This article comes from Paul Butterfield’s insightful talk, ‘Foundations of a winning revenue enablement strategy’, at our 2023 New York Sales Enablement Summit, check out his live discussion in full here.

I still remember the day my perspective on sales enablement changed forever. It was a Friday morning in September 2012 when I walked into my regular one-on-one with Bill, our newly hired EVP of Sales. 

Instead of discussing deal forecasts, Bill turned to his whiteboard and wrote two words: “Sales Enablement.” 

After over 15 years in sales and leadership roles at companies like Microsoft and Intuit, I had never heard that term before! So I’ll admit - I had to Google it. 

But Bill went on to explain how before he tripled our team and accelerated growth to $500 million in revenue, we needed a dedicated sales enablement function. He sent me home that weekend with a challenge: build the framework for a global program that could scale. 

Over 10 years later, I'm still passionate about revenue enablement and the incredible impact it can have. 

In this article, I'll walk you through my approach for creating high-performing enablement strategies based on my experience leading successful programs. 

So, let's dive in!

Creating an effective strategy map 

Many companies roll out flashy strategies - yet months later, no one remembers what they were. That's why balancing your strategy with clear performance metrics is critical

An incredibly helpful tool I rely on is called "strategy mapping,” popularized by Robert Kaplan and David Norton.

At its core, a strategy map makes the connections explicit between your desired outcomes, what capabilities you need, and what activities will help develop those capabilities. 

I've used this at multiple companies to create alignment and focus enablement priorities.

While their approach was designed for huge enterprises like Mobil and Home Depot, I've customized it for internal shared services like enablement. 

Here’s a glimpse of what layers you could include in your map:  

💰 Financial - Increases in sales productivity, quota attainment, reduced discounting rates 

Customer experience - Improving CX, shortening sales cycles 

📈 Capabilities - Adoption of sales methodology, increased cross-selling ability

📚 Activities - Sales methodology certification courses, negotiation skills training

The beauty of balancing leading and lagging indicators is that you can truly connect enablement priorities to revenue impact. 

For example, my team analyzed that boosting C-level player performance alone would drive millions in incremental revenue. That helped us secure executive support and enablement headcount. 

So don’t be afraid to make bold commitments - as long as you have the data and strategy map to back it up!

Crafting an enablement framework for each stage

 With a well-mapped strategy guiding your work, the next step is translating that into an enablement framework tailored to your organization’s needs. 

I structure my models around the employee lifecycle to ensure we deliver targeted value during each stage. While models vary across companies, most revenue professionals evolve through a progression like:

New Hire - Learning core sales skills 

Conversant - Gaining comfort articulating value propositions 

Proficient - Consistently achieving quotas 


Expert/Leader - Taking on management or broader CX roles

You likely recognize some of these principles already. 

I believe if enablement teams consult on new hire profiles, analyze the competencies of A-level talent, and collaborate with other groups like renewals, L&D, and CX - there is so much more value we can provide. 

Here are some examples of programs I’ve tailored for employees at different proficiency levels:

New hires

  • Bootcamps to reinforce core sales messaging/methodology
  • Individualized 8-week onboarding journeys integrating product, skills, and culture training
  • Hiring profile guidance based on skills assessments of top performers

Conversant employees 

  • Advanced certification in core sales methodology to elevate conversations
  • Analyzing leader 1:1 coaching effectiveness and gaps
  • Developing renewal and cross-sell playbooks 

Proficient employees

  • Leadership development for those interested in managing teams
  • Coaching training to pay it forward to junior team members
  • Strategic contribution coaching for VP-level leaders

The key is balancing a core curriculum with specialized content that keeps teams progressing.