This blog is written by Liz Jurewicz, a sales enablement professional at SpyCloud, the leader in account takeover and fraud prevention. As the first enablement leader at SpyCloud, Liz is responsible for establishing the enablement infrastructure to support all of their client-facing reps. Liz has a wealth of knowledge from working in businesses of varying sizes in a number of industries.
In a previous blog by Doqaru, they talked about what sales enablement is and what it means to different leaders in the business. Forrester defines sales enablement as:
“Sales enablement is a strategic, ongoing process that equips all client-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of customer stakeholders at each stage of the customer’s problem-solving life cycle to optimise the return of investment of the selling system.”
But what does that look like to be strategic and systematic, exactly? What do these ongoing processes do? How do you measure the return on investment in your selling system? As a sales enablement professional, below are some insights I’ve gained in my nearly ten-year career and a few real-world examples of what it looks like when sales enablement integration is a priority in your business.
Sales Enablement Integration Looks Different in Every Company
The tricky part about sales enablement is that it can look different in every company. The size of the company, industry, maturity of the product, and experience level of the sales team determine how to build a superior enablement plan and which success metrics to align to. At larger organisations, I have focused on:
- Improving content utilisation
- Creating feedback loops with sales to improve customer engagements
- Improving conversion rates based on data.
Whereas, at start-ups, the focus may be more on foundational activities like:
- Creating content management systems
- Standardising onboarding
- Defining our sales process.
Before undertaking any new enablement program, I assess what sales enablement functions are happening and whether or not they’re being done consistently. It’s important to understand where the company is with its sales enablement efforts. For instance, is sales enablement ad hoc, reactive, managed or optimised? Who manages what? You must answer these questions before building a plan.
At early-stage organisations, it’s usually a combination of marketing, product marketing, sales leaders, and operations collectively trying to enable sellers. Integrating sales enablement into the business allows stakeholders to align around a unified playbook and distribute enablement efficiently through the channels sellers use most. The sellers now have one point of contact instead of four to get the enablement they need, leading to better sales and buyer experience.
Sales Enablement is a Diagnostic Function
A successful sales enablement specialist is one that is an expert in the entirety of the buyer/seller journey, so they can quickly diagnose when challenges arise. In my experience, the best approach is to build a diagnostic map of the content, sales enablement tools, people, processes, and exit criteria required at each stage of a sale.
When sales have slowed or conversion isn’t where you want it to be, it’s easy to assume you have a people problem on your hands. With a diagnostic map, you’ll be able to assess different parts of the process to see where the friction lies. A great example is when you’re experiencing a slowdown during a sale. The assumption tends to be that sellers aren’t trained properly or prioritisation is a challenge. More often than not, tools can be adding to the friction. It can be typically due to permissions access, causing delays and many emails back and forth. It’s worth it to diagnose what we’re solving before we add additional people or training to the mix. If we take the time to ensure the sellers have a good experience, they’ll pass that on to the prospect or customer.
Sales Enablement is Cross-Functional
My current organisation pulls from marketing, product marketing, sales operations, sales leadership, and customer success on a weekly basis. So, sales enablement is inherently cross-functional and has the potential to live in different parts of the organisation. Reporting through different parts of the business can change the focus of sales enablement and therefore, the success metrics you align with. When reporting through marketing, our focus was content distribution and usage. Within sales, there was more emphasis on deal strategy and individual rep coaching. I’ve found success in reporting to operations, where enablement aligns with the business’s strategic goals and tracks metrics to reduce ramp time and increase ACV and close rate. However, regardless of where sales enablement sits, it can hugely impact the business.
Are You Ready For Sales Enablement?
Every company needs it, and approaching it as a proactive versus reactive function can set you up for success. Prioritising sales enablement integration allows your business to:
- Build your onboarding programme so reps ramp faster and stay longer
- Ensure your sales process is running at an optimal level
- Help you bring new products to market faster, move into new markets and accelerate revenue of existing products
If you have sellers, chances are you could benefit from sales enablement today.
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