There’s a lot of momentum around sales right now, as companies of all kinds move out of pandemic mode and into the “next normal” phase of business. But for sales enablement leaders, there are some unique challenges. Finding and retaining top talent is one of them as they sift through the flood of new sales enablement technologies. In order for sales enablement leaders to capitalize on that power and navigate the murky waters of the marketplace, they need to have a clear plan that builds the right culture, taps into the right technology, and provides the right motivation for sales teams heading into the new year.
Forrester’s new Planning Guide 2023: Sales Enablement will help leaders make those tough plans for the upcoming budget season. For sales enablement leaders, the guide provides investment recommendations around: sales preparation, content, and conversational intelligence solutions; hiring staff to support these platforms; and best practices such as sales advisory councils and creative compensation systems.
As you begin your 2023 plan for sales enablement, here’s a look at some key takeaways from the guide.
Best-of-breed sales teams focus on salesmanship
- What to plan for 2023: If your sales enablement organization isn’t recruiting, onboarding, and communicating the skills, knowledge, and process skills necessary for salespeople to be considered fully trained, this is a quick win that will benefit a wide range of both sales and other functional leaders. What skills you buy, build and promote for each enablement role. A key component of this process is discovery: What do your best sellers look like? What traits, skills, and behaviors represent the gold standard? Forrester has several existing sales skill map templates to get you started. If you’ve already completed this step, consider moving away from a “once and done” mindset (“we did our sales skills last year, so we’re ready”) to establish a regular cadence for reviewing and updating them. It’s an annual effort, requiring a new “what looks good” with additional resources available for any significant changes in your organization’s offerings, markets, buyers, competition, or sales momentum.
- Things to avoid in 2023: The sales technology landscape is littered with B2B equivalent get-rich-quick offerings that immediately help mitigate vendor skills gaps, better adopt sales enablement initiatives, and ultimately increase revenue simply by acquiring software licenses. Don’t be fooled by marketing, especially if advertising results are driven by lagging indicators (more revenue, faster sales cycles, bigger deals) that are clearly driven by non-capable initiatives and factors. Technology alone will solve some capacity challenges; It can only scale and automate hard-won process improvements like increased sales efficiency strategies. An example is the gamification solutions space, which works to “make learning fun” and improve salespeople’s skills through their sense of competition, but consistently. As proven by Forrester research To be a poor surrogate for best practice in effective adult education.
B2B reps sell more when the culture around them feels right
- What to plan for 2023: If your organization has a customer advisory board, chartered to hear objective insights from the most important enterprise constituencies, does your sales enablement function emulate this practice by listening to its internal customers through a sales advisory board? An incredibly valuable initiative in building a strong sales culture is sales leadership’s simple message, “We hear you,” which provides a refreshing alternative to the traditional top-down nature of B2B sales teams and gives an employee team a voice for evolving needs. SACs can overhear Providing important perspectives To the executives of the company which helps in taking important decisions.
- Things to avoid in 2023: Culture is not something you can buy, command, or deliver through a short-term project. Actually, it’s very simple make things worse Rather than improving them if cultural progress is not genuine. Avoid the temptation to think of “we’re on your side” press releases or temporary changes to company logos as sufficient expressions of cultural awareness. Within the sales team, steer clear of symbolic moves such as suddenly sending CROs into the field to support transactions, if their presence only scares away salespeople who have never interacted with them before.
Compensate reps for both what they sell and who they are
- What to plan for 2023: Consider rewarding non-sales behaviors for a sample group of salespeople and measure the impact on their engagement, retention and productivity levels. Anyone who gets a variable bonus on top of their base/commission/accelerator income, converts a slice of that from quantitative to qualitative — i.e., their manager (or sales force) objectively evaluates their “selfless” contribution to the greater good. Team. A great example is serving on the sales advisory board described above; Other rewarding options include participating in advanced learning exercises and mentoring other vendors. The numerical stake here should not be high, but the policy sends a clear message to participants that their membership in the community is important to the culture in which they work and is recognized and rewarded by the organization. This will also contribute to improved vendor retention.
- Things to avoid in 2023: whether or not”Great resignation“A valid fact, no one would argue that before, during and after the pandemic, finding and keeping great B2B salespeople is a significant challenge. Many organizations respond with a knee-jerk reaction and immediately treat salesperson salary increases as a stop-gap measure, but most B2B Organizations lack the resources of Microsoft and cannot sustain profitable sales talent management if their sales costs increase without a concomitant increase in salesperson output. Also, most talented salespeople can easily find jobs after work—regardless of the cultural forces described above—primarily in their Will pay more than last.
These points will give you a great start on your 2023 plan for sales enablement. explore
Forrester’s 2023 Planning Guide for data-driven insights on where to invest, where to scale back and where to stay the course here.
This post was written by Peter Ostrow, VP, Director of Research and originally appeared here.