Once upon a time, some good conversation, a few samples, and a firm handshake was all one needed to successfully close a sales deal. But no more: Selling is more complex than ever, and often requires the help and input from multiple teams across the organization.
If you feel like closing a deal is getting more difficult, you’re not wrong: SiriusDecisions found that the length of sales cycles has grown 24% in the last two years…and even if you do manage to get people through most of the cycle, many decision-makers are still having a difficult time taking that next step.
While these challenges are big, they are not insurmountable. In fact, next-gen enterprises have been using sales enablement solutions to solve some of these very pain points. And no wonder: a recent Forrester study revealed enterprises that implement an interactive sales enablement platform can accelerate deal closure by up to 43% and drive company growth by up to 60%.
Benefits of a Sales Enablement Platform
The value a good sales enablement platform can provide your organization cannot be overstated. If you choose the right solution, your enterprise will see benefits like:
- Increased sales productivity
- Increased sales effectiveness
- Consistent messaging, as these platforms ensure sellers aren’t using outdated templates or content, protecting the brand
- Greater visibility into what assets sellers are using so you know what works and what doesn’t
- Improved product education. After all, you can’t sell what you don’t know. Sales enablement platforms let your reps access all the information they need at any time
- The ability to monitor what content is being used
- The ability to track how engaged team members and prospects are with the content
Choosing the Right Platform for Your Business
When it comes to choosing a solution for your enterprise, there are a lot of tools on the market and it can be difficult to know where you should begin in your evaluation process.
We won’t lie: there are plenty of sales enablement tools on the market. Some better than others. But it’s critical to note that not all of these platforms are created equal and you need to take your specific needs and use case into consideration during the evaluation process. While all have plenty of baseline functions for the casual users, there are few that really go above and beyond to improve the day-to-day lives of sellers or truly provide them with all the tools they need to be successful.
These are the main points you should be considering when evaluating sales enablement software for your enterprise:
The backbone of any sales organization is content. Sure, there was a time when customers only engaged with content once they reached a certain point with the sales cycle but the most agile companies know that is no longer the case and are adapting their sales enablement strategies to compensate.
If you’re not already incorporating content into your sales process, you’re missing out on a huge revenue opportunity. Consider these stats:
- 58% of pipelines stall because reps are unable to provide value
- 95% choose providers that deliver content that can help them navigate the sales process while addressing their particular pain points.
- Three-quarters of buyers said the content of potential vendors had a “significant impact” on which they chose.
But this consideration isn’t about creating great content (we have another post that addresses this), it’s about how you can best manage it for the greatest impact and how the right creation tools can help your reps go above and beyond for their prospects.
When considering a sales enablement portal for your organization, it should be with the understanding that this will become the central hub for all sales collateral, be it product sheets, demo videos, case studies, presentations, and so on. But more than that, when you find a portal that empowers your reps to become content creators, you enable them to customize the sales funnel like never before.
Think about it: there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to a sale; every organization is contending with its own issues, pain points and priorities. That’s why customizing the purchase process is so powerful. In fact, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.
If your reps are sending standard, off-the-shelf information to prospects that don’t reflect the company’s particular use case or feels ingenuine, your lead will see through it right away. Not to mention, when it comes to serving the right content, time is often of the essence, with 30-50% of sales going to the vendor that’s most responsive.
By using a sales enablement solution (such as CircleHD’s), teams are able to quickly create customized video or audio content that can be shared securely in just a few minutes, much less time than it takes to have an outside team put together and design any new assets.
It’s not enough to have great content anymore: it also needs to be easily stored and searchable. Sales reps spend close to 43 hours every month searching for information. That’s over 500 hours a year. Imagine what each member of your team could do if they got even a fraction of that time back (hint: the answer is selling more).
Suffice to say, your sales enablement portal should provide your team with strong search capabilities to reduce the amount of time they waste looking for content. And we’re not just talking about the kind that utilizes standard Google-type searches, either. With all the advances in technology, reps should be able to go beyond keywords and titles and be able to find any tidbit they need using relevant tags, additional metadata and emerging technologies like speech to text search, which is ideal for finding where words and phrases occur in spoken content like audio and video.
Time to Value
When you’re looking to introduce a new product to your company’s tech stack, you need to consider how much time will pass before it actually becomes useful to your team. This process can be particularly painful for those implementing cumbersome Learning Management Solutions (LMS) or trying to migrate a large volume of distributed assets to one platform, as is usually the case for sales enablement solutions.
In order to provide the optimum value to your organization the sales enablement platform you should choose needs to be:
- Quick to implement
- Fast to get started with
- Easy to use in order to drive adoption. It also helps if you choose a solution that has an interface and UX similar to sites your workers have probably already used (a good example of this is CircleHD’s YouTube-like back end that shortens the learning curve for those familiar with the website)
If you look for a platform that is intuitive and simple, you’ll start seeing ROI from your investment sooner.
It can be a struggle to fully understand what type of content is making an impact, what you should do more of, and what is falling flat. That’s why it’s critical to go beyond traditional data points and look for a sales enablement solution that will help you correlate content to revenue.
Data doesn’t lie: when sales teams create and distribute content that is meaningful to their audience, they are radically more effective. Look for a platform that will let you capture what content was presented, who it was given to, and how long they were engaged with it. Understanding what is driving conversions helps your marketing team focus on creating assets that will be more useful to your salesforce.
Flexibility and Security
Whichever solution you choose, it will become an integral part of your company’s technology ecosystem. This in mind, you should choose a sales enablement portal that:
- Has a flexible and open API
- Integrates with the other programs your organization is already using
- Allows you to build some extra functionality if the platform doesn’t meet all your requirements as is (hint: we can build custom features for you at CircleHD)
- Is able to be branded so the portal feels like a natural extension of your company, not an outside solution. This is particularly important for creating a consistent buyer experience.
It should also go without saying that any sales enablement software you select needs to be secure, whether you’re sharing proprietary information or not. Anyone working in today’s digital world knows one of the greatest concerns for organizations is their sensitive information being stolen or leaked. That in mind, your vendor should employ the latest security measures and protocols so you can rest assured that your most content is safe and protected.
With the right solution on your side, you can create a modern sales enablement program that helps your reps have a bigger impact, increase prospect satisfaction, and ultimately grow your company’s revenue.
If you’d like to learn more about how CircleHD’s Sales Training, Coaching, and Enablement solution can help your organization propel your reps to new heights, we’d love to speak with you. Let’s talk.