Driving Customer Value with a Sales Enablement Technology Strategy
Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Lead with Value, Not Product
So many companies today say they’re focused on providing value to the customer, but most either fail to hit the mark or misunderstand exactly what it takes to get this important process right. As the buying landscape continues to change, companies that want to surpass their competition must be agile enough to adapt quickly, and they must shift to this mentality of customer first.
A Sales Enablement Strategy Should Work Backward
Most companies today create a go-to-market strategy that involves product-focused content. This content is then pitched to the customer. This is the way it’s been done for years, but if you’re looking to build a successful sales enablement strategy today, it’s completely backward.
Effective sales enablement means starting with strategy. Tactics matter, but they should only be developed and implemented after you’ve thoroughly defined your high-level approach, identified your long-term goals, and devised plans for how to get there.
(Want to learn more about sales enablement? Discover this powerful approach with the help of the Sales Enablement Society.)
Success in today’s landscape requires starting with the customer. If you have access, interview them directly. Rather than assuming you know what their core needs and challenges are, ask them! Work with your customers in order to understand them and to better provide the value they crave. (If you don’t have access, work with your sales team. They have the most direct contact with your existing and potential customers and can provide the best insight.)
Start with the customer, identify their needs and wants, and then create content that provides value based on that information.
Lead from a Position of Value, Not Product
One of the foundational aspects of your sales enablement strategy needs to be leading with value, not product. Especially in today’s environment, people are being inundated with product pitch after product pitch. Whether it’s through LinkedIn messaging, targeted emails, or other platforms, companies are desperately trying to drum up more business. As the consumer base gets increasingly exasperated by these efforts, it’s more and more difficult to get your messaging heard.
That’s why value is so critical today. By providing content that actually speaks to a potential customer’s needs, you increase the likelihood that prospect will take notice and take action.
This idea of value needs to be integral at the process level. Companies that are overly rotated to product or release content that leads with that are going to get left behind.
Think Beyond Content Alone
Before you create a single piece of content, make sure your sales enablement strategy accounts for messaging, as well as other information provided to the customer. This is where the shift of mind-set becomes important. If your sales team has bought into this idea of value-based messaging, then the information they provide to potential customers is going to align to that philosophy. Rather than immediately jumping to product and talking about how great it is, a sales rep properly trained in value will know to frame the conversation first in terms of the problem that’s being experienced. Then, once the prospect is engaged, that rep can position the product or service as something that can address those challenges.
Product, of course, has its place in the selling process, but it’s much later than many of today’s reps think. By creating this simple rearrangement of what information is delivered when, you can speak much more compellingly to your prospects and increase their likelihood of purchasing.
The Role of Client-Facing Content
Content is essential to a successful sales enablement strategy, but you can’t lose track of that foundational principle of value. When you’re creating content, it shouldn’t just be extolling your benefits, features, and advantages. It doesn’t matter if everything you’re saying is completely true. It comes off as promotional. In this landscape, people are oversaturated with promotional sales pitches, and creating this kind of content will take your time, money, and resources…with little to no results.
Instead, you need to identify your target audience, and then think about their main challenges and concerns. What are their pain points and problems? When you’ve identified those, you can use your content to position your product or service as a solution to those challenges or problems.
Client-facing content should seek to educate and to inform. This provides two simultaneous benefits. One, you establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry. Two, educating and informing prospects about issues that are relevant to them increases the likelihood they will engage with your content and your business.
The Role of Internal Content
A thorough sales enablement strategy is never just about client-facing collateral. Make sure you’re also planning for and creating internal content. This can be everything from training material to information about internal processes.
When coaching, training, onboarding, and everboarding reps, a successful sales enablement strategy incorporates value as a foundational principle. (It’s not just marketing that needs to understand how to deliver value to prospects!)
For many companies, putting the customer first is as much about a holistic shift in mind-set as it’s about the actual content created, and that needs to be reflected in all internal material. Your goal isn’t to create a few pieces of value-based content; it’s to create value-based sales processes and systems that permeate everything you do.
This way, you help ensure every contact with the prospect—whether that’s a conversation with a sales rep or a blog—works toward that goal of providing value
Remove Siloed Working Environments
One of the biggest hurdles to getting value-based selling right is siloed working environments. When departments operate in individual bubbles, communication suffers. This applies to general communication, but it also negatively affects information-sharing that’s necessary to employ a successful sales enablement strategy.
In many companies, for example, there’s a department for selling, and there’s a department for marketing. They each do their individual jobs, and the two rarely interact. To put the customer at the forefront of your processes and strategies, however, you need the collective knowledge of every department. You need the sales team with their firsthand knowledge of the prospect or client. You need the marketing department with their acumen for putting together effective messaging and content. You need the buy-in of managers and C-level executives.
When departments aren’t willing to share their knowledge base and resources, there’s little chance of effectively implementing a company-wide initiative like a customer-centric, value-based approach.
How Sales Enablement Technology Can Improve the Process
Once you’ve done the legwork of removing siloed working environments, leading with value, developing processes that reflect that priority, and creating content that delivers genuine value to prospects, you’re well on your way to outperforming your competition.
To take the next step, sales enablement technology solutions can help streamline this process. When strategically selected, sales tech can save you a tremendous amount of time and money and make your processes more effective. These sales tech solutions can range from content delivery to an asset management system.
Whatever tools you’re considering implementing, just remember that strategy must underpin all decisions. You can have an asset management system, but if you don’t have a use strategy, you’ll just end up dumping content into it and seeing little value for the reps or your prospects.
For this specific tool, you need to think about the following:
- The types of information you’re going to create.
- How you’re going to align that information to the sales process.
- Where you’re going to map content within the system.
- How you’re going to tailor content to specific roles at specific points in the sales cycle.
Here are just some solutions that can assist with your efforts in coaching and training or other facets of sales enablement:
Have Your Customers’ Needs Changed?
After the unprecedented events of 2020, it’s more important than ever to reassess your selling strategy. More and more people are working from home. There are fewer in-person meetings. These kinds of changes mean your customers’ needs have likely shifted. Make sure your sales enablement technology and processes align to this more digital ecosystem.
Feeling lost by the prospect of reassessing the needs, challenges, and pain points of your prospects and existing customer base? Don’t be afraid to seek the help of a trusted partner in this process.