Yesterday, we posted a blog on the best practices when adding e-commerce in solution based selling.  Today, we'll delve into additional best practice tips.


Best Practice #3: Train your sales organization on the new approach, then support them in selling it. Companies with the best results in solution-based selling invest carefully in effective training and support to ensure their sales teams can succeed. Though providing the right resources to help staff adopt new roles, skills, and tools can be challenging—and theories abound about the optimal approach—research by Aberdeen[ii] shows that top-performing companies employ best practices like these:

  • Define competencies for each sales role rather than using a monochromatic training methodology across your entire enterprise.
  • Establish a formal process to measure individual, region, and team competencies based on pre-established requirements for sales management and skill development, and ensure that hired or reassigned candidates demonstrate the relevant proficiencies.
  • Use assessment/measurement tools to understand post-training performance and determine how the sales results of participants change after training.

Such strategies drive notable gains in many areas, including 10 to 18 percent higher achievement of team and individual sales quotas compared to non-adopers.[iii] And while training lays the essential groundwork, best-in-class businesses also support sales personnel in explaining solutions—e.g., by sending operational experts to prospect meetings to demonstrate how their PunchOut catalog or e-invoicing application works.


Best Practice #4: Obtain the right credentials. It’s easy to claim expertise in a specific solution area, but your words will carry a lot more weight with buyers if you have the relevant certifications, licenses, or other credentials to back them up. For example, if you’re offering e-commerce through Ariba, becoming Ariba Ready reassures customers that you have the knowledge and skills they seek.


cSubs: Delivering the Goods in a Whole New Way

The evolution of content from print to electronic media in recent years has created dramatic changes for both publishers and consumers. This market shift spurred cSubs, a subscription and resource knowledge management company, to transform its own solutions through e-commerce to help customers better navigate the complexities of managing online content. The company built a series of pre- and post-purchase services on top of its Ariba PunchOut catalog that resolved each pain point customers faced—with centralized, consolidated tools to fix access issues, streamline renewals, eliminate duplicate and unnecessary purchases, clarify rules for distribution and sharing, automate contracts, and much more. (Hear about cSubs’ transformation firsthand by listening to this Ariba LIVE SlideShare session.)


In the next blog, we'll share our final best practices tips
If you don't want to wait until tomorrow to learn more, go to the Supply Lines group to read the full article.


[i] “Buyer Behavior Helps B2B Marketers Guide The Buyer’s Journey,” Lori Wizdo, Principal Analyst Serving Sales Enablement Professionals, Forrester Research, October 2012.

[ii] Train, Coach, Reinforce: Best Practices in Maximizing Sales Productivity, Aberdeen Group, October 2012.

[iii] Sales Performance Optimization 2013: Aligning the Right People, Processes, and Tools, Aberdeen Group, February 2013.

[iv] 2013 State of B2B Procurement Study, Acquity Group, May 2013


This article is part of the current issue of Ariba Supply Lines. Ariba Supply Lines is a quarterly newsletter that provides valuable tips, best practices, and the latest thinking to take your online business relationships with your buying customers to the next level.

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