I grew up in a lightly inhabited part of Vermont during the 70s and 80s.
The majority of the time I only had access to two TV channels, three on a good weather day, and I vividly remember when I first saw a color television.
At this time, products and services were limited, and buyer choices were almost non-existent.
Fast-forward to 2019. Not only do I have access to hundreds of channels, HD TVs with more vibrant colors than reality; I also have access to a wide variety of options for almost any product or service I want to buy, both personally and professionally.
We all have countless choices and more options than we could have ever imagined a few decades ago.
The buyer is genuinely in the driver's seat.
What is Revenue Alignment?
I took a few hours to flesh out my vision for revenue alignment and, while it requires a lot more work, it is an attempt at further defining the impact of a customer-centric world on the modern business.
In this world, the buyer is in charge, and companies must recognize this truth, or they will fail to exist.
As noted in the article:
“Revenue Alignment recognizes that the customer is at the center of business success. It aligns all teams with a singular focus on ensuring that customers perceive the value of your solutions outweigh the investment they have made in those solutions and that a change to a competitive solution would result in a loss of that perceived value."
I want to spend some time exploring the impact of Revenue Alignment on Sales Enablement specifically.
As part of this, we will first review a few key statistics:
"84% of buyers said they seek input from peers/existing users, and 57% do so within the first three months of the buying process."
"75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level or vice-president level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions."
"85% of prospects and customers are dissatisfied with their on-the-phone experience."
"20% want to talk during the decision stage, once they're decided which product to buy."
It's not hard to see that buyers are doing a lot of research in collaboration with peers using a variety of resources, including social media.
Your marketing team can no longer influence buyers in the same manner as they could a couple of decades ago.
Salespeople need to be enabled to influence prospective buyers before they ever reach out to the company.
How Can Sales Enablement Help?
Become Expert Consultants
Salespeople must become expert consultants in the eyes of prospects and customers.
Sales enablement teams must provide training and solution-oriented information that makes this possible.
Leverage Social Media
Buyers are looking for advice from their peers and those people their peers perceive to be experts.
Sales enablement teams need to educate their sellers as to what platforms are popular with their buyers and arm them with the information to share on these platforms.
Salespeople must also become active listeners on these critical platforms to identify new trends, pain points, and competitive threats.
Listen, share, collaborate.
Educate on Perceived Value
In my definition of Revenue Alignment (above), I talk about customer perceived value.
Perceived value is the overall worth of what you are bringing to the customer to meet their current and future business challenges.
This value is not about individual features; It is the experience, consultation, relationships, quality of your solutions, and yes, the ability of those solutions to meet the stated business needs.
All customer touch points must increase this perceived value so that it remains above the perceived value of a competitor's offerings.
Sales enablement must support this goal at every turn with training, information, tools, processes, etc.
Remember the Basics
The role of the sales enablement team increases in complexity with each passing day.
However, you must never lose sight of the basics, and you must ensure your sales teams are successfully moving deals through your sales cycle.
85% of buyers should NOT be dissatisfied with their on-phone experiences (as is noted in the study above).
Weekly, monthly, quarterly, reviews of how you are doing against the basic sales enablement practices ensure you have a focus on continuous improvement, that you are delivering value on the promise of sales enablement, and that your customers, the sales teams, are growing more and more successful.
For most sales enablement organizations, the concept of buyer enablement and revenue alignment will feel futuristic.
That's okay as we are all taking this journey together and are at different points along the road.
As long as we continue collaborating, I know we will be successful in solving the problems of today as we look forward to the challenges ahead.