Early Steps in Establishing Sales Enablement
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Introducing a brand new feature at any organization can prove challenging. How it’s first established within a company, though, will set the pace and tone for its integration. Sales enablement is gaining traction fast and as companies are starting to see their growing need for it, their next task is to determine how to introduce and establish it seamlessly.
Here are five beginning steps for organizations that can help upscale the deployment of enablement.
1. Getting to the executive table and seeking buy-in
Showing that the purpose of sales enablement is to fix problems and increase productivity goes a long way. Instead of trying to hit a home run out of the gate, focus on quick, tactical, and cheap wins. It is important to tidy up the smaller problems and establish quick successes to demonstrate the enablement team’s abilities. Once executives understand what enablement has the capacity to do, it becomes a lot easier to start tackling more challenging concepts and goals.
Coming in with the mindset that you are going to help increase the effectiveness of sales resonates well with stakeholders and shows the need for developing a solid enablement team. In this first step, focus on stacking up wins little by little to gain recognition, develop a solid foundation, and achieve executive buy-in.
2. Building trust and accountability
Once enablement gets a seat at the executive table, it’s important that they focus on defending their position by building trust and accountability. Cutting through any ambiguity is an excellent way to identify the value of what the enablement team is introducing. By taking a cohesive approach to revenue attainment, enablement professionals can prove that they are there to solve problems as opposed to writing them off as operating expenses.
Enablement practitioners need to secure their position internally and show that they understand the people and roles within the organization, the company culture, and how they can help. Listen to everyone within the team and grasp what could be weighing down on them to help gain a better understanding of any challenges they may be facing. Sales enablement professionals should think of themselves as somebody whose sole responsibility is to remove roadblocks, bring everyone to the table, solve problems, and run toward the same goal: revenue.
3. Developing a mission statement and defining goals
The importance of uniting around a clear mission and goals improves the ability for the team to work together and operate with the same best practices in mind. Enablement teams should create a charter or mission statement that helps anchor everyone and in turn, allow them to define goals that keep the organization’s best interests in mind. Identify strengths and weaknesses within different functions and allocate responsibilities to keep the team on track.
Tying these goals and tasks to the organization’s ROI shows leadership that the enablement team is there to fight for them. This not only helps organize tasks and responsibilities but also develops a necessary amount of accountability. It is important to create structure to stay up-to-date with any progress or functions that need more attention.
4. Establishing effective reporting and communication strategy
Establishing an environment where the team feels empowered, willing, and motivated to share is essential for a healthy enablement function. Create a consistent communication cadence to decrease any remaining ambiguity within the organization. This allows enablement professionals to unearth challenges that may be impacting many aspects of the team or overall organization.
Checking in with individuals, having targeted projects, and documenting progress can ensure that the team is moving forward in the most efficient way possible. This will improve structure, and progression toward the teams’ expressed goals while reducing any possible friction from a lack of communication. Organize a template displaying the work the team is doing so everyone understands where they stand and how the team is anchored, structured, and making strides forward in the work.
5. Leveraging resources
There are no universal sales enablement codes like there are for accounting, for example. It is up to the enablement team to determine what the business needs and how to allocate resources to those needs. Whether this may be through books, joining a sales enablement society, reading white papers, searching for content, or looking at introductory enablement guides, find the right material for the business need. Books such as The Sales Enablement Playbook by Corey Bray and Hilmon Sorey or Sales Enablement: A Master Framework to Engage, Equip, and Empower A World-Class Sales Force by Byron Matthews and Tamara Schenk outline foundational elements and applicable advice that can be helpful in establishing an enablement function.
If possible, attend a sales enablement soiree or join an online webinar. These help individuals connect and find solutions on what they can do to make their organizations function better. Enablement relies on continuous learning, so utilize resources to learn new tips and tools to work into the sales enablement strategy.
The beauty of sales enablement is that it doesn’t have to be rigid, and that’s why it works. It can and should be fluid, and really, it should be organic within each organization. Taking the time to thoughtfully implement enablement will allow it to evolve and provide a conduit between all functions of an organization. Following the steps outlined above will help introduce the function in a way that will be well-received by the organization to encourage support and maintain long-term success.