Creating a Successful Enablement Program Using the Customer’s Journey
Melissa Madian is a top sales expert who is sharing insights on sales enablement programs. [Part one discussed sales enablement basics], and she’s back for a second round of questions! In this article, she explores top tips surrounding how to recognize successful implement of a sales enablement program, how to improve and tweak a sales enablement program that isn’t as successful as it could be, why it’s so crucial for organizations to implement a sales enablement program, and other insights to help you be as successful as possible.
What do you look for when you’re assessing the health of an enablement program?
“I look for the three pillars and whether people are actually doing what the enablement program outlines that people should be doing.
For example, if a company is using a Learning Management System (LMS) are people taking the training?
I spot check folks by having managers check whether people are actually doing in practice what they practiced.”
How do you recognize a good enablement program?
“The easiest way is to observe what the Customer Success organization is doing.
First of all, if they have two of the three pillars in place, I know they are already ahead of most organizations.
They’ve got something strong in place for CSM onboarding and ongoing training to continually refresh the CSM’s skills and behaviors.
I also look for consistency.
If everyone is doing things in more or less the same way across the organization, and ideally aligned to the customer’s journey, then I know that the organization has a pretty good enablement program in place.”
What are the characteristics of the worst? What is not working?
“Wild West. Everyone is doing their own thing, no one knows what’s going on, things are not being recorded anywhere, disparate systems, disparate locations for content, silos.”
What advice do you have for CS organizations looking to develop their CSM’s?
“First, make sure you have a strong journey in place. I really do believe having a good, strong journey in place is a big chunk of the way forward in enabling your CSM’s because then there is no ambiguity in what they need to do and when they need to do it.
With a good journey in place, it removes all the ambiguity from the interaction that they have with the customer.
Once you have that, then you can start to look at where the organization is weak in that journey and then specifically enable to those parts to address the gaps.
Then enablement can start to look at the three pillars and expanding on the enablement program but if you do just those few things first, you are well on your way to a well-enabled organization.”
Based on your experience, what is the payback or ROI of an enablement program and how does it ultimately improve the customer experience?
“Ultimately the enablement program is driving consistency throughout the process allowing the organization to execute on the value proposition that was sold.
It is difficult to calculate directly how enablement drives revenue but a customer’s willingness to be a reference plays into the value of a program. If a customer has a good, consistent experience they are likely to buy more, to become an advocate and share their experience.”
How do you make the case for why enablement is so important?
“If you are growing your organization by X% of people, you need to empower them with the right tools and enable them effectively to be successful.
You don’t want them stumbling in front of the customer or to be in a situation with a customer that they do not know how to handle.
The selling feature then for putting an enablement program in place is analogous to hiring a coach for top performance.
You need to make sure the team is practicing all that they need to do in order to perform well with the customer.
The enablement person is like a coach.”
What else didn’t I ask you that everyone should know about?
“A lot of organizations do not let their Customer Success folks go out and meet with customers or go to conferences because of budget.
Whereas Sales typically has leeway to travel, CS does not.
Let them do that. Maybe do it in a way that rewards behavior. If CSM’s are following process, taking training, exhibiting all the behaviors a company is looking for, reward that by allowing attendance at conferences or paying a visit to their customers. Meeting customers face to face builds trust and customer loyalty. Attending conferences is a fantastic way to develop new skills and build their skill repertoire which they can also bring back into the organization.”
For more information on sales enablement programs from top sales expert Melissa Madian, check out some of her other SalesPOP! contributions, including 3 Things to Help Your Sales Team Have Insightful Customer Conversations, and #SalesChats: Sales Enablement with Melissa Madian.