Enablement’s Role in Unifying Cross-Functional Teams
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Every athlete on a sports team relies on more than just their own skills for their team’s success. Their ability to win is a result of a combination of factors – their teammates, coaches, equipment, and more – all working in concert to achieve the unified goal of success. Just like in sports, sales enablement relies on the critical collaboration between many other teams from various parts of the organization to ensure their joint success.
Sales enablement can align various teams across functions to execute a shared vision. By unifying cross-functional teams behind a collective goal, enablement helps streamline processes to create a cohesive approach to executing business initiatives. This ultimately helps to create a more seamless experience for buyers.
“Sales enablement can be that key liaison to break down silos, break down barriers, to be able to have those really impactful conversations that will make a difference for the entire organization,” said Pam Dake, head of global sales enablement and productivity at Salt Security. “It’s driving not just sales, but expanding them to customers and really enabling those customer relationships better because you’ve connected different departments that have very different KPIs.”
Enablement’s role in unifying cross-functional teams can help guide a more seamless experience for buyers and sellers. Below, learn how enablement can work to smoothly combine the efforts of various cross-functional teams to improve business performance.
Creating Common Goals and a Shared Language
Aligning cross-functional teams begins with creating common goals for what shared success looks like. Common goals among cross-functional teams allow for a deeper understanding of the tasks at hand, and how they can be most efficiently delegated across members of cross-functional teams.
Enablement can help create these common goals by bringing together teams involved in the cross-functional effort to prioritize and agree on a few key goals for each initiative. By narrowing the focus to a few specific goals and defining how each team can contribute to those goals, enablement can help reduce complexity and create the clear roles and responsibilities needed to reach the agreed upon outcomes effectively.
“At the end of the day, we’re all trying to achieve the same goals,” said Jennifer Lopopolo, sales enablement leader. “Understanding what specifically your team’s going to do that’s going to influence those numbers and understanding what others are doing really helps you all align to where you’re playing that role and how you contribute to the overall goals of the organization.”
When cross-functional teams have common goals, they are able to create a common language that connects the different teams, helping to guide the various team’s efforts around shared priorities. This can help create a mutual understanding across teams of what they should be focused on and how their specific deliverables ladder up to larger priorities. With alignment on those priorities from the top-down, consistent messages on what to focus on and why can be reinforced at every level of the organization.
Leveraging a Data-Driven Approach to Foster Accountability and Maximize Cross-Functional Results
Using a data-driven approach can help to foster accountability among cross-functional teams in order to maximize the team’s results. Meanwhile, that data can also serve as a strong quantifier of cross-functional success that can then be shared with the rest of the organization to reinforce the value of collaborative efforts.
“If a team is going to be accountable, what needs to be clear is what is the team accountable for? I’m going to hold you accountable as a team to those metrics,” said Eric Coryell, author of “Revolutionize Team Work”. “If one of you is not upholding the deal, you need to start talking to each other and start dealing with those issues. That’s really the essence of an accountable team. You’re not going to be able to do that unless you have really clear metrics.”
Enablement plays an important role in the process of leveraging analytics to maximize cross-functional team results. In fact, the State of Sales Enablement Report 2022 found that when enablement effectively utilizes data, it is 85% more likely to exceed expectations when collaborating with marketing and 57% more likely to do so when collaborating with sales operations. A data-driven approach helps improve cross-functional alignment by quantifying impact, while also fostering accountability across the teams to improve collaboration.
Formalizing Enablement’s Collaboration With Cross-Functional Teams to Define Roles and Processes
With many different team members across various departments who may have never worked together before, each with their own work expectations and styles, it can be difficult to delegate responsibilities in a way that appropriately balances the team’s strengths. This is where formal collaboration can vastly improve team efficiency.
Formalizing collaboration means clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders involved and how each will contribute to the overarching goals that have been identified. This can help reduce ambiguity in who is responsible for what actions and also provide clarity on how each stakeholder plays a critical role in ultimately achieving the desired outcome.
“Cross-departmental collaboration isn’t just something that will help, but it’s absolutely vital,” said David Seugling, senior director of global sales enablement at monday.com. “It’s everything to sales enablement…Our sales enablement department is constantly working immediately alongside [other] departments in a way that is not only beneficial to us, sales, but for those departments as well.”
Effective cross-functional execution doesn’t happen consistently through an ad-hoc approach. Rather, it requires a deliberate, formalized effort to ensure that all revenue teams march in the same direction to achieve business priorities. In fact, the State of Sales Enablement Report 2022 found that when sales enablement engages in formal collaboration, it is 182% more likely to exceed executive expectations in aligning with their goals.
Enablement has the unique ability to align various cross-functional teams towards a common goal. It can play a key role in unifying the efforts of cross-functional teams to drive impact on core business initiatives by aligning key goals, leveraging data, and formalizing processes for collaboration. In doing so, enablement can help businesses scale performance through the collective efforts of experts across the business.
“Creating connections between people that go beyond their inner circle of the team or the country that they work in––that’s what I really love about this position that we have in an enablement team,” said Eline van den Brink, global director of revenue operations at Sana Commerce.