Best Practices for Collaborating With Revenue Leaders
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Sales enablement at its core is intrinsically tied to the priorities of revenue stakeholders. When there is a disconnect between sales enablement and revenue leaders, making a tangible impact on the business is an uphill battle. But with strong alignment, enablement can amplify and scale strategic priorities across the entire revenue organization.
“[Sales enablement] can be that change agent and really get [revenue leaders] to start thinking about going beyond their silos,” said Jeff Davis, author of “Create Togetherness”.
Sales enablement is in the optimal position to serve as the unifying entity to collaborate with revenue stakeholders as a means to drive revenue, strategy, and productivity. When collaboration with revenue stakeholders is effective, the impacts are felt throughout entire organizations, as sales goals become more attainable and value is added to the areas that executive leaders care about most.
To efficiently collaborate with revenue stakeholders, sales enablement teams can prioritize four key principles.
Build Business Expertise
When sales enablement positions itself as a strategic advisor to revenue leaders, practitioners become an extension of the executive team to drive forward their vision in the field, which in turn maximizes business impact. To be seen as a strategic advisor, enablement practitioners must build and demonstrate deep business acumen as well as an understanding of the short and long-term objectives of revenue leaders.
“As [enablement practitioners] become experts in the business, they become really consultative partners for an individual like myself and my leadership team, because they’re far more informed, they have more context so they can build out ideas farther without having to engage us a ton,” said Mike Weir, chief revenue officer at G2.
If sales enablement leaders know the business in a thorough and deep way, they can add strategic value as opposed to simply waiting to be told what to do. To build this business expertise, consider the following questions in the development of every enablement initiative:
- What is the business trying to accomplish?
- How are individual roles going to help achieve these goals?
- How do those individual roles collaborate to provide strategic value?
Once enablement practitioners understand the objectives of the business, and how they can fit into the business plan to accomplish those objectives, sales enablement can help advise revenue leaders on how to best land their vision among revenue teams and design programs to make incremental progress.
Align Sales Enablement Strategy to Revenue Goals
To create effective collaboration, the goals of revenue stakeholders must be reflected in sales enablement initiatives. With aligned goals, practitioners are in the optimal position to understand the needs of revenue stakeholders, and thus, effectively work with stakeholders to positively impact revenue growth throughout the sales process.
“I think if you understand the needs of your internal stakeholders, and they understand what’s in it for them to work together, it’s a lot easier to build something in a collaborative zone,” said Caroline Holt, executive vice president of revenue enablement at EVERFI.
In building effective alignment, organizational structure can help improve enablement’s ability to positively influence revenue goals due to increased visibility into the core objectives of the revenue organization. For example, for the 26% of respondents reporting to a senior sales leader, average customer retention rates are 5 percentage points higher than those reporting to an HR leader. Similarly, the 16% of organizations reporting to a revenue leader see customer retention rates that are 6 percentage points greater than those reporting to an HR leader.
Regardless of where enablement directly reports, however, practitioners can drive tangible business impact by intentionally partnering with leaders across the revenue organization. Many enablement teams are effective in doing so, as the State of Sales Enablement Report 2021 found that 38% of respondents said sales enablement exceeds expectations in collaborating with sales leaders. Practitioners can further enhance collaboration efforts by also entwining their efforts with the visions of other go-to-market stakeholders such as marketing leaders.
Communicate Impact Proactively
A powerful tool to help drive alignment is by providing insights on how sales enablement is working to achieve the goals of revenue stakeholders through data. With clear and open communication, and agreement on the scope and methods of reaching revenue targets, sales enablement is positioned to more seamlessly produce the objectives of revenue leaders.
Additionally, communicating the impact of sales enablement initiatives in correlation with the goals of revenue leaders helps drive trust and continuous alignment, not to mention clear business results.
As noted in the State of Sales Enablement Report 2021, the 60% of organizations where sales enablement is above average in correlating enablement efforts to sales goals have average win rates that are six percentage points greater and average quota attainment that is eight percentage points higher than those that are below average.
To foster effective communication, sales enablement can leverage technologies to report metrics and quantify the impacts of its initiatives and its positive effects on the goals of revenue stakeholders.
“If we do a better job of tracking in the system, we can actually show the real impact that sales enablement is having on the revenue stream,” said Weir.
Tracking the progress of sales enablement initiatives shows revenue leaders the importance of collaboration, builds confidence in sales teams, and makes sales enablement an extension of the leadership team as opposed to a task force. For example, organizations that utilize sales enablement tools are 52% more likely to engage in formal collaboration with cross-functional stakeholders, and also see win rates that are 9 percentage points higher than those not considering a tool.
Sales enablement can be the secret ingredient to foster improved performance for core objectives across revenue-facing teams. With thorough understanding of business processes, aligned cross-functional goals, and effective communication, enablement can strengthen collaboration with revenue leaders to impact business performance now and in the long-term.