3 Rules for successful Sales Enablement in a Changing World

Senior Consultant

| 6 minutes

Hello, and welcome to our sales pitch. Prepare to be won over by compelling content, captivating language, and cool demeanor. But before we get started, let’s take a moment to consider what comes to mind and how you feel when envisioning the sales process as a whole.

Is it a nostalgic image of a sleek, charismatic man in a suit and tie with a glistening smile and a confident voice? Or is it something a bit less personal, perhaps a sea of cubicles, the muffled hum of a thousand salespeople, each with his or her own headset, a computer, a phone, and a list of people to cold call? Or are you imagining a corporate sales team walking into your boardroom, ready to pitch that million-dollar deal?

If one of the above scenarios came to mind, you aren’t alone. These are, in fact, the most commonly imagined sales-pitching environments. At the same time, limiting the sales environment to these scenarios, even if only in your mind, is wrong. The field of sales has evolved with time to reflect current individual decision-making practices. Here’s what you need to know, culled from our 18 years of working with leading companies and governments around the world.

Over the past 18 years, Vayomar has worked with leading companies around the world and several governments. Today, we want to share three main principles that apply to sales and decision-making. Three ways to reorient your mindset from old to new.

Our pitch - 3 rules to help you sell more in an ever-changing world

Rule #1: Start selling with the bigger picture in mind

Once upon a time, promises were sold by door-to-door salespeople, who eventually morphed into thousands of agents sitting on a sales floor with telephones in hand. Their mission and measure of success started and ended with the closing of each individual sale.  All they needed to do was knock on a door or make a phone call, get the customer to hand over their credit card details, and boom – success. Investments were recovered and profit lines were added to the ledger.

However, in the  21st century, that way of thinking simply won’t do the trick. Today, success is less about making that single sale, and much more about ensuring the value of your promise over the customer’s lifetime to promote greater retention and repeat sales.

Why? The answer is two-fold. The first reason is because the more you sell, the more you make. And the more you sell to the same customer, the greater the profit you make on each single sale. After all, it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. As such, selling the big-picture – company value – rather than on individual offering, is the future-forward way to promote successful sales enablement and a beefier bottom line.

Second, modern-day customers are increasingly more inclined to buy access to products (or services) instead of ownership. Customers do not commit to the product at the time of the sale. Instead, they sample the product experience before deciding whether to keep paying for access, taking into account their own high standards and the competition’s ever-evolving offering.. They can and do make demands, and they do not hesitate to go elsewhere if they are not satisfied.

According to Forbes, “a staggering 74 percent of Americans prioritize experiences over products. The focus on experiences is closely related to the growth of the sharing … economy. Why pay for a taxi when you can meet someone new riding in an Uber? …”

And the magazine isn’t just referring to millennials.

“As many Baby Boomers enter retirement, they fall into the “less is more” mentality and put more value on relationships and experiences than things. Clearly, this isn’t a trend that will be going away any time soon.” 1

These findings led Gartner to declare that “By 2020, more than 80% of software vendors will change their business model from traditional license and maintenance to subscription.” 2

Rule 1: An example

Microsoft used to sell Microsoft Office ‘95 as a set of disks that you owned and could use forever. You could choose to buy a new version every 2-3 years, or simply continue to use the old one. Today, Microsoft sells its Office software as a service. You buy a monthly subscription, granting you access to the latest version, with no commitment required.

Bear in mind: when Microsoft sold you the disk, it recovered its investment and profit at that instant. Today, the investment and approach differs, as does the time in which profit is recouped. To solidify their earnings, companies like Microsoft have a vested interest in maximizing their customers’ experience, so that they continue to buy for the long-term.

Rule 1: Not just for software

While this concept is intuitive for products like software, it can also be applied to other offerings. Take the car rental industry for example. While in the past, those wishing to use a car for just a few days were required to enter a long-term rental or purchase contract, today, a car can be rented from a vehicle sharing service with the click of a button. Or, you can forgo the driving experience altogether, in favor of  door-to-door ride services like Uber or Lyft.

Another example is the music consumption industry. Remember when people ran out to buy their favorite artist’s new album? Today, services like Spotify enable you to add any song you want to any playlist for a small monthly fee. Don’t like the song? Get rid of it. Don’t like Spotify? You can easily transfer your lists to Apple Music or Pandora.

The future is access – customers like knowing that they can opt out anytime they want. As a sales agent, it’s your responsibility to ensure that their experience is so great, they can’t help but become lifelong family members.

Rule #2: Promise to meet their expectations

You’re not closing a deal; you are making a promise

Sales used to be simple. Make a pitch, reel customers in, close the deal. 

But the evolution of customer demands has forced the sale to become a means, a promise, rather than the end it used to be. Customer retention now plays a major part in determining your company’s long-term bottom line and viability. Your ability to keep your promise of continued value will shape your ability to keep your customers coming back for more.

It’s all about costumer expectations

Thanks to the internet and advances in digital media and devices, information is everywhere and readily accessible. Customers are learning more and making more information-based purchasing decisions. This knowledge leads them to expect more of any business with which they transact.

Gone are the days where customers waltzed into car dealerships and let the salespeople tell them which car they would be taking home. Today’s customers go online research before conducting any business to business (B2B) or business to customers sales (B2C).

What informs customer expectations?

 “Gartner analyzed 1,100 B2B customers to understand what drives continuing or expanding customer relationships with an existing supplier. The strongest driver of account growth turns out to be the confidence customers have in themselves and their ability to make good buying decisions. Customer decision confidence drives 2.6 times the likelihood of a high-quality account growth purchase.“ 3

 A crucial statistic from Podium shows the preparedness and knowledge of consumers:

Before customers buy, they want to feel confident that they know everything they can about the product and its value. They research online and read many reviews to gain a sense of whether the product provides the advertised value, and how reliable the product support services may be. If these expectations are met post-purchase, customers are more likely to return and make additional purchases down the line. And they will publish and create reviews that fuel these expectations within new prospective customers.

Meet their expectations… or else!

If you don’t keep your brand promise, your customers will seek an alternative provider who will. A 2011 study across the largest industries found that technological innovation encouraged 40% of people to switch brands based on how easy the process was. Today, that number has climbed to 70%. In the USA and UK4. After all, switching brands from AT&T to Verizon or from Amazon Web Services to Go Daddy, has never been easier.

How do you go about keeping your promises? You guessed it… the answer lies in rule number three, the hardest change for most companies to effectively make and where Vayomar excels.

Rule #3: Build your village and leverage it to enable more sales

The single salesman approach is extinct. The time to create a sales enablement solution that comprises a village of pre-sales engineers, delivery, customer service reps, marketing agents, and mid-level managers to create a circle of trust with all of your customers is now.

Before you can  acquire and retain a new customer, you must first identify the long-term value they seek, even after they’ve already bought  your product.

In today’s world, technological evolution and competition move quickly. Products become obsolete at a faster pace, so building your strategy on having the hottest tech on the market on any given day is not likely to meet the test of time.

Teamwork and sales consulting can play a key role in increasing sales. For example, when shopping at Best Buy, it is common to find a salesperson on the floor who is assisted by a Samsung technical representative who advises customers  interested in buying a mobile device product.

The way you measure success needs to change from counting overall sales or AR (annual revenues) to understanding how to emphasize ARR (annual recurrent revenues). The growth of recurrent revenue can make the difference between closing another round of investment or not, and will be a key factor that drives executive decisions.

It takes a village to promote successful sales that carry lifetime value. There’s no glory in going at it alone.

How do successful companies close more sales?

  1. They understand a key aspect of Vayomar’s philosophyeveryone in the company is part of the sales solution, not just the sales department.

    Netflix, Spotify, and mindfulness apps, such as Calm and Headspace, constantly engulf you with an invisible team that keeps their product relevant and accessible, while improving your user experience without you needing to ask them for anything. For example, when Covid-19 forced everyone to distance themselves, Netflix’s research showed that people wanted a way to watch programs together, remotely. For a short time, they offered collective viewing parties to provide their customers with a family experience. It was a heavy financial investment that will see Netflix add to its lifelong family. Within a week, Netflix, a subscription/access-based product, was able to push out an update that demonstrated its attention to its audience’s unique, time-sensitive needs. And this sentiment was felt by its customers, on conscious and unconscious levels.

    Other ways trust is instilled include UX design(Netflix), delivery method (Amazon), and community feel (Calm and Headspace). 

    This value realization over the product’s lifetime is sales enablement at its finest.

Sales Enablement - Vayomar's holistic approach (1)

Let Vayomar be part of YOUR village

Since 2003, Vayomar has amassed vast experience as a sales consultant. But while we have seen shifts in the approach to sales, and the incorporation of customer success and other functions in the value chain, we haven’t seen enough of this understanding integrated into sales enablement programs. For this reason, Vayomar has made significant advances in creating sales enablement programs that make sure the R in ARR is addressed. We understand how hard this is and we, like Netflix, quickly understood what executives seek and remain attentive to their needs, during Covid-19 and beyond.

We told you we wanted to sell you something, didn’t we?

Sales solutions strategies have undergone immense changes over the years, and your company’s approach to sales enablement needs to adapt to an ever-evolving market. You want to ensure your company is ready for the new world of value realization.

These three rules are just the tip of the iceberg. Vayomar will make sure you are ready.

We built our own village, now let us join yours and share the wealth.

 

To watch a webinar about that session click HERE​

References:

  1. Forbes
  2. Garter
  3. Garter
  4. Aitkensmedia
  1.  

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