Enterprise sales enablement is growing and ever-changing to address the shifting marketplace. Consumer experience and buying perspectives have changed over the last several years, with 89% of consumers making buying decisions based on experience over product and price point (up from 12% just six years ago).
With new customer priorities the sales force must alter the way they approach buyer interactions, and have conversations with their prospects that meet their needs.
Recently, Sarah Merchant, Senior Customer Success Manager at Showpad, held a webinar with Karen Stanton, Global Marketing & Branding Director at International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), a Showpad customer since 2017.
Operating in 37 different countries, it’s difficult to get all IFF sales and marketing employees on the same page, which is why they decided to start a formal enterprise sales enablement program. While the program is now running smoothly, there were some lessons learned along the way, and some preconceived notions Karen had to dismiss to get everyone on board for the initiative.
Here are the top three enterprise sales enablement myths Sarah and Karen busted in the webinar:
Myth #1: Sales enablement initiatives require a huge, specifically-dedicated team
Karen admits she held this opinion in the beginning; she thought she was going to have to assemble and build out a large sales operations group to drive their sales enablement strategy forward. And while implementation took significant time and money up front, she only needed two people to get the sales enablement platform up and running. The marketing team at IFF owns the Showpad tool, but sales enablement isn’t anybody’s full-time job.
BUSTED! IFF’s sales enablement strategy is managed by just two people, and it’s only part of the job they perform.
Myth #2: Adoption of sales enablement tools will be driven by millennials
Again, Karen expected this to be the case, since millennials are younger digital natives who have already embraced technology. She thought they should be the initial focus in order to fully adopt sales enablement across the enterprise sales organization. What she discovered surprised her. An older seller on the brink of retirement needed content, fast. He was able to get the information he needed in minutes, resulting in a faster sales process for a meaningful buyer interaction and customer satisfaction.
BUSTED! The need for this approach at IFF was consistent across sellers, regardless of age and experience.
Myth #3: Sales enablement is a constant push.
It takes people time to adjust to change, and for the most part, introducing something new to the sales cycle will require some push to demonstrate its benefits and proving there is an upside to adoption. Karen expected to be constantly campaigning to
She soon discovered that, rather than having to convince the team of the potential impact of sales enablement software and the Showpad solution, sellers started realizing that impact themselves, sharing wins with the rest of the team.
For instance, an IFF salesperson met with a customer, thinking it to be a casual meet and greet. She quickly discovered, however, that the buyer expected a full presentation. The seller was able to put one together in the bathroom in just five minutes through her mobile phone, assembling sales enablement content from the repository within Showpad’s sales enablement solution. Real-world examples such as this coming from sellers themselves created a pull and need for a sales enablement process, rather than leadership needing to push.
BUSTED! While you may have to push a bit in the beginning, over time salespeople will show and share real-life value, which will in turn create a pull.
For a sales enablement program to work, you’ve got to throw your negative assumptions aside and be patient in your team’s adoption. Karen also advises keeping content current, ensuring open communication between sales and marketing, and setting up champions to continuously share insights and success stories.
Want to hear more about IFF’s sales enablement implementation and what’s next for the enterprise organization? Listen to the on-demand webinar here.