3 Things that WON’T Enable Sales

Sales Enablement is becoming one of those buzzwords these days. And, of course, who wouldn’t want to enable sales?

The problem is the odds of success are not great. There are many studies that show that CRM implementations fail 50% of the time. The most common reason is a lack of adoption by the sales team. So, the people we’re trying to enable are not using the solutions we provide them.

Yes, it’s true. There is a difference between a CRM and Sales Enablement.

It’s important to keep in mind the intent most businesses have when they implement a CRM or any sort of marketing or sales automation software. The problem is that many businesses lack the experience and the resources to execute on this intent.

The good news is that well-designed, planned, and executed programs can have a significant and near-term impact on sales. Increasing ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), Increasing Conversion Rates and Close Rates, and revenue. Basic Lead Management and Lead Nurturing programs can increase sales by ten to twenty percent in less than 6 months without any changes to the sales process.

Following are the most common mistakes made by businesses that should be avoided at all costs.

Adding toys to the toolbox

Busy executives tend to over simplify things and see these initiatives the same way they would see replacing a machine on the production floor. “Well, we’ll have Bill research solutions and prepare a cost/benefit analysis and we’ll purchase the recommended solution and put it in place.” Putting more tools in their hands doesn’t make salespeople faster, better or more successful.

In fact, at the recent American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Leadership Summit, sales managers from across industries, regions, and sales models reported gadget overload. One of the most common needs articulated by sales managers is the need for simplification of technology. A common refrain is “We have all the latest tools and no one uses them.”

Choosing sales enablement software may be part of the solution but, technology without strategic planning, integration with marketing processes, training, and accountability is just another seldom-used screwdriver in your toolbox.

Creating rigid processes and micro-managing

The other extreme on the spectrum of common sales solution implementation mistakes is micro-managing. Instead of purchasing technology and expecting it to magically improve things, many businesses see the way salespeople manage customers as the problem and create detailed processes and expect the sales team to follow them to the letter every time.

It’s true that accountability is a big missing piece of the puzzle in most sales organizations. This is especially true when implementing new technology and new processes, watching things closely is crucial. However, it’s important to recognize that many of the assumptions made in the conference room about what is going to work will be wrong. You cannot completely account for the reaction customers will have to certain messages, timing of messages, and actions.

So, it’s crucial to measure the process so these mistakes can be identified quickly and adjustments made. However, the entire team should embark on this voyage with the attitude of a sailboat racing team. Set your course, measure results, and adjust. Success is not setting the perfect course and never having to adjust it. Success is being good at making small tweaks continuously without a lot of friction or distraction and without taking the joy out of things.

Pouring more leads into the process

Another common oversimplification that businesses make is to focus solely on the leads. More money is spent on ads, marketing, etc. More leads are purchased. And sometimes things get worse, not better.

It’s an easy mistake to make. The mindset is “We have an engine that’s running. It works. If we pour more fuel into it, we’ll go faster.” Ever driven by an overheated car on the side of the road? Don’t let that be your sales team!

A business’ close rate might be 20% but, that could be because another 20% of leads/opportunities get stalled after the presentation. Doubling the number of leads could have the sales team slammed with doing presentations for so many customers that they don’t have time for other key activities like prospecting and closing. Sales enablement is about optimizing the process. It’s crucial to know what the process is and be able to measure the flow of opportunities throughout the process first.

Sales enablement doesn’t have to be difficult. Avoid these mistakes and your chances of real success are dramatically improved. It’s important to focus on the journey rather than the destination.

Start teaching your team about sales enablement here.

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