We live in the age of technology, innovation and disruption. That also means we live in the age of increased temptation to chase squirrels and shiny objects, many of which do little or nothing to accelerate revenue growth.
Don’t get me wrong.
There are some great sales enablement tools that make salespeople more efficient and smarter in their prospecting and selling efforts. But technology is just a tool. And these popular sales enablement tools alone can't generate more business with the right clients.
While the term "Sales Enablement" is trending more than ever, too much dependence on sales enablement tools without proper sales training will fall flat.
What Are Sales Enablement Tools?
Sales enablement tools are software applications that when implemented properly, can help sales teams streamline their processes and improve their effectiveness by making it easier for sales reps to access information that can support them during the sales process.
Some common types of sales enablement tools include customer relationship management (CRM) software, sales intelligence and analytics, sales automation, and sales optimization.
Most of us are familiar with CRM software, which can be used to assist in managing customer relationships and drive the sales process forward. Sales intelligence and analytics tools can help sales reps identify trends and insights, which, again when used properly, can help reps better understand their customer needs, enabling them to build better relationships.
Problems with Sales Enablement Tools
In and of themselves, these tools are an amazing use of technology that are designed to make sales teams more efficient and effective. However, the unfortunate truth is, many organizations invest in the tools, but not in the training of their people. When teams become too dependent on these tools, they lose focus of what is really important – building an authentic relationship with their customers.
- A CRM tool can’t make a phone call for a salesperson. Only the salesperson can reach out and conduct a professional exploratory sales conversation. And that requires training and coaching.
- A CRM tool can automate marketing outreaches. A salesperson still needs to write customized, compelling sales copy that speaks to the buyer. And that requires training and coaching.
- Your lead scoring systems can provide you with data showing when your ideal prospect is ready for a conversation. But a salesperson still needs to hold a provocative, thoughtful conversation that connects the dots from the prospect’s lead-generation activities. And that requires training and coaching.
A Real-World Example of Too Much Dependence on Enablement Tools
Let me give you a quick example of a time where great technology was lacking great training.
A couple of years ago, I was doing research for a client on lead generation and sales enablement tools. I was browsing a well-known company’s website that specialized in lead generation. Sure enough, five minutes later, I received a phone call from one of their salespeople.
It was a pitiful call, opening with that awful, “Hi, how are you today?” greeting.
How could a company with such cool technology use such an outdated greeting? That was the first disconnect.
Then the salesperson immediately launched into a self-focused, how-cool-our-tool-is product dump. It wasn’t the salesman’s fault. He’d obviously not been taught how to start a compelling conversation based on the pages I visited on his company’s website.
With sales training, this salesman might have started a better conversation, one that didn’t end with me trying to get off the phone by saying, “Sounds interesting. Let me think it over.”
The Right Way to Leverage Sales Enablement Tools
What could this sales rep have done differently?
He could have:
- Acknowledged that he was prospecting. And because he was prospecting, acknowledge that he was catching me in the middle of something.
- Been up front about the quick outreach and add some humor to the call by mentioning the sales elephant in the room. “I don’t want to be a sales stalker, so I’m walking that fine balance of being creepy and providing good service.”
- Shared a customized, not generic, value proposition on problems his company solves based on the pages I’d visited on the website.
You get the idea.
Technology and tools are a great asset to salespeople.
But, so are training and coaching.
Invest in both and you will see dramatically improved sales results. It’s kind of like diet and exercise. The combination of both gives you the greatest return.