Why Your Business Needs Sales Enablement

There’s no question about it: digital is the new normal and this fact is fast impacting the buying and selling process in today’s rapidly-shifting digital marketplace. Once upon a time, only the biggest, most established companies had prominent visibility, but today’s buyer has unlimited access to the latest market trends and intelligence available in the palm of their hand (literally). And with everything moving at a rapid pace, companies are more compelled than ever to improve their sales process in order to stay relevant and competitive. 

But shifting to an agile and engaged sales process isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires organizations to equip their reps with the right tools, content, and processes in order to drive success. That’s why so many companies are turning to sales enablement to increase rep knowledge, improve prospect relationships, and grow their bottom line.

According to the 2018 “Sales Enablement Report” by CSO Insights, the percentage of salespeople achieving quota improved by 10.6%, which is an improvement of 22.7%. In these extraordinary times, companies can’t afford to miss out on a strategy that yields those kinds of results. 

But the benefits of proper sales enablement go beyond just growing your revenue. It also facilitates a multitude of business benefits across your organization, like:

Keeping Your Sales Team Informed

With a constantly shifting marketplace and selling landscape, it’s vital that your reps are armed with the latest knowledge and information about your industry and the issues affecting companies in the space. A successful program empowers your team to absorb essential information and content so they are adequately prepared to deal with a prospect and offer value. Proper sales enablement allows you to ensure all reps are getting consistent messaging about your company’s products, services, messaging, and overall positioning, so they can more effectively engage prospects across multiple channels at different stages in the sales life cycle. 

Synthsizing External Teams

Thre’s no doubt that, for a sales program to be effective, there needs to be efficient cross-collaboration between sales and marketing. In fact, a survey revealed that, on average, about a third of the assets reps need to service the customer journey come from marketing. 

But the truth is, it’s very rare they are working with marketing alone–oftentimes sales is connected with teams across the entire company. That’s why it’s so critical to include “implementing a proper sales enablement portal” on your strategy’s priority list. By setting up a hub where teams across the company can store and share trusted information, you reduce the overall chaos and disorganization that can accompany a high volume of assets coming in from multiple places, ensuring that the best information consistently flows to the sales team. This allows your reps to spend less time looking for the right content, reduces redundant communication threads, and allows marketing and sales enablement to control the accuracy, quality, and consistency of the information being shared with reps.

Getting More from New Talent

No matter what area of an organization you’re in, finding, retaining, and properly onboarding new talent can be difficult. But sales teams also have to contend with a few unique roadblocks, namely:

  • It takes and average of 10 months or more for a new sales rep to be fully productive and;
  • “The average sales turnover rate is 35%, compared to an average turnover rate for all industries of 13%. In other words, sales turnover rate is nearly triple the average employee turnover rate,” according to HubSpot.

With increasing competition and control shifting to buyers, it’s more important than ever to build a sales team that is engaged and committed to representing your company and products. A proper sales enablement platform not only gives your reps the information they need to be successful but can also play a critical role in rep success from the moment you hire them. 

65% of employees believe the quality of training and learning opportunities positively influences their engagement so it’s easy to understand why the most forward-thinking organizations are using sales enablement solutions to build full-scale onboarding and training programs that set new talent up for success. The most versatile and robust platforms allow you to easily establish training tracks, integrate them with tests and quizzes, and end up becoming a resource reps can easily refer back to later. 

Data-Driven Decision-Making

It’s a well-known truth: you can’t improve what you don’t measure. And while every leader will tout the advantages of enabling sales with the right tools, knowledge, and guidance, many organizations are still absent any properly-defined sales process or way to effectively measure it. 

In today’s data-driven world, it’s not enough to just have a strategy and infrastructure in place, you also need informative analytics that can empower you to make smarter decisions for your team and your business. A formal sales enablement structure should include a tool that not only tells stakeholders what is working (and what is not), helps quantify success in real dollars, and gives insight into key metrics like:

  • Who is accessing the content
  • What they are accessing
  • How long they engaged with it
  • How effective the content was 
  • If the content translated to a sale

Data doesn’t lie: when sales teams create and distribute content that is meaningful to their audience, they are radically more effective. Sadly, many platforms say they offer this type of in-depth reporting but, oftentimes, the capabilities come up short. You’ll want to find a solution that not only allows you to generate custom reports but also integrates effectively with existing programs in your tech stack like Salesforce so you get the most holistic picture of the impact your content is having as possible. 

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Would you like to learn more about how CircleHD’s sales enablement software can help your team deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time? We’d love to speak with you. Let’s talk.


Overcoming Common Selling Challenges with a Sales Enablement Tool

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. 

But that’s not the only issue facing sales today. Some other things teams are contending with include:

More competition for buyer’s attention

It’s probably no surprise to learn that the average buyer’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, according to Statistic Brain. That means you’re not only going up against your competition, you’re also contending with everything else your prospects are giving their time to, be it Facebook, emails, slack, or something else. And even if you manage to get their attention, you need to keep it long enough to convince them your product is the perfect solution to their pain points. That’s difficult on a  good day and it’s definitely not been made easier by current events.

There’s a lot of people to win over

If you’re selling any products that are complicated, expensive or just need a financial sign-off, you have a very steep hill to climb

According to a study by CEB, the average B2B purchase requires the approval of 5.4 stakeholders in a company. Selling to an enterprise company? That number rises to 10.

The way business is conducted now, it’s not enough to have a few champions within a company since you can still lose that deal if their colleagues don’t get on board as well. Ouch.

The people you need to convince are busy

It’s no secret that we all have a lot on our plates these days. But even when there’s not a pandemic on, most decision-makers have a long list of challenges and responsibilities they need to attend to that don’t involve making a decision about your product.

As we stated above, 95% of buyers need a financial justification for purchase, but unsurprisingly, 66% of them don’t have the time or resources to explore solutions themselves.

Decisions take time–if you can get one at all

For all the time reps devote to prospects, an increasing amount of demos aren’t converting to sales. And if you’re not closing, you’re not getting much ROI for your efforts.

Getting the same results is costing more time and money

On the note of ROI, if you’re able to get that deal over the finish line, it typically requires a discount of 20% to get sign-off. But more than that, all of these challenges lead to a sobering truth: that companies are working harder and spending more just to get the results they used to achieve. Some B2B businesses have actually reported spending 50% more to generate the same amount of revenue they earned two years ago. 

It’s easy to see why this increase in output and spend isn’t sustainable for sales, nor is it the ideal situation for businesses who want to grow their bottom line. Luckily, there is a solution to your sales woes: proper enablement. 

So You Want to Activate Sales Enablement at Your Company?

Although more companies are implementing sales enablement programs, many are doing it in bits and pieces, rather than a fully fleshed-out strategic initiative which can lead to diminished results. But new technology is only successful if your reps are incorporating it into their everyday workflows and processes. Here are some common roadblocks to sales enablement adoption and how you can overcome these challenges. 

Adoption

A big reason why companies fail to achieve adoption for their sales enablement efforts comes down to insufficient technology. Choosing the right solution to meet your organization’s needs is key but you also need to work out what will happen after the implementation is complete. Craft a plan that outlines:

  • What content will be created
  • Who the content is for
  • How it will be categorized
  • Where it will be stored
  • How it will be distributed amongst your team

But a sales enablement portal isn’t just another tool–it needs to become an integral part of your organization. Before you introduce a new platform, you need to understand what works (and what doesn’t) about your current sales flow. Consider what gaps you have in your processes, where communication breaks down, what tactics your team is using that are effective and which could be helped by the creation of new content. Taking a critical look at how a new solution will work in your existing sales infrastructure ensure employee buy-in and engagement post-implementation.

Poor Content Management

Everyday salespeople ask themselves: where can I find the right content to send to my prospect and the sad truth is they’re spending way too much time looking for it. In fact, it has been reported that reps spend close to 43 hours every month searching for information. That’s over 500 hours a year. Imagine how many more deals they could close if they had ever a fraction of that time back.

This is why it is absolutely essential that your company have a proper sales enablement portal where assets are created, stored, and organized. Not only does this create a single source of truth for all company information but, if properly optimized, this hub can be a hugely effective way to increase your team’s productivity and performance.

But it’s not enough to just have a great portal. Content also needs to be categorized effectively. Optimize your content by:

  • Sorting it into channels based on goal or subject matter, such as proposals, prospects, customers. You could also utilize customer traits like sales-cycle status or industry.
  • Adding relevant tags to increase the likelihood of discovery
  • Adding contextual documentation so the rep understands more about the asset’s background. This could be a thumbnail or a short description that accompanies the file name.
  • Annotations that relay important insights about content others can refer to.

Having all of these categorizations in place will increase the likelihood that content will be useful and easily found later, removing another barrier to adoption amongst your team.

Selling Out-of-the-Box

Customers need change. That’s just the nature of selling. Today, it’s all about customization. Not only do buyers expect an individualized purchase process that takes their specific challenges and priorities into consideration, but they’re also looking for businesses that can cater to their unique needs. While it’s imperative to tailor your process for this new selling environment, without a proper solution in place, you’re unlikely to be as effective as you could be.

A good sales enablement tool will provide you with the analytics and insights you need to make effective, data-driven decisions. By looking critically at who is accessing content, how long they engage with it, and if it contributed to a sale, you can tailor your team’s content strategy to help better personalize the customer experience and add value to rep conversations.

Improper Training

For a rep to grow and be a proficient sales enablement user, they need to be coached on how to sell effectively. But so often, organizations conduct a one-time training session, usually during the onboarding process, then opt to send the salesperson out into the field without much more support. This is a lost opportunity since most people forget almost 80% of what they learned during training in as little as a month.

The best way to combat information loss is by introducing a culture of continuous learning at your company through pre-recorded training and asynchronous role-playing scenarios that can be evaluated later. This not only gives your sales force the opportunity to refer back to information they may have forgotten or missed, but it also empowers them to learn on their own time whether it’s between client calls when they’re sitting on a train, or even when they’re at the gym. 

The stats don’t like: Companies that use technology for sales training and onboarding are, on average, 57% more effective. But, more than that, those with continuous coaching in place have reported a 50% higher net sales per sales rep.

Once your company has an effective and efficient sales enablement tool in place, you’ll find that many of the internal messaging and alignment issues that typically plague sales teams are greatly reduced. Not to mention your team will feel more aligned, productive, and be able to focus on what they do best: selling (yes, even in a pandemic). 


If you’d like to learn more about how CircleHD can help support your sales coaching, and enablement efforts, we’d love to speak with you. Get in touch here.



5 Things to Look For In a Sales Enablement Solution

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:

Content Management 

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:

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.  

Search Capabilities

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.

Analytics

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. 

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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


6 Strategies for Successful Remote Sales During a Pandemic

Once upon a time, face-to-face interactions were a requirement for sales success, but no longer. Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, an increase in virtual communications tools meant that prospecting was increasingly conducted online. Sales may be facing a different world, but it’s still easier than ever to reach customers all over the globe and increase the speed of the sales process by realizing the full potential of remote prospecting. 

In times of crisis, when the news is often full of shocking and ominous headlines, it’s important to remain calm and realize that not everything is completely out of our control. There are still many ways you can make a difference. Just like you are taking precautions in your everyday life such as frequent handwashing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, there are also strategies sales teams can use to cope with the business impact of coronavirus. 

Here are a few tactics you can use to keep your sales pipeline functioning during this uncertain time:

Stock up on Business Leads


Even though there may be a buying moratorium on companies you’re talking to, this is a great time to open the conversation and position yourself to be top-of-mind when business reopens. Devote some extra time and resources to building relationships and lead generation tools right now, even if your schedule is hectic. 

If your industry hasn’t been particularly impacted by COVID-19, you’d do well to start building relationships and have a deeper pool of prospects to work with over the long term. 

Get Timely With your Focus


There’s no doubt that most industries have been touched by coronavirus in some way and there’s a high probability that your prospects may already have significant pain points and concerns about the situation. Spend some time thinking about how you can reposition your product to alleviate those concerns. In your pitch, you should be talking about how your company can help clients adapt to this ever-changing situation and highlight key benefits that will get them through this difficult time. 

The good news is that the same selling points you’re used to using are probably still relevant, you just need to adjust the way you present them and frame the product for people’s most urgent concerns. Prospects may be dealing with pain points like:

  • Coronavirus-related disruptions to their business
  • Adjusted styles of work, such as telecommuting or disrupted hours
  • Shutdowns in their supply chain
  • How to engage their newly-remote workforce
  • How to ensure their security protocols are current and able to deal with new cyber threats that may arise

These pain points are not uncommon and you should be able to adjust your messaging to show how your product or solutions can help address them, both during this time of crisis and once life goes back to normal. 

Lead With Empathy


For those who work in sales and marketing, you can walk a fine line between being understanding of a situation and coming off like you’re taking advantage of it for monetary gain. That’s why it’s so critical to be as sensitive as possible with your messaging during this time and be sure to lead with empathy. The best part is that empathy is free and it’s the best tool you can use to guide your interactions with clients and prospects. Reach out and offer genuine help and support, show gratitude, and seek out ways you can build communities and offer your expertise to those who may be struggling. 

Get Creative with Sales Presentations 


Since many people are cutting down on work-related travel and in-person meetings, online pitches are becoming more important than ever. This may mean you need to adjust your sales process to fit this new, virtual medium.

For example, if you’re used to doing a discovery call, followed by an in-person meeting, you’ll want to make sure you are able to translate the information presented in that second meeting into a visual presentation. But a tightly-designed, well-informed, PowerPoint is just the first step. You’ll need to have a good way to deliver the information during your remote sales meeting. 

The good news is that there is a vast array of online meeting tools that are easy to use and can help you retain that all-important face-to-face interaction, even when you can’t be in the same room. Some tools you might consider include:

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Webex
  • GoToMeeting
  • Facetime
  • Skype
  • Join.me

While it can be a little daunting to change the way you usually build relationships and illustrate the value of your product, all this technology has enabled us to continue to connect, even when we can’t be in the same room. However, you’ll still have to get a little innovative with the way you present information to the client. That might include:

  • Giving a virtual tour of the production floor
  • Doing an in-depth demo that brings in members of your technical team who usually aren’t involved until much later in the process
  • Sending your prospect a video of your product or solution in action so you can talk through the demo while watching the video together. 

Create Segment-Specific Videos


If you already have a good idea of specific verticals you should be targeting, now is a great time to make videos targeting those specific areas for your remote sales efforts.

Video continues to be one of the most impactful marketing tools a sales rep can have in their back pocket, yet so many don’t have much time to put them together. In fact, 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. You probably already have a lot of information on hand that would make good video content, such as:

  • Explainers
  • Presentations 
  • Video blogs 
  • Feature tutorials 
  • Webinars 
  • Customer testimonials 
  • Interviews 
  • Live streams 
  • Product videos

If you don’t already have access to this information or are a little uncomfortable with putting these types of assets together, you might want to reach out to your company’s marketing team, as they likely already have many of these resources available for you. 

Hot tip: Creating these assets is really only half of the battle: you’ll also want a place where you can store and share them securely. CircleHD offers the ability to easily create encrypted multimedia libraries with access permissions so you can rest assured that your content is protected and only being viewed by who you grant access to.

Don’t Stop Selling


Even though things can seem a little bleak, this is not the time to stop selling. Keep going, keep prospecting, and stay calm. 

Even though we may be experiencing some short-term economic pain, and life may not get back to normal right away, it’s important to continue to adapt and keep doing business. You may find that remote sales deals get a little stalled in your pipeline so make sure to keep them warm; It’s always a good idea to align with your marketing team for helpful resources you can share with prospects while keeping the conversation open. 

Even though some companies may be withholding investment until this uncertainty resolves, if you follow these tips, you’ll be on the front lines when the fog is lifted. 

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If you’d like to learn more about how CircleHD’s Sales Enablement solution can help your remote prospecting efforts, please don’t hesitate to reach out


Hack Your Way to Better Sales Enablement with Podcasting

If you regularly listen to podcasts–you’re not alone. In the US alone, 62 million people report consuming podcast content every single week. The statistics surrounding podcasting’s meteoric rise are pretty astounding: listeners are downloading upwards of 1 billion episodes of content every month and in 2017, podcasting surpassed Twitter and LinkedIn in popularity–and companies are taking notice. 

In a time where workers are demanding more accessible leadership and transparent communication, employers are leveraging company podcasts to effectively reach their internal and remote workforce. It’s not just SMB’s getting in on the action, either: Major players like Trader Joe’s, GE, American Airlines, Goldman Sachs, Samsung, and even Walmart, have already implemented podcasting into their integrated communications plan. 

But this medium isn’t just effective for your internal comms, podcasting for sales enablement can also have a powerful effect on your team’s productivity and bottom line. 

Why Podcasting?

Between articles, videos, social media feeds, and endless blog posts, it’s pretty clear we’re living in a time of information overload. And that’s just in one’s personal life. Your team also likely has to contend with online chatter from email, office messengers like Slack, and other tools unique to your organization. Podcasting for sales is the perfect way to cut through some of that noise since listening is a passive action and requires less attention than reading or watching multimedia files. A recent survey showed that, of current podcast listeners, 64% listened in the car, 43% at the gym and 49% consumed content while walking. 

It’s pretty much a given that sales reps are strapped for time and are more remote than regular desk employees. This often means missing out on key meetings and information that would help them do their job more effectively. After all, the most successful sales teams are:

  • Aligned
  • Consistent
  • Informed and prepared about the competition
  • Up-to-date on the company’s most current products and services
  • Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry news and trends

Regardless of if your sales team is already checking those boxes, there is always room for improvement and growth. 

Ways to Use Podcasting for Sales Teams


Train and onboard new reps more effectively

The average sales rep turnover rate currently clocks in at 34% (yikes). Even more staggering: research suggests 1 in 10 companies experience rates exceeding 55% with an average “ramp up” time of 5.3 months until new reps are ready to strike out on their own. With all those people constantly coming and going, you (or someone on your team) is spending an inordinate amount of time training and onboarding, which not only takes a toll on productivity but also your bottom line.

62% of companies consider themselves ineffective at onboarding new sales hires. Why do companies struggle so much with onboarding? It’s usually a combination of the following: 

  • The existing onboarding process is slow and cumbersome
  • Training is done “on the fly” without much structure
  • There are no benchmarks in place to assess the readiness of a rep to “leave the nest”
  • There’s no formal measurement of onboarding efforts or results from those efforts
  • Companies set unrealistic hiring or quota expectations

There are tons of benefits to pre-recording training and onboarding materials and companies that use technology for sales training and onboarding are, on average, 57% more effective.

  • It’s an easy way to cut down on time spent repeating the same sessions Information
  • Training modules are easy to go back to for a knowledge refresh 
  • Modules are able to be accessed 24/7, on-the-go, from anywhere

Share winning stories

Sales reps are usually busy pursuing their own leads and managing their own opportunities. When someone on the sales team closes a deal, we may hear about the customer’s name, and the size of the sale, but we don’t learn the most important thing: how did we win this customer’s business? 

A podcast is an easy way to share a success story.  You don’t have to write a long email or be a good writer.  You just need to be able to speak which, consequently, salespeople are typically pretty good at.

Even a short, three-minute chat detailing how a particular opportunity was won can be massively helpful to the team. They’ll likely want to know:

  • How did the sale begin?
  • What were the customer’s key needs?
  • What features were most important to them?
  • Were they considering competitors? If so, which ones.
  • How was the pricing discussion handled? (I.e.– were discounts required, etc)

Making this kind of podcast is as easy as clicking the Record button in your podcasting platform and talking into your computer.  When you’ve finished recording, you can share the podcast as a link by email.  

Unsurprisingly, 64% of podcast listeners tune in while driving, 43% at the gym and 49% consumed content while walking. Whether commuting by train, plane, or car to appointments a podcast platform that offers a mobile app will allow everyone to listen whenever they want through their mobile phones.

Motivational talks

Leaders have long used pep talks to inspire teams.  One of the most famous motivational speeches came from Knute Rockne, the football coach at Notre Dame in the 1920s.

At halftime during a 1928 game against Army, with the score tied, Coach Rockne gave an emotional, heartfelt talk about a former Notre Dame player, George Gipp, who died in 1920 at just 25 years of age. Rockne implored the team to “win just one for the Gipper.”  The team responded with two touchdowns in the second half and won the game 12-6.

Of course, you don’t have to be the football coach of an NCAA Division I school to give a great pep talk.  Sales managers can draw on their own stories of challenges and successes to give their teams a boost or they can upload to a podcast platform any number of motivational talks that are publicly available.

Here are a few we like to get your podcast library started:

Of course, leadership is responsible for team morale and being an inspiration to your sales team is fundamental to boosting productivity. If you want to create your own quick, easy motivational content, try uploading these types of “snackable” content pieces to your podcast platform:

  • Daily intentions 
  • Virtual high-fives to team members performing especially well or who closed a particular deal 
  • Quote of the day and what it means to you 
  • A brief overview of industry trends or news pieces affecting the day and how your team can use them to their advantage

Elevate recognition strategies

Recognition is an integral part of most sales programs. In fact, researchers have found that public displays of appreciation can often be more motivating than salary. After all, you want to ensure your best salespeople are being acknowledged for their contributions and successes. Podcasting can be a wonderful tool for giving kudos to your best performers and encouraging them to share what tactics worked best to close the deal. 

Gamification has also been a hugely successful tactic commonly used to boost reps motivation, which ends up have some pretty great benefits for your bottom line. It’s a great way to tap into the competitive spirit of your reps and encourage them to play-to-win. Try following up podcast content with some quizzes for knowledge retention and incentivize listening with prizes for the best scores (Hot tip: CircleHD’s podcasting solution has a leaderboard you can make public, which can show which team members are coming out on top). 

Get everyone on the same page

Did you know?: A recent study of 1,100 employees found that remote employees often feel shunned and left out. Since sales reps are often in the field, meeting with clients and prospects to build relationships, they may miss out on the day-to-day meetings and interactions taking place at your company. Podcasts can build a bridge and make them feel like a more integral part of the team. By allowing your field reps to access content at a time that is convenient for them, you create a feeling of inclusion at the company, allowing them to refer to key information even if they’re not in the office. 

Build stronger executive-employee relations

We live in a time where employees expect more from their leaders. Podcasting provides a unique opportunity for companies to address one of the biggest challenges in the workplace: employee engagement. For C-suite executives, managers and HR leaders who are often viewed as uncaring, podcasting provides an opportunity to humanize the communication pipeline. This can lead to better company culture and workplace relationships and provide an easy way to deliver company news.

Research shows organizations with a thriving workplace culture tend to grow significantly faster than peers and there are many content ideas your leaders can activate to create an engaging listening experience for the audience:

  • Q&A Sessions 
  • Interviews with key stakeholders 
  • Fireside chats between leaders and team members 
  • Sharing company news and successes 
  • Spotlights on specific products or offerings 
  • Episodes about industry trends or with other industry leaders 
  • “Making the company” talks about the origins of the company


Key Things to Consider 

It’s clear that podcasting isn’t going away anytime soon—so it’s time for companies to explore this as a new way to scale overall business growth. As with any new enterprise solution, leaders should consider a few things when it comes time to implement a podcast for your sales team:

Security

It’s likely sensitive information and trade secrets will be mentioned in podcasts. You’ll want to make sure whatever platform you use has enterprise-level encryption and security protocols so nothing gets leaked.

Ease of Use

Getting started with podcasting doesn’t have to require sophisticated setups, complicated equipment, or a sharp learning curve. Platforms like CircleHD allow teams to record natively from their desktop or mobile, so you can spend more time focusing elsewhere.

How You Will Measure Success

As with any other communication initiative, you’ll want a concrete way to measure success. This checklist will give you some insights into what metrics should be a priority when determining the success of your podcasting efforts.

Putting together an internal podcast for your sales team that is engaging and boosts productivity is easier than it sounds and has a multitude of benefits. CircleHD provides a feature-rich podcasting platform, ready for next-generation enterprises that need mobility and security for employee engagement and learning. No matter how you rate your team’s communication, there’s always room for improvement. Internal podcasting can help organizations with initiatives like company messaging, culture building, learning and development, training, onboarding, and more. Since listening is more of a passive action, it can be less of a burden for your workforce than reading or watching videos. Not sure where to begin? Download our checklist.


A Better Approach to Sales Content Management

Every day, enterprise salespeople ask themselves: where can I find the right content to send to my prospect?

For most companies, the default answer is Google Drive, Dropbox, or whatever file repository the company is using. But that’s not always helpful. For example, if you are looking for a previous proposal to use as a template for a new prospect in, say, the auto industry, knowing they are seeking X functionality, how can you find the most relevant sample in your company’s drive? Unless your company has very rigid file naming standards, it often involves a lot of searching around through incomplete or irrelevant search queries to find what you’re looking for. 

Solving this simple issue doesn’t need to be difficult. Rather, it’s easily fixed with an effective sales content management solution. The goal of a good sales content management solution is to have a central place where sales assets are created, stored, and organized so teams can access them at any point in the selling cycle. This hub can be a cornerstone for sales enablement, but it’s also an effective way to increase your teams’ productivity and performance. 

A recent survey of salespeople by HubSpot Research found more than half rely on their peers to get tips for improving. 44 percent looked to their manager, 35 percent to team training resources, and 24 percent to media.

The need for sales content isn’t just an internal issue, though. As more companies implement social selling programs for their reps, there’s an even larger need for a central hub that is accessible and has an abundance of easy-to-share resources. In fact, studies show half of sales revenue is influenced by social selling in 14 common industries, including computer software, healthcare, and marketing and advertising. 

How can you get more mileage out of your sales enablement content? Here are a few best practices to get you started:

Take Note of Your Existing Assets 


Whether you’re currently storing your existing sales asset library in Box, Sharepoint, or something else, it’s very likely that you have a pretty large backlog of materials, which can make getting started feeling like climbing a mountain. 

Going back to basics can be the easiest way to overcome this initial hurdle: consider making a spreadsheet to take an inventory of all existing assets, noting the name of the item, what type of item it is (i.e., a video, a PPT, etc), a short description of its use, and a link to where it’s stored. This exercise is helpful when it comes to getting a better understanding of existing assets, but it also enables you to archive outdated and irrelevant content, while identifying additional content needs at your enterprise.

Address Gaps in Your Internal (and External) Content


If you want to improve your internal sales collateral, it’s important to have a clear strategy in mind and it starts with surveying your sales force. Find out if there are any pieces of content they like or refer to a lot and use this as an opportunity to update those documents. You’ll also want to find out if there are any knowledge gaps that exist in your materials. Is there something your reps could use more training on or a new trend coming down the pike they should be prepared for? Perhaps you noticed during the inventory phase that assets are out of date, don’t have complete information on them, or don’t address some new functionalities your product has. These are all good fodder for new content. 

This assessment doesn’t just have to apply to your internal sales documents. It’s also a great time to determine any additional external assets you need to have for any social selling initiatives your company might have. After all, when it comes to building a business case, content is king and still significantly influences purchase decisions. According to a survey by DemandGen, three-quarters of buyers said the content of potential vendors had a “significant impact” on which they chose. 

Your sales team likely spends all day talking to current customers and potential clients, which makes them a wealth of information when it comes to understanding what assets are worth developing. Ask them about their communication pain points, what prospects ask questions about and where there might be any opportunities to alleviate confusion. 

But planning new external sales assets shouldn’t exist in a vacuum: your company’s marketing team is also a great resource to tap into. They spend all day crafting and refining different messages to prospects and can usually offer data and feedback on what content will sing (and which will fall flat). 

Lastly, don’t forget to look critically at the customer journey for opportunities. When you have a better understanding of how your prospects become customers, you can identify where content can help eliminate friction at various points in the sales process.

Creating Sales Content


When it comes to putting together new internal and external-facing content, the possibilities are endless. Of course, it’s important to approach it realistically and strategically. Recognize that Rome wasn’t built in a day and, as such, neither will all the sales collateral you want to produce. Identify which pieces are the priority and enter them into a content calendar. This easy tool allows you to set timeline goals while budgeting your time realistically.

But who says content needs to build itself or only be done by one person? Tap into subject matter experts at your company so you can divide up the creation of these assets. Your team is also a great resource for some of these items, be they sales scripts, proposal templates, blog posts, or something else. 

Stuck on content ideas? Try these:

  • Customer content: Case studies, white papers, blog posts, informative videos, downloadables like infographics, eBooks, etc.
  • Informative content: emails, presentations, brochures, multimedia files, informational documents
  • Internal sales content: sales scripts, email templates, product sheets, training materials, sales playbooks, micro-trainings, onboarding documentation, PPT templates, proposal templates, training modules, role-playing videos, sales education

Categorizing Sales Content Effectively


Sales has an information overload issue, which makes this arguably the most important step when it comes to the implementation and adoption of your sales content management platform. 

It’s no secret that sales professionals are busy people, but that doesn’t always mean they’re being productive. When it takes your reps an inordinate amount of time to find the content they’re looking for, productivity (and, you guessed it: profit) takes a dip. 

The stats are staggering: Aberdeen found out that 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. 

Organizing sales content in ways that speed up the search process is not only a productivity enhancer but a likely factor in winning more customers.  

Channels
Separate content into channels based on goal or subject matter. It also creates a search functionality that enables multiple methods of finding the right content. 

In this paradigm, a proposal that is uploaded to the sales content management solution can be assigned to a channel, such as Automotive, as well as to other relevant channels like Proposals, Prospects, or Customers.  Similar to a quantum bit of content, it can now exist simultaneously in more than one place and be found by salespeople searching from many different angles.

The beauty of a channel-based system, as opposed to a traditional folder system, is that it allows you to quickly add content to a new or existing channel with a single click. Whereas, adding new folders to a large store of existing content is much more difficult and assets tend to get lost in the process.

Tagging
Tagging is another way to effectively facilitate content discovery. If you were to create a new proposal for BMW, it can be stored and assigned multiple tags, increasing the likelihood it will be easily found later. 

Contextual Documentation
It’s not enough to know what content exists, context is also invaluable when it comes to saving time and boosting productivity. This may be in the form of thumbnails, which can provide a clue as to what is inside the file, or a description to accompany the file name. 

Annotations
A leading-edge sales content management solution should also enable annotations, which leave important insights about content for others to refer to. You might note that x asset may work best for y cohort but a video would work better for z. When the ability to comment is enabled, sales reps and managers can collaborate better, outlining which assets may help with a particular opportunity or problem. That also means advice is preserved within the content portal and easily referred to later, rather than being forgotten or lost in a black hole of email.

A good sales content management system gives your team an easy way to share what they’ve learned so you don’t have to wait for a pipeline review or a sales conference to learn what’s working–the sales intelligence is right there next to the content they used.

This functionality does not exist when you simply save a slide deck to Box or a similar file storage system but saving it in a place where users can comment, rate, and suggest improvements or tweaks to the content is an action that can actually lead to more closed deals.  

Distributing Knowledge 


Perhaps unsurprisingly: 60-70% of content produced by sales and marketing teams never gets used. After all, if it’s not getting used, what’s the point? Your sales force is always on-the-go and having one, singular portal across multiple devices is a great way for them to find whatever content they need, wherever they are. Whether they’re using the portal on desktop, an iOS app or Android app, make the content as easy to access as possible. 

Measure the Impact


Determining what sales content is having an impact goes much further than just knowing what your team is downloading. This doesn’t just apply to your team, it also applies to prospects. Having access to a suite of analytics can help you easily see:

  • What content is being shared
  • Who is sharing it
  • Whom they are sharing the information with
  • How engaged the prospect was with it
  • If it contributed to increased sales

Data doesn’t lie: when sales teams create and distribute content that is meaningful to their audience, they are radically more effective.

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Would you like to learn more about how CircleHD’s sales content management solutions can help your team deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time? We’d love to speak with you. Contact us today.


Using Sales Enablement Video To Onboard and Train Sales Professionals

As a sales manager with over fifteen years of experience, I’ve had the privilege of onboarding and training many sales professionals, as well as implementing sales enablement initiatives at many different organizations. Because each of these hires had a different start date, the onboarding was done one person at a time.

Originally, I’d provide a one-hour session on how to use our CRM system to the new hire starting in mid-August, and then I’d give the exact same session to the person starting in early September.

Not very efficient.

Today, the availability of platforms makes it possible to do onboarding better.

If a sales enablement solution has a video creation functionality, it is easy for a sales manager to record a training session that can be done once, and used by every new hire. It’s as simple as logging in to the portal, selecting the browser displaying the CRM tool, and clicking the Record button:

CircleHD for sales enablement in Chrome Browser Recording Plugin

With recording engaged, your training session becomes a video, with your narration taking your virtual trainees through leads, opportunities, reports, sales stages, and everything else they need to know about how to use your CRM tool effectively.

Here are some of the benefits of recording your CRM video training session:

Sales Enablement and Training Accuracy

When you train someone in person, at best they take notes and remember much of what you’ve explained. But typically, several weeks later, the notes are buried among other notes, and they’ve forgotten quite a bit of the session.

With video, all the knowledge you’ve shared is perfectly preserved, and it’s available to your team 24/7, whenever they have a need to refresh their recollection.

Intelligent Organization and Advanced Search of Sales Training Content

The best sales enablement solutions allow you to divide an hour-long video into Chapters. If someone needs to review what you said about opportunities, they can just review that Chapter, rather than trying to fast forward through the entire video.

In fact, the very best sales enablement platforms also allow salespeople to search for specific words and phrases, inside of a video:

CircleHD sales enablement Search within Videos

Salespeople Prefer Online Learning

No matter how hard I tried as a manager to make sessions interactive, I know they often felt like a forced lecture to my sales team. Today, salespeople prefer self-serve learning, choosing times that fit their busy schedules that often change at a moment’s notice.

And you can still evaluate how well your team has learned. The highest-rated sales enablement portals provide feedback and rating tools, as well as reports and analytics, and even the ability to create quizzes and lessons, all of which help managers gauge the effectiveness of video training.

Make your sales training efficient, productive, and easy. Deploy a sales enablement solution that offers video recording, and reap the benefits.

Contact us today to learn more about how CircleHD can help your organization with your sales enablement goals.


Sales Enablement Tools Can Help You Train Your Team Faster

Sales enablement solutions are changing the sales operation landscape. Legacy, old-school learning systems are not user-friendly, and consumer-grade solutions don’t offer important security and access controls needed by enterprises. To create and maintain a well-trained sales team, companies need to explore ways to improve their onboarding, training, and information-sharing capabilities.

Today, a best-practice sales enablement platform should provide you with the ability to upload and intelligently organize video content, and to record training videos in a few clicks.

An enablement solution should make it easy for all team members to share content with each other, and with external partners. By design, these tools should be open, collaborative, and secure.

What is Sales Enablement?

Sales enablement is the implementation of technology to make the onboarding and training of sales teams more efficient and productive. Using a modern platform will allow sales teams to sell with far more skill, and maintains all relevant sales collateral in an organized, shareable portal.

Discover the Benefits of Sales Enablement

From small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises, sales enablement solutions help streamline the on-boarding process and speed up new-hire training. These solutions empower companies to communicate their processes and procedures and share company updates faster.

1. 24/7 Training Availability

Because sales professionals are in constant motion, it can be difficult to get the entire team together for training, updates, and reporting. By contrast, creating videos and uploading them to a central location allows team members to view training content when they can give the material their full attention.

2. Faster, Higher Quality Onboarding Of New Hires

A sales enablement platform gives you the most effective solution for efficient, high-quality training. Training new team members, one at a time, in an ad hoc manner is not efficient. Asking salespeople to read one-dimensional training documents is a low-quality learning experience when compared with videos and slide presentations that combine graphics with audio explanations.

3. Keep Company Information Current

Whether there’s a change in business operations, changes to CRM software, product updates, and pricing changes, employees should be given an overview and some training.

The most efficient way to communicate these changes is to create instructional videos that can be uploaded and shared with the entire team; that remains available 24/7, and that can be accessed through any device.

Sales Enablement Manager

The Sales Enablement Manager plays a critical role by providing dedicated support to the team’s success. This person typically has prior experience with highly-technical and complex sales in the enterprise space. They optimize the sales process, create amazing sales playbooks, manage certifications, and drive revenue campaigns. This person should be adept at working with prospects as they are with working with customers.

WHAT’S THE Difference between A Sales Enablement Manager and Sales Ops Manager?

At smaller organizations, these roles may be interchangeable. But when a company is in “growth mode”, the Sales Ops Manager carries out many of the administrative and operational tasks required to run a sales organization. By contrast, a Sales Enablement Manager may be focused on accelerating the sales team’s productivity and efficiency, implementing processes and guidelines for aligned teams.

How Can Enablement Affect Your Business?

Sales enablement is the easiest way to train your sales team and keep them up to date. Creating videos for your team to watch and reference again as needed will provide them with the best opportunity to succeed in their roles. 

Learn more about video enablement and how adding it to your sales enablement playbook will significantly improve sales team efficiency.


Using Video Role-Playing for More Effective Sales Training

This bit of military wisdom not only applies to actual war, but to business as well. In any endeavor, proper preparation and training are the keys to success. And in the cutthroat battlefield that is sales and marketing, the more prepared and trained your sales and marketing representatives are, the more money they make. And of all the myriad methods of training available today, nothing is perhaps more under-utilized or maligned than role-playing.

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”

Sales training utilizing role-playing techniques – when done the right way – is one of the most effective methods of preparing your staff for any situation and any customer. Properly conducted role-playing sessions can sharpen your staff’s skills and significantly increase your sales volume. In particular, video role-playing combines the effectivity of actual role-play with the reliability, knowledge-retention appeal and reusability that is inherent in pre-recorded video learning material.

Introduction and the “Swiss Army Knife” Video

Most potential sales situations will involve customers who have at least a mild interest in availing of your products and services but need that last push of persuasion to see the value in your offerings and convince them to finally open up their wallet. In most such cases, a well-scripted “swiss army knife” role-play video that depicts the “usual customer” that will enable your staff to practice the knowledge they have learned in your onboarding resources is a good way to kick off learning using video role-playing.

Situational Videos and “Leveling Up”

Aside from the “general role-playing training”, you can also utilize video solutions for specific situations, using your staff’s innate skills, characteristics and quirks to emulate such customers or situations. Perhaps, one or two of your team members excel at being bitchy or irate? How about another team member who’s a stickler for the smallest of details? Another one may be the lawyer-type who loves using his or her opponent’s arguments against them. Still, another one may be an expert on “non-commitment”. All of these situations can be captured and stored on video for repeated training sessions. And once all these initial scenarios become “easy mode” for all your staff, you can tell them to construct more difficult scenarios to role-play and learn from. This way, everybody improves and your staff actually develops the sense of anticipating the most difficult scenarios possible in every encounter. Subsequently, everyone will be prepared to deal with even the most nightmarish of situations, quite possibly turning a losing encounter into a buzzer-beating sales victory!

Critique Role-Playing Videos

Evaluating a live sales training role-playing session right after it finishes is a good way to learn. But people are bound to miss some of the details that can sometimes make-or-break the sales pitch. One of the major advantages of video-recorded role-playing training is that they can be repeatedly evaluated by you and your staff down to the smallest of details to pick out which areas to improve. This is similar to how pro sports teams go through film sessions of past games (and even of opponents’ games) to get every possible advantage in future match-ups.

Importantly, the goal of the critique should not be punishment, shaming or calling out “bad” performances. Rather, it must be seen as a way to improve your performance by trying to improve the – as sports coaches love to call them – “little things that matter”. After all, business is a professional sport in its own right, and to become a champion you need to be the best.

Centralize, Organize and Share the Wealth

A centralized platform, like CircleHD, enables content creators, corporate executives and managers to make all their video solutions readily available and accessible in an organized manner, within a secure digital environment. This means that all of your sales training role-playing videos can be just one click away anytime and from almost anywhere.

Schedule a demo with us now and unlock your sales team’s potential with the power of video platforms.