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Sales Enablement Society Annual Conference: Enablement as a Center of Excellence

| September 18, 2018 | Sarah Rector

A second day of keynotes, sessions, and networking at the annual Sales Enablement Society conference is in the books. Yesterday our takeaways concerned the sales enablement practitioner and the role of sales enablement within an organization. Today our main takeaways relate to challenges facing sales.

From Sales People to Problem Solvers
Sales teams have a perception problem. In her session today, Tamara Schenk, Research Director at CSO Insights, noted that in certain situations consumers would be 90% more apt to engage sales teams earlier in the buying cycle if they perceived sales people to be problem solvers. And according to her research, only 23% of buyers perceive sales people to be problem solvers.

How can sales people become known as problem solvers? In a separate session, Sales Trainer Chris Bennett suggested that sales reps should be “problem detectives” first and “solution sellers” second. By asking challenge questions, reps can exponentially increase their pipeline by learning more about buyers and offering appropriate solution options. Challenge questions start with buzzwords such as worry, concern, issue, difficulties, problems, etc. For example:

What difficulties does your team have with…
Does your staff struggle with…
What are your three biggest headaches related to…
Do you worry about…
Does it concern you that…

The Importance of Front Line Sales Managers
Chris says that learning to ask challenge questions is easy – if you train and practice. One sales group to focus on for this type of training: Front line sales managers. Today the importance of sales managers bubbled up many times. Multiple sales enablement professionals specifically called out sales managers in terms of their importance as models, trainers, and enablers of a successful sales teams. For example, in one session the question was asked: Who is responsible for developing sales talent? The answer: Front line sales managers.

Sales enablement and sales coaching professionals should adjust their coaching programs to ensure sales managers are as effective as possible. And be sure to listen to their feedback. One sales coaching practitioner created a special advisory team made up of high performing sales managers that he consults for all sales-related decisions.

Sales Enablement to Enablement
And lastly, it’s clear from listening to practitioners throughout the conference that sales enablement professionals are forging new paths to revenue and operational efficiency by helping sales reps meet and beat quota. However, it’s also obvious sales enablement teams are being called on to enable partner, channel, customer, support and many other teams. As one analyst noted, the function of sales enablement is on a trajectory to evolve into an organizational center of excellence known as Enablement.

Very exciting! Thank you to the Society of Sales Enablement for this year’s conference and we look forward to continued learning and collaboration.