Quick Wins in Sales Enablement to Boost Team Performance

High-impact sales communication techniques for instant and long-term success

Long before Mark Cuban became a household name for his role on Shark Tank, the serial entrepreneur was in the trenches of B2B software sales. Working as a software sales rep, he learned “the most important lesson of his career: the art of sales.”

To this day, Cuban leans on the skills he developed early on. Often quoted as saying that “sales cures all,” he believes that everyone should work in sales at some point in their career to develop their ability to communicate well.

Effective communication plays a key role in sales; by extension, it’s also an important component of sales enablement. Sales enablement is about equipping your sales team with messaging, tools and training to generate new opportunities and close deals. It also includes the sales communications strategy and scripting required to ensure that your investment in high-impact marketing is reflected in the field.

But many firms, even those with top-notch marketing support and sales tools, fall short in their sales communications. All too often, sales teams undersell the value of their offerings, leaving money on the table because their team members lack sales-ready messaging, need to develop greater domain or industry fluency, or aren’t leveraging consultative solution-selling tools and processes proven to generate momentum.

Whether your company is a large enterprise with the resources for a programmatic approach or a smaller organization that, as a function of its scrappy state, must be more opportunistic, sales communications best practices can deliver quick wins.

Sales communications is a tactical area. You don’t need new strategic positioning or elaborate content creation, which means you can make changes very quickly. You can also target sales communications strategy and tactics to certain areas of the sales kit, from pitch decks to cold emails, calls and more.

A few key areas offer a significant opportunity for your organization to leverage sales communications strategy and scripting for a fast return on your sales communications investment. The “quick win” recommendations detailed below assume that you’ve already developed value-based, differentiated positioning. And while these quick wins can be implemented without a program or formal sales enablement team, they do require expertise—and a level of sophistication many B2B sales teams need to be taught—in order to be applied in a tailored, personalized manner.

So, what can you do today—without needing to build out a full sales enablement program—to move the needle in your sales force’s performance?

Script your pitch decks based on structured persuasion.

Empower your sales team with a carefully structured pitch deck designed to engage and persuade the audience with value-based, field-tested messaging. Private scripting and guidance can help ensure that unsupervised sales people, with different experience and personalities, all convey the same message. Scripting doesn’t mean that the message will be delivered robotically; rather, when done well, it allows the sales rep’s personality to shine through. By providing an objective for each slide and scripting connection points, discovery questions and transitions, you position sales execs to achieve mastery and move the sales cycle forward.

Tailor objection-handling tools to underlying objection themes.

Support your team with objection-handling guidance based on a careful root-cause analysis of the objections encountered and sales communications best practices. You can start with an inventory of common objections, both in absolute terms and across categories (e.g., product functionality and price), to gain an objective view of what sales reps are hearing in the field. One-on-one meetings with sales reps can help ensure that answers won’t be influenced by group dynamics. You can then group objections by common themes and analyze the root drivers of a given theme. This will inform how you script effective responses to the groups of objections.

You should also train your sales team on objection-handling conversational techniques. There are numerous frameworks available; choose one that incorporates a customer-centric or solution-selling approach and take the team through objection-handling scripts tailored for their specific purpose. Show how the framework has been applied and explain the rationale for each of the scripts, so sales execs understand why the responses work. Then, have them practice what they’ve learned. Simulations should emphasize technique (e.g., listening, acknowledging, explaining and reviewing) as well as content.

Upgrade your demo with end-to-end value-based messaging.

Ensure that your demo (as well as all important technical-based differentiation and positioning) is based on customer needs. Explain the “why” of functionality and features, even areas of the product that might be less sexy or exciting; pairing a reason with a description can dramatically boost its persuasive impact.1 You can also incorporate “Day in the Life” scenarios, or use cases that directly relate to the natural, intuitive user journey and how the product adds practical value to the end user’s day-to-day jobs to be done.

Ultimately, you need to ensure that the product’s value-based differentiation (both capabilities and business value) is woven into and emphasized in technical sales and marketing content. When it comes to the customer’s perception of value, you can’t take anything for granted.

Equip your team with high-impact prospecting tips and tricks.

Outbound prospecting is often delegated to a dedicated team of BDRs; in other cases, AEs perform their own prospecting or augment outbound prospecting performed by dedicated SDRs. Regardless of who’s doing it, a few key process best practices can drive high-impact conversations with customers and prospects alike.

The first step is to realize that the language, training and process for prospecting are unique to this first phase of creating a new opportunity from scratch. For example, while there is some overlap between positioning techniques used by an account exec in a meeting with a sales-qualified lead (SQL) and those used on a prospecting call, there are also important differences. Addressing these differences requires special training. And while many people view outbound prospecting as repetitive work that’s little more than a numbers game, the reality is that the language and approach needs to be tailored to your specific product and market.

You should also consider how you are uncovering needs. Outbound prospecting requires a specific skill set to help prospects recognize that they have a problem. Persona-based cold openers for phone and email can help the sales rep tailor terminology, the value prop, use cases and reference customers. Best practices can also be gleaned from recordings or scripts used by your high-performers (if any); these can be scaled by having others shadow high performers.

Working in sales taught Cuban how to explain the benefits of a product or service, listen to others and ask for what you want in order to close the deal, among other important sales communication skills. But adapting persuasive techniques for a new product or complex technology isn’t always easy. With the evolution toward cross-functional selling, which has customer success teams increasingly driving revenue as well, many organizations are finding that their teams need more tools and training than ever before.

By starting small and scaling as appropriate, you can leverage any of the sales communications tactics described here to deliver quick wins as well as longer-term results. Consider the following ways to start—and continue—delivering results within each area: For pitch decks, begin by training reps on sales objectives, then add connection points, then transitions. With objection handling, start by taking inventory of objections and identifying themes before scripting a few responses for the most common (or most dangerous) objections. With demo scripting, start by weaving scripting into the existing demo flow or by developing new use case flows–you don’t have to do it all at once. And with prospecting, you can begin by creating general openers and later add positioning guidance and prospecting-specific objection handling. Each step builds on the one before it, multiplying the value of your investment into sales communications strategy and tactics.

Learn more about how you can leverage sales communications strategy and scripting to meet sales quotas and increase revenue streams more quickly.

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1 Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, Robert Cialdini. “Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.” 2008.

About the Author

Adam Aftergut

Adam Aftergut is the principal of West97 Marketing, which provides on-demand product marketing and sales enablement for industry-leading B2B SaaS enterprises and startups that market and sell their products to Citibank, Disney, General Motors, Kaiser Permanente and many other market leaders. Adam’s unique approach brings together value-based messaging and consultative sales methodologies with high-impact, enterprise-class deliverables tailored for each client’s needs, goals and strategic context.

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