Few people know the reason that RO Innovation started in 2002 was simply because I was a sales executive working at a software firm that needed a tool that didn’t exist. It was frustrating to see my deals weren’t closing unless I had the third-party endorsement (and credibility) of customer references to back up my sales message. I found myself frequently reaching out to my team with Hail Mary emails asking, “Does anyone know if we have a customer that could talk to my prospect tomorrow?”
Sometimes my emails would work, sometimes they wouldn’t. Regardless, the process was a thorn in my side. I saw a need for a technology tool that could not only allow me to find the right customer reference in a quick and easy way when it was needed, but also make my job as a salesperson more efficient by knowing what my buyers were actually engaging with and when. So I created RO Innovation.
Reminiscing on my more “painful” days of being a sales rep got me thinking about the common hurdles salespeople are plagued with. From my 30 years of personal experience working in all levels of sales at high-tech and software companies, and insights from the salespeople I talk to on a daily basis, I’ve found the biggest pain points for salespeople are:
1. Quickly finding the right information for prospects’ requests – Sales reps know the drill. We receive a request from a prospect for a certain piece of information, whether that’s a case study, a white paper, some ROI statistic or to speak to a current customer who can provide relevant insight. We all say, “Of course!” and then start the search. The reality is, sales reps simply can’t afford to waste time on nonessential sales activities (like hunting for the latest and greatest version of a case study). Having a sales enablement technology system in place that centralizes all marketing collateral and makes it easy for sales to grab what they need and get it to a prospect immediately alleviates that burden.
2. Tracking prospect engagement – Part of the sales process is qualifying prospects that have the most potential to close. But how exactly do you determine who is truly interested in your solution and who’s just kicking the tires? Are your prospects comparing you to your competitors, are they price shopping, or are they truly interested? Sales enablement technology simply gives sales teams a better understanding of prospects’ “engagement” with sales and marketing materials — giving sales reps the insight they need to determine who’s really a qualified buyer and who’s not.
3. Knowing when to contact leads for follow-up – Questions sales reps always seem to be pondering are: “Am I calling too much?” “Why haven’t they responded yet?” “Do I email again?” “Should I call again?” That’s why insights from sales enablement tools can be so useful. By recognizing when your prospects are engaged and with what materials, sales reps better understand the “when and how” about their prospects for more effective follow up.
4. Too much busywork—Anything that prevents sales personnel from interacting with prospective clients is not sales efficient. A study by the CMO Council says that as much as 40% of a typical sales rep’s time can be spent creating presentations, customizing messaging, and getting ready to engage with the customer. In other words, sales wastes too much time performing administrative activities instead of doing what they do best – engaging with the customer and closing sales!
5. Marketing not “listening” to sales— Having sales and marketing alignment is crucial to the success of the sales cycle. Sales reps being able to share information on what marketing collateral works and what doesn’t work with prospects, and having marketing use that feedback to ensure sales has the most relevant collateral at their fingertips is important for driving closed deals. Sales reps are eager to use marketing materials, but the marketing team needs to make it effective! Sales enablement technology is allowing marketing to build pre-packaged spotlights (or microsites) to control the marketing message, and enable sales to quickly and efficiently deploy the RIGHT marketing materials at the RIGHT time with “grab-and-go” templates.
6. Mobility – Sales reps are changing how they sell. Throughout the sales cycles they do not always have the benefit of being in the board room, opening up PowerPoint and doing presentations. Often times, they are at a coffee shop or other makeshift meeting area and need to leverage proof points, case studies, white papers, videos, etc. Organizations increasingly are relying on mobile sales enablement apps deployable from iPads and smartphones to streamline the sales process, increase sales force productivity and maximize their ROI on marketing assets and events.
I’d love to continue the discussion about specific challenges your sales organization faces and how sales enablement technology can be used to help solve them. Contact me or a member of our team today.