Looking at sales enablement program success rates can be discouraging. Only 34% of organizations report successful achievement of the majority or all sales enablement goals. So why do the best laid sales enablement plans go awry?
Upon diving into those who report sales enablement program success or goal achievement, a common denominator emerges. Sales enablement programs that achieve their goals are championed by a strong leader who strategically shapes the program in lockstep with sales management, key stakeholders and partners across functions along the way.
Program development is not a one-off exercise that is decided before sales kick-off and then put on automatic pilot until year end. It requires continuous monitoring, communication and adjustment to adapt to changing business or sales needs.
As planning for 2019 is in full swing, now is the time for enterprise sales organizations to shape a sales enablement program that will impact quote attainment within the next fiscal year or two, depending on the average sales cycle. A smart start can fuel a strong finish, so here are some sales enablement planning basics to get you off on the right foot:
Start by putting pen to paper
- Develop a strategic charter for your sales enablement program that specifies desired business outcomes aligned with sales and business goals, including identifying the proficiencies, or competencies, a sales rep needs to be successful
Plan with an open door
- Take a collaborative approach during planning by soliciting input on your strategy and goals from leaders across multiple business functions (sales management, operations, L&D, marketing, product, finance, etc)
Build consensus and gain buy-in
- Identify, meet with, and secure buy-in from key stakeholders (sponsors, suppliers, advocates, and blockers) on such factors as priorities, pacing and how efforts will be measured. If you’ve done the step above, this should be a relatively smooth process.
Build in checks and balances
- Link the plan to a continuous and adaptive sales training methodology that focuses on enabling sales reps to have the greatest impact on agreed sales goals. Make training and reinforcement easy-to-use, time-efficient and engaging for reps to close knowledge or skill gaps unique to them. Measure efforts through sales proficiency metrics that inform regular program evaluation.
Align with champions
- Document and share the plan, goals, and required resources with a C-level champion, one who will support efforts cross-departmentally, be your voice at the executive level, and help articulate the sales enablement charter to everyone in the company.
Monitor and pivot
- Be resourceful and forthright when it is necessary to spearhead or manage organizational and process changes based on what sales proficiency, performance and productivity analysis is telling you — and again do so in collaboration with the original stakeholders who input and bought into the plan.
Looking for additional guidance on how to structure a sales enablement program for success? Download our briefing sheet 3 Steps to a Sustainable Sales Enablement Strategy for a step-by-step framework for building a sustainable sales enablement strategy.