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Increase Sales by Providing the Right Sales Resources in the Sales Funnel

Fundamentally, the way to increase sales is to provide the right sales resources to the sales rep at the right time in the sales funnel.  The purpose of Sales Enablement is to align the people, processes and systems within an organization to produce deliverables. By incorporating managed and repeatable processes, Sales Enablement increases sales conversion in the sales funnel. Simply put, Sales Enablement makes sure that a sales person has the right sales resources, at the right time and in the right format to drive deals successfully through the sales funnel.

Sales Resources – Increase Sales By Providing the Right Sales Resources

Sales Resources - Increase Sales - Sales FunnelIn short, there are two ways to increase sales:

  1. Drive more opportunity through the sales funnel
  2. Focus on sales conversion of the existing opportunity in the sales funnel

Of course, this is all predicated on the assumption that an effective demand generation and demand management plan have been designed, developed and executed.  But if there is not a clear focus on:

  • Who is being targeted ( specific companies and targets),
  • Clear and consistent communication of a compelling unique selling proposition,
  • The development of meaning and relevant offers or
  • Efficient and effective lead follow-up (marketing automation and sales force automation software)

then there is a good chance that what enters the sales funnel will never result in closed won business. Further, the best in-class Sales Enablement function with the best sales resources will not be able to rescue such an effort.

Sales Resources – Throwing Money at The Problem – Reckless Demand Generation

Driving more opportunity into the top of the sales funnel is counterproductive unless the sales funnel is tight and sales conversion rates exceed industry averages.  Otherwise, the cost of sale will increase beyond what is necessary and the company will end up increasing sales for its competitors’ as weak sales conversion will simply turn into sales pipeline for them.  In general, sales conversion rates between sales stages should increase as one gets deeper into the sales process and moves down the sales funnel.

Sales Resources – Sales Conversion Through Sales Enablement And Effective Sales Resources

Effective Sales Enablement builds best practices for the sales organization to follow as opportunity is advanced throughout the sales funnel, with the goal of increasing sales.  Best practices include technology, processes, people and, most importantly, specific deliverables that are built by proactively engaging with salespeople and customers in the sales cycle.  The sales methodology that an organization embraces must be documented to explicitly state the sales objective, sales strategy and sales tactic at each stage of the sales process.  This results in a marketing blueprint for Sales Enablement to increase sales effectiveness by creating sales resources to efficiently and effectively advance a sales opportunity to the next level.

Improving sales effectiveness with relevant and compelling sales resources directly impacts revenue. And it is not just a sales or marketing issue but a company issue as well as the goal is to increase sales.  Increasing sales effectiveness requires deep collaboration between sales, development, sales operations, legal, finance and marketing to understand what’s working, what’s not working, and how to make continuous improvements.

At each stage of the sales cycle, various functions in the organization need to provide people resources and/or deliverables that sales can use to move a deal to closure—increase sales conversion rates. It is not enough to simply create a deliverable and email it out or upload it to the sales portal. Relevant and meaningful information needs to be woven into the sales process — and that is the essence of Sales Enablement.Sales Resources - Sales Conversion - Sales Effectiveness

Sales Resources – How to Build Sales Resources That Drive Sales Conversion

  • Document the sales process and summarize the criteria that need to be addressed.
  • Create a buyer behavior model to understand how the target audience buys.
  • Shadow the most effective sales reps, document whom they leverage, the assets they leverage and note when and why they have done so.
  • Conduct a win/loss analysis to establish patterns for each.  Be sure to note what was included and excluded.
  • Engage with subject matter experts inside the company to understand vertical industries, workflows, jargon, trends, issues, opportunities and threats.
  • Test sales enablement tools, assets, processes and people with a pilot group of successful, progressive reps to build credibility.
  • Decompose a big win to see who in the company was leveraged into the sale, at what stage of the sales process and note their contribution that advanced the sale.
  • Dovetail into the sales environment as opposed to trying to change behavior by providing content in a sales-ready format.
  • Provide on-demand training to accommodate readers, touchers, talkers and viewers.
  • Ensure that the information can be accessed from anywhere, anytime and with intuitive navigation (for a sales person) in a click or two.
  • Talk with customers and prospects to understand their needs, what worked, what didn’t and what was missing.
  • Conduct a competitive audit to see what competitors offer.
  • Continuously audit the process.

Sales Resources – The Sales Prevention Teams Are Not Sales Resources

In some cases, actually removing things from the sales process can provide tremendous value and will increase sales Unfortunately, functions exist within organizations that are detrimental to the sales process — specifically, legal, finance and order processing.  Bottlenecks and individuals, functions, processes and systems that do not facilitate selling need to be identified and remedied as quickly as possible as they weaken sales conversion rates.  Having 30 -50 human touches on an order, an order management system that does not process large orders first at the end of a quarter, a legal team that wants to redline everything and not participate on a conference call are sales prevention examples that no organization should tolerate for any period of time.

Sales Resources – Questions to Ask to Gauge Sales Effectiveness

  • What sales resources are available by sales stage?
  • Has there been an assessment of the Sales Enablement function?
  • What is the utilization of the sales tools that have been provided?
  • What resources do the most successful sales people use and when?
  • Who is the subject matter expert for topic x, y and z?
  • Who creates the content that is most valued by the sales team?
  • What content is most used by the sales team?
  • Have the roles for all supporting functions to the sales process been identified?
  • Is there an automated, self-service infrastructure to supply what sales reps need, when they need it and is it in a sales-ready format?
  • Is there a feedback mechanism to evaluate, update and create new resources for use in the sale cycle?
  • Are there metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of sales resources?
  • Are there metrics to evaluate the efficiency of sales resources?

The best Sales Enablement systems are living organisms that allow bi-directional feedback to flow between creators of deliverables and the human resources involved in the sales process.  It is difficult to get it right – but once done, it is imperative to constantly keep one’s hand on the pulse to find out what is working, what is not working and what is missing in order to truly enable sales.  Increase sales by applying the right sales resource, at the right time to the right opportunity.

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5 Responses to “Increase Sales by Providing the Right Sales Resources in the Sales Funnel”

  1. Hi there, perfect sales funnel info. One question though: I don’t understand numbers. Is this 5% at the top of the funnel percent of probabiltiy to close a sale? Regards, Matija, Slovenia. If not – dou you know of any statistics showing when is the ratio between leads and closed sales good?

    • Peter Buscemi March 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Matija, thanks for the feedback. The 5% refers to the number of leads that pass through to become marketing qualified leads. This percentage is highly dependent on how well a company targets it market so this number could range from a fraction of a percent (if a company markets to a phone book) or 10%, 20% or more if a company is fishing in a stocked pond. For example, there may be a conference on people who screw in the #9 screw with a blue #9 screw gun. So, if your company targets users of the #9 screw and screw gun, there’s a pretty good possibility that all of these people would fit the criteria to be a marketing qualified lead.

  2. testimonial stats or quantitative numbers would be good to see from those sales teams realizing improvements over time, compared to previous levels

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