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Guest Blogger

By Richard Langham, EMEA Managing Director, Highspot

It’s likely that, whether you voted leave or remain, you’re ready to move on from Brexit. Yet, for those of us responsible for our company’s growth across Europe and beyond, it’s not an issue we can afford to ignore.

Clearly, the extent to which Brexit affects you will depend on your sector, and it’s hard to make any firm predictions about specific impacts until the end of the transition period on December 31st, 2020, or until the details of the UK’s new trade agreement with the EU are published.

What we can say with confidence in uncertain times is that improving your organisation’s agility – its ability to respond rapidly to changes in the internal and external environment without losing momentum – is more important than ever.

The value of greater agility in response to the UK exiting the EU was recently detailed by management consulting firm McKinsey in its November 2019 report, ‘Brexit: the bigger picture – Embracing agility in a volatile world’: “In this challenging context, pioneering firms are embarking on bold transformations to build agility into their organisations… In this new paradigm, companies define a powerful common purpose and put in place enabling technology that allows networks of teams to innovate rapidly and co-create new value. The objective is simple: to deliver better outcomes to customers at a faster pace and at lower cost.”

The good news for sales and marketing leaders worried about the Brexit fallout is that the emerging discipline of sales enablement and its supporting technology can help achieve precisely this objective. Strong cross-regional collaboration is a recurring theme in recent Government Brexit statements on the UK’s relationship with the EU, focusing on the need for ‘future cooperation’ and on ‘minimising barriers’

Sales enablement works by combining intelligent content management, clear sales guidance and better buyer engagement data. In doing so, it can improve and accelerate cross-regional sales teams’ operation, collaboration and learning.

Now let’s examine in more detail the keys to improving your organisation’s agility using sales enablement.

  1. Cut down on time finding and sharing content

At its core, sales enablement aims to coherently organise, find, share, customise, and analyse content. This is typically through a SaaS platform that can be directly accessed by your sales team, giving them immediate, intuitive access to all available marketing content and assets.

These items are grouped and labelled in a number of ways so they’re easy to find, fast – whether you’re looking for a whitepaper or case study video, material suitable for the awareness or consideration stages of the buyer journey, and so on.

It should also be easy to send the right content to the right person, at the right time, and know whether anyone consumed that content. It’s vital this process doesn’t take sellers away from where they work. Slowing sales people down by making them switch tools is the opposite of improving agility. Instead, sales enablement tools can integrate seamlessly with platforms like Gmail and Salesforce.

Embedding effective content management, distribution, and analytics in sales teams’ everyday workflow improves productivity and the quality of the response to outreach. By removing the friction between salespeople and the information and evidence they need, they are much better equipped to handle prospects and customers’ changing needs – ultimately delivering better conversations.

  1. Focus on the content that’s loved and used

When you consider the buyer journey’s basic four stages – awareness, consideration, decision, and, hopefully, delight – marketing typically owns awareness and consideration to generate interest in the business’s products or services. These segments of the journey have been transformed by the arrival of marketing automation, helping companies reach, engage and nurture much larger audiences. It warms them up until they are ready to engage with sales.

Now, sales enablement is having a similar impact on decision and delight stages, giving salespeople, account managers, and even services the tools to engage effectively with buyers, close more deals, generate more revenue, and ensure customer satisfaction.

However, the success of these tools relies on two key elements: collaboration and guidance. Marketing teams must involve sales teams in the creation of material they are expected to use. It’s no good handing over a completed asset that sales didn’t ask for, only to have them balk because it won’t work in the field. Similarly, when content is given to the sales team, clear guidance should be provided about how, when, where and who, this material has been designed to be used.

Sales enablement tools can pair this important context alongside content, so salespeople have the guidance they need to successfully engage prospects. The result is better collaboration between sales and marketing and, ultimately, greater agility.

  1. Speed up learning and content optimisation

Being able to track the impact of content is a major benefit of sales enablement – ongoing performance analysis is essential for sales teams to learn what works, and continually improve their processes, pitches and collateral.

That said, it is possible to have too much data. The last thing you want to do is bury sales teams in information and have them going around in circles. Rather, it’s about giving teams the right metrics. These could be: which case studies are sales teams using the most? Or, which eBook is getting the most views from prospects? Or, which presentation is associated with the most deals won? These kinds of advanced, yet easy to use metrics are incredibly valuable for improved collaboration and optimisation.

For example, in our work with customers, we’ve found much of the content a sales team uses, like presentations, are altered and personalised for an individual prospect or situation. After a file is changed and saved with a new name, it is impossible to track the performance and usage of this material without a sales enablement tool.

With the right technology, you can analyse multiple elements of a piece of content, things like colour, size, aspect ratio, text and graphics. Advancements in machine learning can now track the “genetic code” of content, which means you can find slides and pages that are related – even though they’ve been edited and saved as separate documents in different places.

Without these capabilities, marketing and sales remain unable to correlate content versions to impact, thereby lacking any real insight into what content drives revenue and what’s just noise. But if you use sales enablement technology to identify content relationships and performance you can accurately analyse all content performance and usage, throughout the sales cycle.

Organisations across the UK, and the EU, must proactively manage the uncertainty and rapid change that Brexit is likely to create. Sales enablement processes and technology are foundational to this effort. By giving your sales team guidance to navigate uncharted waters and improving collaboration across your go-to-market teams, you’ll attain the agility to grow revenue through Brexit and far into the future.

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