What Is Sales Enablement?
- by Elay Cohen
- December 26, 2019
SalesHood - Sales Enablement Platform
Sales Enablement is the alignment of people, processes, and priorities with relevant learning, coaching, and communications delivered at the right time and correlated to sales performance outcomes. Align your people, processes and priorities with your go-to-market metrics and revenue outcomes and watch the magic of sales enablement come to life at your company.
Sales Enablement is an organizational mindset and commitment to readiness and excellence starting with the CEO and touching every employee in your company. It is bigger than simply content and training. A well-thought-out and planned enablement strategy will bring departments and leaders together around shared priorities, metrics, and expectations. A well-documented and socialized plan will connect organizational dots and enable teams to work better and know who is doing what.
Sales Enablement is an all-company initiative involving sales, marketing, business development, partners, engineering, support, human resources, and leadership. Sales Enablement translates messages and training delivered by subject matter experts, at scale, for customer-facing employees, empowering them to have richer conversations with curious customers. Sales Enablement is an organizational mindset and commitment to readiness and excellence. As sales enablement professionals, we empower our people to be the best they can be and improve their results with coaching, knowledge sharing, and mentorship that is scalable and measurable.
When done right, Sales Enablement is a big job. Often Sales Enablement leaders are quoted saying, “My job covers many departments.” For some Sales Enablement professionals, their job becomes a place where companies incubate new ideas and homeless initiatives. Sales Enablement sometimes is the place projects go that no one wants to own. Sales Enablement professionals quickly become administrators, logistical experts, and event planners. Sales Enablement professionals are the ones doing the late-night run to FedEx to get the workshop agenda and training guides printed. We do it because we care.
Sales Enablement is about helping teams onboard faster. Sales Enablement is about improving effectiveness and productivity and measuring it. Sales Enablement is about fostering a culture of learning where teams practice their skills. Sales Enablement is about mentorship and creating a space for people to learn from each other. That said, not all Sales Enablement is equal. It is possible to do bad enablement.
As you start building your team and working with other departments, have an open dialogue about what sales enablement means to you. Create a conversation where people can discuss their experiences with sales enablement. Understand their mindset. Talk about what good enablement looks like, and talk about what bad enablement looks like, too.
Sheevaun Thatcher is one of the best sales enablement practitioners on the planet. Her four pillars of sales enablement are universal, practical and highly impactful if followed by sales and marketing.
Does everyone in the company know the strategy? How widespread is the understanding of the why? Understanding the why is what drives behavior and what creates culture.
What we do with these assets is create playbooks that are accessible in small, bite-sized chunks. Those assets will typically be sales collateral, videos, websites, podcasts, training modules, or whatever is needed to support the visual delivery of the why. How current are these materials? Are they on message? How accessible are they?
We need to organize content so teams are provided with the right content when they need it, in the right format, at the right stage of the sales cycle in order to be successful. You have to think like a salesperson and create a system for “withdrawals” instead of the typical “deposit” document-management environment where files sit across many systems collecting digital dust. It has to be quick and easy to access.
The best way to reinforce knowledge is by better team collaboration and sharing best practices, deal wins, and customer stories. It’s important to create an environment that makes it easy for everyone to provide feedback and hear what’s working and what’s not.
The sales enablement processes represent what we do to achieve revenue and business goals. We need to use different processes to accomplish the right business outcomes. The Enablement Process Map is based on a framework that works left to right and top to bottom. We want to start our sales enablement journey by defining and codifying our processes and turning them into learning programs and content to be used by our sales and customer teams. We want to close the loop by correlating attainment to activities and celebrating achievements. We want to focus on the most basic strategies and tactics first before we go into advanced and mature sales enablement initiatives. That’s how the left to right and the top to bottom is designed to work. You can read all about the Enablement Process Map in the Enablement Mastery book published in 2019 by Elay Cohen.
Enablement is most effective when it is company wide, when it is top-down and bottom-up, starting with the CEO and touching every employee, partner, and customer. It is inclusive of all departments, teams, and roles. Everyone plays a part. Everyone is enabled.
The essence of Sales Enablement is to help companies grow their business faster by aligning their people, processes, and priorities.
Here are a few blogs on sales enablement to help you deepen your understanding.
What is Bad Sales Enablement? – click to read
First 90 Days In Sales Enablement – click to read
Top Sales Enablement Metrics – click to read
You can also read my latest book, Enablement Mastery, to get a much deeper understanding of how to master Sales Enablement. Here’s a 2 minute video outlining the book and giving you more insight into what is Sales Enablement. You can also find out how to scale sales enablement by learning more about our Sales Enablement Platform.
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