All too often, enablement managers design programs reactively, based on an ad-hoc requests sales leaders toss their way. It inevitably ends up being random acts of enablement, rather than a deliberate sales enablement strategy.
And it doesn’t work. At the end of the quarter, when you’re looking at projects, you end up in a position where you did a lot of things… but nothing that has a significant impact on revenue results.
Without strategic intent, sales enablement can become a dumping ground for every little idea that leadership has. Did you sign up to be a firefighter, or do you want to add real value to your team?
Fortunately, I’ve got the fix. Well, 3 fixes, actually.
Here’s what you can do to get that strategic seat and avoid being relegated to order-taker.
1. Understand your revenue data
Your RevOps team cuts across marketing, sales, and customer success. They break down silos and get a holistic view of what’s happening up and down the funnel.
Get their help.
RevOps can help you identify where your sellers are struggling, which will guide you on what enablement programs you need to build.
This is how you turn the tables. Rather than waiting for leadership to come to you with a problem, you play detective and figure it out yourself.
Every problem that is identified also comes with one or up to a few KPIs attached to it. This will give you a quantifiable way to tie your enablement programs to outcomes.
If you aren’t using data to drive your sales enablement strategy, then you’re flying blind. And if you can’t prove the result of your programs, then they may as well have never happened.
Additionally, nothing is going to catapult you to strategic level faster than focusing on outcomes. It not only shows your dedication to company goals, but it also makes it easy for you to directly quantify the effect of your programs.
2. Talk to your sales leaders
Ask, and you shall receive!
But don’t ask your senior sales leaders what they want you to do. Instead, ask them: ‘what is going to stop you from hitting your targets?’
This will open up a far more effective conversation.
You’ll get a bunch of answers, and that’s great! It will give you tons of ideas for programs to run.
Next, you need to pull all your conversations together to extract a few key themes.
Finally, take those ideas and feedback to your RevOps or SOPS team. Does what your sellers are saying match what the data is saying?
For instance, you might find that a lot of your sales managers are worried about hitting their number because of the rate they’re generating pipeline. There’s just not enough coming through the door. You might then go and validate this with data – is this a challenge you can spot? Can you see that the rate of pipeline generation is mismatched from your revenue targets?
Talking to sales leaders will help you narrow the list of “to-dos” to a thought-out and manageable list with clear objectives and KPIs.
It will also help you know what not to include in your sales enablement strategy, what’s not going to have a big impact, and communicate with your entire revenue team why you’re working on the programs you are.
3. Clarify organizational goals
Your leadership is steering your organization along an intended course. Do you know what the map looks like?
Are there specific initiatives that you can impact? Are there specific goals they're trying to achieve (such as selling to a specific vertical, decreasing COGS, increasing margins, moving more of a specific product, etc.)?
Get insights into the overarching themes driving your company by talking to senior leaders. oftentimes, far-reaching strategic objectives aren’t able to be found in your data because they haven’t happened yet. By asking about the big picture, you can build your programs accordingly so the sales team is ready to tackle new initiatives head on.
Enablement should naturally be a strategic alignment function, critical to keeping the revenue team marching in the right direction. But often, it’s relegated to an order-taking position, dictated to rather than leading the charge on what it’s working on. Fortunately, there are quick wins to get a seat at the table:
- Don’t wait for leadership to point out problems – go find challenges in your sales motion yourself
- Talk to sales managers – what’s going to stop them hitting their number?
- Ask leaders about the long term plan – where’s your company going, and what are upcoming major initiatives you need to be aligned behind?
For enablement to emerge as a truly strategic partner, it needs to start leading rather than following. Hopefully, these 3 tips will help you get there.
Image credit: Zoe Holling via Unsplash