Designing an Enablement Strategy to Drive Revenue Impact
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Sales enablement can be thought of as the conductor coordinating the team effort it takes to equip sellers to be successful. As more buyers are leading their own research before ever speaking with a rep, it requires sellers to go beyond knowing essential product knowledge. Sellers now must anticipate specific needs of the buyer to help provide more effective solutions that stand out against the competition — and they can’t do it alone. In fact, in the State of Sales Enablement Report 2022, organizations report a 12-percentage-point increase in win rates when enablement effectively streamlines internal processes to unify the buyer experience.
“I believe the role of sales enablement is understanding business needs and then reducing the noise to the fields,” said Gemma Hurley, senior manager of sales enablement and senior enterprise enablement business partner at Slack. “It’s really thinking about what is important for the field to know and how can we [in enablement] deliver that message in a digestible way so that we make great sellers successful.”
Tying the value of enablement directly to how it influences revenue is important at any point in an enablement function’s maturity, but it’s essential in today’s uncertain economic landscape.
“Given the current climate, I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that our relationship will continue to align with revenue, and we’ll have to get a lot more clear in terms of where we’re spending sellers’ time, what the output is, and ultimately where our programs align with revenue,” said Hurley.
Below, learn how to demonstrate enablement’s role in impacting revenue across the sales organization through aligning enablement strategy with key stakeholders, focusing on tool optimization, and rooting enablement programs in customer-centricity.
Align With Key Stakeholders on an Enablement Strategy
Regardless of the size of an enablement function, having an ear to the ground for the challenges and opportunities within the revenue-facing teams can sharpen enablement programs and initiatives to be more closely aligned with revenue growth.
“As we move into 2023, how can we also be more proactive in the recommendations that we’re making to the revenue function?” said Malvina EL-Sayegh, director of sales enablement at Reachdesk. “It’s easy to become reactive. That closet of broken things where there’s an emergency, we’ll fix it. If something’s not working, we’ll put a little plaster over it. But I think as enablement continues to evolve, how do we really become that consultancy within the organization?”
Fostering consistent communication and relationship-building with key stakeholders like revenue operations, sales leadership, customer success, and other revenue-facing teams is critical in understanding how to maximize the efforts of enablement and demonstrate its value to the stakeholders adopting those programs.
“It’s more trying to think of who are my champions that might have information or be in those meetings where I can kind of pick their brains and say okay, ‘How can we align closer to revenue? What should we be doing? What’s working? What’s not working?’” said Hurley. “And then also asking the stakeholders, asking the sales leaders, asking the fields about how these programs are impacting your business and your territory.”
The buying cycle has changed dramatically over the past few years, and buyers are now much savvier than ever before. By the time a buyer is speaking to a sales rep, they may already be more than halfway through the buying process. For enablement professionals, bearing in mind what the current market conditions look like and how that affects the teams they serve is important to consider in order to better align with the needs of those teams.
“As the sales process becomes more complex and as the business continues to grow, that’s really where I’m looking at ways in which I can be more efficient and also be able to deliver amazing service to my end stakeholders, which is the entire revenue function,” said EL-Sayegh.
Beyond understanding how enablement can influence pipeline, EL-Sayegh says that having those close relationships with key stakeholders can also help enablement teams understand why sales teams are winning deals or even losing certain opportunities across various factors like pricing, the buyer group’s budget, or competitive pressure. Ultimately, this helps enablement better position itself as a strategic advisor to leaders across revenue teams to bridge the gaps that can lead to increased revenue impact.
“I want to have that factual information,” said EL-Sayegh. “Then on the back of that, from an enabling perspective, I can say we need to really invest in our competitive insights because we’re losing a lot of deals to competitors, or what we’ve noticed is that actually, the buying process for some of our larger customers has changed. What can I do from an enablement standpoint to really ensure that we’re using the right content at the right places throughout the journey?”
Optimize the Tech Stack to Improve ROI
As the sales process becomes more complex and with current uncertain market conditions, many organizations are now re-evaluating tools within their tech stack. Tool optimization ensures organizations get the most value out of their tools as possible and streamlines the work and communications between teams within their sales force.
“I think when you bring on any piece of technology, the first iteration of how you implement it is good,” said EL-Sayegh. “But then you’re thinking, how can I really make it sing and dance with our CRM? Looking at the tech stack that we have, that’s now where I’m focusing. I don’t want anything to be standalone.”
A key part of tech stack optimization is taking advantage of opportunities to integrate tools to streamline workflows and simplify the rep experience. For example, by ensuring there is good synergy between tools such as a content management system or sales engagement platform and an organization’s CRM, enablement can help reps more easily track activity and understand the impact across a deal cycle. Integrating tools across the tech stack and reducing redundancies can help reps get the most out of the tools available to them while ensuring enablement leaders maximize the impact of their technology investments.
“You need to have your tech stack aligned with your CRM,” said Hurley. “It’s the one-stop-shop, so it’s easy for marketing, operations, a sales manager, or an AE to get the full 360 picture.”
Create Customer-Centric Enablement Programs
When building out enablement programs that clearly tie back to influencing revenue, it can be helpful to connect back to the customer. Enablement programs that clearly understand who the customer is, what kind of conversations are happening with customers, and what their challenges are can help optimize efforts to prepare sellers for the various conversations they will have throughout the customer journey.
Rooting enablement programs in customer-centricity can also influence future initiatives by helping enablement teams gather valuable information on what resonates with buyers and what can be improved.
“We have a monthly pipeline [opportunity sync] where we really think about a customer, a buyer persona within that customer, an industry, and a use case and then enable our teams all around that and really package it up so that our teams are going to market in a customer-centric way,” said Hurley. “ We change that monthly and track that monthly, and we track it against the pipeline created in that month.”
In addition to that monthly program, Hurley says that her enablement team also does pipeline progression status syncs weekly, where they assess the deals that have been stalling and examine ways to engage the seller to help reinvigorate that deal again.
“Maybe our messaging wasn’t good enough for that customer, or maybe a demo didn’t land,” said Hurley. “But we can take a step back and say, ‘Okay, why has this deal stalled, and how can we progress this?’”
Understanding what is and is not landing with customers can help enablement teams understand what programs can be refined to help prepare sellers to be more successful. At every stage of the customer journey, enablement can pinpoint the areas that may help the seller move the customer along seamlessly and ultimately close that deal.
Enablement leaders can better tie their efforts to revenue impact when they understand the changing buyer landscape and how their programs ladder up to the overall goals of their key stakeholders.
Optimizing the tech stack to drive better ROI and creating enablement programs that are deeply rooted in customer-centricity can have a direct influence on increasing revenue and driving sustainable growth across an organization. Designing a strategy that aims to impact revenue growth can pay dividends to ensure the success of enablement programs for the future.