Article

Is Revenue Enablement’s Responsibility?

| 7 min read


In a discipline with much ambiguity, the exact responsibilities of sales enablement are often up for debate. In part, this stems from the reality that the definition of sales enablement varies from company to company. Factors such as company size, industry, and structure all impact sales enablement’s priorities within an organization. The one constant that transcends these variances, however, is that revenue is sales enablement’s responsibility.

This can be a confusing concept to grasp and may not be accepted yet at some companies or teams just beginning their journey. In many organizations, sales enablement is charged with sales training, development, and onboarding, which on the surface can seem difficult to tie to revenue. Digging deeper though, all of these activities are aimed at making reps more productive and better equipped to contribute to the company’s success.

Business success is a combination of many factors, from retention to quota attainment and ramp time, but revenue is the thread that sews them all together.

Why is it enablement’s responsibility?

Many sales organizations think the selling process is becoming more complex. Competition is getting smarter and better, making it harder to grow business. At the same time, buyers are more educated and independent, spending up to 90% of their buying journey educating themselves before engaging with sales reps. Internally, 62% say their company’s sales processes have become more confusing over the last year and a half, according to the 2019 State of Sales Enablement report.

With compounding internal and external pressures, sales organizations are turning to sales enablement to reduce the complexity and ultimately increase sales effectiveness.

“We’ve entered a new phase of competition,” said John Dougan, director of global sales and productivity at Workday. “And what has happened there is we’ve simply needed to get to know our customers more intimately. We’ve needed to be better and more thoughtful about how we approach them and what we bring to the table in terms of value.”

Since the purpose of sales enablement is to make it easier for sales reps to bring that value to prospects, enablement needs to be accountable to the outcomes of sales rep efficacy. At the end of the day, revenue is the most tangible indicator of effectiveness and overall business success.

How do you measure impact on revenue?

The tricky part of tying sales enablement to revenue is determining how to measure its impact. One place for sales enablement practitioners to start is by understanding their sales tech stack and how to map that to the funnel. People working in sales enablement need to pay close attention to adoption metrics and making sure they have the right ones in place for their field, because it falls on the shoulders of sales enablement to understand how reps are using tools to bring value.

Meanwhile, if a tool the company has invested in is not being used by reps or not working as intended – not saving time, driving revenue, or reducing complexity – then sales enablement also needs to have a deprecation strategy in place. The innovation in sales technology is skyrocketing, so organizations need to focus on only putting the tools in place that will get used and will tie to revenue rather than continuously adding costs and chaos to the sales process.

“I think that as enablement practitioners, we need to have a strong and deliberate strategy for what sales tech we are choosing and how we’re bringing that into our business because I think there’s a lot more coming,” said Cameron Tanner, sales effectiveness manager at Amazon Web Services.

According to Tanner, sales enablement technology that can help drive revenue and measure impact on activities that lead to increased revenue can be centralized in four areas.

First, companies should double down on technology for what Tanner refers to as “the calisthenics of sales”: prospecting. These tools can help reps save time and also find more valuable leads, increasing the chance of it converting to a sale.

Second, give reps a tool that helps them do less data entry. By alleviating the burden of tedious data entry, reps save time and can thus use the time they regain on activities that directly impact revenue, which can then be measured.

Third, search for technology that gives insights into the buyer. This can be through things such as content, sales engagement, and acceleration technology – anything that helps reps have more meaningful interactions with buyers. Impact can be measured by tracking activities such as buyer engagement and use of content.

Fourth, sales enablement professionals should invest in some form of coaching technology. Sales coaching is essential to help reps reach the next level and refine their skills. Sales reps’ performance over time after starting the sales coaching program can be tracked to measure its impact on revenue-boosting activities like quota attainment.

The overarching goal for every business, regardless of size, industry, or region, is to increase revenue. That is the primary function of every sales department, and every other department contributes to it. Because sales enablement exists to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the sales function, it is primarily responsible for revenue.

Driving revenue should be at the heart of companies’ sales enablement strategies and behind every initiative implemented. Key to this is establishing metrics to measure sales enablement’s impact on revenue, as well as putting the right technology in place to boost performance against those metrics and track progress.

While sales enablement is charged with many tactical tasks such as onboarding and training, its potential for creating business impact can be maximized when companies and sales enablement professionals realize its strategic value and effect on revenue. Being able to demonstrate this impact will help secure and maintain support from key leaders across the organization.

Aligning to the company’s goals for revenue and instilling that in the sales enablement function with help it demonstrate value, grow and mature, and increase effectiveness.