right sales enablement practices in place, you can help your sales team stay competitive and continue to drive revenue growth for your organization.
Ultimately, the best approach is to arm your sales team with the right tools and data to make informed and strategic decisions about which accounts are most likely to close.
When implementing the sales enablement best practices that we’ve shared here, consider using exegraphic data to help you better understand the customer’s readiness and fit for your solution.
Want to see the power of exegraphics for yourself? Contact us, and we’ll show you the exegraphics of your best customers and give you a prioritized list of accounts that operate and behave just like them.