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Top sales challenges: How to competitively enable your teams next quarter
The end of the quarter is a mad dash to the finish line. Find out how to tackle some of their top competitive challenges and prevent them in the next quarter.
Challenge #1: Misalignment between marketing and salesChallenge #2: Finding the right content is time-consumingChallenge #3: Inadequate sales trainingChallenge #4: Out-dated sales battle cards or competitive contentChallenge #5: Providing continuous sales feedback
The end of the quarter is over, and the last few weeks have been a crazy ride of closing out deals and hopefully winning highly competitive deals. As a sales manager, you’re responsible for keeping sales teams engaged and making sure they hit their goals, but you’re also responsible for reflecting on what worked and what didn’t.
Every quarter sales and sales enablement leaders ask themselves these common questions:
- What are the common challenges sales teams face at the end of the quarter?
- What is your go-to goal for
- Are there any habits you like your team to build?
- What activities do you usually do at the end of the quarter?
To improve your team’s performance, you’ve conducted interview employees, dug into win-loss data, and even googled common challenges, which has brought you here. These five challenges your sales team faces can all be solved by partnering with your product marketing team and creating a competitive enablement program.
Challenge #1: Misalignment between marketing and sales
Solution: Sales reps are juggling the end of one quarter, closing deals, forecasting, and generating new pipeline for the next quarter simultaneously. Unfortunately, training and resource adoption are not at the top of the list.
Competitive enablement is a continuous process. Sales reps will adopt content that helps them do their jobs. By automating the competitive intelligence process, you open the door for constant communication. Staying top of mind for the sales leaders and reps, you become a source of truth and a channel to share their feedback. Building trust increases the rate of success in adoption. You’re able to influence how sales reps prioritize the competitive intel they need when they need it.
Challenge #2: Finding the right content is time-consuming
Solution: Automation. Everyone is busy at the end of a quarter. Not only is it a time to push projects across the finish line, but have plans in place for hitting the goals in the next quarter. Time is a valuable commodity that is almost as valuable as business revenue. That’s why it’s essential to have the right content in a quick and easily searchable format.
Breaking down the barriers, most salespeople run into a key to making sure your competitive enablement program is a success. Make sure the team has easy access to the most up-to-date intel at all times.
Challenge #3: Inadequate sales training
Solution: Provide training and an open-door policy. Salespeople are independent by nature with a go-getter attitude. If there aren’t opportunities to learn or grow, they can lose interest and resort back to past habits. Sales training can lead to a 16.6% increase in win rates for forecasted deals.
What good is delivering competitive intel if you’re not going to enable people to use that information when they need it most. Make sure you’re providing the information they need, with context. If a sales rep doesn’t understand the relevance, they might lose interest and file that information away. Communicating with sales is a valuable investment of your time and energy and will pay dividends.
Challenge #4: Out-dated sales battle cards or competitive content
Solution: The process of manually collecting, analyzing, and sharing competitive intel takes time. Often more time than product marketers has time to give. So for most organizations, the activity is done on a bi-annual or annual schedule. Only updating battle cards and sales tools during those times. Unfortunately, competition doesn’t work that way.
Updates are on a continuous loop. If not updated more regularly, it can result in that content being out of date the moment it is shared internally with the sales team. Automating the cycle reduces the overall time spent collecting, so you can update on a more regular schedule. A competitive intelligence tool or platform can to the grunt work and even notify you or the appropriate teams when competitors make updates.
Challenge #5: Providing continuous sales feedback
Solution: With any program or project, it’s essential to take time to reflect on what worked and what could be improved. Like sales training, sales analysis done correctly can influence revenue by double digits.
Salespeople are busy, especially at the end of a quarter, and sitting down with marketing to provide feedback is probably not at the top of their priorities list. If you’ve built trust and provided training, you can enable sales to give feedback when they have it. Allowing them to share their insights has the potential to influence other sales deals.
The overall goal for any sales leader is to make sure your team has as many little distractions as possible. However, sellers should always have access to and be actively using the tools they need, especially during crunch time. Make sure your team is ready to tackle the quarter.
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