Many people get sales enablement wrong because they have different concepts and ideas about what it actually is.
Roderick Jefferson began his sales career as a BDR, then an AEE, and finally moved into sales management. He discovered that he enjoyed sales more than he enjoyed closing deals. So he stepped into sales training.
Now, through his company Roderick Jefferson and Associates, he breaks the complexity of sales into practical ideas through scalable and repeatable practices.
Sales enablement mistakes
Sales enablement helps develop the right conversations the right way with the right tools. Ultimately, it seeks to decrease time to ramp or increase productivity and revenue.
Many companies make mistakes implementing their sales enablement.
- They fail to establish consistency and parameters.
- Many wait too long to hire sales enablement consultants.
- They assume they need a consultant or a resource without realizing they need both. One can help you lay the groundwork that you can hand off to another.
Many companies aren’t really sure what they need. They know what isn’t working and they treat enablement like IT. But those who do sales enablement aren’t the fixers of broken things. They aren’t sales scribes or sales support. They must be sales partners.
Training vs. enablement
A difference exists between training and enablement. Roderick believes that training applies to animals while enablement applies to humans.
Enablement is woven into the fabric of the company. It literally has to be one of the top five initiatives of the overall success of the company. It also must have specific time-bound and measurable deliverables, metrics, and KPIs.
Some of the sales enablement measurements have changed. We used to talk about butts in seats, headcount, and NPS scores, but those things don’t carry water.
Sales enablement now focuses on different questions.
- What’s the completion percentage of certification or accreditation?
- What’s the average deal size?
- Collateral use infrequency?
- How much new pipeline is being created?
- What’s the number of closed deals?
- What’s the product mix?
- What’s the quota attainment percentage?
- What’s the time to revenue?
- What’s the win rate?
Many of the old measurements aren’t definitions of success and they won’t help move the needle forward for sales.
Companies aren’t tying their goals, their sales processes, or their sales methodology to figure out where they fit into their buyer’s journey. They are trying to make their buyer fit into their processes, methodologies, sales stages, and CRM.
They must step back and reverse engineer their process and document what the buyer’s journey looks like. They must also figure out where to fit in multiple touch points in the buyer’s journey.
Sales enablement must be in place before you need it. By the time you need it, it’s already too late. If, for example, you’re planning to hire more people over the next year, you must have the content ready for them. You must have a process for onboarding.
Without these processes in place, you’ve essentially planned to fail rather than ensuring success.
Rethink the ideal customer profile. Start thinking instead about the ideal employee profile. From an enablement perspective, you start to get a feel for new hires and who is going to be a rock star. Instead of doing that after the hire, Roderick focused on working with HR resources around talent acquisition.
Consider what a rock star looks like especially in the context of where the company is going. Then take that job description to HR and explain what you’re hiring toward.
Sometimes sellers do well by accident because the prospect happened to need their product or service. In that case, they become simply order-takers.
When we fail to measure, plan, or structure our efforts, we don’t optimize. Imagine if every organization operated that way. It’s the detriment of the sales industry.
Supply chain ensures that you hit your markers and that sales leaders don’t move the goalposts. If you’re in the red zone about to score, you don’t want anyone to move the goal post.
Resource vs. consultant
Many companies don’t want to pay for consultants but they want help connecting the dots. It’s important to use resources and consultants because what one lacks, the other brings.
Roderick’s team brings templates to their clients so they don’t have to recreate the wheel. The process includes four stages.
- Infrastructure build and augmentation.
- Established sales enablement team.
- Sales leadership and coaching.
- Sales-focused metrics.
Instead of hoping that marketing does its job and that the customer buys, institute a clear process instead. Remove hope at every stage and rely on the process that focuses on your buyer’s journey.
Enablement is an ongoing conference rather than a single event.
“Sales Enablement” episode resources
Connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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