Putting together a sales enablement strategy is all about giving sales teams the coaching and content they need to sell smarter...but the question is: Who should be involved in setting up the strategy?
Conventional wisdom dictates that many people may be involved, but there are still doubters who ask, “Do I really need all of these people involved?” The short answer is yes. But for the long answer, let’s explore why.
First, a Big Question: Where Is the Sales Process Inefficient?
Because a solid sales enablement strategy seeks to make sales work smarter, a complementary gap analysis should be focused on the inefficiencies and what’s not working well. I’d start by asking, “Where are leads falling out of the sales process?” Many sales reps and sales leaders will have some opinions, but this question can actually be measured via customer relationship management (CRM) reporting. Here’s a handy funnel report from the HubSpot CRM:
Based on this report, I would expect to hear some of the following questions:
- Only 25 percent of deals are moving from the “Created” stage to Phase 1 of our sales process. Are we creating deals that are truly sales opportunities? What’s keeping us from getting more prospects to the first stage?
- Just over one-third of our prospects are moving from Phase 2 to Phase 3. What’s our big ask at that point in the sales process? What information can we provide during this stage to better show value before a proposal is sent?
- How do these averages compare by rep? By industry? By company size? By line of business?
These questions are at the core of most conversations about sales improvement that I’ve been a part of. There’s no doubt that they are important questions that lead to explaining bigger issues such as:
- If the business development team has a high quota for appointments set, the target may have become quantity over quality, which means 75 percent of appointments booked aren’t progressing. The sales reps then has a small pool of qualified appointments to get to the demo phase. Though the organization needs the quantity of leads, it also needs to drive quality to be successful.
- Many contacts are seeing a demo but are not moving to the informal proposal stage afterward. Is this solution really meeting their needs? Are we providing the right information? We need to show more value and get prospects excited about moving forward after a demo.
Clearly, there’s a real opportunity for sales enablement to make a difference. So who should be involved in putting together that strategy?
Every Key Decision-Maker in the Organization Is Involved in Sales Enablement Strategy
Yes, all of them. If you don't have the luxury of having a dedicated sales enablement role (and even if you do!), recognize that sales enablement is a strategy that directly affects the department that keeps much of the organization running—sales— and so many, many players should have an opinion. Here’s a quick list of who is typically at the table and the role they should play:
So obvious that I almost didn’t say it. The head of the sales team is easily the most important person for incorporating new ideas and strategies and analyzing existing sales data.
We all know about sales and marketing alignment: Because sales enablement works best when sales and marketing can work together for the right kind of messaging and content, the head of marketing is another key leader. If sales leadership and marketing leadership aren’t on the same page, will their respective teams work well together? Probably not.
These are the people who have the “big goals” and often the “big budgets” in mind, so getting their buy-in is crucial. If you can’t align a sales enablement strategy with the goals and budgets of players such as the CEO, CFO, and COO, your strategy likely won’t be around for long.
Top Sales Reps
Top sales reps will have a pulse on what’s going on in sales today and can be open about what needs they have in the sales process. For example, a rep might say, “I always get asked for references between Phase 2 and Phase 3, but it takes some time to get them lined up. I’d like to be able to send them something industry-specific in the meantime.” That’s a comment that marketing can run with.
Top Business Development Rep
Too often, organizations leave out the business development team when thinking about sales enablement—that’s a huge mistake! They’re the front-line team that can contribute much to the conversation internally, based on what’s being heard from prospects the team makes contact with on a regular basis.
With the right players in the room, moving forward with a solid strategy for sales enablement becomes much easier. Remember—there are many people who are invested in the sales team and have valid and varying opinions about what would improve performance. Taking all ideas into consideration is important but always, always look to data and past experiences whenever possible. It’s not always about what we like but what buyers are expecting.