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What is Sales Enablement?
Lucas HamonAug 12, 2020 12:14:00 AM5 min read

What is Sales Enablement Without Strategy?

What is Sales Enablement Without Strategy?
6:22

Sales enablement is strategic support a company provides its business development team.

Without strategy it's technically not Sales Enablement.

It's big-picture, iterative, and driven by both data and vision. It's also collaborative and qualitative. That means Sales is given a balanced role in shaping that support along with Business Leaders, Marketing drivers, and cold-hard numbers.

How does one provide strategic support for sales?

Effective Sales Enablement strategy starts with effective Sales Enablement processes.

We are, after all, creatures of habit.

We love routines.

The less we have to think about how to spend our time, the more of it we have to spend.

And, if there's one thing I know about Salespeople, it's that their time is MOST valuable when they're selling. Aside from being treated with dignity and having some balance in their lives, very little else matters to them than closing deals and making commissions.

And, I'm okay with that.

But, you can't support them strategically without their time.

The keys to strategic sales enablement:

  • Limit the amount of time you consume--workshops are best because although they consume a lot of it at once, they reduce offline work and communications through channels like email where context and tone are easily misconstrued
  • Minimize homework (eliminate it if you can)--it won't get done anyway
  • Give them a voice and a role from day 1
  • Treat them like people

 

Sales Enablement Processes

Step 1 - Get aligned

I recommend putting Sales, Marketing, Executive leadership, and a 3rd party like a Growth Marketing leader or Growth Agency. 

Balance is critical, so Sales and Marketing should be considered equals. They both exist to accomplish the same things, and you'll get more from them if they're operating like a unit.

A Growth Marketing leader or Agency shouldn't report to either party. Their role is to translate senior leadership's GTM vision into Marketing. The point of Marketing is to fuel Sales, Service, Operations, Onboarding... you name it. It's not there to be driven or led by Sales.

Whenever we start with a new Client, our first step as a Growth Agency is to absorb the vision of leadership, the problems in Sales, and the drivers in Marketing--all at the same time.

We do this with a structured roundtable Alignment workshop. Our goals:

  • Define the company's North Star Metric (NSM)
  • Articulate our Milestone KPIs (pirate metrics)
  • Map out the Marketing & Sales journey
  • Identify gaps and challenges in existing tools & processes
  • Define top company profiles
  • Prioritize and define top personas

From there, we put it into a signable document where all stakeholders and contributors confirm their understanding of it and commitments to it.

Step 2 - Develop a sales enablement plan that addresses their top problems

This too is something we like to create through workshopping. Sales enablement leaders run it, and members of your Sales organization, Marketing, and Executive leadership all participate in developing it.

Inbound lead generation is the top ask we encounter. More leads = more deals = more sales.

While true, they aren't strategic by themselves. If you're investing in inbound marketing, you should also expect to invest in inbound sales transitioning too.

That means pairing inbound with structured inbound sales sequences, email templates, collateral, and cadence.

Step 3 - Get your sales tools in order

If there's a second thing I know about Salespeople, it's how much they hate CRMs.

I get that too, but this is a real problem.

If they hate yours, it's because it doesn't prioritize them or selling for that matter.

And, if it doesn't prioritize them or help them sell, then you can bet they're not going to use it in a way that supports management. 

If management doesn't have visibility on sales activities, and Sales can't bring themselves to care what management thinks, the inevitable conclusion is high-pressure, high-turnover toxicity.

Conversely, sales tools these days have so much to offer the willing participant. If you configure them to support your investments in inbound and that are aligned with your company's vision, then they're going to be THRILLED to use them.

If you can reduce their data entry requirements by 75%, you BET they'll come around.

By using them will you get the cold-hard data that brings balance and harmony to everything.

That's why sales tools matter.

Sometimes getting adoption for your CRM updates takes a minute. The best way to accelerate this is generating leads through their website so the only place they can get access and manage their BEST leads is through the system you create.

Step 4 - Turn it on

The moment you turn on your inbound marketing investment and generate 1 good lead, you can build. 

Step 5 - Iterate

Once launched, get yourself into a perpetual cycle of collaboration with Sales. We always follow a 2-week sprint cycle, which involves a cyclical motion of reviewing lead quality together, coaching on system and process adoption, and feeding marketing with valuable insights that only sales is privy to.

Sales Enablement KPIs

Sales is generally focused on 2 areas of the customer experience, Activation and Revenue. (learn more about the entire funnel, Pirate Metrics)

Activation - Activation is about generating commitments to your sales process through calling, emailing, and setting up preliminary meetings. In other words, it includes all of the activities designed to generate willing participation in the steps to close.

Revenue - Revenue is about closing deals, pure and simple. Once a lead is activated, generally by committing to a Discovery call, the goal shifts from activation, to generating revenue.

CONCLUSION:

The operative word in "well-executed sales enablement strategy" is 'strategy."

That means big picture. All encompassing... laser focused on your North Star Metric. Obsessed with the entire customer journey. Egoless. Eyes on the prize at ALL times.

Put this into action with our free Sales Enablement Strategy Guide

Sales Enablement Strategy Guide

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Lucas Hamon

Over 10 years of B2B sales experience in staffing, software, consulting, & tax advisory. Today, as CEO, Lucas obsesses over inbound, helping businesses grow! Husband. Father. Beachgoer. Wearer of plunging v-necks.

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