4 takeaways from the first Sales Enablement event in Finland
The first dedicated Sales Enablement event was organized by Helsinki Sales Academy on 4.9.2018 in Helsinki. After working already years around this topic, it was a delight for us to notice that Sales Enablement is starting to get wider exposure and awareness among the sales professionals in Finland, and we were pleased to be invited as a partner in organizing the event.
What did we learn?
Throughout the day we heard lots of good insights about the nature of sales nowadays, how it has transformed over time, and how companies are now strategically building sales enablement in their organizations. From all those interesting presentations, we picked couple topics that especially caught our attention and which we wanted to analyze a bit more.
1. “Hierarchy is too slow for modern organizations”
One of the speakers was Ambientia’s Jaakko Kankaanpää, who brought up how the organizational structures are changing in today’s digital disruption. No one is the boss of anyone. This is a valid point. If a company is strictly hierarchically managed from top down, the employees are not given the chance to manage their own work. Most often the employees have the best knowledge in their field of expertise. If they’re not empowered to control and direct their work, companies are not enabling both the employees and the company to reach their full potential.
Regarding the new ways of working and enabling, Helsingin Sanomat (https://www.hs.fi/ura/art-2000005811484.html) just had an article about the Finnish rapidly grown success company SuperCell, which is not using processes or rules. Instead the responsibility over decision making is up to the employees who have the best understanding of their customers and what should be done.
2. “Half of the Fortune 500 in 2000 have disappeared”
Mr. Kankaanpää also pointed out that half of the Fortune 500 companies in 2000 no longer exist. The winning organizations are closest to the customer - “To be fast & agile enough and truly innovate, we need to be closer to the customer than ever before”. It seems to be the recipe to success, when considering the star companies in the last decades, like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, etc.
3. “Look beyond the expressed needs”
Accenture’s Kari Kaario emphasized that buyer organizations are increasingly looking for outcome-based selling. There’s less interest in the product. What matters is the outcome. Many organizations have been built into silos around certain products or services. Now there’s an increasing demand for cross-functional team work in the seller organizations to provide the right service, value and outcome for the buyer.
Also, Air Liquide’s Alexandre Tremblot de La Croix highlighted the importance of being customer centric. According to their customer studies, what really matters to the customers and their loyalty is that the seller understands their needs. The buying experience is valued a lot higher than products, services or the price-to-value ratio. So, instead of receiving selling, customers are looking for understanding.
The buying experience is valued a lot higher than products, services or the price-to-value ratio.
We agree with these insights, and earlier we’ve been sharing our thoughts on selling being helping. It’s highly important to understand the customers’ situations and ensure that the solutions are providing value for them.
4. “80% of the decision is made before meeting salespeople”
Asiakastieto’s Mikko Karemo pointed out in his presentation that most companies have already made 80% of the buying decision before involving salespeople. This is an interesting insight, and most often it’s likely true. The buyer has already identified a need or a problem before looking for a solution.
The buyer has already identified a need or a problem before looking for a solution.
However, based on our experience, you as a seller place yourself in the best position if you can identify the buyer’s need before them. You’re doing the buyer a favor and saving them from spending time and resources on figuring it out a need or a problem themselves. It obviously requires expertise and understanding from the seller to notice how to improve the buyer’s operations. But if you get there, it’s easy and natural to provide your matching solution for the buyer. Then there’s a good chance that they end up choosing you after you’ve already proven your capability to understand their business and that you care about them. As a result, you can avoid the RFP competition with many other vendors with a far lower chance to win the deal.
All in all, it was enjoyable to be a part of the first Sales Enablement -event in Finland. Above, we just mentioned a couple of topics which were discussed during the event. Plenty of other interesting presentations, discussions, speed dates and networking happened throughout the day. We are already looking forward to the next event!
Thank you for all organizers, participants and people with an interest in Sales Enablement!
Lauri Ruhala, CEO
+358 50 410 0052