Sales Enablement Summer School: Building Enablement Programs

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Our previous lesson in the LevelJump Sales Enablement Summer School went over how you should build your team. Now, we’re going to talk about the program itself: what your team will be executing, and how they’ll achieve your enablement objectives.

What’s unique about our structure is that we believe sales enablement should be tied to outcomes, not arbitrary activity metrics that may not be at all relevant.

The standard enablement approach is to start with training and try and drive results at the end of it.

We approach things differently with outcome-based enablement.

Outcome-based enablement is about starting with what you would like to achieve in terms of the tangible, measurable impact you have on your sales team before you build your program. Building a program with an outcome-first mindset will give you more consistent and predictable sales performance improvement - and proves the value of your entire enablement operation.

Here’s the four-step process you can follow to construct the kind of program your organization needs to rise above.

LJ Blog Lesson 5-1(Note: for each step, we are going to want to know who the stakeholders are and which KPIs we want to achieve. All the KPIs should be linked across the entire process, so think about them carefully.)

1. Measure Outcomes

Your outcome is the business impact that your sales enablement program is going to have on your organization. In other words, it’s the specific dial you’re going to move to increase revenue or decrease cost.

It’s not enough to just say “I want to increase sales revenue,” though. Think about what kind of revenue increase is both realistic and attainable. We’d all love to quadruple sales, but that may not be in the cards.

It’s also important that these outcomes are relevant. Additionally, you need to be intentional about how you measure them; a lot of KPIs may not accurately portray what you want them to, even though they may look nice on a spreadsheet.

Think about who the stakeholders are, too - who will benefit from your enablement program on all levels? Who will be involved in coming up with outcomes and KPIs? Whose input do you need?

Once you have measurements in place and a target in mind, you have an aiming point for the rest of your enablement program.

2. Change Habits

People have ingrained behaviors they take with them wherever they go. Even if you’re training a brand-new sales rep from scratch, they’re going to have behaviors and routines they’ve developed outside of sales that will influence how they sell in your company.

If you want to impact the business, you need to change how your revenue team is doing their job. You need to change the specific habits and routines that they use each and every day.

Think about the habits that would be most productive, and which are the most problematic. Which of these need to be changed in order achieve your specific outcome?

Remember: actions have to be tied to outcomes, not KPIs or other activity metrics. If you think sales reps need to get in the habit of doing X every day, then that X activity should be one that is directly connected to an outcome you’ve already identified.

For example, sales orgs that use cold calling as their main driver of leads may say, “Hey, we need our reps to make 40 calls a day, so we’re going to run a training to get reps more comfortable on the phone.”

But that’s not really an outcome.

An outcome-based approach would be more like, “Hey, we want each rep to produce $100,000 in pipeline per month. How many calls does each rep need to make each day to hit that number? If we run a training on cold calling, will it generate more dials and more revenue?”

Then enablement has a goal: help reps make more calls that result in more of them getting to their pipeline target.

Without focusing on an outcome, you’ll have a lot of activity but little to show for it.

Building productive habits in sales is as important as it is in our personal lives. We default to our habits. We’re led by them. We frame each day around them. Creating change is how we reinforce what sales enablement is designed to do, so that revenue teams can be at their best, consistently.

Helping build these habits is one reason why we created our Summer School (and why you should give it a look.)

3. Certify Sellers

A major part of sales enablement is retention and reinforcement. If what revenue pros are learning isn’t used consistently in a practical, real-world setting, it isn’t of much use at all.

Certification is validating that the knowledge you’re training on has been retained and, critically, can be deployed in a practice setting (e.g. a practice pitch room / stand and deliver). By certifying sellers, you’re saying, “My sales enablement program has succeeded.” Of course, that’s only useful if it’s true.

It’s important to think about how you can prove or demonstrate that the skills you’ve helped to impart are retained and reinforced. How will you know these activities or routines or tactics are being used and used properly?

This is where KPIs can help explain the outcome you’re achieving. Keep in mind that you will receive some kind of outcome. It just may not be the one you’re aiming for. But if you don’t track the right things, you won’t know.

Certification of skill, then, is a big part of building a sales enablement program, one worth spending a good bit of time figuring out.

4. Build Programs

Finally, your sales enablement framework needs programs to fill it out where the rubber meets the road.

Programs are the training you provide your revenue team, organized into an easy to understand list of tasks, activities, meetings, and content to be consumed.

They are built around specific stakeholders, with specific desired outcomes and KPIs, as a part of a comprehensive and connected system. They can include anything you think would be helpful; they don’t have to be cookie-cutter copies of what everyone else is doing.

As long as they’re addressing an outcome, and can be measured, then you can be as creative and innovative as you want. But at the end of the day, above all else, your programs have to work.

Fortunately, as a part of the sales enablement framework we’ve discussed, you’ll be able to monitor progress and measure outcomes, so you’ll know if something needs to be adjusted (or dropped altogether).

Sales enablement is a living, breathing, organic process. A framework provides structure, but it isn’t meant to be inflexible or unyielding. The fact that you can adapt and evolve is the beauty of outcome-based enablement, and that’s what this framework offers.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more content, and if you want to see how LevelJump provides the kind of outcome-based enablement that is transforming sales orgs all over, check out a demo.