CHEMICALS

You’ve got to walk before you can run: A pragmatic approach to sales enablement

 

Published 19 March 2020

Your sales team represents your company and is the direct point of contact for existing and potential customers. They represent your brand and articulate the value you bring to your customers. But the changing market and increasing requirements within the chemical industry are impacting your sales reps. They have to stay on top of a growing product portfolio, while simultaneously making sure their sales content is compliant with new regulations.

Contributor

Michael-De-Veylder_400x400

Michael De Veylder
Enterprise Account Executive
Showpad, Belgium

Today’s customers are also better informed than ever. They often have a good understanding of your company’s products before they even interact with your sales team. This means that your sellers need to ensure that every interaction is engaging, relevant and provides value. Furthermore, today’s sales reps must deal with different stakeholders throughout the buying process. A chemist no longer sells to another chemist. Multiple actors are involved, and they expect solutions for their very specific problems. Many sales teams are simply not equipped to sell effectively in this environment.

Better, faster, wiser?

In the chemical industry, sales reps need to be more data-driven, agile and knowledgeable. They should be able to scale their sales processes for their buyers’ requirements, creating the best buyer experience to seal the deal. They need to provide the right information, in the right way, at the right time and pivot from selling products to selling solutions. But sales organizations can’t do this without technology.

Unfortunately, the majority of CEOs in the chemical industry (75%) still see cost cutting as the best option to drive profitability, instead of focusing on digital and technological capabilities (9%) (PwC). The same holds true for the sales department. In addition, extensive changes in business operations, like a new sales approach and technological solutions, are time consuming to implement. Decision makers always think twice about implementing a tool that doesn’t prove its value straight away. New technologies must be beneficial from the start.

 

Supercharging Sales

Sales enablement has the potential to do this. Powered by technology, it is designed to help sellers sell more successfully by providing reps with the right content at the right time and serving up the coaching and training to ensure reps are knowledgeable and skilled in their conversations with a prospect. It enables different departments to work together, providing insights that help all teams to create the best buyer experience. Even better, you don’t have to wait long to see its impact. .

Of course, implementing a sales enablement strategy won’t happen overnight. But our platform Showpad can easily be integrated into existing sales processes, usually in three progressive stages. You can compare it to learning to run. Before your legs carry you as fast as they can, you have to walk, and that doesn’t happen without knowing how to crawl. So, here are the three stages:

  • Crawl – Building the framework

The first stage is the deployment of a sales enablement tool. Here, it is important to get an overview of existing content and define KPIs and deadlines for the program. Admins will be trained in using and operating the platform while services are being designed. Content will be uploaded to the platform; channels and plugins will be created and activated.     

  • Walk – Equip the seller

Once the framework is set up and administrative questions are resolved, the user launch will lift the sales team to their feet. In this stage, all users will be trained how to work with the sales enablement platform, e.g. finding and updating content, using the training and coaching functions, collaborating between the teams and presenting on different devices on- and offline. The internal messaging is defined and, on the technical side, the digital stack is further integrated, e.g. SharePoint or MS Dynamics. Once the sales team realizes that everything they need to be successful is available on one platform, they will take their first steps and soon… 

  • …Run – Optimize the processes

Everything will now be integrated with the buyer journey to deliver the best buyer experience and sales reps will use Showpad for all interactions with prospects and customers. Here, sales enablement unfolds its full potential. Analytics and sales feedback will help sellers be more efficient and knowledgeable, the sales manager will have an overview of the processes, while the marketing team will finally receive end-of-funnel data to create more relevant sales content. After only a few months, sales enablement will be running and improving everyday processes. Sellers will be more efficient, improving their up- and cross-selling. Through consistent, compliant and relevant content, the company will communicate more professionally internally and externally, and individual onboarding and training programs will be beneficial for recruiting and employee retention.

Sales enablement: More than technology

Sales enablement technology provides enormous potential for chemical companies. It helps to structure processes, connect departments, analyze customer interactions and helps individual sales reps to become top sellers by providing the content and insights they need. Nonetheless, technology is only 20% of the solution. Businesses need to fully support and embrace sales enablement: Implement it not only as a technology but as part of the company culture to put their business in pole position in a very crowded, complex market.

 

If you want to learn more about sales enablement, the benefits it provides for the chemical industry and how Showpad can help you with both implementing the right platform and establishing a holistic approach to sales enablement, please join me at the Sales & Marketing Effectiveness in Chemicals Forum in Cologne (26–27 May 2020).

RECOMENDED EVENT

26-27 May 2020 Cologne, Germany