You need new and continued business. But to get that, you need your sellers to make the most of every interaction with a prospect or customer. So what to do? You surround your sales team with what is required to maximize that interaction, and claim success when every rep can confidently have a fluent dialogue with a prospect or customer about the value your company can deliver. This is sales enablement.
That said, Sales Enablement is most effective when you start with the end in mind. It is communicating your company’s strategy to flourish and the expectations on your sales team to contribute to that strategy. It is being aware of whether or not your sales team is equipped to execute against those expectations. Where there are gaps, it is providing the process, training, content, coaching, tools and resources to close the gaps both proactively, but more importantly, real-time in the context of a specific selling situation.
Let’s unpack all that for a minute. What enablement is required in the context of business initiatives to drive seller performance? Here’s a visual:
Building a Framework for Sales Enablement Success
This is a framework for successful Sales Enablement. The bookends of the framework are the starting point. On one end you have your initiatives or business problems your company is trying to solve and on the other end you have the outcomes or value expected as a result. For example, you may be looking to transform from a product sale to a solution sale, expand to a new market or integrate an acquisition.
When you know what you are driving to accomplish there are key sales performance indicators that serve as a mechanism to understand progress toward the goal. For example, do opportunities include a larger mix of products to provide a holistic solution? Are there more opportunities in the new vertical or market? How quickly can the sellers build pipeline with the acquired offerings?
By understanding the objective, you then have the lens through which you evaluate the competency of your sales team. Does the sales team have the knowledge, skills, and resources to execute? What do they need to do more of, do differently, or do better to be effective? What gaps exist today that prohibit your sales team from being successful? Are they ready? This is EXACTLY where enablement comes in.
Enablement should focus on maximizing the seller’s opportunity for success. Depending upon your business initiative and the current state of sales readiness, enablement may mean something different for you.
- Is there a process required to drive consistency and assess impact?
- Is there content that helps inspire or educate a buyer?
- Is training required to develop a skill or learn about a new topic?
- Are there subject matter experts that need to be identified?
- Are there tools that can be rolled out to drive efficiency or guide a seller?
- What is required to close the gap?
This is Sales Enablement
Focusing on outcomes prevents the major failure points of any Sales Enablement effort such as burying the sales team with content with no guidance or context about when and how to use it, deploying an arsenal of tools that are not purposefully integrated or governed, and ignoring the experience you are creating for your sellers and, by extension, your buyers. By focusing on outcomes, the needs of the seller and the enablement required to meet them are much clearer.
Finally, as your business initiatives change, so might the needs of your sellers and therefore the amount of enablement required. If you’re convinced your organization needs and is ready for sales enablement, check out this post on how to get started. It starts with just ONE initiative.
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