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Sales Enablement: Why Customer Evidence is Vital to Sales Success

Written by Evan Huck
Published on June 1, 2022

The purpose of sales enablement is to empower sales with the tools, resources, and skills they need to sell more effectively. One of the biggest problems sales enablement leaders face is having a super limited library of customer success stories with major gaps in representation. Yet, organizations that leverage customer evidence experience a 10x greater year-over-year increase in annual revenue. With a lack of high-impact customer content, sales reps are often inhibited from closing deals and increasing win rates. The solution is simple — sales enablement leaders need to create a robust library of customer evidence across all industries, company sizes, personas, and use-cases. 

Empowered with an arsenal of customer success stories, sales reps are enabled to upsell and cross-sell faster and more often. According to Gartner, collecting customer evidence can increase upselling and cross-selling success rates by 15% to 20%. In this article, we’re diving into customer evidence, what it is and how sales enablement leaders can leverage it to provide sales reps with the content they need to drive sales.

What is Customer Evidence?

Customer evidence is a persuasive form of content that communicates the value of your product through the voice of your customer. For example, a case study detailing a customer’s success with your product is customer evidence. Or, an impactful testimonial from a previous customer discussing how your product led to a 25% increase in sales is also customer evidence. While it can be presented in various forms, the purpose of customer evidence is to establish the credibility of your brand and showcase your product’s value. 

Let’s jump right into the benefits of providing your sales team with customer evidence and why it’s vital to sales success.

A Large, Diverse Library of Customer Stories Increases Relevance and Credibility

Today, B2B buyers want to know that the solution they’re vetting has worked for other companies that look like them — same industry, persona, company size, use-case, etc. Therefore, it’s important for sales enablement leaders to create a complete library of customer evidence and success stories across all industries, company sizes, personas, and use cases. Having a searchable, taggable, filterable library of content assets for sales reps is a critical step in enabling them to sell efficiently and effectively.

Customer evidence demonstrates the effectiveness and credibility of your product which helps buyers feel more confident in their purchasing decision. Consider this. B2B buyers are tasked with making high-consideration technology purchases that can range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes millions). And where there is a lot of money on the line, there are also a lot of risks (the CYA principle - Cover Your…Butt). B2B buyers are more comfortable making a large purchase if they know the product has worked for many of their peers in the same industry, company size, etc. Thus, enabling your sales team with high-impact, relevant content derived from customer evidence is essential to the success of closing larger deals.

For instance, requests from sales reps might be as specific as, “I’m talking to a CIO at a large healthcare organization in Europe, who is evaluating us vs competitor X, do we have any similar customers?” If you are going to fulfill these specific requests, you need to have a very large, diverse library of stories (i.e. across 17 industries, 4 company sizes, 5 regions, 3 personas).

Customer Evidence Showcases Value and Helps Sales Reps Prove ROI

Sales enablement content is created with the explicit goal of driving sales. This type of content needs to have a strong and meaningful impact on the buyer. Thus, sales enablement content is usually focused on communicating value and proving the ROI of a product. This is where customer evidence excels.

By leveraging customer evidence in sales enablement content, sales reps are able to use the voice of the customer to exhibit value to the buyer at each stage of their buyer’s journey. For example, Gitlab was able to collect the following customer proof point to share with buyers:Gitlab was able to collect this customer proof point to share with buyers. Not only does this customer proof point place a spotlight on the value GitLab brings to their business, but it also details the return on investment this business garnered from investing in GitLab. The truth is, buyers don’t want to hear from the sales rep about how great GitLab is in their opinion. This testimonial proves the value of GitLab by showcasing that customers with similar use cases experience a positive ROI and get a lot of value out of their partnership with GitLab.

Customer Evidence Helps Sales Reps Upsell and Cross-sell

Too often, sales reps have difficulty crafting compelling arguments for customer renewals, up-selling, and cross-selling. However, with customer evidence, sales reps are enabled to upsell and cross-sell more often and at a faster clip. When 70-95% of revenue derives from upsells and renewals, it’s critical to leverage the right content to support upselling tactics.

For instance, Yellowbrick, a data warehouse, enables its sales reps with customer evidence in the form of graphs. Take a look at the graph below depicting various features of Yellowbrick and which features are most important to their customers.A graph depicting various features of Yellowbrick and which features are most important to their customers. By referencing this graph, Yellowbrick sales reps are able to showcase and upsell customers on the various features of Yellowbrick. For example, say a customer initially invested in Yellowbrick for its high availability and seamless integration and might not have had knowledge about its other capabilities. Upon viewing this graph (and understanding that a large number of users utilize Yellowbrick for other use cases) they may now be interested in purchasing Yellowbrick’s security and compliance capabilities or disaster recovery as a service. 

Customer Evidence Is The Best Way to Beat Competitors 

Another type of sales enablement content is competitor analyses. Customer evidence can help you distinguish your product from competitors. With the right technology to capture customer evidence, you can let your customers articulate why they chose your solution over others or switched from a competitor to your product.

Take a look at the examples below. The first example is a graph depicting the percentage of Yellowbrick customers who evaluated competitors but ultimately decided to invest in Yellowbrick.A graph depicting the percentage of Yellowbrick customers who evaluated competitors but ultimately decided to invest in Yellowbrick. This graph illustrates the different competitors that were most vetted by Yellowbrick customers before making a purchase. Sales enablement leaders can provide this information to their sales reps to strengthen their argument and help them articulate why their solution is more effective than competitors.

The next example is a customer testimonial detailing, in her own words, why she chose Wrike over competitors:Example of customer evidence in the form of a customer testimonial. In this testimonial, Tracey Perry, Digital Project Manager at MDC Holdings, explains her reasoning for preferring Wrike as her go-to work management system over competitors. This testimonial can be embedded in sales enablement content such as a case story, 1-pager, product overview, and more.

Final Thoughts

The role of a sales enablement leader is to equip sales reps with the tools and resources they need to exceed sales goals and expectations. Customer evidence is key to empowering sales teams with impactful content derived directly from customer success stories to: 

  • Motivate new buyers to make a purchase 
  • Upsell and cross-sell current customers
  • Make a lasting impact on buyers throughout each stage of their buyer journey

With UserEvidence, you can collect, review, and share customer evidence to strengthen your sales enablement strategies and equip your sales team with content that is sure to drive sales. 

Explore the platform and discover the possibilities — book a demo.

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