Aligning Your Enablement Strategy With Key Business Initiatives

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At its core, enablement aims to empower sales organizations with the right resources, tools, and content to efficiently and effectively reach their goals. These goals, however, are often defined by key business initiatives that are determined outside of just the sales enablement team. To effectively support teams across the business, enablement must align its strategy with key business initiatives, working cross-functionally to identify ideal outcomes.

However, aligning enablement strategies with key initiatives requires more than just a common goal. Achieving a fully initiative-aligned enablement strategy requires communicating the benefits of alignment to reps and stakeholders, prioritizing efforts within aligned goals, and providing contextual guidance to execute aligned initiatives.

“Strategy without alignment and execution is like a ship without a rudder and an engine. It might go with the waves, and it might end up at some destination, but will it be right? Will it end up where we want it to go? Perhaps not,” said Kunal Pandya, founder and CEO of Sales Velocity Labs.

Keep reading to learn more about best practices for aligning your enablement strategy with key business initiatives.

Communicate the Value of Alignment

An important aspect of generating cross-organizational buy-in for initiative-aligned enablement strategy is communicating the value of alignment.

Before the value of alignment can be shared, it is first important to identify key stakeholders. When enablement takes the time to build relationships with other departments, like marketing, for example, trust is built between functions that will support later efforts.

“Stakeholder management is so important, and the connective layer that makes it happen is alignment,” said Pandya.

Once key stakeholders have been identified, it is important to address the confidence gap between strategies and execution and demonstrate how enablement can heal this gap. While many key stakeholders may feel confident in the strategies behind key initiatives, they may lack trust in the actual execution of these strategies.

“I reached out to all of our global leaders and understood more about what their metrics were, what they were measured by, and what the gaps were. Once we identified those gaps, we discovered ways they could close them,” said Jay Shephard, global director of revenue enablement at Bentley Systems. “When you can help someone else achieve their objectives, you don’t have a problem getting a phone call returned.”

If enablement teams can effectively communicate the value of their resources to key stakeholders, an essential connection is made between initiative alignment and enablement strategy. This connection solidifies the perception of enablement as changemakers across organizations, and it builds trust in the strategies they provide to execute initiatives.

Alongside building trust between teams, communicating the overall value and benefits of alignment both in and outside of the sales organization is essential to establishing a cooperative and productive relationship between key initiatives and enablement strategy.

Further, analytics provide stakeholders with a tangible measure of the impact of key initiatives, leveraging data to gain their trust.

“When you’re measuring, be prescriptive, but also think about what you can feed downstream to your team to prove that the thing that you are doing is worth it,” said Georgina Beard, head of sales enablement at SEON Fraud Fighters.

Communicating the value of alignment is key to generating trust in enablement strategy from other organizations. With this trust, organizations across a company can leverage enablement strategies to efficiently reach their goals.

Prioritize Efforts and Remain Adaptable

Once initiatives are aligned and the value of alignment has been communicated to stakeholders, efforts within the initiatives should be prioritized for efficient execution.

Determining the order and value of these efforts, however, can be difficult at times when different teams have different roles within an initiative. Identifying the difference between tasks can streamline the prioritization process.

For example, by defining tasks as accountable or available, practitioners can essentially divide efforts into higher and lower-priority categories. Prioritizing tasks and informing key stakeholders of which tasks will be completed and when keeps all involved parties in the loop. Prioritizing also consistently demonstrates the value of initiatives by creating opportunities to highlight small wins along the way.

But, even with careful prioritization, roadblocks are inevitable in any large-scale initiative. When this occurs, it is important to be adaptable and remain ready to refocus stakeholders and involved organizations on how enablement will strategize to reach the initiative’s greater goal.

“You have to be ready to adapt to a big change in a known plan. I think that’s the biggest challenge in enablement,” said Eric Filowitz, senior director of revenue operations and enablement at Hudl. “The challenge becomes accepting change as a reality and building enough flexibility and agility to be able to adapt in a way that isn’t going to sacrifice your deliverables.”

Making sure teams are flexible and adaptable in times of change is key to not only maintaining alignment but also demonstrating the value of an aligned enablement strategy. When things do not go as planned, remaining adaptable helps teams stay on track and strengthen relationships with other organizations and stakeholders alike.

Provide Contextual Guidance for Executing Key Initiatives

To ensure the long-term success of a newly launched initiative, it is important to provide reps with specific, contextual guidance for different selling scenarios they may encounter. With contextual guidance, reps know exactly how to effectively land the importance of initiatives in the field.

One way to provide this contextual guidance is in the form of sales plays. Sales plays function as a selling framework for reps, empowering them with a reliable point of reference with the content and other resources necessary to land deals.

While creating plays or other forms of contextual guidance, it is important to consider the perspective of the sellers or other stakeholders who will be leveraging them in the field to design resources that serve their unique needs.

“Be more prescriptive. Think about what actually matters, and what matters to the people you are trying to help improve,” said Beard.

It is also important to consider the priorities of other organizations when determining the content included in contextual guidance materials. This ensures that enablement teams can optimize the guidance materials they provide depending on the specific needs of those receiving them.

Ultimately, enablement needs to equip sellers with the right tools and resources to effectively land strategic initiatives in the field. Taking the time to understand the unique needs of those receiving guidance will ensure that teams are receiving the best possible resources.

“When I think of enablement, at the core of what we’re trying to do is delivering change in the way it’s meant to be delivered,” said Filowitz.

To be truly effective in supporting the revenue organization, key stakeholders, and other cross-functional partners, sales enablement must seamlessly align its strategy with the top priority initiatives of the business. In doing so, practitioners can foster cross-functional collaboration and alignment, ruthlessly prioritize their efforts, and help bridge the gap from strategy to execution to reach common goals.

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