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The Sales Review

Learn about emerging best practices, strategies and insights on B2B sales today dedicated for the modern sales organization.

How to Sell Faster Using ChatBots for Sales Enablement

Posted by Ben Cotton on Aug 24, 2018 5:47:24 PM

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When asked about the defining difference between successful sales outreach and those which fail to close the deal, there are two common, differentiating factors.

Relevancy and Speed.

Your sales pitch has to be highly targeted to the prospect. It has to speak to their needs and highlight how you can help. But it also has to be delivered quickly.

In fact, 35-50% of sales go to the vendor who replies first.

 

35-50

Most brands nowadays are putting together great proposals and sales sequences for their prospects. But if you want to beat out the competition, you’ve got to beat them to the punch.

Question is, how can you speed up the proposal process?

The Role Sales Enablement Plays in Your Sales Team

Sales enablement is a relatively new term.

It’s a function like no other. You could argue it’s most similar to management consultancy in that it involves building strategies and influencing people, so they take the right action at the right time.

But it’s more than that.

Its primary goal is to help your sales team become more effective in what they’re doing. To improve their understanding of the product they’re selling and give them the tools, insight and materials they need to close deals with a shorter turnaround.

If I had to sum it up succinctly, I’d say it was about strategizing your communication. Bringing everything your sales team needs together in one place, cutting out the fluff, and focusing on the help and actions that lead to success at that moment in time.

Despite being a relatively new role, the process of streamlining communication and enablement of sales teams is already having a huge impact on the industry.

● Over 75% of companies using sales enablement tools indicated sales increased over the last 12 months (HighSpot).

● Sales enablement technology is currently a $780M market, and it is expected to be worth $5B by 2021 (Aragon Research).

● Companies with a sales enablement team are 52% more likely to have a sales process that’s tightly aligned with the buyer’s journey (HighSpot).

Your sales reps already know how to sell and what’s required of them. Sales enablement doesn’t change any of the fundamentals, it simply sits on top of the existing sales structure offering support where it’s needed most.

However, figuring out what your sales team needs to take their success to the next level is easier said than done.

What Salespeople Need (and How Sales Enablement Gives it to them)

The sales enablement role is not to meddle with things when they’re going well, but to provide support when it’s needed, even if it’s not requested. You’re not there to micromanage a team but rather act in a supporting and consultative role for them.

That could be to offer strategic oversight on a difficult deal, talk through some tactical points on their next meeting, recommend the most relevant case studies to leverage, or even just offer some general support to help them be more efficient.

There’s no one area sales enablement focuses on. If it can help you close deals smarter and faster, it’s part of the sales enablement strategy.

However, that’s not to say there’s not a structure. Generally speaking, you can bunch the kind of requests sales enablement deals with into four different areas.

By breaking it down into these four areas we can better understand what tactics and plays will offer the most support and assistance. I like to call these areas the four pillars of sales enablement (some companies also include CRM and sales methodology within sales enablement).

pillars of sales enablement

Once you’ve identified the four key pillars of sales enablement, you need to ensure there are clear and quick lines of communication between your sales team and sales enablement professional.

The goal is to ensure your sales team have access to the training and materials they need to close deals with as little delay as possible. Of course, this is quite difficult and as your sales enablement efforts grow, so too will the request that come in.

That’s where automation plays a part.

Automation & Sales Enablement

As you get to grips with sales enablement you’ll find two primary forms of queries coming through from your sales team.

  • Consultant based questions - Low volume but high-value questions that require a bespoke response.
  • Agent-based questions - High volume, low-value questions for which templates often suffice.

The consultant based questions are when a sales rep needs specific advice or coaching. Perhaps assistance with the strategy for a specific deal, how to tailor a sales pitch for a difficult client, or something similar.

This is where you want your sales enablement professional to be spending their time. These are the questions where they will provide the most value and biggest impact on deals.

This is where you want your sales enablement professional to be spending their time. These are the questions where they will provide the most value and biggest impact on deals.

  • [Competitor name] competitive intelligence
  • SaaS case studies
  • ROI of HubSpot
  • GDPR information
  • Sales decks

Regardless of the sales rep or lead, the answers to these questions are always the same. Answering them numerous times a day is a great way to waste the time of your sales enablement team.

As soon as you see a question come in numerous times, you want to look at creating a templated response for it and experiment with the best ways to deliver the answer to your sales team.

Email is a potential option here, but we’ve seen some great results with creating a chatbot specifically for these agent-based questions.

Results from HubSpot's Experiment with the "Sales Bot"

Working as the Sales Enablement lead for HubSpot I needed to find the best possible method to get these templated answers into the sales team’s hands.

When considering what channel to offer the templated answers through, I considered a number of options.

  • Email could work but the triggers were very difficult to set up, maintain, and change
  • A knowledge base or FAQ would be a good option but still lost time due to filtering needs
  • Phone wouldn’t work as I needed to distance myself from these templated answer

All could work, but there was always a drawback. 

Rather than deal with the drawbacks, I asked myself about the habits of the average sales team. Most sales teams are in the habit of using chat tools, like HubSpot’s Live Chat Software, to chat with prospects as they’re on site.

It’s often a preferred tool for sales teams as it allows for immediate responses, so why not build something similar for the assistance they need? That’s why I turned my attention to building a ChatBot through Slack.

A sales rep could tap a question into Slack, the ChatBot would pick up on keywords and immediately provide a response. Some of the major benefits of using a ChatBot include:

  1. It Streamlines Sales Processes: Short, easy to read messages and immediate responses empower sales reps in seconds.
  2. It’s scalable: You can create a ChatBot to handle a single query or easily build it out to handle dozens. We improve ours once a week with very little effort.
  3. It’s available 24/7 Which is a major benefit for international sales teams or those who work peculiar hours.

What this has resulted in is a huge freeing up of my time. I no longer deal with low-value questions and have more time to focus on helping those who need strategic assistance.

Within the initial three months of launching the ChatBot we saw:

  1. Approximately 20 hours of time saved per month because the ChatBot helped answer over 500 low-value questions per month.
  2. I moved the needle on bigger deals. Those 20 hours were immediately reinvested into the larger strategic decisions which led to more high-value deals being closed.

Sales Enablement is Here to Stay, And ChatBots Will Play a Major Part in its Future

Sales enablement is going from strength to strength.

However, if you’re trying to handle every single request that comes through you’re going to struggle to keep up. Your sales enablement team is going to be unable to offer any real help or move the needle in a meaningful way.

ChatBots and messaging apps are the perfect channel for sales enablement thanks to their short response time and easily assimilated information.

The rise of live chat is going to drive sales enablement forward and help even more brands offer better support to their sales teams.

 

Ben Cotton

About the Author

Ben leads sales enablement for HubSpot in EMEA. He is passionate about inbound marketing and shares his thoughts on all things marketing, sales, SaaS, tech and startup related at ben-cotton.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenCotton.