Think Like Birchbox to Win More Sales

When sales are stalling and your executives look to sales enablement to help, most people’s gut reaction is to scrap everything and start over. But how do you know where the real problem lies?

Optimizing your sales training for successful communication requires figuring out specifically what information is lacking or outdated, and then revamping and adjusting your content accordingly. Take a lesson from Birchbox, the personal product subscription service. In just a few years, it’s become a booming business by customizing products and services to appeal to its end users.

How does Birchbox work? Each month, subscribers receive a selection of samples. Upon sign-up, users answer a series of questions about their interests, style, activities and grooming habits. Birchbox uses this data to procure samples from both well-known brands and emerging gems – mixing the tried and true with a possible new favorite. Brand partnerships are decided through data collected from Birchbox’s 800,000+ subscribers, and each individual user enjoys a box of samples curated specifically for them. Birchbox’s “think outside the box” approach to customization can teach us tons about optimization of sales training content.

So what does Birchbox’s winning strategy have to do with empowering your sales teams? Here are three lessons you can apply to your sales enablement.

Lesson 1: Give the people what they want.

By making its users feel like each product is customized just for them and that they’re getting expert advice tailored to their needs and interests, Birchbox has developed a loyal following of repeat customers. As reported in Fast Company, 50% of its subscription customers go on to purchase products from Birchbox’s e-commerce site, which ultimately generates about 30% of the company’s revenue.

Sales spin: Consider customizing and packaging training materials for each person on your sales team, based on things like their product, industry and coverage areas.  This will help the reps focus on gaining the knowledge and confidence they need to close more sales. From the client’s perspective, a well-prepared salesperson is someone with whom they will feel comfortable pursuing an ongoing business relationship with.

Lesson 2: Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Birchbox essentially developed a sales model in which customers get to sample products along with content that teaches them about how to maximize those products. From there, they are encouraged to purchase the products they enjoyed the most. All the while, Birchbox is accumulating valuable consumer insights that it shares with its product partners and strategically analyzes in order to make constant improvements to the business.

Whether it’s more closely matching the actual product contents of future boxes to each customer’s preference or helping product partners test new items, keeping an open mind has helped Birchbox grow based on data, not assumptions.

Sales spin: Take the time to understand your sales team’s needs, inside out. This will allow you to be more nimble about improving their training and sales enablement materials. A collaborative content platform allows you to create content experiments that you can deploy and tweak in real-time. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” sales playbook — it has to be adjusted as the market changes or the product evolves, which is why relying on a static PDF or paper delivery system is not the most effective way to operate.

Lesson 3: Use content to stand out.

Providing customers with sample-sized beauty products is hardly a new concept, but Birchbox’s unique packaging idea and supporting content is what has made it successful. The company powers a popular blog and prints beauty guides for its boxes that are the equivalent of a beauty magazine. As such, Birchbox is able to package in its recommendations right along with the products.

Sales spin: Arming your sales team with dynamic, interactive, and beautiful content will give your reps a leg up on your competitors. Not only can beautiful and engaging content capture the attention of the notoriously distracted sales rep, but it can also ensure that the most up-to-date product information will be ready at their fingertips. Plus, by making sales materials available on mobile devices, it also provides your salespeople with an easily accessible reference tool so they can perfect their sales plays and pitches on the go.

From selling beauty products to complex software, applying Birchbox’s approach to your sales training methods can give your reps the support they need to close more deals. By customizing your materials, modifying and adapting as needs change, and making content more accessible, you can provide your sales team with an empowering tool that will ultimately increase your ROI.