Your sales reps’ biggest enemy is time. A typical week for a rep includes many time burdens, yes – even sales enablement programs. In the same way, buyer time pressures have never been greater.
Fact: Sellers have less time to influence buying decision teams
Fact: Buyer attention spans are shorter than ever
Fact: Sellers are spending less time ‘selling’ during their week
Truth: Helping sellers optimize their time is sales enablement’s #1 priority
As we evaluate sales enablement functions, we see very few programs that help reps optimize their selling time and effort. Sure, there are loads of training on things like Salesforce, Zoominfo, and DiscoverOrg. But most are tactical trainings on ‘how’ to use the tools. What’s missing is what we call ‘Where to Go’ enablement.
Regardless of your sales model (inside, outside, or virtual), ‘Where to Go’ enablement is a critical sales productivity lever. It helps your reps focus their time on the accounts and opportunities that generate the most value. ‘Where to Go’ training and tools are a missing link in even the best enablement strategies.
Looking across our sales enablement benchmarks, we do see pockets of success. Winning sales organizations help reps cut through the noise to focus on the right targets. These teams are constantly working to improve rep focus and time effectiveness.
3 Critical Components of a ‘Where to Go’ program
There are three ingredients to an effective ‘Where to Go’ enablement effort. Together, these pieces drive significant sales productivity.
1. The Right Data
The foundation of an effective ‘Where to Go’ program is quality data. The data needs to be accurate, relevant and insightful. An accurate data set is one that a rep can rely on to make decisions about their time and effort. Relevant refers to how the data set aligns with sales rep’s role. An insightful data set will connect the dots required to develop and execute a selling strategy.
For instance, if you’re asking your team to focus on cross-sell, your data must help reps understand past purchase trends and prioritize the whitespace opportunity. If you’re asking reps to hunt new logos, your data set needs to include target accounts, scored by propensity to buy, organized by geography or industry, with key contact information.
If your reps don’t believe in the data or don’t find it of value, there’s little chance that you’ll be successful in helping them focus. It’s worth the time and effort to get this right.
The data can be derived from a variety of sources. Typically, historical sales data from your company should be broken out by product / service. It can also include data from your addressable market. This data includes prospects as well as current customers.
2. The Right Segmentation
Once the data has been compiled, analyzing the data sets can begin. Building customer (and prospect) segments is the easiest way to parse through the data. Segments help you understand where to focus based on a series of factors that fit the ideal customer profile (ICP). Don’t underestimate the importance of building a common view of ICP across marketing, product, and sales.
Segmented data is then be allocated to reps in the form of account lists. But use caution here. Dumping thousands of records on reps isn’t the best use of their time. Reps must be able to work through these lists in an efficient and strategic manner.
3. The Right Tools
The modern rep needs easy access to strong analytical capabilities. They should be able to navigate their way through Excel of course. But they also need basic mastery of business intelligence tools like PowerBI and Tableau. These tools provide immense value to the rep as analyze their account lists.
Implementing a ‘Where to Go’ program
Equipping reps with a ‘Where to Go’ mindset, skillset, and toolset is a shared responsibility of sales operations and sales enablement. They must collaborate to build a complete system. We’ve seen too many account segmentation projects run by sales operations that never see it to the field. And we’ve seen time management training by enablement that leveraged the wrong workflows and data sets.
There are four keys to executing a successful ‘Where to Go’ enablement program:
1. Build the Mindset
Start by reinforcing that time is a rep’s most valuable asset. Mastering time effectiveness is more important than any product message, closing technique, or technology.
Reps must know that where they choose to spend time will define their current and future income. To break this down for a rep, start with an understanding of their pipeline and capacity. If time is our anchor, then how many opportunities will they need to work in a year to hit their number? Using conversion metrics and average deal size, reps should see for themselves the number of opportunities required.
Once they understand their pipeline requirements, they can adjust the number of deals, deal size, and pipeline velocity to increase their odds of success. Reps should then make more informed decisions about their time and activity focus.
2. Turn Data into Actionable Insights
The modern rep has a massive amount of data at their fingertips. Their CRM has data specific to the company and accounts. And there are a multitude of other sources for prospect intelligence like Owler, Crunchbase, and Pitchbook. Of course, LinkedIn is powerful way to understand the people dynamics within an organization.
On the surface, this is a ton of information. But what should reps do with it? How do the pieces fit together? What should they be looking for? What should they be ignoring? Poorly trained reps can waste a lot of time with these data sources.
Enablement needs to help reps access, organize, and prioritize this data. Define the elements that they need to focus on at the account level. Help them create an understanding of how specific pieces of data fit certain situation. Most importantly, help them turn the data into actionable insights. Guide them in using their research to tailor selling actions, messages, and overall deal strategy.
3. Segment through the Rep Lens
Imagine you’re a rep that just received a file with hundreds (maybe thousands) of accounts to call on. Corporate may have done an effective job segmenting the data based on their view of the ICP. But there’s likely some things missing – a local competitor, a relationship with a channel partner, insight about a particular product. An additional level of ‘rep-driven’ segmentation is also needed.
Macro segmentation is critical to deploying resources at scale. But to get deals done, micro-level segmentation must occur, incorporating additional factors. These factors can be more subjective, but they are equally important.
Enablement must teach reps how to take macro segmentation data and conduct a second-level analysis in the context of their territory. This includes identifying targets that should be prioritized or de-prioritized.
4. Master the Calendar
Time management is not a new concept. Everyone can benefit from tips and tricks to manage their calendars. But for reps, we need to be prescriptive. Help them lay out their week and manage their workloads to maximize their selling zone time. Also identify specific times in the day and week for non-selling activities.
We frequently see internal meetings and other demands in the middle of prime selling time. For example, it’s great that product marketing has a new webinar on the latest release. But enablement must make sure that webinar happens at the right time of day and week.
“If you don't know where you're going,
you'll end up someplace else.”
Yogi Berra’s famous line has profound relevance for sales teams. Helping reps identify where they should focus their time and effort may be the most impactful thing you can do this year. Making this happen requires sales operation’s commitment to get the data right. Sales enablement must then drive the training, process, and tools that bring it to life in the field.
Contact Us to schedule a ‘Where to Go’ diagnostic to evaluate how your program stacks up against best practice. Let us help you hit your number through smarter field execution.
About The Author
Ralph is a partner with The Brevet Group, and for 20 years he has led sales performance teams in the United States and Asia. Recently he also served as a sales leader in both the media and technology industries. Ralph’s work has focused on a unique blend of management consulting and sales enablement to help companies execute their sales strategies. Prior to this role, Ralph was the APAC sales effectiveness leader at Mercer.