If you haven’t heard of sales enablement yet, it’s the newest buzzword circulating in sales circles as of late. Much like so many other catchy terms that have been born in the digital era, it’s exactly as it sounds. “Enabling” more sales requires updating old methodologies, writing new sales manuals, and embracing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.
Here are 3 sales enablement trends your company needs to stay on top of this year:
1. CRM essential for success this year and beyond
How many times have you heard this advice parroted in the last year? Are you sick of hearing it yet? The fact is that many SMEs still refuse to adopt customer relationship management technology as the cornerstone of their business. Yet why is this the case, when there are powerful solutions available for free, and even the big players like SalesForce offer free trials and inexpensive monthly obligations to suit every business’s needs?
The answer likely has little to do with cost fears, but more to do with outright laziness and fear of the unknown. Trust in software is also an issue for those who choose to stick to archaic spreadsheets. However, with all your customer data stored safely in the cloud, it’s silly to trust numerous, disconnected customer files to local hard drives that WILL fail sooner or later.
If you don’t have a CRM in place, you’re already falling behind the competition. A CRM begins collecting and organising customer data even before you first speak to them. From the minute they first visit your site, CRM apps are collecting valuable information about their interests which can be forwarded to a salesperson for study before a formal meeting takes place. CRMs automate other post-deal essentials such as birthday emails, account renewals, and much more.
2. Number of employed salespersons will reduce across the board
With the rise of AI and other technology that helps capture more sales, companies big and small realise that quantity will never trump quality when it comes to getting more sales. The quality of sales teams is expected to rise this year, while the numbers of actual salesfolk will dwindle significantly. The need for sales training will once again take the forefront for the first time since it was nixed back at the start of the last recession, but there’s more to this change than seminars and emerging EdTech.
Through the use of sales software tools like CRM, sales teams will become more streamlined, yet hyper-focused in order to drive more revenue. The good news is that those salespeople who aren’t producing will be culled, not those who’re meeting and exceeding quotas — in most cases.
Much of the under-performing salespeople out there weren’t bad at their job when they started. It appears that most are hopelessly resistant to change, such as the integration of chatbots to prequalify prospects, and the need for adapting a social-media-centric approach to reaching out into new territories.
3. Chatbots essential for online sales and service
Up to 50% of all online sales go to the company who responds first. This is reality, not speculation. The fact is, while chatbots can get annoying to the masses, they’re still highly effective. Artificial intelligence can be educated unlike older communication technologies, and will continue to evolve and improve as it deals with a variety of questions and requests from your customer base.
AI chatbots are included with popular CRMs for a reason: they work. Humans don’t like it when they’re not catered to, at the very minute they want to be serviced. Combine this with the fact that the majority of companies need somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 new sales opportunities every month to hit their revenue goals, and you really can’t afford to leave any contact between you and prospects to chance.
Despite the stigma behind their earlier use, AI chatbots are nothing like the dumbed-down versions used years ago. There are plugins available on every platform. Most of which are one click installs, with the only requirement from you being around 30 minutes of setting up scripts and other preferences. Embrace the bot and watch profits soar!
Share your thoughts — agree or disagree?
What do you see as the most pressing sales enablement trends dominating 2018?
Is there a trend you know of that will trump any of the top 3 mentioned above?
Feel free to share your observations and opinion in the comments. Here’s to the best sales year ever!