What is the purpose of Sales Enablement & What is it NOT?

As Sales Enablement professionals we often complain that senior leaders don’t understand the importance of our craft and don’t appreciate the value we add. In many cases, though, the fault for this lack of understanding and appreciation lies with us. We don’t speak the language of business, and we don’t do a good job of strategically aligning our programs to their goals. We don’t communicate effectively with them upfront to define the planned impact, agree on roles and responsibilities. Finally, we don’t tie our value to metrics around increasing incremental revenue.  Want to know how to move from being viewed as “training’ to being valued as a true business partner?

The biggest problem with “Sales Enablement” is there is no (1) globally accepted definition… If you ask the question, “What is Sales Enablement” to (10) people, you’ll get (10) different answers. Some will say the it’s training. Some will say that it’s on boarding new employees & building a solid foundational experience that will lead to long-term success. Some will say that it’s all about making sure that sales professionals have access to tools, templates, & processes. Finally, some will say that it’s about doing whatever it takes to ensure that a company’s messaging & positioning is deployed consistently to prospects and customers. I would venture to say that it’s a combination of all of these components. What is my definition of Sales Enablement, you ask?

After (20) + years of successfully & multiple roles in the Sales Training/Sales Productivity/Sales Enablement space, I’ve narrowed my definition down this, Sales Enablement is Getting the right people in the right conversations with the right decisions makers right way.  It really comes down to increasing productivity through a systematic approach to support content that will drive incremental revenue. You then focus on metrics, tracking, & reporting to substantiate the ROI that you and/or your team brings to the business. Seems simple enough to do right? Well if you believe it’s simple, I’ve got a “famous” bridge near San Francisco that I’d like to sell you!

There is a formula that will lead to being a successful Sales Enablement professional. If you focus these key deliverables you will be wildly successful, & even more importantly viewed and respected across your company!

  1. Decreasing New Hire ramp up Time
  2. Increasing operational productivity & efficiency
  3. Orchestrating change & growth (Local, national, int’l, new leadership, acquisition, etc.)
  4. Providing scalable, consistent tools & processes across the lifecycle of a sale
  5. Being a change management agent that helps to drive increased incremental revenue
  6.  Using metrics, tracking, and reporting to substantiate ROI

Now that you understand what Sales Enablement is… Let’s kill some age old myths about what it isn’t!

  1. NOT one size fits all
  2. NOT the answer to EVERY question
  3. NOT the “break/fix”
  4. NOT just training

Sales Enablement is not IT (not disrespect to IT, they have saved my career many times), meaning we are NOT the “break/fix” organization that you only think about when something is broken! How many times have you heard, we need more pipeline, or our new hires are taking too long to ramp up, or maybe even, how do we scale the successful habits of or top performs? We NEED more training! If this is how your company, CEO, or top Sales Leadership Executives sees your programs, then no need to change their prospect of Sales Enablement or you’re destined to fail in your role.  You need to work diligently to show that your value is more than simply building training programs or putting butts in seats during a workshop.

The first thing that you need to develop is a mutually equitable relationship based upon the desire to meet the ultimate goal of helping the company to mature, grow, & be successful. Once that’s established, you can focus on building a relationship based upon TRUST, PARTNERSHIP, & WINNING!

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