Sales Enablement, from Baby Boomer to Millennial. Where do you fit on this. Your sales team will likely be a mix of generations, somehow you need to merge these generations to get all members performing to the best of their ability.
There are many factors that can determine a sales team performance, generational differences is just one. The Baby Boomer might like the older established tried and tested sales methods, while the Millennials will predominantly use technology.
One method or practice is not (on its own) necessarily better than the other, a mix (in the correct quantity’s) is required.
Good sales leaders will administer this mix, while being cognisant of statistics and market research around the various methods of communicating with prospects, making adjustments and changes in direction and approach where necessary.
Take for example the ‘cold call’ vs email marketing.
Just 2% of cold calls will result in an appointment. Cold calling takes on average 8 attempts just to reach a prospect. (Source: TeleNet and Ovation Sales Group).
It is important then, that our sales leaders and managers are on point, that the leadership is looking after the mixing of generations with old and new technology, aware of what is working, and what is not.
Are our leaders on point?
Not according to Jonathan Farrington, a globaly recognised and respected business coach, mentor and author. Jonathan tells us that up to “80% of managers are unqualified to fulfil the role that is being asked of them” (Previous article on this topic here)
Every Sales Manager wants to lead their team to be the best that they can be, hitting or exceeding targets and giving them every opportunity to do so. Some managers will indeed achieve this, they will have high performing sales teams, but others will not.
Is there something that under performers can learn from the success of others?
High performing sales teams will use nearly 3 times as much sales technology as under-performing teams (Source: Salesforce). It is then no surprise that between 2012 and 2014, company spending on Sales Enablement technology increased by 69% (Source: SirusDecisions).
So what advantage does this extra spend on sales enablement give your team, what is sales enablement?
The definition of sales enablement can differ, it is an evolving concept.
For us at SpeedAuthor – sales enablement is a way of assisting your team engage effictively with the inbound customer, improving sales team effectiveness, giving sales reps access to corporate content, allowing analytics and reporting, which in turn guides the reps to increased sales conversions.
Clients using our sales enablement tools tell us that training is also an essential component.
For our Baby Boom and Generation X sales reps, spending time with the potential buyer, answering questions helped to build a rapport with the prospect.
This gave the sales rep the opportunity to establish value for the product or service they were selling. Once value was established the price could be discussed, and potentially a sale completed.
These days the prospect will use the Millennial approach – no longer requiring (or wanting to) speak to your sales team to research the product, they can and will do this via the web, they will have all this information before they call the sales rep.
In fact by the time the prospect is talking to your sales team, he or she is already 57% of the way to a buying decision.
The point where sales rep and prospect meet is now much further down the sales route. At this point the function of the rep has changed somewhat. Because the prospect has done their own research and already knows much of the information, there is just one thing the sales rep must add…
Showing empathy towards the problem the prospect is trying to fix with your product / service. The more personalised you can make the buying experience the better.
Be the expert – using your expertise and industry knowledge providing additional information will add to the value for the buyer.