Is sales training a component of sales enablement?
Are sales enablement or sales training two different groups are they part of the same?
Here is my answer:
Sales training is without a doubt a very important component of sales enablement. In most enterprises there is no shortage of sales training. However, in order to really enable sales people and to protect them from information overload a proper sales enablement approach would align people, processes, content, and technology to answer…
…which sales training is best (maybe based on ratings)?
…what is the most current and what needs to be updated?
…which formats are available?
…in which languages is it available?
…for which customer needs, industry verticals or countries / sales regions is customized training available?
…what are the cross-selling, up-selling, etc. opportunities that need to be kept in mind?
…who are the specific subject matter experts and how can they be contacted?
If you present your sales training in these different dimensions and make it easy to find for each product, service or solution, your sales force will start to save time, have better informed meetings, win more often and increase the average deal size.
By mapping your sales training as described above and tracking ratings, downloads and search queries you will be able to identify gaps and see which of them are the most important to focus on. By allowing comments and user generated content, you will crowdsource a lot of valuable insights from the field.
Old! Out dated!
Director, B2B Marketing, Sales Enablement
Location: Sunnyvale, US – Sunnyvale
Date Posted: 2009/12/18
Position: Director – B2B Marketing, Sales Enablement
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Reports to: VP, B2B Marketing
Think about impacting 1 out of every 2 people online–in innovative and imaginative ways that are uniquely Yahoo!. We do just that each and every day, and you could too. After all, it’s big thinkers like you who will create the next generation of Internet experiences for consumers and advertisers across the globe. Now’s the time to show the world what you’ve got. Put your ideas to work for over half a billion people.
About the Business Group:
The B2B Marketing team is responsible for positioning and packaging all Yahoo! advertiser products, media solutions, product launches and Yahoo! Search for our sales, advertisers, publishers and reseller audiences. This includes messaging strategy, customer communications and sales materials and website management.
Responsibilities will include defining the strategy and leading the building and deploying of sales enablement programs and artifacts that empower Yahoo’s global sales force at scale to effectively solve customer’s advertising problems and help grow their businesses. This role will partner across B2B marketing, product marketing, communications, and other teams to understand customer needs, collaborate on the vision and story, and package and build outstanding enablement materials. This role will also work closely with the sales training organization to create and execute effective sales training programs and workshops.
Primary Areas of Responsibility:
• Work with Product Marketing and B2B Marketing vertical subject matter experts on understanding customer problems and core messaging for Yahoo! Solutions.
• Create the vision and story from core messaging into a scalable framework of sales artifacts that can be used in externally facing client-meetings and in sales training.
• Create artifacts such as sales presentations, whiteboard demos, video demos, sales guides, testimonials, case studies, research insights, and more.
• Partner with sales training to build effective training programs and workshops to empower the sales organization on working with sales artifacts.
• Plan and implement measurement system for sales enablement activities to quantify impact and success of materials and programs.
• Potentially manage and oversee the work of sales enablement professionals
• 8+ years in Marketing, Product Marketing, Communications, Sales/Marketing Operations
• BS, BA or equivalent experience required
• Very strong communication and writing skills
• Ability to lead and manage a team
• Track record of producing high quality documents on tight deadlines, and being passionate about training others.
• Ability to develop comprehensive strong analysis on market trends and dynamics
• Knowledge of standard sales processes
• Be a self-starter and a team player
• Ability to manage a variety of projects simultaneously
• Excellent organizational skills and ability to prioritize and meet aggressive deadlines
• Resourceful at getting information and able to succeed in a rapidly changing environment
Yahoo! Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. For more information or to search all of our openings please visit http://careers.yahoo.com.
“How do you enable the sales team?
Millions of Internet pages are dedicated to the subject of sales coaching and sales training. Have you conducted an Internet search for it lately?
With all that content available, it’s amazing that sales teams have any trouble hitting their performance goals. Have you ever thought about it from a salesperson’s shoes? Think about it: there are many different resources available for salespeople on how to close, how to manage time, how to ask questions, how to manage a territory, and how to stay motivated.
Yet, despite all this, the next evolution in selling is upon us, and it requires all salespeople to conduct a thorough review […]. If salespeople aren’t actively embracing this evolution, they will be passed by.
New hire salespeople want to know:
- what are my expectations?
- what are the goals?
- what does success look like?
- what is in it for me?
- what do I need to do?
I would add:
- what do I need to know?
- where do I get the latest information?
- who are the subject matter experts in the organization?
The author goes on to speak about…
“[…] each salesperson’s ability to fully customize their own selling system to the needs of the clients and their territory. Seasoned sales pros of today have a deep command of the basics, and they’ve come up with something that is uniquely their own over time. […]”
The first part reminds me of the extend to which this kind of knowledge is geography specific as well as specific for industry verticals and client needs. In a global enterprise Sales Enablement knowledge needs to be organized by all this concurrently. Does your organization have an information architecture that allows that?
The second part shows the reality of people having their own unique ways of doing things. Hence, gathering tribal knowledge / best practices from peers can only go so far… as Gerhard Gschwandtner points out in his blog post ‘Is Sales Enablement just Lipstick on a Knowledge Management Pig?’:
“I read, “Clone top performers.” Excuse me! Why not promise, “Clone your Swiss bank account”?”
‘Sales Vs. Marketing: Whose Job is it to Generate Leads?’ by Pete Caputa from November 4, 2009:
“This article is an interview of Anthony Cole by HubSpot’s Peter Caputa. Tony is a sales development guru and the founder of Anthony Cole Training Group. Anthony Cole Training Group (a HubSpot customer) helps individuals and companies drive consistent and predictable sales growth. Tony’s blog is called the Sales Java blog and you can find out about his live webinar series here.
In marketing, we call it “generating leads.” In sales, it’s usually called “prospecting.” Whose job is it anyways?
While salespeople have always been measured on their ability to generate leads, inside sales people are often measured only on their ability to turn a cold list into warmer leads for their outside reps. However, even outside sales people who do their own prospecting are measured on their ability to fill the top of their funnel based on what leads turn into sales at the bottom.
Great marketers generate demand for their sales teams. With online marketing, marketers are now being measured on their ability to do so. With measurement comes great responsibility.
As a marketer, are you up for the challenge? Is your sales team carrying their weight too?
To find out what it takes for a salesperson to be good at prospecting and generating leads, I turned to a sales training guru that I’ve been following for a few years, Anthony Cole:
Pete: How do you teach sales people to prospect?
Tony: Actually the real key is to hire people who can prospect (prospect qualification is a testable skill) and then help them improve their techniques. Prospecting effectively is a topic we help sales people with every day and maybe for the marketers out there, this may help you understand how to better support your sales teams. We coach salespeople that their attitude about prospecting will determine how successful their sales career will be. If they feel that prospecting is something they have to do, then they will view it as drudgery. They will resist it; they will find other things to do instead of prospecting. They will not improve their skills at it and their performance and success in sales will suffer. They must embrace prospecting. They must understand that prospecting is the job. They get paid a lot of money because they are willing to do what others won’t – prospect.
Pete: Most people think that the best salespeople are the ones who are all about talking a lot and closing hard. In your experience, would you say that prospecting is the hardest thing for salespeople?
Tony: Those people in sales who are making the most money are not making the most because they are brighter or have better presentations, or because their product is better. They are making big money because they have figured out that the real job is getting in front of people or businesses that need, want and can pay for the product and services they provide. The moment they realize that prospecting is THE job, they have taken their first step to the best year in sales they’ve ever had.
Pete: Have you found that there are certain salespeople that are better at prospecting than others? Why?
Tony: Yes, there are people who are better prospectors and here’s why. They have less of a need for approval and can ask tough questions. Also, they recover from rejection quickly so not much gets them down. They need to have the attitude of prospects that ‘some will, some won’t, so what, next…’ Many salespeople have self-limiting beliefs that in turn limit their behavior. The first step to unlocking the locked mindset is to identify those beliefs. Here are some examples:
- “I don’t like prospecting.”
- “It’s hard to get past gatekeepers.”
- “If a prospect asks me to send something, I usually send something.”
- “I’m uncomfortable asking for referrals.”
Pete: How do you recommend salespeople get over these self-limiting beliefs?
Tony: Having the right attitude and beliefs about prospecting is the essential key that will unlock the skills they may have already, if they had just been able to overcome their own self-limiting beliefs. We tell them to take the limiting beliefs they’ve identified and turn them into positive affirmations. Below are a few examples:
- “I don’t like prospecting.” –> “I love prospecting because it is the key to great prosperity.”
- “It’s hard to get past gatekeepers.” –> “Getting past a gatekeeper is what I do best when I prospect.”
- “People don’t like to give referrals.” –> “People are more than willing to introduce me to other people they know.”
Pete: That’s really interesting. Do you think marketers have self limiting beliefs about generating leads for their sales teams?
Well, I’m not the expert on that. But, I’ve listened to enough salespeople complain about their marketing teams to know that it’s probably a good idea for marketers to reflect on it.
Whenever Greg gets asked for his opinion on a firm’s sales organization overall and for a development plan, he always works from a copyrighted formula:
“Sales Results = (Sales Skill + Sales Will) X (Execution + Leadership)
Each of these variables has 8 drivers.
Sales Skills (primarily B2B)
- Prospecting Skills
- Presenting Skills
- Probing Skills
- Listening Skills
- Closing Skills
- Pipeline Management Skills
- Product Knowledge
- Industry Awareness
- Recruitment Process
- High Performance Focus
- Target Compensation @ Plan
- Peer Recognition
- Family & Friend Recognition
- Tactical Sales Plans Aligned with Strategy
- Incentive Plan Clarity
- Effective Field Coaching
- Goal Clarity
- Tactical Prescription
- Performance Metrics
- Defined Performance Management Process
- Joint Call Activity Levels
- Readiness Assessment
- Coaching & Counseling
- Strategy Development
- Strategy Communication
- Tactical Definition & Measurement
- Readiness Planning
- Sales Participation
- Performance Management Process Execution
- Leadership Style
- Recognition & Communication
These are the 32 drivers of sales results. Based on your industry and sales channels they will vary somewhat.
You start the assessment process with the understanding that there is a limit to the organizations resources and ability to execute change. With this in mind, the key is to find the largest gaps and then to formulate a “do-able” organizational development plan that will begin to close those gaps.
I begin my assessments by examining the drivers at a high level, identifying the major gaps and then drilling down. This saves me time and saves my clients significant money. Once the four to six gaps are identified I review and discuss them with the assessment sponsors to find those gaps where the solutions can be bundled into a singular development initiative. Again, this approach is designed to save money, time and ensure execution.
Why bother with an assessment? It saves time, money and ensures sales growth. Why spend money on negotiation training if your issues stem from a lack of field coaching? Why waste time perfecting a lead generation program when your individual contributors are handicapped in their search for client pain? Why would you continue to give up margins just because your sales pipeline is anemic? Why continue to throw good money into an incentive plan when your recruiting process keeps bringing in candidates with low skill and low sales will?
Great organizations have a common approach to problem solving. Assess, plan and execute.
If you want to grow sales, you’re best approach is to start at the beginning.”
In the comments of ‘Facts vs Fiction – Social Media Tools in B2B Selling’ I found the following from Jacques Werth:
“[…] The reason that selling is dying is because the basic concept of how to sell is obsolete. Selling, as the Art of Persuasion, is dead. It was killed by Information Overload. The markets for every product and service are far more sophisticated than ten years ago.
- Cold-calling doesn’t work anymore.
- Lead acquisition methods are costly and inefficient.
- Finding needs has become counter-productive.
- Establishing Rapport has become counter-productive.
- Educating prospects has become counter-productive.
- Selling benefits turns off most prospects.
- Persuasion causes resistance.
- Selling points have become resistance points.
- Consultative selling has been show to be fraudulent.
- Closing techniques do not work.
- Overcoming objections kills sales.
Top sales producers do not do any of the above. Their sales processes are simple, yet highly effective.
- They know how to find prospects that are ready, willing, and able to buy.
- They know how to develop immediate relationships of mutual trust and respect.
- They know how to determine prospects’ exact buying intentions.
- They know the importance of assessing prospects’ conditions of satisfaction.
- They know how to quickly arrive at mutual agreements and mutual commitments.
- They know how to have prospects’ enthusiastically close the sale.”
Obviously this does not tell us how to become or create a top sales producer but it shows all that is broken and won’t work in a Sales 2.0 world anymore.
“[…] There are no secret tips. There are no magic tricks. Effective selling is about finding a sales process that works, following that process carefully, and measuring the results. Pay attention to doing it right. You can’t learn how to sell just by reading articles or participating in sales discussion groups. Although it is possible to learn to sell by reading a lot of books, this doesn’t work for most people.
Books and CD’s can teach you a great deal about selling, but not much about the step-by-step details on how to actually do it. For that, we recommend training and practice. […]”
In ‘Is Sales Enablement just Lipstick on a Knowledge Management Pig?’ Gerhard Gschwandtner (@gerhard20) asked “What Exactly Are Sales Enablement Vendors Selling?”. Please make sure you see all the comments on the original post (from July 29, 2009) as a lot of the parties mentioned in the post responded. To address some of the gaps Gerhard identified in the text quoted below, Jeanne Hellman has written a case study of “implementing Sales Enablement in a complex, global company”. Contact her if you would like to get a copy.
“The noble purpose of Sales Enablement companies is to help sales organizations save time finding relevant information, create and organize sales content and create quick access to all experts across the enterprise.
It makes total sense. Salespeople can win more deals if they are better prepared. To back up this theory, IDC research shows that 33% of unsuccessful deals could have been won if the salesperson had been better informed or acted more client-oriented.
An even more important issue is the growing amount of time that salespeople spend searching for information to answer customer questions. What if a program could give salespeople exactly what they need to know so that they can transform information-chasing time into customer-chasing time? It all makes sense. I can picture the sales-enablement software programmers being obsessed with sales efficiency and sales effectiveness. But let’s take a look how the sales enablement vendors are selling their solution to you, the sales leader.
Vendor Pitches or Marketing Glitches?
Savo promises, “Never sell alone!” Does that hit a hot button for you? I don’t know many lonely salespeople. On another part of the SAVO site I read, “Clone top performers.” Excuse me! Why not promise, “Clone your Swiss bank account”?
Kadient’s Website isn’t shy about pitching the exact same theme on their home page: “What if all of your salespeople could sell like your top performers?” The promise continues, “With Kadient’s on-demand sales enablement application, you arm your sales team with the knowledge, messages and strategies they need to win at every stage of the customer’s buying cycle.” If they found the key to winning at every stage, how come Kadient isn’t a hugely successful company?
iCentera bills itself as a sales enablement company. Their pitch is a model of modesty: “Sales Enablement maximizes your sales organization’s ability to communicate through a central messaging vehicle.” The key benefit: “Close more business through more knowledgeable sales people.”
N-tara.com created a special sales enablement site with this teaser copy: “Ever feel like your salespeople don’t get it?” Here is the pitch: “N-tara’s sales enablement solutions equip your sales force with engaging, customer-ready content that is timely, relevant and in context to your customer’s needs.” The best part of their site is a “Guide to Enlightened Conversations”. It is engaging, interactive and it makes a lot of sense.
SVA BizSphere is a European sales enablement vendor located in Wiesbaden, Germany, with offices in Toronto. The pitch: “Do you want your sellers to minimize preparation time and maximize quality time with your clients?” The key benefits: close more deals, increase average deal size, shorten your sales cycle. It is a clear and concise pitch.
Another vendor in the space is Salesforce.com/content which offers a competing solution to their AppExchange partners Kadient and SAVO.
What Do The Industry Analysts Say About Sales Enablement?
Technology vendors often seek out the help of industry analysts, who lend a helping hand (for a small fee) with objective research that can help sales leaders choose among the competing solutions. When you go to the Websites of sales enablement vendors, you’ll see the same references to IDC and Forrester Research. On November 13th, 2008, Forrester conducted a teleconference entitled, Strategic Sales Enablement. For a $250 fee you could listen to their insights. The analysts defined sales enablement as
“a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle.”
If you want to decide for yourself if the paying attendees got their money’s worth, download the ppt at no charge (you need to sign in though).
Not to be outdone, IDC created a very insightful presentation in January of this year. Their definition of sales enablement:
“The delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place, to assist moving a specific sales opportunity forward.”
IDC is a bit more generous with their Sales Enablement wisdom. They posted their ppt on Slideshare.com. They scored more than 1,600 views to date.
Gartner defines sales enablement as
“[providing] the sales force with communications programs and tools to drive activity and enhanced productivity.”
On one side we have vendor hype, on the other side we have analyst reasoning. What does this add up to so far? The vendors write the music, the analysts sing the theme song: Here is the category, here are the vendors, here is who is cool, and here is who made it to the magic quadrant.
Here Is What’s Missing:
Analysts don’t tell you that reality is always a step or two ahead of their definitions.
Analysts don’t analyze the economic realities of a sales enablement solution. There are no ROI studies nor objective research that compares the effectiveness of SAVO vs. Kadient vs. iCentera.
Analysts don’t create user studies that tell you more about the information infrastructure, the flaws with the search functions, the project abandon rate by vendor, the average user acceptance, the obsolescence factor of the data, the amount of information that’s missing just because nobody knows where all the useful data is located, the amount of time it takes to train (and retrain) salespeople, or the enduser satisfaction level with the graphical interface (some of the designs are an insult to the eye).
The vendors want you to believe that their sales enablement tools allow you to harness the collective intelligence of your sales organization. It sounds great, but who in the world can define and measure what that means? How do we know what best practices can positively influence sales productivity? Who decides what not to make available (due to security issues)? Most salespeople can’t write coherently, and most of the top salespeople can’t articulate what makes them successful. So how do we really capture sales intelligence?
What’s the real cost of running a sales enablement solution? Is there a need for editorial staff to help create and edit content, to set up template standards and apply them?
How much of a company’s “best practices” and sales intelligence is reusable? If I am a salesrep, getting ready for a presentation to Boeing in Seattle, and I download a presentation that one of my peers created for Airbus, how much data can I reuse, and how much do I have to create from scratch?
Sales enablement companies are NOT too savvy when it comes to social media. Search for Kadient on Twitter – zero results. iCentera has 43 followers, SAVO has 391, BizSphere is the leader with 441 followers. [Post was written on 07/29/2009]
The point is this: Social media tools allow people to connect with lightning speed. If Jill in Jackson wants a ppt presentation on jackhammers, I can tweet and send her a link in seconds.
Here is my biggest concern:
Sales enablement companies seem stuck in the “delay economy,” while Twitter is moving information management into the real-time economy.
How Future-Proof Is Sales Enablement?
Go to http://vark.com and test their amazing question tool. I just did and asked, “What sales incentives are best for salespeople age 20-30?” I got the first reply inside of two minutes from someone in England, who said, “Technology, like iPods.” The company will offer a group solution later this fall. […]
Please read the comments and leave your own comment on the original post.