Sales productivity is a challenge for almost every B2B organization. And the pressure to meet or surpass revenue goals is only increasing, with over half of sales teams expected to hit revenue goals that are at least 20% higher than the year before (Forbes). But when only 1/5 of your sales team makes quota, how will you hit your number? Further, inefficient, ineffective sales processes can cost businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue each year, according to a recent survey by Adobe.
The Role of Sales Analytics
Sales is becoming more data-driven, and leadership is beginning to consider metrics above and beyond just revenue – they want to measure those activities that are responsible for revenue increases, as well as uncover opportunities to drive change. Productivity improvements, in particular, can have a major impact on the bottom line. The availability of data and the tooling to make it actionable mean that organizations have access to key pieces of information and thus a much more fine-tuned understanding of sales productivity.
When sales analytics and sales dashboards come together, they can offer invaluable insights about the efficiency and effectiveness of sales reps in driving revenue by illustrating pipeline conversions and highlighting stages where opportunities advance, stall, or fall out of the sales process. With this information, leadership can better understand rep performance and buyer behavior and make informed decisions about where in the sales process to focus resources and identify opportunities for improvement. For example, maybe more SDRs are needed at the top of the funnel, or perhaps you need additional sales training on middle of the funnel activities, or possibly the marketing department needs to create more ROI content for the bottom of the funnel. In fact, organizations that use sales analytics increase team quota attainment 4x faster than non-users.
The Role of Sales Enablement
Technology has come a long way in the past several years and is evolving faster than ever. We now have tools that can impact every stage of the sales process, from identifying decision-makers to recommending relevant content. But while organizations are building out their sales teams and chasing more aggressive sales goals, they aren’t necessarily scaling their processes, best practices, and sales tools effectively, resulting in an industry-wide decline in sales productivity. This is where sales enablement technology comes into play, which, by nature, empowers and enables sales reps to work more efficiently.
Boosting Sales Productivity
While you can’t add more hours to the day, you can make the time that your sales reps have as productive as possible with the efficiencies that sales enablement offers and the data-driven insights that sales analytics provides. Read ahead to learn how.
1) Enable reps with the right content at the right time
Sales reps spend 30% of their day looking for or creating content – one of the biggest consumers of their time. Yet 70% of content never gets used by sales because they can’t find relevant material. And when 95% of B2B deals are influenced by content, this is not only a waste of time but can also negatively impact opportunities.
Reps need to share relevant content that is appropriate to the prospect’s stage in the sales cycle. With sales enablement, sales reps can proactively offer prospects pieces of content that address apprehensions, that demonstrate value and the ability to solve a problem, and that show how ROI can be attained. It’s also important to recognize different buyer personas and tailor content appropriately. Sales enablement tools are able to surface the right content at the right time based on the specific sales situation.
2) Support the team with just-in-time coaching
The B2B selling space is constantly evolving, with shifting funnel dynamics and better-informed buyers. Accordingly, sales reps must adapt to the new B2B buyer expectations, and coaches can provide the appropriate insights and guidance. But sales coaching needs to be an ongoing activity, as 87% of training content is forgotten within weeks.
Sales enablement tools such as playbooks allow sales leaders to provide their teams with just-in-time coaching and best practices to ensure they have what they need to further the deal. Information, such as talk tracks, training materials, kill sheets, and persona-based selling tips, can be instantly accessible to reps for any given sales situation. And sales enablement’s data-driven coaching uses technology to provide dynamic sales training content, to determine which training materials and content are most effective, and to outline best practice next-steps for sales reps. Additionally, sales enablement technology identifies what those top performers are doing in their sales process and helps to replicate those efforts across the sales team.
3) Identify opportunities for improvement in the pipeline
Multiple studies show that up to 50% of forecasted deals stall or end in no decision. And the longer a prospect is stuck at a particular stage, the less likely it is that deal will advance and eventually close.
Dashboards visualize trends and can provide valuable understandings about sales rep activity, enabling leadership to make informed decisions about next steps for the company. Management can gain intelligence into sales rep performance (individually and team-wide), as well as insights about how the organization’s overall content mix is performing. Information such as which of the decision-makers at the account are most active and which pieces of content are most engaging for the opportunity are key in progressing a deal forward. This real-time data, in turn, informs best practices for the rest of the team to implement with their own opportunities.
4) Establish a feedback loop between sales and marketing
The best way for companies to boost productivity is to simply work smarter; sales and marketing need to maintain a continuous feedback loop, sharing both information and content. For example, sales reps talk to prospects and customers on a daily basis. They gain insights into pain points, challenges, and needs that should be shared with marketing, so that they can create relevant content.
A sales enablement tool helps to automate this process. Sales has recommendations pushed to them regarding what to say and what content to share. And marketing receives feedback about which pieces of content are most effective in extending the reach of your message, which pieces have the greatest success in helping to close deals, where there are gaps in the content library, which pieces to remove, and which topics to create more thought leadership around.
Shelley Cernel is the Senior Marketing Manager for KnowledgeTree.