On March 1, 2010, Lilia Shirman (@B2BGuru) wrote the post To reach the moon, match enthusiasm with (sales) resources. These 5 really help! on her blog revenueorchard.com:
“[…] Setting big goals at a sales kickoff and barraging reps with information about the newest products just isn’t enough. The top reps will deliver the numbers in any case. The rest will struggle without extensive resources and support.
Sales reps report that the following are especially effective in helping them achieve their targets:
- Case studies, case studies, case studies. Repeatedly and consistently rated as the most useful sales tool. […]
- In-account deal support from subject-matter, industry, or technology specialists. This is especially critical in larger companies, where account managers must be relationship experts, but cannot possibly know the details of every product, business process, or industry (unless they are vertically-aligned). The very fact of bringing in an expert who is perceived as more senior by the customer is often enough to move a deal forward.
- Business-level messaging and sales tools targeted at the high-level decision makers and budget holders. These should complement detailed product-focused content, which is necessary but insufficient bu itself. Business messaging targets the audience evaluating the investment rather than the people evaluating your product.
- Training & tools that enable sales reps to ask great questions and have intelligent conversations with customers at multiple organizational levels and functional roles. Asking great questions accomplishes three critical things: Positions the sales person as an ally and advisor, demonstrates that they can listen, and provides valuable information about the customers that can guide the rep in structuring the deal.
- Quantitative results achieved for other customers. While compliments (customer testimonials that discuss how easy you are to work with) are good, hard numbers about specific improvements they achieved are always more powerful. Numbers in the elevator pitch get attention and meetings, and numbers in the business case help close the deal.
The two links above have been added by the author of this blog. In relation to point #4 above: In a Sales Enablement solution with rating, commenting, uploading of user generated content and similar web 2.0 (enterprise 2.0) features all employees not only sales reps can ask and answer questions. At the same time, marketing can benefit from the feedback from the field. This created a closed-loop knowledge management in the enterprise where new industry trends or customer needs which sales people hear about get shared and addressed. Through content audits (content intelligence) areas for which no marketing assets have been developed yet get a red flag and so do areas where content is outdated.