Ten Sales Enablement Guiding Principles

By Elay Cohen
Download enablement plan
Download enablement plan

Here are Ten Sales Enablement Guiding Principles that are proven to deliver revenue multipliers. After spending years leading sales enablement at Salesforce during the hyper-growth years from 2005 to 2013 and more recently launching SalesHood, we’ve reflected on what makes sales enablement work well.

Sales enablement success measured by revenue growth is based on ten sales enablement guiding principles that are proven to realize the benefits of enablement in a company’s go-to-market.

1. Go Top Down & Bottom Up

When I lead sales enablement at Salesforce, we had the executive support of the CEO, Marc Benioff, and alignment with the CMO and heads of sales. We need to get a “top down” approach to initiate priorities and lead by example and then get the buy-in of our teams. The “bottom up” spark will be ignited by our top executives and then our enablement initiatives will go viral.

2. Measure Metrics That Matter

Solve problems. Before embarking on a new enablement initiative ask the question: What problems are we solving and why? Get clarity around key performance indicators (KPIs) like win rates, deal sizes, time to close, time to first deal, time to ramp, attainment, pipeline generations, and bookings to name a few.

3. Enable Front-Line Managers First

Many organizations don’t invest enough time to get front-line managers enabled first. They need to understand the goals and the content. It’s up to them to lead by example and set the tone. There is a direct correlation between teams that do well and teams who embrace enablement, starting with managers first.

4. Social Learning Increases Attainment

It’s proven that salespeople learn from the best. Create a culture of teams learning from each other and learning together. Share win stories, share winning sales presentations regularly. Use technology to do this at scale, with peer reviews and use old fashioned round-table conversations to facilitate the sharing of ideas.

5. Learn By Doing and Applying

Active learning is a surefire way to get teams to internalize new content. Applying to “how to do my job” and real deals is a way to make learning relevant and impactful. If we roll out a new product playbook, then why not have our teams practice and apply the new product positioning to existing deals? Why not do some persona prospecting, positioning the new offering to active prospecting accounts? That’s how we apply learning by doing.

6. Make Content Bite-Sized & Timely

The old way of sharing content is death-by-powerpoint and slides that are filled, edge-to-edge with words. They are a snore fest. Turn slides and big files into short bite-sized content. It is important to create content that is snack-able and still remains rich with value and impact.

7. Partner With Subject Matter Experts

As enablement professionals, we need to amplify our reach and impact. We can only do this by partnering with marketers, product managers, and subject matter experts to help get them to share their ideas and knowledge.

8. Use Carrot vs. Stick Communications

Keep all communications positive. Keep communications focused on “what’s in it for me” (WIFM) where me is the individual, Focus on value versus compliance.

9. Create Learning and Tools by Role

One size fits all approach to learning and tools is appreciated by our stakeholder. Get more value and engagement when learning and tools are personalized by role. For example, quota carrying salespeople need to learn different skills and processes than sales development professionals

10. Celebrate Successes and Results

Every success matters, big or small. Look for successes that are mapped to the entire sales process and buyer’s journey. For example, celebrate prospecting successes as much as big deal wins are celebrated. Early wins are a leading indicator to measure and celebrate.

Following these guiding principles will result in great sales outcomes by turning your enablement programs into revenue multipliers.

More importantly, they will help enablement professionals earn a seat at the CEO table as Chief Enablement Officers.

Here’s a video outlining the ten guiding principles too.

Follow the link for a recap video of Elay’s keynote at the Experience Sales Enablement 2017 conference.

The future of enablement is more human-to-human, peer-to-peer connections, and coaching. Let’s use technology to automate how we bring our teams together to talk more and learn more from each other. That’s the secret of our ten sales enablement guiding principles.

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