There’s a lot of momentum around sales right now, as organizations of all kinds transition from pandemic mode to the “next normal” phase of business. But for sales enablement leaders, there are some distinct challenges. Finding and retaining the best talent is one of them, as is sifting through the flow of new sales enablement technology. For sales enablement leaders to harness that energy and navigate the foggy waters of a market, they will need a clear plan that builds the right culture, leverages the right technology, and provides sales teams with the right motivation as the new year approaches.
Forrester’s New 2023 Planning Guide: Empowering Sales will help leaders build that solid plan during the upcoming budget season. For sales enablement leaders, the guide provides investment recommendations on: sales readiness, content, and conversational intelligence solutions; recruitment to support these platforms; Best practices such as sales advisory boards and creative compensation techniques.
As you begin planning for 2023 to enable sales, here’s a look at some of the key points from the guide.
Best in class sales teams focus on vendor competencies
- What you plan for 2023: If your sales enablement organization does not communicate the skills, knowledge, and process competencies required for salespeople to be hired, serviced, and fully trained, this is a quick win that will benefit a broad range of sales and other functional leaders. Define the competencies you buy, build, and promote for each enabling role. A key component of this process is discovery: What does your bestseller look like? What are the traits, competencies and behaviors that represent the gold standard? Forrester has a number of existing sales efficiency map templates to get you started. If you’ve already accomplished this step, consider moving from a “done once” mindset (“we’ve done our sales efficiencies last year, so we’re all set”) to creating a regular cadence to review and update them. Preferably this is an annual effort, with additional resources available to address any material change in your organization’s offerings, markets, buyers, competition, or sales moves that require the new “good shape.”
- What to avoid in 2023: The sales technology landscape is littered with the B2B equivalent of get-rich-quick offerings aimed at instantly mitigating vendor competency gaps, fostering adoption of better sales enablement initiatives, and ultimately increasing revenue simply through acquiring software licenses. Don’t be fooled by marketing, especially if the reported results are dominated by lagging indicators (more revenue, faster sales cycles, bigger deals) that are clearly influenced by disempowering initiatives and factors. Technology alone will solve few of the challenges of empowerment; It can only scale and automate hard-earned process improvements like improved sales efficiency strategies. One example is the Motivation Solution Space, which aims to “make learning fun” and drive immediate salesman skill improvement through their sense of competition, but Proven by Forrester Research To be a poor substitute for effective adult learning best practices.
B2B reps sell more when the culture around them feels right
- What you plan for 2023: If your organization has a customer advisory board, empowered to hear objective insights from the organization’s most important constituency, does the sales enablement function mimic this exercise by listening to its internal customers, via a sales advisory board? One incredibly valuable initiative is building strong sales cultures in the simple message, from sales leadership, that “we hear you,” providing a refreshing alternative to the traditional top-down nature of B2B sales teams and giving a voice to a group of employees that increasingly demands to be heard. . SACs can additionally Provide vital perspectives For company executives who help make critical decisions.
- What to avoid in 2023: Culture is not something you can buy, delegate, or provide via a short-term project. In fact, it is much easier to do this make things worse rather than improving it, if cultural developments are not real. Avoid the temptation to think of “we stand with” press releases or temporary changes to a company logo as a sufficient expression of cultural awareness. Within the sales team, stay away from token moves like suddenly sending a CRO into the field to back deals, if their presence will only intimidate sellers they haven’t interacted with before.
Compensate representatives for both what they sell and who they are
- What you plan for 2023: Consider rewarding the non-selling behavior of a sample group of vendors and measuring the impact on their levels of engagement, retention, and productivity. For anyone who receives a variable bonus in addition to their base/commission/accelerated income, shift a slice of it from quantitative to qualitative – eg, their manager (or sales enabler) objectively evaluates their “selfless” contribution to the greater good of the team. A great example is service on the sales advisory board described above; Other rewardable options include participating in high levels of learning exercises and mentoring other vendors. The numerical risk doesn’t have to be high here, but the policy sends a clear message to participants that their membership within the community matters to the culture within which they operate and is recognized and rewarded by the organization. This will also contribute to better retention of sellers.
- What to avoid in 2023: either that or ‘The great resignation“A legitimate phenomenon, no one would argue that before, during and after a pandemic, finding and retaining great B2B sales reps is a huge challenge. Many companies are taking a quick response and immediately considering a vendor pay increase as a temporary measure, but most B2B organizations lack Microsoft resources and do not They can maintain profitable sales talent management if selling cost rises without simultaneous growth in salesman output.In addition, most talented salespeople can easily find job after job that—regardless of the cultural strengths outlined above—will initially pay more than the previous job.
These points should give you a great start to planning for 2023 to enable sales. explore
Forrester Planning Guide 2023 for data-driven insights on where to invest, where to fall back, and where to stay on the course over here.
This post was written by Vice President and Director of Research Peter Ostrow and originally appeared over here.