3 Keys for Optimal Sales Enablement

This Week's Buzz


Hi All! This week’s topic is Sales Enablemesment excellence. Over the course of the past couple of decades, I’ve stood up over 50 SE platforms (both custom, off-the-shelf, and home-grown) across thousands of sellers and customer service executives. The key to all these processes being successful was getting everyone on the same page before rolling out the tech.

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3 Keys for Optimal Sales Enablement

Sales enablement is one of the many challenges facing B2B CMOs today. To be successful, it requires significant alignment with sales leadership and the C-suite. Typically, CMOs start with the execution aspects of sales enablement (e.g., making decks), but there really needs to be a strategic alignment among the sales, customer service, and marketing organizations - from the top down.

Put another way, Marketing and Customer-facing teams must align for a sales enablement program to be successful. Here are 3 Keys to deliver a sales enablement program with excellence.

Key #1: Get Strategic Alignment

A solid sales enablement program strategic planning begins with alignment. So before we start building the program, we need to plan the build. Many companies miss this step and fail to include the needed parties to deliver sales enablement excellence. In this first step, we need to establish the foundation of the program’s scope and vision and establish the team that will lead the charge.

Now we are ready to start planning. And there are really three parts to our strategic planning effort. For starters, start the program with a cross-functional task force comprised of both leadership and team members across all three key stakeholder groups. Second, refine the vision for the program and codify the program’s scope. That is, what is the program’s “lighthouse” and how does that align with larger go-to-market efforts (e.g., ABM)? Third, develop a tactical program plan that describes what we want to accomplish, how we are going to measure success, and what are the key deliverables of our effort.

The key reason to structure this as a group effort is two-fold. First, various voices need to be heard to understand the implications of the choices we make. Second, we need to build camaraderie across participants, as these will be key allies in the roll-out and adoption phases of our program as evangelists.

Key #2: Process Planning First, Then Tool Selection

All too often, I see the wrong sales enablement tools in place to deliver enablement excellence. Sales Enablement isn’t always about “handing off“ document creation to the rep in the field, as the tech companies would have you believe. Sales Enablement is about empowering sales (and customer service, etc.) to deliver a great experience to prospects, clients, and other key stakeholders. It’s not about sales decks or proposals. It’s about CX excellence.

“Sales Enablement is about empowering sales to deliver a great experience.”

This is why we start with mapping the process of all the elements that constitute a great brand experience that intersects with the various teams delivering enablement. This is not just sales, but likely, the events team, the customer service teams, the product teams, the sales engineering teams, and so on. Really any team that comes into contact with the customer at some stage in their journey with your brand, even finance. Once these are mapped out - simple swim lanes will do. Two things are clear: the interdependency of execution for exceptional brand experience and there is more than meets the eye to Sales Enablement than just proposals and decks.

Now that you know the processes and their desired states, we can start looking at tools for enablement (e.g., deck systems, proposal systems, etc.). And we can select and customize those tools to fit our company’s processes, not the other way around.

Want to learn more on how to improve your sales enablement? Complete our Sales Enablement Optimizer survey here.

Key #3: Create the Feedback Loop

One of the key things I see with sales enablement tools is the lack of adoption by reps in the field. This isn’t because the tool isn’t well structured or customized. It’s because the user experience is customized by the selector, not the user. This creates the TPS report syndrome in your organization. A new piece of tech, that is challenging to use and adoption is limited.

This is why you need to create a consistent feedback loop. I encourage both in product intercepts (Product NPS - Internal) and longer feedback surveys of the impacted sales, customer service, or account management teams. This feedback loop creates the insights you need to improve your sales enablement excellence.

What are your thoughts on Sales Enablement Excellence as part of go-to-market efforts? Does your firm use a SE tool successfully? Share your feedback on The Buzz Community.


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