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Organizations rely on sales enablement for a variety of reasons, whether it’s helping reps engage with more informed and better educated buyers, supporting the creation and effectiveness of sales content or streamlining the sales process to enable a more efficient sales team. There’s a lot to be done, but a sales enablement leader must remember that sales reps’ number one priority is to close deals. One of the best ways to enable a sales organization is to recognize when to step back and let the team focus on selling, especially during a hectic time like the end of the quarter.
Here are some end of quarter do’s and don’ts for sales enablement leaders to help their sales teams close out the quarter in the best way possible.
Motivate your sales team: There’s no better time to cheer on a sales team than at the end of the quarter. Remind them that you’re there to help them close the quarter strong, whether that means providing resources, removing bottlenecks or simply being available. Find ways to show your support and acknowledge their efforts. For example, you can send out a daily shout-out via email to recognize successes or a “ring the bell” email to publicize closed won deals. Bring in breakfast or lunch for them. Congratulate them when a deal closes. Distribute prizes. It goes a long way!
Evaluate initiatives from the quarter: The end of quarter is a great time to think about the sales enablement programs you launched throughout the quarter and analyze the impact each had on the business. A best practice is to not only measure the results of your sales enablement programs, but to promote these results to your leadership team.
For example, if you launched a certification program during the quarter, see if you achieved the desired completion rates. Or for your sales coaching program, analyze the changes in rep productivity or performance. Evaluating the quarter’s initiatives will help you demonstrate the value of sales enablement to the broader organization and prioritize programs for the next quarter. It also provides an opportunity to identify any gaps that need to be addressed quickly.
Review your plan for the upcoming quarter: Every sales enablement team should have a strategic sales enablement plan that prioritizes projects, while providing an expected timeline of deliverables. Look at your sales enablement plan and adjust it according to changes within your business. By the end of the quarter, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how well the team performed. If performance wasn’t as good as expected, identify why you fell short. Or maybe there was a lot of turnover with new hires, so see if your onboarding program needs to be revamped.
Also, use this time to identify trends in the industry and review the market for any new competitors or products. Have there been any changes that would require you to adjust your strengths and weaknesses? This may also be a good time to focus your attention on networking with other sales enablement professionals or contributing thought leadership internally or externally.
Communicate too much: Limit your communications, whether it’s emails, announcements or newsletters during this time. Typically, you’ll only want to send urgent communication that assists them in closing the quarter strong or “light” communication that’s easy to digest, such as an announcement about a process change or a mini-competition to motivate the team. Rather than sending multiple communications that could be overlooked, send a newsletter that contains all the communications in one place. Establish a regular cadence for this so your sales team knows when to expect it and eventually, they’ll be looking forward to it!
Launch ANY sales enablement learning initiatives: The best way sales enablement can help a sales team is to avoid scheduling learning programs at the end of the quarter. Let your sales team sell and don’t distract them! Besides, they really won’t see the full value of training sessions, certification programs, or coaching when they’re heads-down and focused on closing deals.
Implement new tools or processes: Let’s face it, unless it’s a process that allows them to close more deals faster at the end of the quarter, don’t do it. New tools and processes require change management and user adoption. This can be frustrating and time consuming and can have a negative impact at the end of the quarter. As a sales enablement professional, the end of the quarter is a great time for you to work on a project plan to support an upcoming launch of new tools or processes, but save the sales-facing stuff until after your team closes.
For ideas on how to coach your ever-changing sales force, check out our eBook: Next-Gen Coaching for the Next-Gen Sales Force.