Updated: Oct 5, 2020
I'm going to make a bold statement. Sales enablement is truly sales for an internal customer - the sales team!
We are selling them on new ideas, new processes, new messaging and new behaviors.
Now more than ever our sales teams are responsible for educating (dare I say training) their customers on not only their product/service offerings, but also the buying process and building an internal business case justifying spend.
As enablement is an investment in the internal team, it’s important to have empathy for sellers and use the best practices we share when building our own function. It's partly why enablement practitioners, more often than not, have experience "carrying a bag." Those skills make enablement more effective and helps retain "customer" loyalty by driving real results.
There are many ways that sales enablement practitioners can directly relate the activities they train on to their own process and workflow. Let's follow the sales process and find the transferrable concepts.
Value of Brand Recognition
Enablement means different things at different organizations. It’s important that your company’s function is clearly defined and the charter/mission is well socialized so that expectations are clear!
Enablement “qualifies” requests as not everything requires training. Oftentimes requests come through that are seeking full process change or simply require individual coaching. (Maybe we need to do a better job of defining our “ICP”?!)
Enablement does discovery to understand current state v ideal state. This includes quantitative analysis (working with ops and using salesforce dashboards to understand the ROI case) and qualitative research (understanding rep perspective).
Prior to launching a new initiative, it’s important to socialize the concepts to ensure they will resonate with the sellers. Consider having a trusted sales council of well-respected team members.
It’s also critically important to preview content with leadership prior to full roll outs. This allows them a safe space to ask questions and work through any anticipated objections they may receive from their teams regarding change.
Cross-functional collaboration, awareness and buy in is critical to the success of strategic initiatives. Socialization efforts should be baked into the implementation of the launch.
Champions and Executive Sponsors
Find a rep to be the staff level champion; find a manager to be the manager level champion. Have an executive sponsor who is involved in onboarding, opens key training initiatives to articulate the anticipated value to the business and motivates/inspires the need for change.
Point in time training is a thing of the past. In order to drive adoption, there needs to be a defined reinforcement strategy. Just as sellers have access to nurture campaigns, enablement should have follow up content, activities, SPIFFS, examples to keep the initiative top of mind through the change curve and competing priorities.
Sellers are a creature of habit. They are used to monthly/quarterly/annual quotas, their recurring events like Sales Huddles, All Hands, SKO and President’s Club. Create space for enablement initiatives. Whether it’s a monthly training rotation, quarterly competitive workshops, or annual recertifications, having that defined structure and space will create comfort for reps who like to plan in advance.
Quarterly Business Reviews
Account managers often provide quarterly business reviews to customers to show the value of the platform and act as strategic partners to build success plans. In enablement, it’s important to have a recurring space that leaders can expect to catch up on results from the partnership and strategize on the next set of priorities.
Pro tip: Mid month, mid quarter is ideal so that enablement efforts do not compete with leadership involvement in deals.
Anything I missed? Leave a comment with additional correlations that you see between sales and enablement!