Just like your favorite dish, building successful Enablement from the ground up requires specific basic ingredients that have to be combined in the right quantity. If one ingredient is missing, your dish is probably not going to taste as good. The right components to build successful Enablement can range from how much money you invest in your sales tech stack to how many enablement resources you bring on to what training programs you decide to build and of course what delivery methods you decide to use…the list goes on and on. But rather than talking about the ingredients, I want to discuss the ENVIRONMENT you have to create your dish, aka Enablement, in.
The perfect environment for Enablement to work at its best requires content, information, messaging, and feedback to flow freely between business units in a structured and organized way. If Enablement is isolated and does not work in strong collaboration with the rest of the business, it simply will not work and is doomed to fail (refer to image on the right).
“If Sales Enablement is structured like a program that has a beginning and an end, it will fail.”
To build Enablement that is effective, sustainable and scalable one must ensure that the environment is supportive and touches every part of your sales reps’ Enablement process. A key to success is to build strong collaboration between Enablement and Learning and Development (L&D), Product, Marketing, Customer Success, Finance, and Sales Operations to create an ENABLEMENT ECOSYSTEM.
The goal should be to elevate Enablement from being just a “program” to become an evolving ecosystem within your organization. The core of the ecosystem is the collaboration between Enablement and L&D. While both of these functions are often tied to separate business units (L&D to HR and Enablement to Sales, Ops and/or Marketing) they are attempting to achieve the same goal: accelerated personal and professional growth to help drive the business forward. These two functions should work hand in hand to provide reps and sales leaders with ongoing learning and enablement. What role do the other business functions play in your Enablement ecosystem?
Content & Information
Content and information both have to flow freely within the Enablement ecosystem between Sales and other business functions. Let’s look at each separately:
- If your reps do not have access to the right content at the right time, your ecosystem will never work. They need to have access to Marketing content they can use for outreach, they need to be able to access data from Sales Ops to do proper forecasting, they need to know all about your new product features and so on. If you are just at the beginning of building your Enablement ecosystem, I strongly recommend investing in a Sales Enablement platform to help you accomplish that.
- Another important component is the free flow of information between sales and the other business units. What is happening in the market? How do prospects and customers behave? What are industry trends? All of this is valuable business information. Regular (bi-weekly or monthly) “Connector Calls” are very useful to accomplish this.
Working in collaboration with the executive team and other business units, your Marketing team surely has crafted the perfect narrative for your business. But what if all your reps don’t tell the story the same way or make up their own? What could be the possible implications in the market? Or what if your reps tell the story differently than everybody else in the company? In a smoothly functioning Enablement ecosystem, all parties are aligned and trained to convey consistent messaging, which can ultimately lead to you building a movement for your brand.
I give you an example: Your Marketing department puts a lot of money and time into creating several pieces of content for your reps to facilitate their outreach to prospects and customers. But they don’t know what was used, what was not, how was it perceived, or if it led to opportunities being created? Now what? Should they produce more of the same, or less, or focus on producing different content? The reality is they will never know unless they are told. Same with your product team: if sales and product do not work hand in hand, it will be incredibly unlikely to drive positive customer experiences. An open flow of feedback within your ecosystem will support the best possible and scalable Enablement for your reps.
A healthy Enablement ecosystem will ultimately lead to positive customer experience. Let’s go back to the example of your favorite dish. If you use all the right ingredients at the right quantity and you cook your dish in a clean and organized environment, whoever you serve it to will probably enjoy it. This goes the same for your product or service; if you manage to use the right components to build Enablement and THEN create a healthy ecosystem for it to flourish in, your sales reps will be able to...