Top 3 Reasons Why Sales Enablement Is a Game Changer

While it may be no surprise to you as a sales leader, B2B buyer behavior has shifted dramatically in the past few years. There are 3 game changing reasons why sales enablement equips organizations that are slowly adopting these mandatory shifts, while urging themto adapt in a rapidly-changing sales landscape.Several key themes are contributing to this B2B buyer behavior shift that is anticipated to put one million US salespeople out of a job by 2020. With this movement in the landscape, it is critical for B2B sales leaders to assess how their B2B sales and marketing strategies are supporting inspired customer experiences that meet the evolving customer need for self-service, eCommerce and a sales rep interaction that is consultative and not simply transactional.B2B SALES ENABLEMENT EQUIPS SALES TO PROVIDE SELF-SERVICE EXPERIENCESAn increasing majority of B2B buyers now claim that buying online is more convenient than buying from a rep. With this demand for a self-service sales experience, B2B sales and marketing strategies must embrace a fundamental shift in the role of these reps. In today’s sales landscape, buyers are relying more heavily on self-sought research versus talking to reps to learn about products and services. With buyers preferring to do their own pre-sales research by a factor of 3 to 1, how are your B2B strategies equipping sales reps to create value by anticipating the evaluation criteria to move forward in the buyer journey?B2B sales enablement is the set of practices, processes and platforms that boost performance to drive increased revenue through new customer acquisition. Sales enablement assesses your B2B sales and marketing strategy by how it supports funneling strategically-relevant information about your products and services to customers. Sales enablement defines areas where sales reps can more effectively supplement a buyer’s existing knowledge to accelerate their movement through buyer journey to secure a sale.B2B SALES ENABLEMENT PROPELS SALES INTO THE FUTURE TOWARD ECOMMERCE EXPERIENCESNearly 93% of B2B buyers say they prefer to buy online rather than from a sales rep when they have decided what to buy. This is a dramatic shift away from the traditional B2B sales and marketing strategy that encourages sales reps to focus on building ongoing relationships to directly and actively contribute to a sale.With fewer and fewer B2B buyers contacting a sales rep during any part of the buyer journey, it is critical for your B2B sales and marketing strategy to expand channel reach to include online-accessible information. This assists sales-rep-shy customers with a purchase decision. B2B sales enablement identifies is the readiness of your sales organization to support seamless eCommerce experiences for your customers and to maximize your sales force resources. Through clearly-defined practices for your sales team, B2B sales enablement can propel your organization ahead of your competition by creating real-time, self-service eCommerce experiences.B2B SALES ENABLEMENT POSITIONS SALES AS THE CONSULTANT IN AN INSPIRED CUSTOMER EXPERIENCEUshering in this new era of digitally-enabled B2B selling is the sales rep that takes the approach of consulting rather than order taking. These consultative sales reps that compliment a B2B buyer’s online research of your products and services will thrive in an evolving landscape. An adaptive B2B sales and marketing strategy will position reps to be consultants that are impervious to the threats of advancing technology and changing buyer behaviors.Sales enablement can position sales reps to play this continued crucial role as a consultant in B2B buyer interactions. According to Forrest Research, these “Enlighten Me” buyers need a seller that can do the following:

Understand their unique challenges

Explain the nuances of a company’s products & services

Support a customer in bringing together other factors like internal stakeholders & budget
A consultant helps a confused buyer in a complex buying environment weigh additional unseen considerations, creating an inspired customer experiences that helps buyers move closer to a purchase.*”Death of a (B2B) Salesman,” Forrester Research, 2015

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Avoiding The “Average Trap” And Learning To Become A Sales Professional

I have seen how often times people will get into sales as just a “job in between jobs.” They get into sales because it seems easy enough to do if you can handle the long hours, work the weekends, and handle the customers. If you can handle the pressure, multi task well, and keep yourself fairly organized you can probably find a sales job somewhere and get by OK.Lots of salespeople are doing this every single day in the modern world of sales. These salespeople have figured out how to work into their companies system, keep their nose clean, and sell enough to keep the boss happy. In the process they make a little money for themselves.Often times these same people who were “just going to work in sales until something else came along” end up staying in the game far longer than expected. Some of these people even become good salespeople.However, most of them receive only a very basic level of sales training. Most are shown some type of sales process, but then are left to simply figure it out through trial and error with live customers.Eventually through some determination and common sense these salespeople are able to figure out a way to “make it work” for them, and they settle in.These salespeople are often times good employees to the company, and they are usually liked well enough at the office by their colleagues. They never intentionally skate a fellow co-worker, they give their customers adequate service, enough at least to keep them happy.However, these salespeople rarely leave a major impression on their customers, so their customer loyalty is unpredictable.Have you met a salesperson like the one I have described? Hopefully this doesn’t describe you! But if it does, what can you do?See this type of salesperson isn’t a bad salesperson, and often times this salesperson is potentially a very good salesperson that just got stuck in what I call the “average trap” and couldn’t get out.The average trap is when you get comfortable, you get into a routine and you stop challenging yourself to grow and get better.Once you fall into the average trap in one area of your life, it can spread like a disease into all areas of your life quickly.Do You Set Goals Regularly?Do you set goals for yourself on a regular basis? If not, this is typically a sign of someone who is trapped in average thinking, average amounts of action, and likely living way below their potential. I have never known a single successful person that didn’t believe it was important to their success to practice goal setting.You will have a harder time and it will take longer to reach new levels of success in sales if you do not set goals for yourself along the way. You should be constantly trying to improve your performance, using goal setting to raise the bar for yourself over time. Hopefully your goals at the beginning of your career will look much different than 3, 5, or 10 years down the road.That’s one of the many benefits to goal setting. You can look back and see where you started and how far you’ve come, and that keeps you motivated and gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment!Has Your Sales Performance Improved Over Time?If you’re new to sales then you may not have much data to compare to right now. That’s OK. The important thing for you then is to remember not allow yourself to stay stuck in a plateau for too long.You need to find a way to break out of it as fast as possible. One thing that has always helped me do that is to continue the growth and improvement of my knowledge and selling skills.Too many sales people who have been selling for some time get stuck in a rut and stay there far too long because they stop doing basics things that made them successful before. Don’t do this!Also, you need to keep track of your sales performance and analyze it. I would definitely sit down at the end of each month and use the data to prepare for and set goals for the next month.As your sales career progresses and you have more data to analyze you’ll be able to set goals more effectively and ensure you are continually improving your performance.Have Your Skills Improved Over Time?A major red flag and indicator of someone who is stuck in the average trap is someone who’s sales skills haven’t improved for long periods of time. You will find this one everywhere nowadays.There are far too many salespeople lacking in their sales skills who have been in sales for some time. Some salespeople call themselves professionals, but in reality they have very basic selling skills and a lot of experience.It’s somewhat of an epidemic, and just because you have spent time in sales, doesn’t mean you are a true pro.In today’s modern selling world it’s important to have the right skills. Those salespeople that have the knowledge and skills will dominate their space.Many of the skills you need in today’s selling climate have to do with technology. If you don’t know how to initiate a sale through email, text, phone, or close a deal through those methods than you will need to get your sales game up to par asap.You need to be constantly training and improving your skills along with staying current on today’s technology.There Is A Shortage Of Great Salespeople In Today’s World.Do you realize that there is a shortage of great salespeople? Salespeople are mostly “good enough” nowadays, and unfortunately there are a few bad salespeople.The bad salespeople make it hard for the profession to shake off the stereotypes that get attached to it. But unfortunately I don’t think you will ever have any profession where there aren’t some bad apples, sales included.This is why it is so important for these good enough salespeople, who make up the majority of salespeople in the world, to commit themselves to the profession and become great.The world desperately needs more great salespeople. The profession gets stronger every time someone like you commits to their career.Don’t sell yourself short on this, and if you are new to sales make this something you commit to from the start.Even if your current sales job is just something you are doing until you find something you’re more passionate about. I get that! But you will need these skills, and you will most definitely use the sales skills you learn in your career to be successful in life.So commit to learning as much about sales as you can. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain!The great news for someone who decides to commit themselves to becoming great is that this shortage of great salespeople around the world will make you so much more valuable to customers and companies.People know right away that they are dealing with someone who is different when they encounter a salesperson with confidence, conviction and who is clearly completely committed to their career.What Are Some Things That Stand Out About Professional Salespeople?The Professional Is 100% Committed To Their CareerIf you’re going to be considered a real professional, you will need to commit to your career. We have covered this but it truly is a crucial point to understand about becoming great at just about anything in life.No matter who I study, no matter the era, successful people are committed people. This level of commitment demonstrated by the greats is what allows them to move from failure to success when others would end up simply defeated.The Professional Wants To Be Great, Not AverageWhen you are having a conversation with a professional salesperson you can just feel their desire, the passion as they speak.I know for me when I speak with people about sales and the responsibility that comes with being a professional, I get very passionate. There is no shame in wanting to be great in your life, the professional works towards daily.The Professional Is Committed To Their Personal Development & Sales TrainingA professional salesperson is one that you will often times find using their free time to work on personal development and their sales skills. I know for me I try to be a constant student and learn something new everyday.I am an advocate for sales training, and I believe it needs to be done daily to stay sharp! A professional is constantly growing and redefining themselves becoming better versions of themselves over time.A true professional is committed to their personal development.Is The Effort To Become A Sales Professional Worth It In The End?One of the problems I see in many salespeople is they aren’t completely sold themselves on whether becoming a professional is worth the time and effort.New salespeople hear all the horror stories of failed sales jobs and think that’s what’s in it for them. They think a sales job mean they’ll be over worked and under paid.Well let me begin by saying that by now I should have made a pretty good case as to why you would want to consider putting in the effort to become a great salesperson.I want to sell you on becoming great because to me it makes no sense to be in sales and think otherwise. I want you to see that the effort it takes to reach your potential in sales is no greater than the effort to be average.I actually believe it takes more out of a salesperson to produce below their potential than it does to take massive action towards achieving it.When you aren’t living up to your potential, it brings your spirit and will to win down. It brings your attitude down and limits your success. You are always better off working towards your potential and taking positive action!I believe we are created in God’s image, uniquely designed by the creator himself to do amazing things with the abilities he has blessed us with for our lives here on earth.If you are not using your gifts and abilities, it’s only natural that you will feel guilty about this. It’s only natural that you will have this little voice in the back of your head that is calling for you constantly.Some people get good at ignoring that voice, and they do it for so long eventually it becomes harder and harder to hear. At some point the voice gets so low and weak that it’s no longer there at all. This is the “numb” stage of the average trap.This is where you have been living below your potential for so long you are now sold on this level of existence and have accepted it.The good news is you can be “unsold” on this thinking, and that’s what I am hoping to do for you.When you are new to sales it’s like anything else in life that is new and interesting. Whether it’s a new relationship, a new friendship, a new car, a new career, whatever it is it doesn’t matter.When it’s new you are excited and it’s easy to be fully committed to it, you are sold. You’re sold and that’s why you exhibit such energy and enthusiasm day after day in the beginning.You need to maintain that commitment and excitement for your sales career right from the beginning. Like every profession sales has its ups and downs, but you have the ability to choose how you’re going to handle it and deal with it.Stay sold on your goals and the things you wish to accomplish in your career. Listen to that little voice that tells you to do big things and dream about great accomplishments. Learn to make this way of thinking your lifestyle.Here Are Some Things I Think About To Stay Sold On My Sales Career!Personal Fulfillment Because Of My Sales CareerCommitting myself to greatness and maintaining professionalism at all times is very rewarding personally and professionally. My sales career allows me to have purpose, I am able to help people through the products and services I sell.I create the buying experience my customers want and frankly deserve. My sales career makes my life about more than just me, because I am responsible for all my customers.I acquire ongoing knowledge because of my profession, which in turn makes me more valuable to my customers and the company I work for. Customers will pay more to do business with you if you are able to handle things for them efficiently, and professionally.It is a very rewarding feeling to know that someone is willing to pay a little more because they know you will be worth it. That is creating personal value and worth!I have been able to create some wonderful relationships over my years selling. You will hopefully find this to be one of your favorite parts of sales as you get started. I would recommend to you that you get involved with your customers right from the start.Establish yourself a great follow up system. You are in the people business first and foremost, and people still choose to buy from salespeople they like AND trust everyday.I have also developed a tremendous sense of “job security” since committing to and becoming a sales professional. I know that no matter where I go, I know how to sell.I know how to create an opportunity and sell, so there will always be work for someone like myself. A professional knows that his services are always needed because there is such a shortage of great professional salespeople in today’s world.Financial Fulfillment Because Of My Sales CareerMy sales career offers me the opportunity to make the income I desire. This is something you can really use to motivate yourself in sales if you are driven by financial reward. If you are not money motivated, that’s OK I get that too.Personally, I am more motivated by what money does for me than I am the actual money itself. But no matter your view on money, there is no denying the fact that the more money you have, the more people you can help and freedom you will enjoy.A sales career can offer great financial rewards, especially for someone who is committed to becoming a professional and focuses on their training.I love to train and it brings me a greater sense of accomplishment knowing that I can handle myself in the sales process and produce a successful income for myself and my family.So What’s It Going To Be For You, Amateur Or Professional?Well I hope at this point I have made my case to you about the choice you have to make. Regardless, you will make a choice. Will you choose to become a professional, and enjoy a successful career in sales?Or will you choose to remain at amateur status, consistently falling short of your true potential.What kind of a choice are you going to make?In today’s world sales is all about “what have you done for me lately?” You deserve to enjoy a career that offers you personal, professional, and financial fulfillment.Your customers are going to change more and more, and if you don’t choose wisely for your sales career and decide to commit yourself to becoming a pro, you will be left trying to keep your head above water.With customers researching more and more online now than ever before, today’s customer is full of information and looking for someone to help them sort it all out.There is a need for the salesperson just as much today as there was 20 years ago. As technology gets more and more sophisticated our customers will need us more in different ways.If you don’t commit yourself now, you will be left behind.A sales career is no different than any other career, if you don’t know what you’re doing you won’t be successful. If you are not successful you eventually won’t enjoy selling and may even develop a disdain for sales.If you have decided that you want to be great in your sales career, and you want to become a professional salesperson, make sure you commit yourself to continued training and learning.I hope you have decided to become a professional in your sales career. I am rooting for you to be a great salesperson because I love this profession and I want to see more great salespeople out there having success in their careers.I want people to look at a career in sales and see it for what it can be, a wonderful opportunity to create a truly successful life.

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But, I Can’t Afford To Pay the Sales Tax!

As a tax professional that services retailers, I hear the phrase “but, I can’t afford to pay the sales tax” often. These retailers fall into the trap thinking that the sales tax they collect on their product or service belongs to them. Unfortunately, that is not the case and not paying the full amount of taxes collected from consumers will be considered a criminal act. The business owner, who does not pay the full amount of taxes collected, is basically stealing funds from the state or local government imposing the sales tax requirement.In other words, the business owner is assisting the government in collecting their funds. Therefore, to make the process easier on the business owner, and to avoid any audit issues with the state or local government, the sales tax collected should be looked at as a cost of sales and removed from sales income and put aside. For example:Company A has sales income of $1100. Company A does business in Illinois and is required to assess a 10% tax on each sale. Of that $1100, $100 is the sales tax collected. As a result, Company A’s actual sales income is $1000, which can be used for the business. The $100 should be put aside to be sent to the state or local government.Let’s break down this complicated issue and try to alleviate some of the confusion…What is sales tax?This is a tax that is imposed by a state and/or a local government that is paid by the purchaser for goods and, at times, services. As a business owner, you may be required to assess this tax on your products or services, collect it and then send it to the appropriate state or local government within a prescribed time determined by the appropriate authority.Sales tax rates and laws will vary from state to state. This will often add to this tax dilemma, especially if you sell to customers in more than one state. On the other hand, there are some states that do not impose a general sales tax but may have localities within the state that do.The state or locality that imposes this tax requirement will inform the business when to pay the collected taxes, be it monthly or quarterly. Each state will have a special tax return to report ALL sales, taxable sales, exempt sales and the amount of tax due. It would be a mistake to think that you would only report taxable sales. ALL sales should be reported because when you file your annual income tax returns, you will include ALL revenue. If the state or locality compares total revenue on the annual income tax return to the sales tax returns, and they detect a difference, that may trigger a state audit. To avoid any red flags, it is best to report ALL sales and use the proper sections on the sales tax return to show what is taxable sales and non-taxable sales.For a business to collect sales tax, it may be required to obtain a sales tax permit. It is best to seek the advice of a tax professional when setting up your business to make sure that you have all the information you need to successfully operate your business without missing or ignoring the business’s tax obligations.Who determines the sales tax rate?The tax rate is determined by the state or local government where the business plans to operate. When the business goes through the registration process with the state or locality, the business owner will be informed of the tax rate. At times the business may have multiple tax rates depending on the products being sold.Are there any business transactions that are exempt from sales tax?Which goods or services are imposed this tax will vary from state to state, but in general a business will not be required to collect sales tax on resale items, raw materials and non-profits.Resale items are basically items purchased at wholesale to be resold. Sales tax is not typically paid on these items because it is assumed that the consumer will pay the tax on the items when purchased from the retailer. Raw materials are materials a business uses to produce and sell a product. If your business sells these raw materials you will typically not be required to collect this tax. Lastly, sales to non-profit organizations are exempt from this tax requirement.Most importantly, if a business is involved in any of the above-mentioned transactions, it is important to have or request a copy of the buyer’s tax-exempt or reseller certificate. You will always need documentation to prove why sales tax collection was not required.What happens if you sell to consumers in different states?This is where “sales tax nexus” comes into play. Nexus, also referred to as “sufficient physical presence,” is a legal term that refers to the requirement for companies doing business in a state to collect and pay sales tax in that state. This is a complicated, gray area of this tax law and is common for e-commerce and online business owners; however, other businesses may fall into this as well. This creates extra confusion because the business owner wonders which state rules to follow and whether, or not, a sales tax should be charged.Nexus happens when a business has a connection to a state, be it by physical or economic presence. Physical presence can include having an office, employee, warehouse, affiliate or inventory warehousing in a state. Economic presence can create nexus in a state when a seller reaches a certain amount of sales, either through dollar amount or the number of sales transactions, to customers located in that state.The subject of sales tax can be very overwhelming since business owners would rather focus on growing their business and increasing their profits, not wonder what taxes should be charged and paid. To help alleviate some of the stress that comes with handling the business’s tax requirements, seek the advice and assistance of a qualified tax professional.It is of utmost importance to subtract the amount of sales tax collected from a consumer from the daily sales and put it aside. This is critical because it would be a major disappointment for a business owner, who includes the tax collected in his or her total revenue, to realize that he or she did not make as much money as first perceived. Creating the habit of separating the taxes collected from total sales will help the business owner realize their actual sales and avoid spending money that does not belong to the business in the first place.

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