Although there’s a frenzy of investment happening in the sales enablement technology space right now, there is still a disconnect between the excitement for innovation and the efficacy of the software.

According to the Sales Enablement Optimization Study from CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group, the number of companies with a sales enablement function has almost doubled year over year, but the number of companies meeting their sales enablement goals has only grown slightly during the same period (from 31 percent to 34 percent).

Why is there such a disconnect between sales enablement investment and business results?

One of the reasons is that many companies view sales enablement as an experimental investment in software, rather than a strategic function enabled by technology. As a result, many sales enablement platforms serve up a mess of data that doesn’t actually help sales reps improve their performance. Much like CRMs, these technology tools produce backward-looking data, misaligned with processes and lacking a methodology that guides the sales person through the opportunity.

Most sales enablement platforms today don’t answer the critical question on the minds of salespeople everywhere: What are the actions I should take right now to win this deal?

At the Elevate 2018: Innovation in Action conference, you’ll learn how to navigate the business disruptions happening in the industry and prepare for the future of sales. Here’s a preview of a presentation from Dana Hamerschlag, chief product officer of Miller Heiman Group, on how cutting-edge technology can equip sales teams with the actionable insights they need to win more deals.  

Sales enablement technology feels like a burden to sales reps

Sales enablement platforms that don’t use data to guide seller behavior run the risk of becoming an administrative burden for sales reps. While sales leaders and sales managers are excited about the technology, sales reps see it as a mandate from above that takes time away from selling. Their perception is that sales enablement tools simply put more work on their shoulders and don’t actually help them do their jobs more effectively. The technology isn’t useful to them because it doesn’t connect back to their daily tasks.

Part of the reason these technology investments often fail to deliver the desired outcomes is because the organization’s sales enablement tools lack structure around data inputs connected to seller actions. Like CRMs, these solutions only focus on data outputs, which can’t guide behavior.

For example, some sales enablement platforms require sales reps to capture video of their pitches in order to provide valuable learning experiences across the organization. It seems like a great idea, but when sellers take the time to watch and grade these videos, the aggregate data outputs don’t provide any suggestions about how they should change their behavior.  The tool becomes an administrative burden with little value to the salesperson.

This has always been the problem with sales technology: It focuses only on data outputs and outcomes. For salespeople to adopt a technology, it has to measure behavioral data inputs and recommend actions. Once the seller is motivated to provide structure on the the input side of the equation, you can analyze which seller behaviors lead to winning, and then replicate those actions across the sales organization.

You can’t throw technology at salespeople and expect better results if you don’t incentivize the inputs while measuring the behavior. The structure of the data must connect back to seller behavior and show them the actions they need to take to repeat success.

This is where the right input-focused technology comes into play.

The right input-focused technology

What sales reps and managers really need is sales enablement technology that provides structure around data inputs — the specific actions sales reps must take to win more sales. Instead of forcing people to wade through an avalanche of data and make their own determinations about what to do next, technology needs to provide insight and answers.

Miller Heiman Group is in the process of building a sales technology platform that solves this problem by predicting the methodology-backed seller actions that will most improve the odds of winning a deal. By understanding how inputs like identifying an economic buyer or coach translate into sales outcomes like closed deals, sales technology suddenly becomes less of a burden and more of a seller’s best friend.

Combining data inputs and outputs, this new technology succeeds where so many other sales  platforms have failed — changing seller behavior.

To find out more, grab a seat at Dana’s presentation. Register now for Elevate 2018: Innovation in Action from April 16-17 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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