I’ve worked in enterprise software for 25 years, with the last 14 spent working primarily, with financial services firms. I’ve watched a lot of things change in the industry. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the view of ‘sales’ across the financial services industry, until now. When I first started working with financial firms ‘sales’ and ‘sell’ were both considered 4-letter words, and using those words (or any form of them) was met with skepticism or even derision. I was told financial firms don’t ‘sell,’ they ‘establish and enhance relationships.’ I took this advice to heart and steered clear of these terms, and it served me well for more than a decade. However, there seems to be a sea change occurring across the industry.
This Fall a number of my colleagues participated in several conferences, including Dreamforce, the Marketing and Sales Messaging Conference from Corporate Visions, Inc., and the Sales and Marketing Summit hosted by the Corporate Executive Board. In preparation and participation of these conferences we noted a stronger than usual presence of attendees from the financial services industry. Perhaps, what was most enlightening is that each conference focused on enabling sales teams to effectively execute a successful sales process.
That’s right, SALES process! It looks like ‘sales’ may no longer be taboo in the financial services industry; at least not across the entire industry. Our observations above actually cap a trend we’ve tracked over the past four-six months.That trend is the increasing focus of financial firms deploying or redeploying CRM/Sales Force Automation (SFA) systems, implementing more structured sales processes and methodologies, and creating more compelling sales messaging, all with the goal of driving more revenue to the firm.
How do you ensure that proper execution is reinforced and sustained over time across a distributed financial services sales team? I’ll bet that by now, you know what my answer is going to be. That’s right, the answer is sales enablement.
An IDC study found that 35% of the knowledge acquired in training is lost after one month, and that number rises to 90% after six months. So, when deploying a CRM/SFA system, a sales process or methodology, or a sales messaging initiative at your firm, it’s imperative that you reinforce the training you provide to ensure sustained success over time. That’s where a sales enablement solution adds significant value.
Sales enablement supports your sales initiatives by:
- providing an on-demand repository of all training and execution tools and materials for the initiative,
- housing the content that bridges the gap between the lead generation process and a successful client win,
- supporting situational learning by delivering relevant content to support a specific sales activity,
- integrating with your CRM/SFA system to ensure visibility into sales enablement across the entire pipeline, and
- making sure all of the content is available for deployment over mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
So, if you’re firm is investing in sales initiatives to improve sales effectiveness, plan ahead to reinforce the sales team’s initial education and support them in their ongoing execution.Consider a sales enablement solution to maximize your investment.