The Current State of Sales Enablement
Part one assessed the current state of sales enablement. This insight was drawn from personal experience, research data and our work with clients. Often, sales enablement practitioners are not focused on four key elements:
- A Clear Customer Core Perspective
- Targeting Front Line Sales Managers
- A Foundation in Sales Operations
- Integrated Content and Training Services
This can prevent the discipline from creating strong business impact.
Clear Customer Core Perspective
A clear customer core perspective is often missing, with the customer’s journey as design point. For sales professionals to become more successful in client interactions, the design point needs to place customers at the core. Depending on a sales force’s selling comfort zone, the enablement approach has to be designed specifically to achieve this goal.
Targeting Front Line Sales Managers
Front line sales managers are not a dedicated target group. That means front line sales managers are not enabled in their own role; they are only informed about the enablement programs for their teams. But they need coaching maps and guidelines that support the initial enablement approach because if coaching doesn’t happen at all or is not aligned with the enablement approach, the initial enablement investments are at risk.
A Foundation in Sales Operations
Sales enablement often doesn’t leverage sales operations’ foundation well enough. The strategic opportunity for sales enablement is to lead the intersection between marketing and sales operations.
Integrated Content and Training Services
Content and training often reside in different functions, and pretty much focused on portfolio-related content and on product and skill-based sales training. The missing alignment not only leads to inefficient enablement operations, but also to inconsistent messages and frustration within the sales force.
The Sales Force Enablement Customer Core Framework
We then shifted to a preview of the sales force enablement master framework for one dimension: providing enablement services. This master framework is currently under construction, other dimensions will follow:
- Design point: Customer’s journey: awareness phase, actual buying phase, implementation and adoption.
- Engagement and messaging principle: Providing perspectives is focused on principles that equip a sales professional how to adapt those principles in each specific customer situation.
- Purpose: Design and provide integrated enablement services (content and training) that boost the sales professional’s business awareness along the customer’s journey to enable them to provide perspectives for clients.
- Business awareness: This covers a sales professional’s skills, portfolio, customer and business knowledge, customer management strategies and decision dynamic expertise, which is the differentiator in complex sales. Looking at sales enablement’s scope this way, it’s a logical consequence that content and training have to be integrated services.
- Content Services: They contain a dynamic messaging approach that covers tailored value hypothesis in the awareness phase, unique value propositions in the buying phase, and value confirmation messages in the implementation and adoption phase. Content is then tailored for each phase of the customer’s journey:
- Tailored to the customer’s context and their concepts in the awareness phase
- More differentiated and focused on the decision dynamics in the buying phase
- Focused on the value dynamics in the implementation and adoption phase
- Training: Related and integrated training services also address the different business awareness layers. They are either targeted to improve people’s various skills and to boost specific decision dynamic expertise or to teach people how to use and how to tailor content effectively.
The framework is built on a solid foundation – an integrated cross-functional operations framework for content and training services that covers all steps from definition, creation, publishing/roll-out to localization. The framework has to be powered by state-of-the-art enablement and collaboration technology to be able to create a significant business impact.