Everyone has a story or two of an experience with a helpful sales rep or sadly, too often a poor one ending in frustration for both parties. As a marketing manager for a leading software company specializing in unified information access, I constantly receive calls and emails from quota-based representatives claiming to want to know more about my key business goals.
The reality is they just want to tell me about their product or service which they promise will dramatically improve results because they've seen similar improvements working with companies "just like mine." What they fail to appreciate is that I believe my company is unlike any other business out there today.
I know this because the professionals I work with have invested great time and effort in building something unprecedented in the information management space – joining structured data and unstructured information together to provide better insight and actionable intelligence. If sales reps aren't going to educate themselves on what's important to me or, at a minimum, be somewhat familiar with my company's strategic initiatives, then why on earth should I spend time familiarizing myself with them?
For B2B companies, the typical sales model is a frontal attack on prospects where there's an expectation that a swarm of rep activity will generate enough pipeline to meet quarterly/annual goals. No doubt sales managers will argue there is a range of important differences in how reps execute that will generate better collective activity, in turn driving more qualified opportunities and increased revenues in shorter periods of time. However, the activity itself – regardless of the underlying sales methodology – will always be flawed when reps lack critical information relevant to the customer. This point is reinforced every time a new rep or one I've been working with struggles to answer a question, provides a poor recommendation, or lacks real understanding of my business and core objectives.
Rather than adjust my expectations down to accept mediocrity, I'm encouraged that sales rep behavior and execution will dramatically improve as companies implement next-generation sales enablement solutions like the ones Attivio is delivering today. During a recent sales enablement webcast showcasing what's possible for financial services institutions, 64% of attendees agreed the next-generation client-facing desktop would be a key differentiator and critical for their ongoing success. For the nearly two-thirds of companies that move to incorporate these types of solutions ahead of the ones who don't, not only will they be rewarded with better than industry average growth at the cost of their lacking competitors, but customers will realize a higher level of service, evidenced in short term satisfaction and long term loyalty.
It's optimizing businesses' sales enablement function for:
It's providing customer sentiment, along with relevant data from all information sources, at the right time so reps have better insight and actionable intelligence for more effective client interactions. This is what's possible today. This is the solution sales managers will deploy to ensure their preferred sales methodology is executed to the highest degree possible. This is how sales reps will connect with new and existing clients, discussing unique business needs and the relevant products and services that address those needs.
As more businesses embrace the necessity of using the latest technology to create competitive advantage or risk falling behind those who do, both reps and customers will benefit from time spent interacting with one another.
The swarm of activity will evolve from a numbers game where people, titles and verticals are segmented with canned If-this-say-that responses into one of true one-on-one consultation and collaboration. Reps will execute at a higher level, build stronger forecasts, convert more opportunities and reduce wasted time chasing bad deals.
More customers will enjoy superior service and longer engagements with trusted advisors. And for the sales managers who love to tinker with their sales methodology for ever-increasing efficiency, they can take credit for enabling rep performance for maximum success, with the confidence that a lack of critical information didn't undermine execution.
Jack Cooney has been in sales and marketing throughout his career and joined Attivio as a Field Marketing Manager. Previously, Jack held sales positions which included direct and channel software sales at Oracle as well as National Sales Director for Engineering and Computer Science at Pearson Education where he was responsible for business development for online learning products and associated sales training. Along with his passion for sales and marketing, he also enjoys taking his family to car shows and racing events in his "slightly modified" Mustang.
Industry experts Julio Gomez and Jim Dickie highlight the evolution of sales enablement and unveil the next generation approach that will quickly become a requirement in today’s fiercely competitive landscape.
Watch this webcast and you will learn how leading financial institutions are leveraging technology to drive sales enablement and create competitive advantage. In addition, the co-presenters will answer the following questions: