Sales enablement plays a pivotal role in driving better outcomes from sales teams, namely by supporting sales reps with mastering key proficiencies. Unfortunately, too many sales enablement programs fail to gain traction or don’t provide measurable results. Knowing the hazards to look out for and how to avoid them can go a long way to ensuring success.

We’ve seen many programs in our day, and have helped companies of all sizes assess and improve their initiatives. Here are the most common sales enablement pitfalls we’ve seen…do they sound familiar?

Don’t overemphasize quick wins
We get it—quickly proving value feels good. Get a quick pat on the back from sales leadership and praise from reps can make you feel like you’ve made a contribution. But if you focus too much on quick wins, you’ll lose sight of the bigger picture – reaching your long-term sales goals.

We’re not saying that you shouldn’t aim for some quick wins. But, having a solid foundation to build upon is a more sustainable way to achieve short and long sales enablement goals.

Don’t operate in a silo
Siloed efforts within an organization almost never pan out. In fact, sales enablement needs resources from many areas of the business to deliver on its charter: marketing content, product messaging, sales systems and data, and talent development, to name a few. Too many sales enablement teams tend to focus on the area they are comfortable with or came through the ranks in – and fail to effectively collaborate with colleagues in other departments. There’s no shame in asking for input and assistance in the name of getting the job done.

Don’t agree to the wrong metrics
Sales enablement alone can’t improve everything related to sales. However, in the eagerness to please the sales organization and executive team, too many sales enablement leaders agree to help improve areas that are not 100% in their control — or require more than the sales enablement function to contribute. CSO Insights found that only 33% of sales enablement practitioners achieved the majority of their objectives. If these objectives were not set in collaboration with contributing stakeholders then the question has to be asked whether the right metrics are being tracked in the first place.

Don’t rely on instinct and loose proof points
To build a sales enablement program that’s good for the long haul, proof of its impact on business goals and sales performance is a must. This relates to the earlier point on ensuring agreed measures are in place. This is not just about productivity metrics and sales KPIs, but hard data on sales rep proficiency to be sure they have the knowledge and skills to achieve their quota or performance goals. Relying on subjective observations and activity metrics alone to show sales enablement’s contribution will quickly lose credibility. Plus, how can you benchmark and show continuous improvement of sales rep capabilities over time?

It’s the norm in all areas of the business to expect reports and analytics to gauge the effectiveness of programs and initiatives. There’s no reason the same can’t be applied to sales enablement initiatives.

Resolving top sales enablement challenges
If some or all of these behaviors are evident in your organization, there’s no need to panic. The good news is that we’ve seen many companies in the same situation, which is why we’ve developed a methodical, continuous, and adaptive approach to overcoming these sales enablement pitfalls.

To learn more about the specific steps you should take to ensure the success of your sales enablement program, download our eBook: Common Sales Enablement Pitfalls: 4 Mistakes to Avoid.


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