From Mad Men to the Metaverse: How Sales Enablement Automation Empowers Today’s Sellers
Don Draper, the fictional protagonist of the critically acclaimed series Mad Men, was a true master at the art of closing a sale. With sharp intellect and bold ingenuity, Draper brilliantly delivered impassioned sales pitches that blended emotion with reason and had prospects both willing and ready to sign on the dotted line. During one of his most famous pitches (season three, episode two to be exact), he preached to a room full of Madison Square Garden executives about the importance of embracing change in the advertising realm:
“Let's also say that change is neither good nor bad. It simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy: a tantrum that says, 'I want it the way it was' or a dance that says, 'Look, something new.'”
Fiction or not, his message resonates with the impending reality many sales organizations face today. The paradigm for effective selling has changed, and the old days of those in-person pitches, physical product demonstrations, and wooing prospects with fancy dinners are increasingly becoming entities of the past. After COVID-19 lockdowns forced 90 percent of sales interactions to adopt digital models in 2020, B2B decision makers have grown accustomed to the heightened convenience of the remote buying experience. Gartner forecasts that by 2025, 80 percent of interactions between buyers and sellers will occur on digital channels. And even as some semblances of in-person engagement have returned post-lockdowns, nearly two-thirds of B2B buyers still prefer remote-human interactions or digital self-service options.
It’s clear that the sales landscape is shifting before our eyes, so organizations should take a page out of Draper’s book and embrace change. That starts by understanding the critical role of sales enablement automation in shaping the buying experience of the future. From AI-powered training tools and extended reality technologies to data-driven decision-making, sales enablement automation empowers sellers to effectively engage remote buyers and navigate virtual selling environments.
Delivering Immersive Buyer Experiences with XR and Web 3.0
The metaverse and web 3.0 technologies have game-changing potential for the sales enablement space. Within the next five years, 25 percent of consumers will spend at least one hour per day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, and social/ entertainment. In response, organizations need to be proactive about the ways in which they approach buyer engagement in virtual environments. This is where web 3.0 extended reality (XR) technology comes into the picture—giving sellers the ability to deliver rich and immersive experiences from anywhere and at any time.
The integrated use of XR technologies for buyer engagement and customer-facing sales content enables buyers to not only learn about products, but also interactively engage with them for a deeper and more intuitive level of understanding. Unlike traditional product demos that are static and flat, interactive XR tools like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) bring products to life through 3-D models and immersive virtual displays within the Metaverse to promote multi-sensory learning. The enterprises that integrate XR within their sales enablement framework today will be ahead of the game come tomorrow.
Personalizing Customer-Facing Sales Content
With higher buyer expectations than ever before, delivering personalized customer-facing content should be considered non-negotiable. After all, the B2B buying journey is exceedingly difficult to navigate—a typical purchase involves 6 to 10 decision makers who have all brought at least four pieces of research to the table. Customers don’t have the time or mental capacity to consume sales or marketing collateral that fails to address their needs. Frankly, it’s the quickest way to lose a sale.
Instead, organizations need to prioritize value and relevance—two facets that directly impact sales performance. In Demand Gen’s 2021 B2B Buyers Survey Report, there was a clear correlation between the relevancy of sales content and the B2B purchasing decisions of organizational decision makers. The two primary factors that influenced their decisions were (1) content that was easily accessible and spoke directly to their organization, and (2) content that demonstrated expertise around the needs of the organization’s industry.
With the right sales enablement automation solutions in place, sellers take proactive steps to deliver both. Leveraging AI solutions allows them to uncover data-driven insights on which content assets best resonate with individual buyers by measuring their levels of engagement with the assets in real time. The enhanced visibility removes guessing games from the equation, ensuring sellers deliver the right content with the right messaging to the right leads for maximized value and relevance.
Deploying Flexible and AI-Guided Sales Training
As the sales field continues to evolve, effective onboarding and training will be critical to building foundational knowledge that enables sellers to be successful. Legacy practices like one-size-fits-all onboarding, ad-hoc training, and on-the-fly coaching lack the hyper-personalization today’s sales reps need to become strong digital-centric sellers. From just-in-time onboarding and self-guided microlearning, sellers need options that allow them to learn at their own pace.
Through the use of machine learning tools like conversation intelligence, sales managers can deploy flexible onboarding coaching strategies that blend hybrid peer-to-peer engagement with real-time, data-driven performance scoring and measuring. This ultimately creates an efficient customer-facing team that is ready to deliver the buying experience of the future—no matter where it takes place.
For sales organizations across industries, the reality of the situation is clear: Empowering today’s sellers to thrive in a virtual world simply cannot be accomplished without the integration of automation and data-driven outcomes. Now is the time to not only embrace change, but capitalize on it.
David Keane is cofounder and CEO of Bigtincan, a global leader in sales enablement automation. With more than 20 years of B2B technology experience, Keane is on a mission to help global brands shape the buying experience of the future through AI-powered sales enablement solutions. His vision and leadership guided Bigtincan on its rise from 2010 startup to a publicly traded market leader surpassing $100 million in revenue in 2021. Prior to Bigtincan, Keane founded Quadtel Asia in Singapore and Veritel Wireless in Australia and had previously run intentional operations for web startup Kgrind.com, growing and managing their business over three continents.