A primer for board members

Improving performance with sales enablement tools

Sep 14, 2023
Global strategy Business strategy

Technology—used both by businesses and consumers—continues to propel a transformation of the relationship between sellers and buyers. The sales model is evolving as sellers gain efficiencies and access to more granular insights across the buyer’s journey, and buyers take more control of the sales process by tapping the abundance of digital knowledge and offers available at their fingertips.

Board members have a responsibility to ensure that the sales model is constantly being optimized for more efficient revenue gains. In most cases, the necessary sales enablement tools systems are already in place but need to be adjusted or improved.

The board’s goal should be to help the company’s sales professionals become more efficient and effective by prioritizing the most promising opportunities and efficiently nurturing prospects through the sales cycle and into long-term relationships.

How are sales models evolving?

To improve their sales effectiveness, organizations should: 

1. Make the shift from outbound to inbound sales

  • Focus on discoverability, SEO and targeting to attract prospects.
  • Use marketing automation to nurture buyers through the sales funnel, instead of cold calling or hard-sell tactics.
  • Build brand authority to enhance awareness.

2. Be prepared to serve customers through longer sales cycles

  • Present more information for buyers, who are doing more research and analysis on their own.
  • Be present with relevant content early in the buyer’s journey.

3. Use data-driven sales models to support targeted, cost-effective sales strategies

  • Prioritize the most promising leads to focus sales efforts.
  • Use AI predictive modeling to identify firmographic, demographic or behavioral signals of buyer readiness and determine the next best action.
  • Analyze outcomes of actions to continually refine sales practices for greater success.

4. Be open to ongoing influence from advanced technologies and new ideas

  • Develop processes for identifying customer service calls that are lead/upsell opportunities.
  • Use AI to assess language used on sales calls and learn from the most successful salespeople’s conversations.
  • Exploit customers’ ability to replace solutions quickly and easily with SaaS, cloud and mobile services.

Data drives the action

A modern, cost-effective sales model is driven by data, aligns marketing and sales resources around organizational goals, and continuously improves and changes based on outcomes and evolving customers, markets and technologies. Customer data, sales operations data and third-party data all play roles in enhancing sales success. 

Customer data

  • Use data from social media, third-party and owned databases to develop customer personas based on roles or demographics.
  • Focus on solving customer challenges, rather than on a product- or service-centric message.

Sales operations data

  • Use systems such as CRM and marketing automation to collect and act on data.
  • Support marketing and sales collaboration and accountability.

Third-party data

  • Use third-party syndicated data services to learn more about your customers than they’ve shared with you.
  • Gain a fuller picture of customer intention via micro- and macro-data on trends and predictions.

What does an evolving sales model look like?

What might a modern sales model look like in the real world? Here are some examples:

  • More accurate quotes
    Refine quoting systems and processes to help guide sales partners, such as by connecting quoting system to ERPs so quotes can reflect availability.
  • Better customer service
    Optimize routes for field sales so they can more effectively reach and serve customers.
  • Greater responsiveness
    Provide real-time inventory visibility for sales team via mobile devices so they can respond immediately to queries and requests for proposals
  • More valuable customer data
    Optimize CRM functionality by integrating it with other SaaS applications to provide comprehensive information on prospects and customers.

Sophisticated systems and processes require ongoing tuning

For decades, value creation in sales happened mostly in the physical realm and sales models didn’t change much. Today, however, even product-centric companies can’t create value without the help of sophisticated digital systems and tools. These solutions evolve rapidly, so ongoing fine-tuning is required to maximize their ROI.

  • Solutions such as machine learning, IoT, APIs, edge computing and global mobility may all be part of an organization’s modern sales tool kit.
  • Keeping technology investments running for optimal ROI requires ongoing review and adjustment of the tech stack so the organization can avoid technical debt.
  • Often, maximizing results from technology requires involving a third party that has resources, knowledge and experience in a wide variety of industries and business models.

Avoiding Technical Debt

Technical debt happens when fast-growing organizations implement quick technology solutions to remove an obstacle and get a job done. Over time, though, these fast fixes can push up the cost of technology and reduce its effectiveness, causing the accumulation of technical debt.

This is especially likely to happen at fast-growing companies using Salesforce. Partnering with a third party to conduct a technical debt assessment and develop a remediation plan can realign the system for optimal performance.

Why partner with RSM?

RSM’s extensive capabilities in a wide range of industries, services and systems provide the expertise and guidance you need to transform your sales model. We offer:

  • Experience not only in implementing processes and systems for an optimized sales model but also in business performance improvement across various industry sectors,
  • Deep experience with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
  • Experts who can connect, configure and support end-to-end processes, from marketing and leads to sales and quoting to revenues and post-sale support.
  • A wide portfolio of additional consulting and managed services, including managed IT, security operations center, audit and risk advisory, and technical accounting consulting.

As customers and markets evolve in an increasingly digital world, your business’s sales model must keep pace. Longer sales cycles and a shift to inbound sales require a new, data-driven, customer-focused approach to sales. Advanced sales enablement tools can help your organization use marketing and sales resources more efficiently and effectively.

Choosing the right technology solutions and continuously fine-tuning them is essential to success. Selecting a partner with deep expertise in a variety of industries, services and solutions can provide the guidance needed to evolve your sales model.   

Learn the advantages of digital transformation to help your business needs