The Importance of Sales Enablement
Sales enablement can be a broad topic, and a lot of people have different definitions of what sales enablement really means. Tamara Schenk, interviewed by John Golden, discusses the CSO Insights definition, based on her real-life experience, as well as research, and working with clients. “We define it is a collaborative, strategic discipline that is designed to increase sales results by providing consistent and effective enablement services for salespeople and their managers. Its purpose is to add value to every customer interaction,” said Schenk.
This expert sales interview explores sales enablement, including:
- Sales enablement services
- Goals for implementing sales enablement
- The importance of creating a solid framework
- Who creates and implements the framework
Sales Enablement Services:
These services include different things. For some people, sales enablement means sales training. For others, it’s all about content and technology. It could also indicate sales effectiveness, or excellence, or readiness. “What you see behind these different perceptions is that people usually look at sales enablement from their current functional perspective,” said Schenk. “If someone is in marketing, they think, ‘oh yeah, we’ve been doing sales enablement for years.’ If you are sales training, people say, ‘oh we’re enabling the sales force, that’s what we do all the time.’ The problem is that if many different groups provide services to the sales force, it can become very chaotic for them.” In order to reduce that chaos, it’s important to be very clear on the goal, and ensure that a proper framework is put in place.
The Goal of Enablement Services:
It’s important to make sure that enablement services cover all of the areas of training, all areas of content, and also coaching. It’s also directed at various employees in an organization. Sales enablement is not only for salespeople. The frontline sales managers should also be involved so that they can coach their sales team accordingly. Bring everyone in when creating your sales enablement plan, and ensure that the information is disseminated and understood across departments.
Creating a Sales Enablement Framework:
To be effective, sales enablement strategies must have a clear framework. Schenk calls her framework the Sales Enablement Clarity Model and explains it using the metaphor of a diamond. “Everybody wants to help sales in an organization. If people begin to understand this as an unpolished or rough diamond, you want people to ensure that they are doing something positive to help form the diamond into a cut and polished stone,” said Schenk.
The framework has a few different facets. It starts with the customer because we are living in the age of the customer. They make the buying decisions. “We can automate whatever we want, but buyers make buying decisions,” said Schenk. The goal is to equip salespeople so that they can be successful while walking along the customer’s path. The framework also includes sponsorship, strategy, coaching, technology, executive leadership, and other facets to help create a sparkling, shiny diamond. When creating your framework, be sure to include these different elements to reduce chaos and structure your planning.
Who Is In Charge?:
It is essential is to structure the framework. It is equally important to designate who is in charge of creating it. “If you’re an organization and you want to start with sales enablement, and you don’t have a formally implemented sales process, you will have a tough time achieving anything,” said Schenk. In our experience, and what I have learned through my own practitioner career, you cannot create enablement services out of nowhere.” You must have a connection to a concrete process and a methodological framework. The responsibility for creating these processes typically fall to the sales operations team. Most sales enablement teams report to executive sales management, although sometimes, especially in larger organizations, they report into sales operations.
For more information, check out the full expert sales interview!
About our Host:
John is the Amazon bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.