Redefining Sales Enablement

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Customer Stratification” has the power to enable us to transform our company from being product-driven to customer-driven. It has helped us understand our customers in greater detail, enabling us to optimize our selling resources, which will result in an improved ROI.

Don Schalk
Former President and COO, C.H. Briggs Company

Redefining Sales Enablement: What’s your Salesforce Competency?

The autonomous salesforce was the mantra of yesteryear. Today, key business trends —including digitization, consolidation, and commoditization, customer expectations and the perception of customer value is rapidly being redefined. Customers have unprecedented access to information in the channel, ranging from product to price to functionality to alternatives to rebate dynamics. The autonomous salesforce (a.k.a. un-managed salesforce) is at the crossroads.

Distributors are redefining their value in the channel while finding out the need to proactively manage the salesforce for providing integrated customer experience. It’s not to say that relationship-based selling is not relevant anymore. We still need the ability of building customer relationship but that alone is not enough. Also, the customer relationship takes a different meaning in this ‘digital’ era, because customer value is redefined in terms of how we create and capture value in the channel.

As a result, the salesforce is expected to step out of their comfort zone and adapt to this new dynamic, where you have to influence multiple customer stakeholders, converse both product and financial terms (ROI) interchangeably, bring a value nugget to each customer interaction and assume the role of business value adviser by focusing on the whole value chain. Is this overwhelming and unrealistic? Yes, if you see sales function as one-person job. No, if you envision sales as a blended, balanced effort, orchestrated by a customer success expert, at least in key account management. How do we do that? Sales Enablement.

Sales enablement is a cross-functional capability that equips salesforce and marketing with the ability to consistently have value-based interactions with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s journey. It integrates three dimensions of salesforce effectiveness: Customer, Company Value Proposition and Salesforce Competency. The first two dimensions are addressed in our customer value reinvention process. Once you reinvent customer value for your target segments and customer challenges, you have a customer value map (a blue print of how your services are driving value for your customers both in terms of  financial and strategic performance). The customer value map is as powerful as the capabilities of the person delivering it. The customer value map is translated to sales and marketing playbooks. The roles and responsibilities of the salesforce will be redefined according to contemporary customer expectations.

The salesforce has traditionally self-defined their competency (predominantly) in terms of product and application knowledge. Given the customer expectations of salesperson as a business value adviser, ActVantage redefines the required competencies using four facets: Product-oriented, People(customer)-focused, Problem-solving and Performance-driven. Our education and coaching program is designed and delivered to develop core competencies in a step-function (bite-sized chunks, focused on quick-wins). Sounds interesting? Let’s start our conversation to learn the blind spots and next practices.

Return on investment

Core Customer
New Customer
Relevant Customer
Service Growth
Improved Margin

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