Sales Enablement: A Reading List
In case you missed it, Sales Enablement is having a moment. The Sales Enablement Society is 49 chapters and growing, and Indeed currently lists almost 4,000 jobs with “Enablement” in the title. Three books on Sales Enablement have been published; two since the beginning of the year. And just as each Sales Enablement job description and area of influence varies by company and industry, each book offers unique perspectives on Sales Enablement around the tenets of Training, Coaching, and Content.
The one common message from all of the books: If companies want to be competitive and build first-class sales leaders and sales reps, they need enablement. For sales enablement professionals and sales leaders who want to up their game, here’s a high-level overview of the lessons from each book:
Written by Byron Matthews and Tamara Schenk of Miller Heiman and CSO Insights, this book draws from the impressive data and conclusions of the CSO Insights 2017 World-Class Sales Practices Study. The authors introduce The Sales Force Enablement Clarity Model with the facets of a diamond as their metaphor. The model puts The Customer at top and is the lens through which all enablement is viewed. In the middle is the services, operations, technology, and collaboration that makes up the day-to-day of actual enablement. It culminates at the bottom with sponsorship, strategy, and a charter as the foundations of any successful enablement program. The charter, which is championed throughout, is established as their North Star of all enablement efforts and strategy.
The book is packed with meaningful metrics from the study and discusses a number of organizational maturity models, the most important of which is the Sales Force Enablement Maturity Model. This maturity model describes four stages of enablement: Random, Organized, Scalable, and Adaptive. In Random, most enablement efforts are ad hoc and true enablement doesn’t exist. With Organized, enablement takes on structure through most efforts are contained to one domain. At Scalable, enablement finds an integrated approach with the customer as the primary design point. And finally, with Adaptive, enablement encompasses all customer-facing roles and is continuously refined by the customer experience.
Key Takeaways: Sales Enablement Clarity Model, the Sales Enablement Maturity Model, and a Sales Enablement Charter template.
Elay Cohen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Saleshood and former SVP of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. He brings to his book the experiences of creating and executing industry-leading training and coaching programs at Salesforce and building his own sales productivity software company. Cohen champions enablement as a company-wide, top-down and bottom-up effort that aligns people, processes, and priorities. He introduces the people who the Enablement professionals are, their core competencies, hiring questions, and the organization design of a Sales Enablement team.
Cohen also shares his Enablement Process Map which is inspired by the Pragmatic Marketing Framework and is a blueprint for the day-to-day enablement activities. The Process Map breaks down into categories of Go-To-Market, Learning, Communications, Customer Engagement, and Achievements. Several concepts that stand out are the data mindset and definitions of top metrics, the power of active and social learning, the key sales skills of curiosity and storytelling, and the importance of celebrating achievements.
Key Takeaways: Sales Enablement Process Map, Enablement Professional Competencies, and a First 90 Days in a Sales Enablement Role Activity List.
Corey Bray and Hilmon Sorey are the co-authors of several books for sales professionals and run ClozeLoop, a consulting firm on sales management and training. They describe Sales Enablement as an ecosystem and focus on the nuts and bolts of the sales roles and the sales process. Their book is presented as a playbook and walks the reader through the entire sales organization with a specific focus on the content needs of the sales team and a candid approach to how sales reps actually consume that content.
The authors favor quick and digestible micro-content and remind all content creators the half-life of their product. Their Content Matrix is especially useful in tying content to specific buyers, their pains, and the features that address them. For Bray and Sorey, the Customer is the #1 Sales Enablement Tool and every part of the company should find the time to talk with potential customers and capitalize on their feedback.
Key Takeaways: Templates to build Buyer Personas, Battlecards, Objection Handling, and the Sales Enablement Content Matrix.
Author, Holly Hunnicutt is a founder of WiSE (Women in Sales Enablement)
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