How To Get Stakeholders To Buy Into Digital Enablement


In order to effectively implement digital enablement, it's imperative to get all the essential stakeholders on board. Without buy-in throughout your organization, it will be difficult to roll out your digital enablement strategy. But obtaining the necessary support can seem like a daunting task when you need to convince a diverse group of people, each with their own viewpoints and objections. With the right preparations, however, you can convey the benefits of your position and secure the support you need.

Why Buy-In Is Essential

Nothing in an organization is accomplished in a vacuum. In order to achieve anything, you need the cooperation of multiple individuals and teams. Enablement challenges, like low adoption or poor sales manager support, often occur when there's a lack of organizational commitment. In order to achieve these objectives, you need to connect with key stakeholders such as:

  • Sales Leadership. You need the approval of leaders who can sign off on projects and approve funding. Without their cooperation, you won't get the process moving at all. 
  • Sales Managers. Sales managers are essential since they hold the keys to adoption. If you can’t get managers on board, you’re never going to get reps to participate in your programs.
  • Marketing. It's important marketing  understands and buys into your vision since they own the content you’ll need for your programs to be successful. 
  • Revenue Operations. RevOps is responsible for tracking the impact of your actions on revenue. They are also instrumental in purchasing new technology and pointing out challenges in your sales data. It's always important to tie sales enablement to revenue.

While the above stakeholders will be relevant in most cases, you also need to consider the specific structure of your organization. The main takeaway is that you should strive to get as many relevant people and departments on board as possible.

Steps to Getting Stakeholder Buy-In

Because of the shift to remote working, it's important for businesses to embrace digital enablement right now. At the same time, it can be challenging to obtain the necessary support from your CEO, top executives, sales manager, and other stakeholders. You have to keep in mind that each stakeholder has other priorities that will be competing with yours. 

The way you approach the task and overcome any resistance from the people whose support you depend on will have a lot to do with the response you get. Some solutions to poor buy-in from key stakeholders would be:

  • Make sure you've formulated a sales enablement hypothesis you believe in and that's backed by relevant data. You need to present your case with as much evidence as possible. Make it clear what problem you're addressing and why your solution will work. For example, if you can demonstrate how digital enablement will lead to more sales and revenue, your audience will be more receptive.
  • Use the right language. While everyone in an organization is, ideally, united in common goals, people in different departments have their own focus and way of thinking. At times, it can seem like they even speak different languages. It's important to use the right terminology when you talk to a stakeholder. Marketing managers, sales managers, and executives all have their particular perspectives. It's essential to address them using their own words and ideas to tell your story.
  •  Anticipate resistance to change. People have a natural tendency to resist change, even when it's beneficial or essential. While you can't change human nature, you can explain why digital enablement is so crucial at this time.
  • Listen and respond to objections. Don't expect everyone to embrace your ideas right from the start. When you hear objections, listen carefully to them. This helps you to better understand your audience and their needs.

Sell to Your Stakeholders

The best way to look at getting stakeholders' buy-in is to look at it as a sale. Part of the selling process is to target the message to the audience. CSO Insights says "you need to create a solid business case and tailor your messaging to each executive's role."

One way to do that is to have a framework in which to build the business case.

We've created a model to help you identify the needs of each stakeholder so you can more effectively address them. It's up to you to customize this model to your needs. You simply ask yourself a number of questions.

  • Stakeholder — Who is the stakeholder whose buy-in you need? They may fit one of the above categories, or they could be someone with a different role.
  • Company Initiative — What is this stakeholder's primary goal within the company?
  • Personal Measurement — How does this stakeholder measure results? Identify their KPIs, what they track, and how they define success.
  • Pain Points — What are the main obstacles and challenges that stand between this stakeholder and the results they want?
  • Solution — How can you help them? Identify specific ways you can solve their problems.
  • Asks — What do you need from them in order to provide the above solution?

Keep in mind that this is a framework that doesn't actually answer these questions for you. It's up to you to survey your organization, find the relevant stakeholders, and identify their needs. The benefit of this approach is that it forces you to look at the situation from their point of view. Once again, this gets back to the sales process. Just as a salesperson needs to step inside the customer's shoes, you need to wear your stakeholders' shoes when you approach them.

This approach will also get an idea of the objections they may have and put yourself in a better position to address them. Listening carefully to objections will inform you of areas where you need to rethink your sales enablement hypothesis, review your data, and do a better job of communicating your benefits to the people who can make or break your digital enablement initiative.

Understand the Importance of Stakeholder Buy-In

When preparing to usher in your plans for digital enablement, make sure you don't underestimate the need to sell your vision to stakeholders. No matter how sound your strategy may be, it won't be possible to move forward without the support of crucial decision-makers in your organization. Here's a summary of the steps to take to obtain this all-important buy-in.

  • Identify the stakeholders whose buy-in you need.
  • Understand the particular viewpoint and needs of each stakeholder.
  • Explain your strategy providing the data and language appropriate to each person.
  • When necessary, review your hypothesis and communications approach to overcome objections.

Learn more about digital enablement by downloading our e-book, “The Utterly Exhaustive, 7,142-word Guide to Sales Enablement Transformation”.  For more information, contact us.