In my last post, I shared that a “bold first move” for new CMOs could be to resist a rebranding effort until a strong undercurrent of sales enablement could be established. Current studies show that 85 percent of brand perception is driven by the sales experience, while advertising and other efforts make up the remaining 15 percent. That’s a compelling reason for every business executive—including the CMO—to have a vested effort in shaping and harnessing the power of your most powerful brand ambassadors: your sellers.
Here’s a 100-day roadmap to a successful sales enablement program that will help give your brand the unified, integrated experience customers respond to.
1. Days 1-50: Understand how the brand message is being delivered by sales across all customer touchpoints.
- Conduct research and audit sales calls and meetings to determine if your sellers know what your brand stands for.
- How good are they at articulating it?
- What hurdles do they have in delivering it in every conversation?
- Do they understand what role the brand should play during a sales conversation, based on customer input?
- Use employee and training information to better understand and assess your sellers, including their their individual strengths and weaknesses.
- Do you have a team made up of experienced sellers with a wealth of inherent customer knowledge?
- Or do you have a team of young and energetic go-getters who are fairly inexperience sellers?
- Mine your customer loyalty and/or experience research to determine how well your company delivers against its brand promise.
2. Days 50-80: Identify the gaps.
Identify and address potential gaps or inconsistencies between the brand promise and the actual customer experience with sales.
- The role of good sales enablement is to help sellers deliver on your brand value. Identifying possible gaps or inconsistencies between the brand promise and the customer experience will identify how best to improve your current sales enablement.
- If you claim to be the most knowledgeable vendor in your business, for example, how should the interaction with a sales person deliver on that?
- If you claim to be a business that’s easy to work with, how are your sellers supporting that in every sales interaction?
- Before embarking on fixes for these gaps, you need to thoroughly understand the sales process.
- What is the seller trying to achieve at each stage of the selling cycle in order to articulate value to the customer and close the sale?
- Do you have gaps that span one or more of these stages?
- How can you tailor your sales enablement to adapt to specific seller needs at each stage?
3. Days 80 – 100: Develop a cross-functional team to map a plan and set goals.
Sharing the insights gathered during your first 80 days with key members of your sales and sales operations teams is critical to gaining agreement on areas for improvement. Once you’ve got everyone on board, you can work together to map out possible solutions using the following steps:
- Develop and launch an internal sales enablement plan that outlines key milestones and owners from marketing and sales
- Establish a measurement plan to let all stakeholders know how the program is doing against defined business objectives
Sellers are your brand. When your brand promise and your customer experience with sales are in total lockstep, that’s no accident. That’s by design.