On how sales enablement fit with improved performance, Sam Robinson says, that enablement is a very broad adjective used to cover a multitude of sins and often used for let’s get it off my desk. Sam is very clear that Sales Enablement is how can we make you more effective at getting sales to drive business performance.
The tried and tested method Sam has successfully worked with at Sage is Structure, Mindset and Skills.
The structure is the programmes you have like salesforce, sixth sense etc
Skillset though selling group curiosity that improves the questioning techniques.
Mindset through the decision-making circle, branded as the buyer’s mindset. This help salespeople to understand that there are two people in the dance, seller and the buyer and the programme help salespeople walk in the customer’s shoes. It starts with the customer.
This idea that the customer is always right is nonsense, says Sam.
Structure, Skill, Mindset helps to manage the anxiety that buyers may have and to understand: what are the drivers and how the drivers affect the gaps in the business, how do our solution plug the gaps and how we manage the anxieties that the customer may have?
We talk about language and Sam referenced, Dr Ceri Evan, book Performance Under Pressure, who talks about this topic? For example, a language like the word objection, and rather than a sales threat to be overcome, is really the customer expressing anxiety and this humanises the whole process.
Sam quotes Barry Rhein who first ran his Selling through curiosity workshops, and he would say, did the customer say X or was it your interpretation of what the customer said, what did they actually say? As the seller, we do get lazy and you must be focused and disciplined about how you get better.
I read a post in LinkedIn that said that “Buyers were progressing faster than sellers are improving” and I think that’s a truism for years sellers have rested on their laurels when it came to improving their skills. Yes, buyers have more access to information, it does not mean they have interpreted the information correctly, says Sam, just that they are more informed, which means sellers must up their game.
Sam said that their programme in Sage has helped their salespeople see that social selling is a route to market.
Sam said, do you have 10 years’ experience, or do you have 1-year experience 10 times? The seller runs away from feedback, but feedback is just useful information. Skillset. Mindset and Structure, says Sam, if you get these three things in balance means salespeople must adapt.
A previous role gave Sam, insight into different cultures and allowed him to see rich cultures. We see more ethnic diversity and there are many more women in sales. Sam quoted, Matthew Syed on the diversity of thought, stating diversity of say, ethnicity or gender does not guarantee diversity of thought. Sam sees the benefits of being challenged as he is often by his Millennial team and said that we are nowhere near the finish line on diversity.
Sam top tip is to focus on the basics. “World Class execution of the basics” is a mantra Sam has developed his career around. When things start to go wrong go back to the basics. Particularly in the sales enablement world, there are many snake oil salespeople trying so sale solutions.
As SAAS organisation Sage like any recurring revenue model, the focus must be on the customer, otherwise, in 30 days they will go elsewhere.
Sam started life as a shipyard electrician and got into sales because he wanted a free car (as it was in those days). He has sold copiers for Canon and production publishing systems to Xerox key accounts. However, having moved into training in 2000, he has focused on driving sales performance. Whether through Xerox TV which he started and ran for 6 years or through delivered the Decision Making Cycle; the focus has always been improving performance for Sam Robinson, Director Sales Enablement Sage.