Buyers are more sophisticated than ever and sales reps must adapt. With many resources at their fingertips, buyers are no longer reliant on sales to educate them on products. Yet, buyers are more challenged by complex business issues than ever. The solution, as Forrester’s Mark Lindwall clearly articulates is to, “revamp your selling system to hire, train, equip, develop, and support salespeople who guide your buyers [to] solve their complex problems.” Guided Selling does just this, helping decrease rep time to productivity while boosting their sales velocity.

For those of you not familiar with Guided Selling, it’s a term coined by Sirius Decisions in 2013 to describe an adaptive, intelligent system that uses a wide variety of contextual data to provide recommendations for each sales transaction. Sales can use Guided Selling to in turn direct their buyers to solutions to their complex problems. Here’s how:


1. Intelligent Content Recommendations

Sellers today spend more than half of their day in some form of communication or research.  Guided Selling helps increase time selling by automatically recommending relevant content to sellers at the time they need it. Recommendations based on data like the prospect’s title, stage in the sales process, and vertical industry in which they work is most helpful to reps in the sales process. The most pertinent reference materials or marketing collateral is then presented to the seller. 

For example, if seller Denise is on the phone with a prospect who is the VP, IT at an enterprise financial institution, she’d be presented with both internal sales aids and outward-facing collateral that would help guide her through the conversation. From content such as messaging points and competitive differentiation to collateral like a financial market case study, she would get content proven to help forward the sales conversation for this buyer type at this stage of the buying cycle. 

2. Short, Quick Bits of Knowledge

Not only does Guided Selling boost sales confidence in situations like these, it has been proven to increase retention of information. For this reason, some organizations extend Guided Selling to onboarding and training, recommending reference aids and digital tutorials to help salespeople continue to learn and close knowledge gaps. For best results, short, quick bits of information are ideal as they are proven easy to digest, learn and apply in sales situations. Leading sales organizations are integrating short reference aids and training bursts that complement collateral into their intelligent content recommendations.

3. Technology Integration

In my experience, the average sales team has six or more data repositories in which to look for sales data and/or marketing collateral. It’s little wonder sales spends less than half their day selling! By integrating content recommendations within the technology -- whether that’s a CRM, Salesforce or a channel sales portal – and devices that sales already uses, the likelihood marketing content and sales aids will be used in the sales process increases as will time selling and a rep’s ability to convert more leads to prospects – and prospects to buyers.  

4. Tracking and Measurement

Enable continuous improvement by collecting data such as:

  • Which pieces of content were used most?
  • What content was used at which stage of the sales cycle to win business?
  • Were there content pieces prospects were more likely to open and read?
  • And, if you are able to collect sales feedback on content pieces, which were most highly rated? Which were never used?

Combine this information with data from your sales system to populate reports and dashboards from pipeline velocity, to competency progression, and sales asset ROI. By understanding which content assets are most helpful to sellers and prospects, you can create a virtuous cycle where the most relevant, helpful information is promoted to sellers when they need it, helping them grow their sales success and with it business revenue. 

About the Author

FChanin Ballance is CEO of MobilePaks. Channin brings years of technology, business management and marketing experience to her role as CEO at MobilePaks, a marketing and sales enablement software solution provider. Chanin is a frequent speaker on the topics of learning, mobile engagement, and sales enablement solutions. Her expertise has been featured in Channel Partners, Chief Learning Officer, Inc. Magazine, MarketingProfs and Sales & Marketing Management Magazine.

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