4 Ways Sales Enablement is Like My Favorite Server
When you go out to eat at a restaurant, what are the qualities that determine an enjoyable experience vs. not so much? Of course, there’s always the quality of the food, the atmosphere, the menu selection, the seating, the volume of background music and so on.
But for me, the number one factor is customer service. I tend to try new dishes and sometimes I strike out. It’s the price I pay for having a greedy palette. But if the service is fantastic, I will come back and risk striking out on a different dish.
That got me thinking of an analogy - a successful sales enablement program is like an exceptional server at a restaurant. A great server, and thus a great sales enablement program, always does the following:
Know when to be there, and know when not to be
Ever have a server you can’t seem to track down, or conversely, be at your table every ten seconds? Make sure you’re there for your sales reps when they need you but don’t be overbearing in how you’re supporting them. Get the basics down like onboarding, dependable training, using your tech stack, mentoring, coaching and success measurement. Set them up for success and give them a chance to enjoy their job.
Guide them on their journey
One of my favorite things to do is ask a server what they recommend for a meal. A great one knows how to guide me in a way that’ll ensure I like it. They’ll usually respond with something like:
a) “Are you in the mood for seafood, pasta, something lighter?” They help me narrow down my selection and focus. Make sure your reps are focused. Do they truly know their target accounts or verticals? Are they well defined? What are the products and services that are best suited for their targets? Swim lanes should be well defined and vetted. Make sure they have corresponding presentations, collateral, case studies, SMEs, support materials and client reviews they can use.
b) Another way they often respond is “I can tell you that our most popular dishes are...” This is a great way for me to bee-line to the items other people like. What popular content pieces are your top sales performers using successfully? What are their favorite tech tools, apps and techniques that help drive their success? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you should. Giving reps access to what works helps them leverage institutional knowledge and elevates their productivity quicker.
Pair up meals with the right wine
Ok, I realize this is hard for servers to get right. And a lot of times we go with our gut instinct on this…or just default to our favorite wine regardless of our meal choice. But if you’ve ever had a good wine recommendation (in a couple cases, a wine I hadn’t even heard of), it makes the food that much more enjoyable. This goes for sales enablement too. With B2B enterprise buying decisions being more protracted than ever, and with more buyers seated at the table than ever, sales reps need to know how to engage with each persona.
They need the ability to quickly pair up presentations, collateral, talk tracks, value propositions with personas so that they can get the best engagement. They also need access to competitive battle cards and scenario-based sales plays. If a rep runs up against the competition without these, s/he is a sitting duck – which happens to pair well with pinot noir.
Ensure water glasses never go empty
I drink a lot of water with my meals – often 3-4 glasses. I know… I’m weird. Any server that can anticipate my camel-like thirst is a god among humans. Hopefully you hired reps who have a desire to learn, gladly accept coaching and want to be mentored. It’s imperative that sales enablement gets this right.
In-context coaching and micro-training are newer ways to ensure that reps are learning at the most optimal time possible. Don’t let the glass of knowledge go empty, leaving them disenchanted with lack of sales support.