My Journey in Sales Effectiveness and Sales Enablement: What’s Broken but What’s the Opportunity?

By Matt Downes (@SAVOite)

My Journey in Sales Effectiveness and Sales Enablement: What's Broken but What's the Opportunity?

What’s Broken but What’s the Opportunity?

I have spent the last 15 years working in the field of sales effectiveness, now more commonly known in the market as Sales Enablement.  During this time I have played the role of sales as well as practitioner in designing, developing and implementing solutions, which has allowed me to see Sales Enablement from many different perspectives.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to work with some leading global companies across many industry sectors and interacted cross-functionally with sales, marketing, sales operations, sales enablement, HR and L&D.  Working for global companies has given me the valuable opportunity to experience cultural and regional challenges when implementing trans-continental Sales Enablement programmes.

In other words, I’ve been around the block a time or two!

The Sales Enablement Conundrum

The BIG question that I continue to have is, why we are still coming across the same challenges we had 15 years ago when I entered the market to drive sales productivity and results in Enterprise B2B companies???

In most conversations I have with clients, I see the same common issues many of you are all too familiar with:

  • Our sales teams struggle to be proactive in driving the conversation to actually uncover where they can add real measurable business value, and tend to talk feature/function or get bogged down in price.
  • Our sales teams don’t have the confidence and business and financial acumen to engage and hold a conversation at the C-Level.
  • Our sales teams lack quality pipeline with a good product portfolio mix and adequate deal size. We are relying on only a handful of key deals to make our number and that has huge risk on the predictability of our forecast. Hence, we keep missing our numbers as deals are lost, stalled or pushed into the next quarter.
  • Our sales managers don’t do a good job coaching their sales teams in deal reviews or use skill coaching as a way to address the behaviour deficiencies that are part of the problem.

I could go on and on but I think you get it…..

It’s a complex problem as we are dealing with human behaviour on both sides of sales process: the sales person and the customer.  Selling is still heavily impacted by the relationships you build and how you network. Also, to stand out from the crowd you have to be more knowledgeable and credible than ever before just to get a seat at the table, let alone navigate the buyer’s journey with multiple stakeholders in order to close the deal.

Combine that with the speed of technology. Meaning, product lifecycles have accelerated, pushing companies to come to market faster with more or new products and services in order to stay innovative and ahead of the competition.  From a Sales Enablement point of view, this means I, as a sales rep, need to stay up to speed on all this and then translate that into meaningful activity and conversation with my customers to drive quality pipeline.  All this against a backdrop of a 10% YOY increase in my quota.

Holy crap, this is tough.

So When it Comes to Sales Effectiveness and Sales Enablement, What Gives?

Against the dynamics mentioned above, the key is, we need to make sales and sales leadership adaptive and agile to ensure sales productivity.  To do this, I believe we need to make life simpler for the sales people and allow them to focus on what they should be doing: engaging with customers to maximise the customer experience.

Most companies have a digital strategy as part of their bigger strategic initiatives.  Sales Enablement can play a part in this by engaging with customers in a more efficient and digital way whether you are in inside sales or in the field.

This is where Sales Enablement software platforms can play a huge role.  By integrating Sales Enablement technology with leading CRMs, relevant content can be prescribed to the seller and aligned in context to the selling situation on any device.

This gives sellers more time to have powerful conversations with buyers because they don’t have to go searching across their company’s intranets or portals looking for the right content.  To boot, the investment companies are putting into creating content for sales and customers is maximised and not wasted.

The result? Improvement in pipeline, deal size, win rate and accelerating the sales cycle. Most of all, a game-changing experience for customers interacting with your sellers.

At its core, this innovation leads to a much more aligned sales and marketing function that drives accelerated business growth.

Now, who doesn’t want that for their business?

Want to learn more about developing an agile and adaptive selling environment?  Check out this infographic.

Matt Downes
Matt recently joined SAVO Group EMEA in April as Senior Client Director based out of London. Prior to joining SAVO, Matt was most recently Co-Founder & VP of Sales at Strategy To Revenue, revenue acceleration experts which works with some of the world’s largest companies including HP Enterprise, Vodafone, Thomson Reuters and DHL. Previously to Strategy To Revenue, Matt held a VP Sales role at A.S.K. Learning where he led the growth of sales performance solutions to large multinational companies. Downes started his career at Complete Learning, a Cisco Learning Partner where he managed large Tier 1 partners and alliances including Dimension Data, IBM, Energis, Orange, Cable & Wireless to both defend and grow revenues of new Cisco services and solutions.

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Friday, April 21st at 11am CDT | 5pm BST


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- The long-term value of implementing a sales enablement program
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