The Impact of Enablement on Sales Productivity

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Enablement serves many key functions in a business: it interprets go-to-market strategy and links it to successful execution, enables organizations to scale at pace, and aligns teams like marketing, sales, and customer success, all while keeping customers’ needs in mind.

To successfully execute the multitude of functions served by enablement, operational rigor is a necessity.

Executing enablement with operational rigor means optimizing performance by taking an intentional, disciplined approach at every level of a business. In enablement specifically, targeting operational rigor drives sales productivity and empowers sellers to reach their goals.

Below, learn more about how prioritizing operational rigor in enablement drives sales productivity at every step of the process.

Support Operational Rigor with Intentionally Designed Training

According to research from Gartner, 87% of training is forgotten after 30 days.

To get ahead of this statistic, it is important to be intentional about the design of new programs. Specifically, consider how new skills learned in training will be supported in reps’ daily behaviors and how the development of these skills will be measured over time.

And, when it comes to designing new programs or iterating on existing structures, think about outlining specific, actionable opportunities for reps to exercise new skills. Real-world practice empowers reps to connect the importance of a skill to its intended purpose.

However, despite the benefits of intentionally designed training programs, a major roadblock still exists: time.

“One of the key challenges [to operational rigor] is the multitude of different requests for sales persons’ time,” said James Marrable, director of sales enablement UKI at ServiceNow.

Sellers often avoid or feel overwhelmed by requests for training, especially in high volumes. So, it is important to not only be intentional about the content of training programs but also about the form, length, and bandwidth required to complete them.

Providing reps with options for different types of training or multiple opportunities to complete new learning allows for flexibility while still encouraging the development of new skills.

“If there is a particular objective that you’re trying to achieve, then you need to make sure that you have communications, online training, and in-person training all ready. Then, there are different ways we’re trying to communicate the information and create alignment,” said Nia Barnabie, founder and vice president of revenue operations and strategy at Emeri.

Regardless of form, intentionally designed training programs are essential to optimize operational rigor within a sales organization. And, when reps’ sales journeys are continually supported with learning practices that drive operational rigor, a foundation is built for heightened sales productivity down the line.

Level-Up Enablement Strategy With Technological Innovations

In a strong enablement strategy, tech innovations increase efficiency by guiding reps through sales scenarios, making resources and information easily available to buyers, and even giving time back to reps by automating tedious tasks. As a result, choosing an enablement platform that integrates tech innovations like artificial intelligence into its capabilities can be game-changing for sales productivity.

To identify opportunities for AI to optimize enablement’s impact, it is important to first self-reflect on sellers’ needs.

“Each quarter, we review the amount of time that reps are customer-facing and in theory, we want to grow that as much as possible,” said Nick Pilditch, vice president of customer operations at OneAdvanced. “So, I see sales enablement as one of the teams that helps to optimize the amount of time our salespeople are spending with customers but also are making sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck during that time.”

When it comes to increasing the quality and frequency of buyer interactions, one option for improvement is leveraging AI automation. In doing so, practitioners can give time back to sellers. When sellers spend time tracking down content or writing descriptions, time that could be spent with buyers is lost to tedious tasks.

“I think we need to think about, as enablement progresses, how any technology stack we have actually fits the sales process. Typically the people who own and look after those platforms don’t know anything about the actual sales process, so it’s our responsibility to take those processes and those technologies and filter them in. We should be molding it into the sales process, not trying to change it,” said Marrable.

AI tools like conversation intelligence fold seamlessly into reps’ sales processes by streamlining rather than changing operations. For example, AI can record, play back, and analyze calls with customers to provide reps and managers with real-time insights into which aspects of conversations are or are not landing with buyers. This intelligence empowers salespeople with immediate feedback on their skills, improving the efficiency of an existing process rather than changing it entirely.

Having the right tools and technology at hand empowers reps to progress through the sales cycle confidently, and the same tools can also provide sales managers and enablement teams with important insights and analytics to gauge sellers’ business impact.

Leverage Analytics to Measure Productivity

To drive productivity, practitioners first need to understand what is working and what is not. With a data-driven approach to enablement, organizations can closely monitor team performance against strategic initiatives.

To start, it can help to take a larger business initiative and work backward to identify the key metrics that influence the outcome of that initiative. Then, practitioners can consistently track and measure progress against those metrics.

“For me, success is breaking the larger goal down into its smaller components. Invariably, they’re much easier to put metrics against and to track and measure,” said Marrable.

In addition to tracking forward progress, analytics can be used to identify areas for improvement in existing strategies. If a certain selling strategy is not working, enablement can use analytics to immediately identify gaps and iterate on them.

“One of the things we say is fail fast and fail forward. If something doesn’t work, we rip it up and try something different,” said Pilditch. “We have to be agile enough to be able to do that.”

When enablement constantly works to improve the selling experience for reps, reps are better equipped to maintain productivity. And when reps are productive, they are better able to consistently meet the needs of buyers at scale, helping to drive predictable outcomes.

“If you have to ask if sales enablement is being effective, that’s potentially your first problem,” said Pilditch.

Overall, leveraging insights and analytics provides enablement teams with visibility into the impact of their strategies. With this visibility, enablement can ensure that sales teams have the operational rigor to drive productivity at every opportunity.

To fully harness the potential of enablement, operational rigor is essential. Whether learned by reps during training, executed through an effective tech stack, or analyzed and optimized with actionable insights, operational rigor unlocks the greater potential of enablement strategies while driving sales productivity.

To learn more about driving sales productivity with operational rigor, watch this panel from Sales Enablement PRO’s London 2023 conference.

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