Creating an Intake Process for Enablement Projects
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As the enablement space matures, enablement professionals are increasingly needing to possess a variety of skills to ensure the success of their programs. Some of the most important competencies include possessing strong attention to detail, project management skills, and the ability to think strategically. Simply responding to and quickly executing against any incoming request from stakeholders is no longer the definition of an enablement department’s success. Rather, any project taken on should have clearly defined goals, justification as to what it’s solving for and why, and consideration as to what success looks like.
To meet these expectations and bring these points into focus, enablement teams can develop internal processes and tools to intake, prioritize, brainstorm on, and execute against projects and initiatives in partnership with key stakeholders. Along the way, different meeting touchpoints can be held to ensure progress is being made and goals will be met.
Below, learn how to create a process for intaking and planning enablement projects to better prioritize efforts and stay aligned with strategic business goals.
Project Intake Process Overview
While every process is different, it can be helpful to use a standard formula as a baseline to ensure each new project is assessed against similar criteria and planned effectively. For example, a typical project intake process might follow this structure:
- Request Intake: The enablement team intakes ideas from across the business to create programs around. These can be sourced through a variety of means such as data analysis, candid conversations with internal leadership teams, or crowd sourced through an internal request form.
- Prioritization: Requests can then be prioritized to execute against. Factors to consider for prioritization may include impact––especially in relation to overall company objectives and reach––and effort required.
- Kickoff: For prioritized projects, a kickoff meeting can be held with key stakeholders. Kickoff agendas typically center upon having a deeper discussion around goals for the project, potential solutions, and logistics such as timelines and budgets.
- Brainstorming: Following the kickoff, teams can brainstorm further to define solutions––whether its collateral, training sessions, documentation, or more.
- Creation: Deliverables are then brought to life, where they will be shared internally with stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs) for feedback and iterations.
- Rollout: Once completed and reviewed by key stakeholders, deliverables are shared with the relevant audiences and integrated into existing workflows or other platforms for easy and ongoing access.
- Measurement and Optimization: Post initial launch, enablement teams can continuously monitor performance through methods such as analytics, call tracking, and more to determine efficacy and inform future improvements.
At each phase, close collaboration with stakeholders is key to staying aligned and keeping initiatives organized and well-documented.
Preparing a Project Intake Brief
Within the first phase of intaking requests––whether proposed by enablement or requested by company stakeholders––can be a helpful tool to leverage to outline plans and keep stakeholders informed. Briefs help to bring an initiative’s “why” into focus, aligning key stakeholders in how to best move forward, defining what a solution might look like, and determining what resources might be required.
Similarly, intake briefs are also key to determining where that enablement request might fit within overall priorities across the team. When kicking off, the best briefs are those which keep conversations high level and centered on what challenges are being addressed and the desired outcomes. They are not meant to be overly prescriptive in terms of content or training formats. These logistical types of details will be determined afterward in the subsequent project kickoff session.
While briefs will differ from team to team, they should always address key fundamentals, including:
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- What are our goals as it pertains to implementing the project?
- By when are we looking to solve it?
Briefs should be completed and shared prior to any project kickoff to help guide follow-up conversations–whether with stakeholders who may be requesting content or by enablement team members for internally initiated projects. Long term, the brief should be regularly reviewed throughout the lifecycle to ensure projects stay focused and true to the original goals.
Considerations to Optimize the Intake Process
In addition to leveraging this template, putting some additional guidelines in place around how to best use the form and managing the intake process through technology can help keep requests organized and streamlined to ensure effective evaluation. These considerations include:
Document the full process of what to expect once a stakeholder fills out a brief. This can include outlining service-level agreements (SLAs) in terms of when to hear back on next steps, what a kickoff will look like, expectations in terms of preparation and ongoing involvement, and more.
Share this process with the wider team and ensure it’s easily accessible through an intranet or knowledge management system.
Technology Integrations & Notifications
Explore technology platforms and integrations to help manage requests and communicate updates, especially if there is typically a high volume of requests received. Some considerations may include leveraging platforms that allow for online form submissions, using integrations to notify enablement teams on when requests are received, and exploring tools to send status updates to requesters.
Project Intake Brief Template
To kickstart enablement initiatives, Sales Enablement PRO has developed a downloadable brief template that can be used by any enablement professional, ranging from those who are just getting started to established functions that may benefit from a reset.
How to Use:
- To leverage this template, download and customize the questions as appropriate.
- Customize the form to include any internal instructions that may be helpful to your team, such as when to leverage, where and whom to share it with once completed, and more.
Keeping initial enablement conversations high level and centered on what challenges teams are looking to address can help enablement teams stay objective and in a position to present the best solution for any request that may come their way. Ultimately, this can help enablement teams approach projects strategically by assessing how they can best address the key challenges facing the business in order to maximize value.