Sales Enablement provides better lead flowInterview
Sayee BhuvaneswariSenior Vice President, Sales & Solutions at Hitachi Solutions India
Though Sayee Bhuvaneswari admits that deciding on the right channels and the best time to invest in could pose a challenge while adopting sales enablement, she has no doubts on how implementing the practice can provide you with better insights into the markets and offer transparency in the sales process.
We speak to Sayee Bhuvaneswari, Senior Vice President, Sales & Solutions at Hitachi Solutions India , who doesn’t believe in set definitions and would rather chase numbers than obsess over strategy.
Interviewed by Prajwala Hegde
What are the tools or platforms currently being used by your organisation while adopting sales enablement? How difficult is it to incorporate new tooling into existing sales processes and ensuring that it fits seamlessly into daily workflow?
We use Microsoft CRM as well as internal tools for sales enablement. When I say in-house tools, it is basically CRM for prospecting, lead conversion and opportunities tracking. A sales repository is maintained at every stage of the CRM process. Apart from this, we also use SharePoint which is integrated with CRM for sales enablement to store sales kit, marketing material, deal qualification and relevant case studies. In case of third party tools, we do use packages.
Yes, any new tool introduced will have its own challenges for adoption. We have done it for years and the process is seamless now. We do collect feedback from the users.
What is the level of adoption in your company with respect to sales enablement?
I would say that it is around 70% given that sales teams are generally more interested in closure than leveraging tools. However, if it helps in speedy closure, then they would certainly use them. Both functions (sales and marketing) come under me and the marketing team doesn’t always get feedback from the sales team and vice-versa.
What do you think is still missing in the sales process after implementing sales enablement?
I would say the missing part is betterment of Sales MIS (Management Information System).
For example, if I carry out an event in a different geographic region, there is no way for me to know how it turned out and how many sales leads were generated from it unless a robust sales MIS is in place. So, I am not able to measure the ROI (Return on Investment) and that is an issue.
What would you say are the benefits of adopting sales enablement within an organization?
The advantages are transparency of the sales process, better deal qualification, quicker turnaround of proposals and most importantly, better lead flow.
I have done sales without implementing sales enablement, but when you do that, it’s not possible to get a 360-degree view of the process and you lose out on some insights on the market.
What are the challenges you have faced while implementing sales enablement?
The biggest challenge would be investing in the right channels at the right time – given that sales enablement can be done to any extent. I had to clearly draw a line between enablement and complete support. The primary reason adoption is frequently poor is because the focus is placed on tooling acquisition than what happens post acquisition and I have gone through that.
Who is in charge of sales enablement within the company?
I’m in charge. I head Sales and Marketing.
How effective have the sales enablement initiatives which you have implemented during the past two years been? Have they met all your original expectations?
It could have been much better. Given that I head sales, my time goes mostly into sales than marketing or enablement. I am planning to get my marketing team go full swing this year on enablement and we are looking forward to a great year. Like I mentioned earlier, I run behind numbers and this year is going to be pretty heavy in terms of adopting the enablement practice.
Are you using any tool that helps your sales person find the right content to use in his sales pitch?
We use SharePoint linked to our CRM for storing all sales and marketing collateral.
Are all your sales content organized & managed on a single platform?
Yes, it is. All in one single platform.
Do you use a tool that helps you push the right content piece to a customer based on the buying cycle and the customer’s past record, if any?
This is being planned for the coming fiscal as the next improvement to our current sales cycle.