What are Random Acts of Sales Support?

August 05, 2014 | Brendan Cournoyer
What are Random Acts of Sales Support?

As sales enablement has grown to become a go-to term for describing ways to improve sales performance and productivity, other phrases have made their way into the conversation as well.

One of my favorites is the concept of ‘random acts of sales support’. You could make a pretty compelling argument that these random acts are among the key reasons why sales enablement as a concept has gotten so popular. But what does it all mean?

What are random acts of sales support?

By all accounts, the phrase was coined a few years back by Forrester’s Scott Santucci in a report titled The Hidden Costs of Sales Support. As Jeff Ernst later summarized on The Sales Enabler blog, “CEOs are demanding that all parts of the company are contributing to revenue generation, but the result is disjointed, redundant efforts.” 

A good start, but there’s obviously more to say. Recently, a new Forrester report from Santucci and a few other contributors was teased with a more descriptive explanation: 

“In an effort to improve the productivity of the sales force and drive more revenue, business-to-business (B2B) companies are inadvertently making it harder for individual salespeople to do their jobs. Uncoordinated but well-intended initiatives generated from many different organizational silos seem to salespeople as random acts and overwhelm them with too much information and not enough purpose.” 

Now we’re getting somewhere. These ‘random acts’ can come from anywhere, but areas like sales management, ops, marketing and product management seem to be the typical culprits. 

I use “culprits” loosely, of course. The most important part of the Forrester teaser above might be “uncoordinated but well-intended.”  Everyone wants to help – which is great! But if content and resources are being created by all these different silos, with no coordinated effort behind it, and a lack of detail on when and how those assets should be used – what do you really have?

And how is that content delivered anyway? Email updates from all different angles? A content portal is a better option, but without a coordinated strategy in place, it can too easily become a dumping ground for information that’s impractical (or impossible) to empower reps in any measurable way. 

It doesn’t take much imagination to see how random acts of sales support can quickly become overwhelming to reps and counterproductive to the cause. 

So what’s the answer? Ardath Albee cited the Forrester report as well and wrote for Marketing Interactions that “the way to stop random acts of sales support begins by mapping all sales enablement initiatives to the four core sales activities.” (Check out the post to find out what those activities are.) 

It’s also a matter of technology. The Brainshark Sales Accelerator provides a strategic sales enablement approach for training, coaching and engagement – enabling reps with the right content at the right time. 

Does your sales organization face ‘random acts of sales support’? How do you combat it? Sound off in the comments below.

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