Impacting Business Strategy Through Enablement
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Enablement practitioners are called upon to be agile, creative, and adaptable when it comes to scaling their programs to help build collaboration and cohesion among siloed teams within a revenue-facing organization. Depending on the maturity of an organization’s sales enablement function, forward momentum can often feel like driving a car while building it. But to truly achieve a more significant impact that demonstrates the long-lasting value of a well-supported enablement function, enablement leaders are tasked with approaching initiatives with a strategy that puts the organization’s vision of the future into sharper focus.
“For me, [enablement is] about trying to find that innovative approach to ultimately supporting our buyers, tying everything back to the buyer’s journey, and then ultimately creating and fueling what I call the conversation economy,” said Roderick Jefferson, author and enablement leader.
As the buyer landscape continues to evolve, so will the enablement function. To ensure the success of sales teams for the future and to weather economic uncertainty, enablement is a key lever in driving change at scale and positioning its value within an organization as a top priority across teams.
Below, explore how to build an enablement function that can influence business strategy by generating alignment within an organization, mapping solutions to the buyer’s journey, and honing the tangible impact enablement programs can have on the entire sales organization.
Build Alignment with Internal Stakeholders
Launching a successful go-to-market strategy requires several teams working together toward the same goals. For example, sales and marketing are two teams often at odds with each other even though they are, at their core, not exclusive to one another. Marketing teams may be helping to drive leads, but sales reps need the right context and content to propel those conversations forward.
Enablement is in a unique position to help align teams by ensuring that initiatives involving teams across the revenue organization are tied to business priorities.
“Strategy touches everything right from go-to-market initiatives to back-end processes, so having that picture of the business allows me to foster better alignment by ensuring that the enablement processes we put in place support the most wins or the business goals of each team,” said Richard Giorgi, vice president of sales enablement and marketing at Swiss Re.
Communicating with sales teams and garnering their feedback can assist marketers in elevating what sellers need to succeed in every selling scenario. Enablement can help facilitate marketing and sales’ ability to discuss if their strategies are resonating or falling short for buyers. Opening up these lines of communication can help provide the much-needed background and real-life examples that help align the two teams and have an increased impact on the business, like increased revenue and customer retention.
“[Revenue and retention] are number one and number two when it comes to the impact of alignment,” said Giorgi. “But also hopefully less churn in the ranks and happier employees because they’re doing what they were hired to do, which is sell and achieve their own target earnings and not have to create content or search on sites looking for whatever they need in all these different places. It’s all about understanding which of their clients or prospects are being marketed to.”
An aligned team works in tandem with each other, not against one another. Enablement can help pull together that much-needed collaboration to create more streamlined processes and help effect meaningful change across the organization.
Understand and Clearly Map Initiatives to the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is not a linear path. It’s dynamic and constantly evolving. Today’s buyers are not only faced with potentially multiple offers from competitors at any given moment, but they are also contending with the rapidly changing needs or priorities internally that can slow down or even halt the buying process. A strategic sales enablement function can track and even predict these changes by knowing the ins and outs of the buyer’s journey to help provide the most valuable content and insights sellers can use while also being mindful of the risks, dependencies, and opportunities that are top of mind at every stage.
“If it does not begin and end with your buyer’s journey and you don’t have a clear definition, and everybody inside of your enablement team can define your buyer’s journey, we’ve already failed because what we wind up doing is we try and squeeze the buyer into our sales stages, our sales process, our sales methodology,” said Jefferson.
Focusing on understanding the buyer’s specific needs can position a rep as not only a trusted partner but one that is steeped in empathy and built to identify the root of the issues buyers may face.
“It means that we’re constantly listening to the customer and making sure that we’re giving them the resource they need to make that process as smooth as possible,” said Simon Gilks, vice president of revenue operations and enablement at Ometria. “Hopefully, we maximize the buyer’s experience so that when they buy from us now, they buy again, they stay with us, and they continue to buy from us because we make it really easy by ensuring they’re always talking to the right person at the right time.”
Focus on Enablement’s Tangible Impact to Scale Programs Effectively
One of the things every cook learns early is to adjust the seasoning in a recipe as they go along. Every time a new ingredient is introduced, it’s time to adjust. When scaling enablement programs effectively, data is a powerful tool to help discern what components need to be changed, increased, or thrown out.
“I think data is really important because data makes it easier for you to take action,” said Sidd Hora, senior sales and marketing operations manager at Super.ai. “Data is there to tell you that it’s a solid point to understand what is going right and what is not. All that data does help you build better processes and build better enablement programs.”
A data-driven approach can help enablement teams identify exactly what they can impact and influence and how. Understanding how certain metrics from enablement initiatives and programs help drive better business results can provide a more precise roadmap on how to improve upon and even grow programs for the future.
“Focus on the things that you can touch and that you can impact, and everything else is just noise,” said Jefferson.
Enablement can create significant impact across the revenue-facing organization by aligning its initiatives to the needs of the business and providing the data to support its impact. Enablement efforts that are closely bound to business strategy pave the way for more meaningful connections between buyer and seller and ultimately help drive repeatable growth that sets the business up for sustainable success into the future.
“Remember the number one thing about enabling: we are people people,” said Jefferson. “At the end of the day, we are here to make our people bigger, faster, and stronger.”