By now you’re probably well aware that sales reps only spend a third of their time selling. This stat has been floating around for several years now, and yet it stays consistent. Some sales teams have had success, but last year 57% of sales reps expected to miss their quotas for the year. So what can be done to alleviate the pressure?
Often, it comes down to having a playbook to align teams on the content, tools, messages, and overall sales process they need to stay dangerous and keep selling.
If you’re not instructing your sales team to focus on selling directly into major key accounts, this is the first place to streamline so your reps don’t underperform.
Tip #1 – Have a process for defining and identifying key accounts.
Accounts should synchronize around your established sales processes. Below are some criteria to help outline accounts:
- The history of the account
- Goals your customer hopes to achieve
- Your customer’s perception of your company
- Your customer’s available budget
Another helpful tool in evaluating key accounts is a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) which helps identify the strongest accounts, minimize threats, and take advantage of available opportunities. This helps identify where your team has a competitive advantage, what your team needs to guard against, where opportunities exist, and what could potentially cause a rift with the client. A SWOT analysis should be conducted at least once every 6 months, or whenever a significant decision is to be made for your business or external factors are looming that can impact your business.
Your sales team needs to stay focused on selling, so it’s also important to clearly define how and when sales tools should be used, as well as explicitly outline training procedures to set your reps up for success.
Tip #2 – Leverage sales enablement technology.
Your playbook should use specific tools—including Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM), mobile sales enablement apps, sales portals, and selling applications—to empower your team to sell in any location, on any device. Technology requires strong senior sales leadership to champion the project and front-line sales management to ensure compliance.
Successful sales tool adoption often depends on your ability to not only understand tools but to effectively utilize them. The technology you have in place should be working for you and your end users. For example, if your sales team needs the ability to collaborate and constantly update a SWOT analysis for any given key account, use a native Salesforce account planning tool that is easy to learn and help them sell more.
If your digital content is not discoverable, then it’s essentially useless. However, if it’s out-of-date or, even worse, non-compliant, it’s potentially harmful.
Tip #3 – Outline a content strategy.
A clear content strategy helps users gauge when it’s the right time to send content and what content is appropriate at that time, without having to search through a disorganized content management system. It must also track updates in real time so that sales teams know what content to leverage.
Sales enablement tools help ensure that sales reps are providing customers with the right content at the right time. Intuitive technology enhances sales engagements with discoverable, branded, trackable, and compliant content. These tools enable teams to find, send, and share marketing and sales collateral —and understand the ways that salespeople search for the information. Content management tools enable reps to access the content that they need when they need it, without having to navigate through multiple systems.
Keeping sales reps focused and agile is a challenge. Paired with the right tools and technology, sales playbooks work to simplify and shorten the sales process by aligning sales and marketing efforts. Sales enablement tools are pivotal to boosting your sales team’s effectiveness.