The Impact of Revenue Leadership Buy-In
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The power of a strong advocate cannot be overstated in business — especially when this advocacy comes from the top of an organization. For sales enablement, having revenue leadership in its corner can dramatically improve the success of enablement initiatives.
Revenue leaders play an integral role as an internal customer and key stakeholder to enablement teams; their buy-in poses an immense opportunity to scale the success of enablement initiatives across the revenue organization. With strong and dedicated champions for sales enablement at the executive level, the ability for enablement programs to produce measurable impact on the business is greatly improved.
Having revenue leaders as enablement champions means reps gain support in pursuit of personal performance goals, as well as company-wide revenue generation and collaboration across revenue-facing teams.
While sales teams play an integral role in revenue generation, they are not alone in their goal to grow revenue for the business. Since all revenue-facing reps have a responsibility to build trust with customers, enablement can serve as the connective tissue across cross-functional, revenue-focused teams. When revenue leaders act as a powerful champion for enablement, scaling impact from pre-sales to post-sales becomes more efficient and effective.
Here are three key ways that revenue leaders can help improve the impact of enablement efforts by being an internal champion of the function.
Scaling Enablement Activities
The central position that revenue leaders hold across go-to-market teams enables them to be a key source of support and advocacy to aid enablement in scaling its initiatives. Once revenue leaders are bought into enablement, they can partner with other leaders across various customer-facing teams to influence support and participation in enablement programs.
With buy-in from revenue leaders, enablement is in an optimal position to more successfully land its initiatives with different audiences, increase adoption and engagement, and as a result, achieve their desired outcomes.
“If you understand the needs of your internal stakeholders, and they understand what’s in it for them to work together, it’s a lot easier to build something in a collaborative zone,” said Caroline Holt, executive vice president of revenue enablement at EVERFI.
To entice this support, revenue leaders need a thorough understanding of the value that enablement programs bring to the organization. A vital factor to this collaboration is aligning enablement goals to the goals of revenue leaders. When enablement and revenue goals are aligned, people across all levels and various customer-facing teams can speak the same language, leading to smoother collaboration throughout the entirety of the sales process.
“We have to be willing to commit to the biggest and most important priorities that are going to drive our business forward and then focus on helping the team hone skills and knowledge to be able to lead towards that goal,” said Mike Weir, chief revenue officer at G2. “We make sure that while they’re going towards that goal, we’re helping them prepare for the future.”
Improving Alignment Across Revenue-Facing Teams
Communicating with revenue leaders consistently allows them to understand what they will specifically gain from buying into enablement. Once the goals of revenue leaders and enablement initiatives are aligned, customer-facing teams become a close extension of their revenue leadership.
The expertise that revenue leaders possess on what is moving the needle on revenue goals can be utilized to help enablement effectively plan initiatives and iterate to refine efforts. With aligned and shared goals, the priorities of revenue leaders and enablement become one and the same, and all customer-facing reps can work in lock-step to achieve collective success.
When enablement grasps the priorities of revenue leadership, practitioners can improve cross-team interactions within the revenue organization to ensure a streamlined and smooth customer experience, from pre-sales to post-sales. The result is increased trust and credibility across the entire customer lifecycle.
“I think a chief revenue officer truly needs to understand that entire process and understand how it’s connected and integrated,” said Lisa Cramer, head of sales leader performance at SAP. “If you have one view of marketing and sales, you have a much better breadth of experience and knowledge on how that pipeline is unified.”
Since revenue leaders are responsible for all revenue-generating functions, they are in a unique position to serve as a mechanism to align strategies across the company. By championing enablement initiatives to create alignment across revenue-facing teams, the roadblocks that result from organizational silos are greatly reduced. In doing so, sales enablement can better prepare all roles that interact with a customer to provide a cohesive experience that keeps them engaged.
“What I fundamentally believe needs to be in the core components of revenue enablement are a combination of ensuring that we know exactly what we’re trying to do as a business and making sure that all the pieces that enable revenue to be successful to make those goals and objectives are working in concert,” said Holt. “It’s really the way to maximize cross-functional collaboration to support the revenue generation for the business.”
When revenue leaders advocate for and support reps through enablement, all reps that interact with customers from the beginning of their journey all the way through the customer lifecycle create impactful relationships, and in turn, help grow revenue.
For example, recent research found that the 16% of organizations reporting to a revenue leader see customer retention rates that are six percentage points greater than those reporting to an HR leader. While reporting directly to a revenue leader is not the only way to ensure close partnership, this demonstrates the correlation of a strong bond between revenue leaders and enablement with improved customer relationships.
When revenue leaders partner closely with enablement, a mutually beneficial relationship is created between reps and customers. Enablement brings value to the revenue leaders through keeping their ear to the ground to funnel key insights on buyer behavior, and bring those insights back to the leadership table. Since enablement is deeply embedded in the day-to-day of customer-facing reps, they can hear real-time feedback and gather tangible examples of the interactions reps are having on a daily basis. By delivering this feedback to revenue leaders directly, a virtuous cycle is created in which revenue leaders can make strategic decisions with customer behavior in mind, and in turn help guide the enablement strategy to best support their vision.
“As [enablement practitioners] become experts in the business, they become really consultative partners for an individual like myself and my leadership team, because they’re far more informed, they have more context so they can build out ideas farther without having to engage us a ton,” said Weir.
When revenue leaders are bought into enablement initiatives, their influence can be utilized to foster effective collaboration, organizational alignment, and rep efficiency across all revenue-facing teams. With a strong support system from the top of the revenue organization, sales enablement teams are in an optimal position to make positive impacts to best support reps across the business so that they can better serve customers and grow revenue.