Who We Serve Sales Enablement Organizations

Description Challenges Best Practices

Sales enablement refers to the resources and activities whose goal is to help drive revenue. It does so by improving performance throughout the entire revenue organization. In addition, sales enablement may be charged with promoting a culture of ongoing professional development. Sales enablement may be a discrete department or a cross-functional team. In either case, sales enablement involves collaboration among multiple and varied departments (e.g., product management, training, marketing).

Sales enablement differs from traditional sales training in that it adopts a more comprehensive and integrated perspective on revenue generation. Traditional sales training is usually focused almost exclusively on the sales department and the partner channel - sometimes with the limited inclusion of other groups that also work in the field, like pre-sales engineers - and typically includes: product education and training, skills (and maybe some strategy) training, and systems (ordering, CRM, IT, phone, etc.) training.

In contrast to traditional sales training, sales enablement takes a corporate level strategic view whose intent is to integrate all of the company's resources and departments so that they can all be brought to bear in executing a unified approach to revenue generation. In addition to a more comprehensive perpsective, sales enablement provides a broader range of services. Sales enablement services include, but are not limited to:

  • Skills training, broad range of topics that usually involves a program to establish a foundational set of skills, ongoing skills development, and ad hoc requests

  • Process mapping and enhancments

  • Competitive analyis, including strategy and tactics

  • Sales tools and job aids

  • Individual consulting and coaching - provided directly by sales enablement staff, or by having the sales enablement organization establish and manage such programs

  • Change management services for development activities related to the revenue organization

  • Instructional design templates and curriculum development services to those create training and development materials to the revenue organization

Even if you don't have a discrete sales enablement department or a designated cross-functional team, it is likely that you are engaging in sales enablement. Virtually every company provides some resources, tools, and training to assist sales - and those activities and resources are sales enablement. Acknowledging that reality and formally analyzing your sales enablement strategy and tactics will help increase its effectiveness and improve sales performance.

The challenges for a sales enablement organization are numerous and complex. Many stem from how the organization is structured within the enterprise. Some options are as a cross-functional team, an independent department, a unit within a department - with different options for the parent department. There is no single prescription for how the organization should be structured. What works best will depend on your organization, its needs, and resources.

No matter the structure of the organization, sales enablement involves collaboration among multiple and varied departments (e.g., product management, training, marketing). As a result, interdepartmental coordination is a major hurdle in establishing a unified sales enablement strategy, and consistent tactics and materials. The mission of the sales enablement organization may be compromised by limited resources or low prioritization - often a consequence of not being able to clearly demonstrate the impact of their activites on sales performance.

Specific challenges for the sales enablement organization include:

  • Getting adequate and dedicated resources

  • Effectively collaborating with other departments and resources

  • Managing the demands and expectations of diverse groups who often have very different goals

  • Developing program activites and content that are relevant to field personnel and support your sales process

  • Helping product managers and other subject matter experts create training materials grounded in sound learning principles

  • Creating sales tools and job aids that can be effectively used by field personnel

  • Designing assessment tools that map onto the available training and development offerings

  • Designing comprehensive development programs that support the business objectives

  • Making sales enablement a priority for the members of the revenue organization and cost-justifying the allocation of resources to sales enablement activities

We provide a variety of services to help sales enablement organizations successfully address those challenges. They include services provided directly to the sales enablement organization, such as curriculum development, instructor training, and organizational development - the latter used to transform the sales enablement organization from a cost center into an internal services group that provides demonstrable value to the business. To supplement your internal sales enablement resources, we also provide services to the various components of the revenue organization, such as sales rep training and strategic marketing.

Because many of the services provided by the sales enablement organization are similar to those in a learning and development organization, they share many best practices in service delivery, and operational management. You may wnant to also review the information on those components of a learning and development organization. We will focus here on those best practices that are unique to a sales enablement orgnization or particularly critical to its success. Those best practices include:

  • Strong management support is absolutely critical to the success of the SEO

  • Designated funding and resources are also essential; otherwise too much time will be spent seeking it, projects will be under-resourced, and the credibility of the organization will be undermined

  • The designated sales enablement officer should be involved in appropriate ways with all the departments served and at the highest management levels, an in the best scenario will have equal stature (e.g., job title) to the leaders of the departments served

  • Sales enablement efforts will be more effective if all the departments involved in generating revenue are served, not just those directly involved in selling (e.g., sales, pre-sales engineers, the partner channel, etc.)

  • An advisory and planning committe, comprised of representatives from all the key departments and functions, will help develop a unified strategy, integrated implementation, promote the sharing of resorces, and build credibility

  • Sales should not dominate either the committee or the overall SEO efforts

  • Utilizing an evidenced-based sales methodology and strong internal auditing of the entire revenue generating process will promote continual improvements

  • Adopting a comprehensive change management perspective on the implementation of SEO initiatives will result in better adoption and produce greater outcomes

  • The SEO will be more effective and efficient in its operations and service delivery if it is modeled on an internal consulting service model and uilizes established service level management best practices

  • Implementing 360 degree communication and feedback systems will help keep services relevant to daily operations and emerging needs of both the field and internal operations

We provide a variety of services to help sales enablement organizations. They include assistance with service delivery (e.g. curriculum development, instructor training, etc.) and with the development of the sales enablement organization

We also offer specific enablement services to expand or supplement your exisiting service offerings. Examples of the latter include: skills training, strategic sales and account planning, competitive analysis and planning, sales tools, etc.



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