Over the last few years, “Sales Enablement” has become a popular business buzzword. I’ve heard it used in several different settings and it’s clear there are many definitions for what Sales Enablement actually is. Here are few I found helpful:
- “Getting the right information into the hands of the right sellers at the right time and place, and in the right format, to move a sales opportunity forward” IDC (http://www.slideshare.net/lml999/idc-sales-enablement-jan-2009-presentation?type=presentation)
- “Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips sales teams to have consistently effective engagements with prospects and customers throughout the buyer’s journey.” (https://www.highspot.com/sales-enablement/)
- Sales enablement is 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 to optimize the return of investment of the selling system. (http://blogs.forrester.com/scott_santucci/10-08-14-what_%E2%80%9Csales_enablement%E2%80%9D_and_how_did_forrester_go_about_defining_it
While I agree with all of these definitions, I like to keep it simple by playing off of the popular acronym (SEO) and defining it as “SALES ENGINE OPTIMIZATION”. Optimization is defined as “the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource”. In other words, sales enablement is truly about optimizing the sales process.
But, how exactly can you optimize your sales process?
The role of sales collateral in sales enablement
In a recent meeting with one of the world’s largest optical brands, their VP of Sales made an interesting comment. He said that it’s incredible how having the right sales collateral to present to a client can make or break a sales pitch. He went on to explain how a $3M company can look like a $30M company simply based on the materials they present to a client.
Throughout my career, I’ve been fascinated with how having the right collateral can optimize the sales process. The right tools will open more doors, land more deals, and can turn an average sales rep into a top performer. But what are they?
Tools to optimize the sales process
Clean business proposal
A clean and well-designed business proposal is the first essential tool needed to make a sale. It should explain how your business can meet the needs of your potential client in an attempt to persuade them to hire you over any competitors.
To effectively write a proposal, you need to do some research first. This involves studying the client’s requirements, understanding the client, developing a plan, identifying your differentiating factors, and tailoring your plan to the client’s unique situation. Once this is complete, you can write the proposal and lay out the following points in a clear and purposeful format:
- Introduction- Address their problem and introduce your company
- Write an executive summary that covers your goals for solving their problem
- Explain your plan to solve the problem in the body
- Outline your timeline and cost
- Describe your qualifications
- Highlight the benefits they will reap from choosing you
- Conclusion-outline the main points of your proposal and include a call to action
- Appendix- for any information that won’t fit in the body (i.e. graphs, resumes, customer testimonials)
Once you have written your proposal, have another trusted professional read over it and offer feedback. Be sure it is well-written in terms of grammar and formatting, as well as content. Use only as many words as are needed to cover all of the points thoroughly, as superfluous writing can put off a potential client. Keep it clean and concise so your potential client can easily understand your offering. This will be a fundamental piece that makes or breaks the sale.
A pitch deck is a brief presentation, often a slideshow in Prezi or Powerpoint, which is used to provide your audience with a brief overview of your business plan. While these have a reputation for being boring slides full of text and cheesy clip art, a professionally made pitch deck can be highly impactful. It can help your client to understand your proposal and sway them in your favor. At Avalaunch, we use a combination of beautiful visuals and copywriting in our pitch decks. We will identify where words will be most impactful and then let the visuals do the rest of the talking. Check out a few examples from our past clients.
Business brochures (digital or printed)
Business brochures let you showcase your business’s offerings and purpose. Whether digital or printed, you can highlight the main points you want your audience to learn and remember. By combining text and visuals in a meaningful way, a brochure can be an effective tool that helps you close the sale.
These are short, highly impactful animated videos that are used to share information quickly. Check out this one our team at Avalaunch made for Samsung. Explainer videos use narratives which mix familiar ideas with less familiar ones to help the audience understand the message. They are also short which is helpful in an age of shortening attention spans. Part of the reason they are so effective is that they appeal to visual and verbal learners at the same time. Research has found that explainer videos result in people retaining 50% more information through the verbal and visual cues. By integrating this tool, you can help your audience understand complex concepts more easily.
Product demo video
Another type of video that can be highly effective is a product demo. When you explain a product or service to a client verbally or through text, they may get an idea of the concept. However, seeing it for themselves through a video has a more powerful effect. It can be the information they need to understand the value of your offering fully.
Infographics and other data visualization tools
Infographics are visual images, like charts or diagrams, which are used to represent data or information. Here’s an example from Avalaunch’s portfolio.
These are helpful for taking complex data and communicating it in a way that is easy to understand and compelling. The human brain processes visuals faster than text, and visuals have shown to increase retention, recollection, and comprehension. By creating a compelling visual presentation of data, you can communicate with your audience more efficiently and help them remember the information. If you’d like to engage your audience further, you can also opt for interactive graphics in your infographic as can be seen here.
Case studies and documented proof
Case studies and documented proof are very critical tools which can help convince your audience that you can be trusted. In addition to a clean and concise business plan, and media to help show the value you can offer, case studies and other types of proof show clients that you can deliver because you have before. This contribute to establishing trust and credibility which can make a sale. With that in mind, be sure to have case studies, testimonials, reports, etc. which prove that you can and will do what you propose. These can be incorporated into your business plan appendix and cited in explainer videos, infographics, brochures, and one-sheets.
One-sheets or leave-behinds
One-sheets are another helpful tool to drive home the key points of a presentation. A professional and strategically designed one sheet effectively summarizes your product or service. Be sure to cover all of the key takeaways you want your client to know including your goals, plan, terms, the benefits they will receive from choosing you, and your differentiating factors. When a client is making their final decision, this page may be the tool that sways them to choose your proposal.
Last but not least, business cards are a must because clients expect you to have them. Although these are simple, it’s important that you have them on hand and that they look professional. If a client asks you for your card and you don’t have one, it may not be a deal breaker but certainly, might raise a red flag in their mind. You don’t want them thinking, “Who doesn’t have business cards these days?”
Enable your sales with the right tools
If you have the right solution for a client, don’t lose the sale because of factors that are within your realm of control. By utilizing the various tools listed above, you can ensure your clients fully understand why they should choose you. Optimize for sales like a $30 million dollar company that is professional, concise, and tech-savvy.
Key takeaway: When it comes to sales enablement, a large part is making sure you have the right tools.