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How sales enablement reveals the true picture of field sales

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For Sales Directors and Managers, it’s always been difficult – if not impossible – to understand exactly how their salesforce operates and performs out in the field.

And while it’s comforting for the sales team to know their every move isn’t under the microscope, from a sales leader’s perspective, that lack of insight seriously limits the potential for improving the team’s performance.

In years gone by, Sales Directors have had to live on a diet of limited, late and often dubious insights to monitor team performance out in the field. They largely relied on patchy data and the anecdotal feedback from their sales teams in terms of the outcome of sales meetings. Not only did this make forecasting complete guesswork, it also hampered the development of the right training and content to support sales in the right situations.

Times are changing though, with today’s mobile sales enablement tools finally helping Sales Directors form a clearer, more timely picture of what’s really going on in those crucial meetings – helping them ensure their teams are doing the right things and are equipped with the best available sales materials.

In this blog post, we’ll look at how today’s sales enablement tools can both boost sales productivity on the front lines, and provide the data you need to manage both your salesforce and sales content more effectively.

The failings of CRM

Despite its clear business-wide benefits, CRM has always had something of an onerous reputation among salespeople.

Maintaining a CRM on the move has, until recently, meant sales staff having to fire up their laptops and type out a report in-between meetings – time they consider could be better spent developing leads or following up with prospects.

For that reason, many salespeople prefer to catch up with their CRM reporting at the end of the day, week, month or even quarter – deciphering their old hand-written notes as best they can to feed back on a meeting they can barely recall.

CRM also did nothing to help those responsible for developing sales content to produce presentation material that would work best in the field.

Mobile sales enablement – the way forward

With a mobile CRM tool optimised for handheld devices, users can enter information in a far more efficient manner – cutting delays and reducing errors to ensure higher quality data flows through your systems.

Much can be automated too, with mobile offering the opportunity for real-time, geo-based data tracking, such as the location of sales, where and who your salespeople visited, and how many new clients were successfully brought on board.

And of course, as well as enabling your sales team to contribute data more easily, mobile CRM tools also crucially allows them access to key information on the go.

After all, to work effectively, field sales teams need to have client information and resources at their fingertips when out on the road – the very same, up-to-date information that’s available to their colleagues back at the office. This information might include relationship tracking data, customer history, order details, contact details and meeting reminders.

Presentations and sales collateral should also be part of the available armoury, tailored to the specific client or prospect and available right there in the meeting room at the click of a button. So understanding which content is proven to win business – both marketing-approved and sales-generated is key.

Today’s sales enablement tools help sales and marketing leaders learn what the sales team likes to use and what resonates most with buyers. It means you can operate by the numbers where it matters most, and invest marketing resources in the types of content that will drive results.

By better enabling your salesforce to do their job, while equally providing the means with which to analyse performance, you’re setting in motion the potential for a constant cycle of sales improvement.

To summarise, here are five sales performance improvements that can be gained through better field-based insights.

1 Improved productivity

With a mobile CRM app, you empower your field teams to work faster, better and more conveniently. Whether it’s addressing leads, managing customer accounts or uploading those meeting notes, mobile sales tools ensure it can be done on the go from any location with an internet connection.

2 Predict future trends and opportunities

Too many businesses make big decisions based on data that is past its sell-by date – assessing and analysing information as infrequently as once per quarter. With mobile tools constantly feeding real-time information into the business, you can get detailed forecasts, performance and activity reports at the click of a button.

These in-depth analytics can help you pinpoint which leads result in successful opportunities – enabling you to predict sales trends and focus resources on the most appropriate targets.

3 Boost your return on sales content

Incredibly, surveys show that two-thirds of sales and marketing content is never actually used by the sales team, so getting a better handle on what’s being used and what’s not is essential to reduce that wasted investment.

The best, branded content is typically created by the marketing team, yet they are typically the least informed about what resonates most with customers and prospects. Field sales teams often struggle to relay this information back to marketing, which can mean that content can be created from an ‘Ivory Tower’ perspective, with a high risk it will miss the mark.   

Sales enablement tools allow you to measure the ROI of your content, and make decisions based on how it is used and received. You can use these insights to continually optimise existing content, while creating new content that will engage customers and help close deals.

4 Reduce the time to effectiveness of new sales professionals

When you onboard a new member of your sales team, the priority is to get them up-to-speed as quickly as possible so they can start selling effectively.

By understanding what content your top salespeople are using, as well as the presentation styles that work best, you can empower your new sales hires with proven content, reducing their ramp-up time and getting them out into the field much faster.

5 Improve the buyer experience

Understanding how content and presentations work in the field not only improves the sales team’s performance, it improves the experience of your buyers too.

Buyers are time-poor and easily frustrated, so providing them with exactly the right information to help them make decisions more quickly will create a positive impression and increase the velocity at which your sales process moves.

In summary: Believe the hype

There’s been no shortage of talk about sales enablement technology in recent times, but believe the hype. It’s on the rise and here to stay.

More and more businesses are investing in sales enablement and realising the benefits on offer – from the immediate productivity uplift often experienced by sales staff out in the field, to the invaluable insights generated by the enhanced data feeding through to sales and marketing leaders.

Getting a clearer picture of what is really happening in the field not only leads to the right training and sales support, it also ensures that the significant investment made by your organisation into developing content is fully maximised.

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