Demystifying the Dark Matter: Building an Effective Sales Enablement Technology Stack
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Overview: Roderick Jefferson outlines how to effectively build a sales tech stack at RevTech 2021
About the speaker: Roderick Jefferson & Associates is a global sales enablement consulting firm. We partner with some of the most innovative companies, globally by utilizing cutting-edge technologies designed to decrease time to revenue , increase sales productivity and deploy scalable reinforcement coaching strategies. We have a combination of the most experienced people in the business and most trusted solutions in the marketplace.
Hi, I’m Roderick Jefferson. I’m the CEO of Roderick Jefferson associates. And I’m absolutely honored to speak to you about what I call Demystifying the darkness. In essence, it’s about building an effective sales enablement technology stack. Now, before we get into that, I like you sit in the audience. So I’d like to know who I’m listening to Who is this person? And why should I listen? As I said, I’m Roderick Jefferson, CEO of Roderick Jefferson associates. We are a sales training and a sales consultancy, focused on primarily mid market SMB all the way up to the enterprise level.
We’ve worked with some of the most amazing companies on the planet. All the way from Marketo, American Express Three parts, etc. Now, from an industry awards perspective. We’ve been recognized and absolutely honored to do so. Personally, I’ve actually been named as 2019 brainshark, top sales, social media influencer as well as a top 10 sales and marketing influencer by LinkedIn. Most recently, I was honored with the, sales enablement, Lifetime Achievement award, through selling power. But enough about me.
Sales Enablement Defined
Let’s talk about first and foremost, what does sales enablement really do? And at its core, I believe that if you ask 10 people, you’ll get probably 12 different answers. So let me give you mine. And my definition of sales enablement is this. It’s about breaking the complexity of sales into practical ideas through scalable and repeatable practices that will lead to accelerated speed to revenue, increased seller productivity, and customers for life that ultimately leads to increased revenue. I believe there are three components.
The first is about communication, it really comes down to making sure that everyone is on the same page. There are clear, consistent, and that everyone understands what their role is. As we move through this entire journey that we call sales enabled. The next is collaboration, making sure that all of the multiple lines of business are on the same page, and playing and singing from the same hymn if you will. To make sure that they understand not only their roles, but the deliverables. And understand the KPIs that are involved in any given project. And finally, it’s about orchestration.
That is making sure that things are happening in a cohesive manner across all of those lines of business. So that ultimately, we are getting clear, concise, and consistent information out to your prospects, as well as your customers. So ultimately, it’s about getting your teams in the right conversation the right way, speaking at the right level, to the right individual with the right tools.
Architecture of Tools
And speaking of tools, let’s talk a little bit about the architecture of those tools. Look, in my 20 year career, I’ve come across just about every sales enablement, tool, technology and platform available. Let me put this knowledge to use to you in what again. I call demystifying the dark matter around these tools, technologies and platforms. Look, some sales enablement tools have become absolutely critical component that drives success across your company.
But it’s important to always remember this just because a shiny new tool is available does not mean you have to use it. And that it’ll fit for your particular company where you are in the maturation cycle. It’s important for you to do your homework before you select a sales enablement tool or platform. Because the problem is that selecting designing, building implementing and integrating these tools can be a full time job within itself. Too many times I’ve seen sales enablement practitioners get enamored with the latest cool, fun shiny technology. Then they get led down a rabbit hole that ultimately pulls them and their teams away from the reason that they need the technology in the first place.
Automation and Scalability
The technology should actually be a means in which automation and scalability happened so that you can better service your internal customers. As well as your prospects and your current customers. So to give you a sense of a plethora of these tools. What I want to do is actually walk through a number of them so that we can start today to align the technology resources required, again to demystify this darkness. So let’s start with the content management systems. Yeah, if you sales professionals are non admin intensive by nature, and tend to have a very, very short attention span. Now, this by no means a shot at sales professionals. I was one myself.
Content Management Systems
This is the part that makes them very, very good at their jobs. And I say this as someone who used to be one in addition to decades of direct interaction with sales people as supporting evidence. If you don’t have a single repository, sales people will not look in multiple places for content or information. Instead, they’ll create their own and this leads to inconsistent messaging and confusion with your customer. Content management systems provide a single location for all of your content, decks, documents, customer facing white papers, case studies, competitive briefs, and product updates. Now this tool ensures that you have the most current and relevant content that can be shared at all times. Because there’s nothing worse than mixing new relevant, updated content with all antiquated content.
Learning management systems
What you will do is create confusion, you’ll create frustration and as I said, what will happen is your sales folks will then begin to create their own content which creates confusion and also problems outside with your prospects. Now, the learning management system, those are all about making sure that you have a single location for all of your learning assets. Now, there are several purposes, they kind of provide the value for your sales enablement organization. It serves, as I said about that single location for all of your professional sales, professional learning history, assessment, accreditation, and certification scores will also serve as a six very simple, easy to follow process that will help you to remove the confusion and the frustration for your sales professionals that come from having to search in multiple locations for content scores and metrics.
Sales Enablement Organization
Now, this tool also provide your sales enablement organization with a way to create guided learning paths or GLP. as a means of documenting role specific learning accomplishments. Now, these tools might be very important to your role as a sales enablement practitioner. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a conversation with an executive. That includes the house. The what’s and the whys around the implementation of role specific learning plans, through content management systems. This is your way to make sure that everything’s in a single location, easy to find, and that your folks are able to use it. Next is all around prospecting and sales reporting tools.
Now, the prospecting is a process that we know of initiating and developing. And developing new business by searching for potential customers, clients or buyers for your products or services. Right. The goal of prospect is prospecting is to move these people or prospects through the sales funnel. Until they eventually convert into revenue generating customers. Now keep in mind when you’re talking about prospecting tools. That most of the time it’s going to be the primary user of these tools will be BDRS and SDR with a minimal amount of sales experience.
So considering this prospecting tool should be selected based upon creating the easiest and the most efficient way to reach the right person. With the right message at the right time, with the goal of generating more quality opportunities. Those sales qualified leads will ultimately be passed on to your AE. And then closed and converted into closed sales.
Sales Reporting Tools
Next is sales reporting tools. The importance of sales reporting tools cannot be overestimated. They help sales leaders to monitor the performance of their sales teams, plan effective sales strategies, decide on sales forecasting processes, and most importantly, maintain or reduce the length of the sales cycle. So these tools are instrumental in providing critical details that can be used to develop accurate forecasts, marketing plans, guide budget planning, as well as improve decision making process.
Marketing Automation Tools
Next is all about the marketing automation tools. So purchasing, deploying and utilizing the correct marketing automation tool is essential. Marketing automation tools are used as a hosted or web based solution. So what’s the value of that? Well, the valuable marketing automation tool is the ability to streamline your sales and marketing organizations by replacing high touch repetitive manual processes with automated solutions, right?
So while automating your company’s marketing campaigns tend to bring in positive results, it’s by no means meant to replace traditional marketing tools or campaigns. It will replace your seasonal emails. Write your content for you or intervene when you need human touch from your sales or your customer service organization.
Next, our communication tools. And there are a plethora of them as you see everything from competitive Intel to podcast, instant messaging to of course the Shared Content drives and the virtual meetings, like zoom, etc,. Webinars, white papers, etc. But at its core communication tools are really where the dots Connect. It’s all about finding the appropriate and most effective tool. We’re vital internal best practices wins, loss, product updates. As well as your wins and your losses and things of that sort. Right.
So these tools are also a brilliant way to share Share your internal competitive landscape changes. With partners, alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and around any other things that may disrupt the selling motions or create additional selling barriers. Some of the most communication tools, as we see before us are things like annual in quarterly business reviews, online collaboration tools, white papers, etc. So each of these are used to ensure that internal and external messaging is being delivered in a clear, concise, and consistent manner.
Now, remember to create a communication strategy that incorporates a variety of these different formats. Because you’ve got a ton of different types of learners. Everything from auditory to interpersonal to kinesthetic. You’ve got the readers, you’ve got social, you’ve got the visual. You’ve got the written learner. So the key is not to over communicate, and not under communicate. So you’ve got to find a balance there. It’s about finding the right tool to clearly communicate. And don’t have so many tools, that none of them are useful to your sales teams.
Sales Enablement Platforms
Next are sales enablement, platforms. coaching tool. Some of these coaching tools, the most significant in your sales enablement back. They are consistently changing and evolving. So it’s important that you stay on top of these things. These tools will range from conversation recordings that are used during real time coaching sessions. To video communications that are used to feel as though you’re in the same room or connected. Now, regardless of the delivery vehicle, the intent the same. To provide your sales leaders and your teams with support tools and resources required to create a strong, consistent culture of performance, communication, as well as accountability.
Revenue intelligence tools
And finally, it’s about those revenue intelligence tools. But throughout my career, I’ve noticed that people’s attention spans are continuing to shrink. And because of this, it’s important that your sales enablement organization utilizes what I call knowledge bites. These are small five to seven minute pieces of content in writing, visual and podcast forms, things of that sort, that can succinctly enable your sales professional to get up to speed on a single topic. Gone are the days of sitting in front of a computer and learning and watching 30 to 60 minute voiceover PowerPoint presentations.
As technology becomes more advanced, and we move towards this remote workforce environment that we’re in today. It’s critical that you provide a tool that allows your sales professionals to access information whenever and wherever they are. This is where the revenue intelligence tools like podcasts, libraries, playlists, and cetera come into play. These tools are so versatile, and can be used across the full spectrum of sales professionals career from BDR, SDR, E, SC sales leaders etc.
Now, the thing to remember is that while these are short bursts of information. You’ll want to follow a consistent format when conveying information in this delivery tool. This can include onboarding, best practices, product updates, competitive intelligence changes, go to market shifts, partner and Alliance updates, and one on one coaching sessions, just to name a few.
So I hope that you’ve enjoyed this understanding and have a deeper understanding of where we are and what’s available to you. What I would say is the old adage of if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. And just because a tool is available, and that shiny, fun, new hot technology is out there does not mean that you have to use every single one of them. As I said, when I begin this overall conversation, you have to find out what works at this point of the maturation cycle in your particular company.
And just because a tool may have worked somewhere else. Or some one of our peers in the sales enablement space says. Hey, I’ve got this cool tool, and this is what it does. Take your time, do your research. Make sure that this is a fit for your organization today, or where your organization is moving from. If you’d like to know more on tools. I welcome you to preorder a copy of my book sells at three Dotto where I go very, very deep on each one of these various tools. I also talk about things like how to collaborate across organizations, what does it take to build an organization?
What does a standard sales enablement organization look like? And how do you walk away and begin. Up your current organization to become a world class sales enablement organization.
If you’d like to stay connected with me, all over social media on LinkedIn. You can find me at Roderick Jefferson.com you can find me on both Twitter. As well as Facebook at the voice of Rod can email me info at Roderick Jefferson.com. On the web at Roderick Jefferson.com. Or On Instagram, at Roderick_j_associates. It has been an absolute pleasure to walk you through these tools. If you have any other questions, or you’d like to again, connect deeper on these. Please feel free to reach out. Happy selling and I wish you the best with your toolset. Your growth, your revenue growth as well as the success of your companies in 2021. Thank you