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Sales enablement best practices to enhance customer interactions

Salespeople need the right tools to build strong relationships with customers to make a sale. Read about sales enablement best practices that may enhance customer interactions.

As businesses improve customer service and personalize interactions, consumers have high expectations. They want fast service, information on demand and an experience tailored to them.

Sales representatives can use sales enablement tools and adjust their strategies to enhance their interactions, which may lead to greater productivity and generation of sales.

Here are some sales enablement best practices from industry experts:

Make processes more buyer-centric

Previously, the focus of sales enablement was on how a salesperson delivered information. Now, a sales enablement best practice is to focus more on the buyer's experience.

Rather than focusing so much on memorizing a sales pitch, sales representatives need to use available technology to learn more about their buyers and offer them a personalized buying experience. By making the experience more buyer-centric, sales representatives have more time to research and cater to buyers.

"You're starting to see bigger leading organizations look at buyer-centric training models and methodologies and ways of setting up key sales processes around how the buyer would think about it," said Mary Shea, a principal analyst at Forrester.

Apptio, a company that develops SaaS applications for technology business management, reduced its buy-cycle times by 40% after transitioning to a buyer-centric process, according to a Forrester study.

Use sales enablement tools

Another sales enablement best practice is using sales enablement tools. Sales automation, sales engagement and sales readiness are three tools that fall under the sales enablement umbrella. Businesses can adopt each of these tools independently, or they can adopt them all, depending on their needs.

Now, a sales enablement best practice is to focus more on the buyer's experience.

Sales automation tools are a type of software that automates sales processes and enables buyers, sellers and marketers to collaborate on content and work closely on delivery. These tools personalize customer content quickly, as well as collect data from both sales and marketing to provide feedback for the business. Some sales automation tool providers include Accent Technologies, Bigtincan and Brainshark.

Sales engagement tools track and measure the interactions between sales representatives and customers. These tools integrate with many systems, such as CRM, marketing automation and content management; and automate administrative tasks for greater efficiency. These can be systems such as Outreach or SalesLoft.

Sales readiness tools include training content to help businesses prepare for customer interactions. These may include training modules, which provide information and test sales representatives on what they learned, or training videos.

For example, if a sales representative needs to practice their elevator pitch, they can record a video of themselves, upload the video to a sales enablement platform and receive performance feedback. Machine learning scores the sales pitch based on a few factors, including the rate of speech and emotional sentiment. Machine learning uses emotional analytics to evaluate the salespeople's facial expressions and personality traits to show how customers may perceive them.

"The simple fact that it's uploaded to a common platform actually really helps sales management scale their ability to help their rep and provide effective one-on-one coaching," said Michele Buckley, a senior director at Gartner.

Brainshark and MindTickle are two vendors that offer sales enablement and sales readiness platforms.

Adjust to market trends

Consumer trends are rapidly changing, and sales representatives need to keep up with them.

"Consumers want their needs met in a faster, more efficient way," said Griffin LaFleur, an independent consultant.

AI can automate call lists and schedule appointments, enabling sales agents to  focus more of their time on educating themselves to make the actual sale, LaFleur said. AI technology can also provide sales agents with insight into buyer prospects before a conversation even happens and show how buyers are using certain products.

"With the introduction of AI, representatives can become more efficient at their jobs and more educated about the prospects and their needs," LaFleur said.

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