Sellers Need Additional Support Today

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Sales budgets for most organizations will increase in 2023, with most (78 percent) chief sales officers planning to grow enablement by at least 10 percent and nearly half (46 percent) committed to growing investments by 20 percent or more, according to new Gartner research.

However, with those increases come heightened expectations for results, which means that sales enablement leaders should prioritize showing the value of their teams’ work and how their efforts helped achieve sales goals, Gartner says in the report.

To do this, the firm recommends linking seller behaviors required to achieve critical sales goals and then measuring impact of those behaviors and related sales enablement activity.

“Sales enablement’s most fundamental purpose is to drive change in the sales team,” Gartner says. “This starts with truly understanding the goals of the sales organization to determine what change is required to achieve those goals. For example, a sales leader may want to improve seller quota attainment.”

In such a case, sellers would need to be able to better articulate competitive differentiation in the market to win more deals from competitors, Gartner explains. Alignment on this new desired behavior supports the execution of related enablement activities to drive that change. Without that agreement, enablement programs are likely to drive ineffective or even misaligned behaviors.

A two-way conversation between sales and enablement leaders is crucial for securing buy-in and building a plan to create and curate the enablement resources needed to change sellers’ behaviors, Gartner says.

The other half of the enablement impact equation is measuring behaviors, which often requires assistance from other functions within the company, according to Gartner. Getting such assistance can make it more challenging to gather the underlying data and produce metrics.

To show enablement impact, sales leaders must first establish a baseline for the targeted behaviors so they can be compared to the changed behaviors relative to enablement efforts, Gartner says.

With key behaviors linked to goals and changed metrics in hand, sales enablement leaders can show the true impact of their efforts by tying the two together, Gartner says. To build a compelling narrative about enablement driving change, link the pieces to show how they are all connected by the following:

  • Showing results from the enablement efforts.
  • Demonstrating how enablement efforts drove desired behaviors.
  • Verifying with a variety of measures that sellers are doing the right things and have changed behavior.
  • Linking to the changed behaviors that the sales leader said were necessary to reach the goals.

Gartner research also found that sellers need more support from sales enablement leaders. More than six in 10 (65 percent) believe that success at their jobs today is determined by factors outside of their control. As a result of this and other factors, 89 percent of sellers say they are feeling burned out.

Part of the reason for this is that today’s sales force operates quite differently than the sales force of only a few years ago, the research firm says. Before the pandemic, only 24 percent of sales teams operated virtually. That figure shot up to 90 percent at the height of the pandemic, and now sits at 74 percent.

Gartner offers four recommendations for how sales enablement leaders can build the sales force of the future:

  1. Redesign tools to create collaborative resources that sellers and customers can use together to improve the buying experience.
  2. Optimize workflow for sellers by focusing on strong drag reduction to improve quota attainment, engagement, and retention.
  3. Update customer profiles to emphasize digital engagements, buying stakeholders, buying jobs, and situational awareness.
  4. Downsize training by implementing more effective and efficient learning methods aligned to seller habits, including microlearning, nudges, and on-the-job training.

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