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Sales Effectiveness

Best Practices
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Competing for Well-Informed Buyers
With an abundance of tools at their disposal to research potential purchases, buyers have become incredibly savvy. In fact, most buyers no longer shop around in the physical sense – the typical prospect now conducts in-depth research online before even making contact with a salesperson. As a result, salespeople must leverage every tool and piece of information they can to gain an advantage over their competition.

The discipline of sales effectiveness involves examining sales tools and systems and finding ways to decrease sales cycles, increase average sales price (ASP) or annual contract value (ACV), and drive higher close rates. By providing your sales force with visibility into buyer behavior, the tools to work more efficiently, and the proper training to be effective, you can boost their overall effectiveness and start to see positive outcomes in terms of revenue generation.

The Key Elements of Sales Effectiveness
Although each organization will take a slightly different approach to improving sales effectiveness, most companies provide the following resources:
  • Training: Companies provide sales training in a wide range of formats and frequencies. Some organizations offer regularly scheduled sales training to maximize the sales force’s effectiveness in engaging prospects in dialogues that will uncover sales opportunities. But companies also use informal role-playing, collaboration sessions, and online courses to fine-tune sales skills and keep the sales team up to speed on new market developments and strategies.
  • Systems: Today’s sales reps have many systems at their disposal to streamline the transactional aspects of the sales cycle. The most common are customer relationship management (CRM) and sales force automation (SFA) systems, which help automate tasks such as  lead generation, contact management, information sharing, order tracking, and processing and sales forecast analysis. Other common systems include sales proposal generation and contract management software.
  • Tools: Sales effectiveness tools come in all shapes and sizes. Many organizations provide competitive intelligence to help the sales force sell effectively against rival companies. Others provide business information databases and lead generation tools to help with prospecting. When sales and marketing are closely aligned, an organization may use marketing automation software to provide the sales force with intelligence to help them understand and communicate buyer interest.
  • Insights: To be most effective, today’s sales reps need constant insights into buyer behavior. This insight is based on visibility into which buyers are actively engaged in research and may be ready for a sales discussion. By providing this visibility into a buyer’s Digital Body Language, marketers can help salespeople be more effective.

Digital Body Language

Digital Body Language is the online equivalent of the facial expressions revealed around the negotiating 
table. It’s comprised of website visits, content downloads, keyword searches, and email responses. In many ways, online buyer behavior provides the most accurate picture of prospect interest and intent. By analyzing the timing, frequency, and clickstream data of web site visits, marketers can zero in on the buyer’s pains, concerns, and motivations.

Sales Enablement

Your success as a marketer depends on your ability to help the sales team sell. Passing on knowledge and content is key. Too many salespeople spend inordinate amounts of time researching prospects, contacting those not ready, and creating content. Read why businesses that invest in sales tools to provide more insight about prospects see 32% more accurate sales forecasts and 49% of all sales reps achieving quota.