HOW TO SELL MORE AND GROW BETTER will help your team win more deals and close revenue.
It’s time to stop thinking of sales, marketing, and services as three distinct operations.
Too many marketing managers are still making the mistake of investing in strategies without taking the time to understand how they could be working with sales to demonstrate tangible revenue growth. And it goes both ways: your team might argue that marketing hasn’t delivered enough quality leads, but marketing will say they have — and without the data to back it up, neither of you can prove or disprove this.
It’s not just the marketing team that sales is out of touch with. The way people buy has evolved, directly impacting our understanding of the buying process — and how we ‘sell’.
The internet has given buyers access to unlimited information. And with access to information comes power. The traditional sales funnel that so many courses, academies, and seasoned sales veterans advocate has begun to dry up. Or, rather, the flow of people through it has, because they don’t depend on salespeople anymore to tell them what a product does, how much it costs, or why it’s the best choice on the market. They can find this out themselves.
Yes, they still reach out to salespeople. The role hasn’t died with the funnel. But it has fundamentally changed, and the sales function needs to a) recognise this and b) adapt to it if it hopes to engage with, and close, today’s empowered customers.
The impact of having a predictable and scalable process for finding and keeping customers will give you and your company’s stakeholders greater confidence to invest in your growth and dramatically increase the value of your business.
Sales enablement example: £7m pipeline and 5 x ROI
But the traditional sales and marketing methods they were using weren't generating enough leads and sales to meet this target. In addition, they couldn’t identify a single deal that had happened as a result of an enquiry coming through their website.
Recognising a shift in buyer behaviour, and that LAN3’s sales and marketing activities hadn’t adapted to it, managing director Martin Jones and sales director Steve Thompson made the strategic decision to move towards an inbound sales and marketing strategy.
A key step in this process was using our sales enablement services to enable the sales team to improve their productivity, sell more, and meet their quota attainment.
Get the full story from the video above or read how they transformed their business with sales enablement.
Diagnosing the breakdown between sales and marketing teams
Is marketing properly qualifying the leads? Does your sales team give feedback to marketing about the quality of the leads and the results? Does marketing even handover the leads in the first place?
If the answer to any of these questions is a ‘no’, there’s a broken link between your sales and marketing functions that you need to fix. The problem often stems from a mismatch of goals between the two teams.
While many of us will readily admit that our end goal is revenue generation, it’s still a rarity to see full alignment in businesses. Sales creating their own content and ignoring the website, varying messages delivered by the two departments confusing prospects, a lack of agreement on lead quality, and a fundamental mismatch in lead qualification and definition are some of the most common symptoms of poor sales and marketing alignment experienced by the businesses we encounter.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s not that the C-suite are indifferent to these challenges. The real problem lies with the diagnosis of the challenges separating two departments that have a traditional rivalry going back decades.
The rivalry between sales and marketing is real, but why, and how can you overcome it?
Are you hoping to sell or helping to buy?
The customer might not always be right in what they perceive to be the product or service solution for them — but when it comes to their challenge or pain point, no one knows their purchasing need better.
Underneath their enquiry, they’re not looking for a product or a feature; they want help. And as salespeople coming in halfway through their buying process, your team doesn’t have the right to tell them they’re wrong.
Legacy (old school) salespeople often use a traditional selling style to lead a customer to buy the solution they want to sell or send a proposal without asking any questions. Today, neither is conducive to an ongoing business relationship.
The good news is that if you can identify when and how your prospects need help, you can turn your sales function around. Implementing an inbound approach to sales can significantly increase your revenue generation in the long run and ensure your pipeline is always healthy.
Inbound sales means ‘helping’ the buyer, rather than ‘selling’ to them, meeting them earlier in the decision-making process to help them make the right purchasing decision.
To diagnose where your sales team may be experiencing challenges, look at process and people.
Another key consideration is how well your salespeople understand the sales process. Often when a sales team doesn’t follow the process it’s because it’s flawed. Reviewing the sales process can be challenging, especially if you helped define it in the first place. But it’s essential that you can step back and look objectively at the steps your team is following when engaging with prospects and using the CRM.
If you’ve identified a problem with the process your reps are working from, it’s important to review the situation objectively. From the people you have hired and manage to the process you put in place, you need to be able to assess the impact you’re having in both areas to determine how you can improve them.
Your customer is leading your sales process. Smarter selling is needed.
Are your salespeople causing you challenges?
When assessing the activity and performance of your salespeople, there are several markers that you can use to indicate how effectively they’re spending their time and where there might be problems with the way they’re carrying out their roles.
People-based problems typically manifest themselves as salespeople who sell differently every time and a team of salespeople who all sell differently from one another. The underlying problem here is one of consistency. Deal strategy should always be customised to suit the prospect, yes, but there’s a fundamental difference between knowing the process and then deviating from it in a strategic way, and making up a completely new sales process ad-hoc, for every conversation.
Is it a short-term issue? The quick sales service wins that deliver an immediate impact.
With a shift in the sales landscape comes new services and technology to help your sales team sell better.
Like the challenges it addresses, sales enablement is still an emerging area, but its goal is as familiar as ever: to help your department close more revenue and contribute to the growth and advancement of your business.
Sales enablement services wear many faces, but they can be understood as equipping your team with the technology, processes, content, and training to better serve your prospects with what they need, shortening the sales cycle and increasing their close rate. Sales enablement maximises the time that sales reps actually spend selling and ensures that they’re as effective at this task as possible. And it provides you with the business intelligence and pipeline insight needed to make important decisions about growth.
The problems we’ve discussed up until this point can be broken down into long-term and short-term issues:
‘Where would we be without BabelQuest? The team has done an excellent job of showing us how to scale our sales effort with the HubSpot Growth Stack. Onboarding a new sales hire has taken me just two hours on the tools and systems and a couple of days of training in the field. So far, all our new ‘Wheeler Dealers’ closed their first sale within four days of starting. We’re really looking forward to continuing scaling up The Dealer App with BabelQuest and HubSpot.’ — Henry Hayes, Co-Founder and Sales Director, The Dealer App
To tackle short term issues, focus your people on consistency, beginning with the content they are using. Then your data will begin to make more sense, and you can base better decision making on it.
These are the quick wins you can implement to improve your sales team’s ability to sell and in doing so see an immediate impact on your sales function.
Do you have long-term sales issues?
Increased funding and more effective tools means sales teams around the world are growing.
Fifty-nine percent of companies now have a dedicated sales enablement function, with another 9 percent making plans to create one in the next year.
But with growing teams come many of the long-term problems you’ve identified in the previous chapters, raising the requirement for coaching and technology solutions to empower your team and improve the sales process from the ground up.
By transforming the sales team into a cohesive and well-structured department aligned with marketing and services over an extended period of time, sales enablement powers the long-term success and revenue growth of the sales function.
If training, coaching, or any of the long-term fixes described in earlier chapters are proving a challenge, or if implementing these fixes over a sustained period of time is not within your capacity, it may well be in your advantage to consider sales enablement services as a means of empowering the capabilities and growth of your sales department in the long run.
Support your sales team with the technology they need to sell more
If you’re diagnosing problems across your sales process and salespeople, it could be because they’re not supported by the right software or applications.
Sales and marketing technology has the potential to transform how your people and processes operate for the better. But if your salespeople are all using different tools, it is likely they’re doing so because your existing systems are letting them down or they’ve identified tools better equipped for the task at hand.
Learn more about sales and marketing technology.
Save yourself hours every month
On a typical day, HubSpot’s principle marketing manager for sales enablement Ben Cotton was answering up to 50 high-volume, low-value questions from his sales reps on a case-by-case basis.
'Do we have a sales deck on XYZ?'
'Do we have case studies in the UK on SaaS or competitive intelligence or Marketo?'
'Can you send me a customer reference for more information on GDPR?'
If you consider that each question took around five minutes of Ben’s time to address, you get an idea of exactly how time-consuming these queries were becoming. His solution was to build an FAQ chatbot.
‘The bot answers about 500 questions a month that would otherwise have taken up my time', Ben told me. 'And it can answer those questions even faster than a human representative.’
With the sales chatbot in place, he was free to spend more time answering the low-volume, higher value consultant-type questions, when a rep needs advice, guidance, or coaching — the higher value work that influences revenue.
Refocus your management on the following six key areas
Maintain a more predictable, repeatable, data-driven sales process
As a leader, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have learned everything you can, or that you don’t need to learn anything else, but are you driving the right behaviour? Are the sales leaders giving the right direction? Are you incentivising the team? And can you provide an objective example for each of these?
As increasing connectivity continues to redefine the way we research and make purchasing decisions, that weight on your shoulders isn’t going anywhere. If anything, growing global markets and rising customer expectations are only going to weigh heavier on your shoulders.
A SMART management strategy is about creating a sales strategy around six key cornerstones. These are the elements of your strategy that will enable you to maximise the impact of your team’s sales activities.
You can’t work any harder than you already are within time and budget limitations, and we both know those aren’t going to shift. But you can work smarter.
Know how to hire for success
Your sales rep mis-hires are expensive.
According to research by Dr. Brad Smart of Topgrading Inc., a company focused on helping businesses assess sales candidates, the average cost of a poor sales hire is £444,162.
‘Based on our studies,’ writes Brad, ‘the average cost of a mis-hire can be six times base salary for a sales rep, 15 times base salary for a manager, and as much as 27 times base salary for an executive.’ This is without other, less quantifiable costs, such as damage to team morale and company culture.
You may well be an expert when it comes to hiring for the traditional sales role, but that’s at least two opportunities for sales mis-hires, if you go into the hiring process unsure of how to staff a team capable of enacting a buyer-centric strategy.
Learn from one of the first UK agencies to execute on sales enablement
‘Leads that close.’
Rewind eight years to a small pub in Bracknell and you’d overhear a business development director and the business unit director use these exact words while they discussed the challenges facing their sales function.
You see, their sales team had a problem that everyone seemed to be ignoring. That problem was an inability to predictably and repeatedly close new revenue.
Nobody was paying attention to what the buyers wanted, so they hadn’t realised that the way their customers were buying had changed. With the internet at their fingertips, the company’s target buyers had moved from being information-poor to attention-poor. And as a result, they increasingly perceived the company’s traditional sales techniques (and its salespeople) as interruptive, manipulative, and pushy.
Marketing would claim one percent conversion rates were successful, sales reps couldn’t get hold of prospects even when they’d advanced through the sales process, and forecasting had become a joke at which no one was laughing.
Between them, they were charged with identifying business opportunities and building the long-term relationships needed to maximise profits. But leads weren’t closing, resulting in time inefficiencies, wasted funds, zero accountability, and, ultimately, loss of revenue.
From this shared frustration, and the realisation that they could fix it, this couple left the company and started a business of their own together. That couple was Eric and Becky Murphy, and the business was BabelQuest.
In the eight years since making this decision, Eric, Becky, and the BabelQuest team have helped companies ranging from startups to enterprise level transform the functionality and profitability of their sales departments. We were one of the first UK agencies to proactively execute on the sales enablement market and we have since excelled in the space, driving measurable results for our clients across a range of industries by enabling them to maximise the time that sales actually spends selling and ensuring that they’re as effective at this task as possible.
The term ‘sales enablement’ covers the technology, processes, content and training that empowers sales teams to sell more efficiently. In 2016, our sales enablement services helped IT reseller LAN3 generate £1.2 million in quoted deals over a five-month period, earning us the HubSpot Grand Prize for Sales Enablement. A year later we were awarded a HubSpot Impact Award for our work with The Dealer App, generating 7,000 active users — a 250 percent increase — over five months.
Our sales enablement book is the product of our experience using sales enablement to help our clients’ sales functions to overcome today’s challenges and close new revenue through selling more by:
Packed with relatable stories, practical guides, real-life examples, and helpful templates, we hope you can use it to achieve the same.
Pinpoint and address your sales challenges to sell more
This is what we mean when we say sales enablement, empowering you to find out exactly what is going wrong within your sales function — be it sales and marketing alignment, the way you’re selling, or an issue relating to your people or process.
Within any one of these remits, there’s plenty of room for error. When you consider that no sales function is perfect and that many of these issues will overlap or cross with one another, you begin to realise the scope of room for improvement.
In the end, your company’s ability to predictably and repeatedly close leads comes down to one question: what can you do to empower your sales teams to be less disruptive and more helpful to your prospects?
Discover exactly how to sell more, improve your team’s quota attainment, and drive tangible revenue growth by downloading our ebook now.
Use the book as an inbound sales template to put your prospects first
Discover ideas for aligning your sales team with marketing
Learn how to improve your process and people to sell more and close repeatable, scalable revenue, month on month
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