“I see trees of green, red roses too
"I see them bloom, for me and you
"And I think to myself, what a wonderful world”
Every sales enabler’s dream is to walk into an organization and find that every department and executive knows, undoubtedly, how to partner with sales enablement.
Errrr… let’s leave the dream world and get to reality though.
All too often, enablement teams come in with content blazing, finely-tuned presentation skills, and processes ready to scale at large; only to quickly realize that most internal teams, including department heads, are still struggling to understand how to partner with sales enablement.
Enablement maturity takes time and commitment from internal stakeholders. It takes a true team to carry out what's necessary for the sales enablement ecosystem to flourish.
How does your organization compare?
There are a few telling signs of a dysfunctional sales enablement system:
- Does the sales enablement team always seem late with content?
- Does the sales team frequently miss the momentum created by marketing campaigns?
- Does enablement seem to be off on their own island?
- Do you see a lack of adoption around marketing materials, sales content, even sales tools?
- Do you know what projects sales enablement is working on, on any given day? (A “no” here indicates dysfunction)
If you answered “yes” to at least two of these, you have a dysfunctional sales enablement system.
But fear not, my courageous leaders! This sales enabler is going to give you a few tips on how to start knocking down those silos and making sure your sellers and the enablement team are besties!
Tip #1: Hulk smash those silos - stat!
Silos are the kryptonite to your sales enablement superheroes! This mentality needs to come from the top down.
Marketing, operations, product, sales, sales/revenue enablement all need to know what each other had for lunch! Ok - maybe not that much info, but you get my point.
If this isn’t happening, key in on the kinks in the chain. Do they need a tactful explanation of the vision and strategy of the organization's enablement team? Perhaps they have too much on their plate; as an enabler, how can you help bridge the gap?
As a marketing, ops, or sales leader, ask yourself why you're resistant to this shift. If you aren’t resistant but aren't doing anything to help bridge the gap, then you are culpable.
Get in there and make some waves. Help to improve the two-way communication, schedule time with your team to discuss what enablement is and what they can expect, give enablement the support and forum they need.
Enablers - take the bull by the horns.
Identify the root issue, tactfully have a conversation with the resistant team member(s) regardless of the reason, and execute the plan to unclog the bottleneck.
Tip #2: Share, share, share, and share some more!
This is something actionable to help break down the silos.
In my experience, something that I like to do is have a separate sales enablement calendar and share this with all stakeholders, including the sales teams. In this calendar, I have all of my projects i.e. training sessions, workshops, marketing campaign drops, demo certifications, new hires onboarding, and so on.
Sharing this calendar helps to keep the entire team up to date on what they can expect to receive, whether it’s a desk drop, a workshop, or if their demo re-certification is coming up.
Another actionable thing you can do is to create a project tracker.
A tracker I like to use contains the title of the project, a short description, status of the project (not started, in-progress, completed, and overdue), the priority level of a project, deliverables, dependencies, first draft due date, final due date, link to the document, and any important notes. This tracker is shared with all relevant leaders.
In addition to the tracker, I have a tab that documents all projects I have completed and another tab that shows what is in my project pipeline.
Finally, I like to send out a weekly executive summary containing sales enablement projects completed and what can be expected the following week.
I also like to send out data around how certain sequences/templates in Outreach are performing, call recording tool data with call score improvements, competency improvements/lacking, and other areas of opportunity for additional coaching.
This summary will go to all relevant leaders.
Tip #3: Enablers, marketing, and sales leaders go together like peas and carrots!
I’m hoping you're getting the theme here, but I like to create actual tips you can start today if needed.
If you don’t have a weekly standing 30-minute meeting with Marketing & Sales - get it on the calendar, like, now.
It's up to enablement to guide these conversations. A couple of things to make sure of prior to your meeting:
- Create an agenda and attach it to the meeting invite.
- Be prepared to take notes from other department leaders on the status of projects.
- Use this time to dig into any gray area that may not be apparent on docs/calendars shared with you.
- If there are items that need a definitive answer in your agenda, say so. Always set the goals of the meeting and ask others to list theirs if they have them.
- Make sure that you are checking the marketing/sales trackers & calendars daily so there is no wasted time in having others explain something that is already documented.
Tip #4: The sales teams are your #1 priority!
There is nothing more valuable to an enabler than getting in the trenches with the team and battling it out. Keeping your ear to the ground and 100% visibility is key to a respected sales enablement leader.
This is also important to continue to break down those silos. When you know what is happening on the ground, you can provide vital intel to executive leadership. The more you know, the more they leverage you.
In the office environment world, it used to be much easier to be visible. Now that we are all remote, it takes extra effort and getting creative to let the sales teams know you’ve got their backs.
Much in the same way that the sales teams try to find creative ways to engage with their buyers, we have to do the same with them!
Of course, this depends on your personality but a few things I like to do to keep things fresh and effective:
- After reviewing a call, I like to record a video of my feedback. Videos strike a deeper connection and elicit strong emotional responses that make people want to perform better and that goes a long way in earning their respect.
- Alternatively to video, I will sometimes record audio messages if I need something quick. Let’s be honest, we are all quite “Slacked Out” and anything you can do to break the monotony is going to stand out in their mind.
- Some organizations may want sales managers to do this but if the sellers aren’t getting the information on a monthly basis, it’s cool to hear how much they love getting a monthly analysis of their call reviews, where they’ve improved, activities to help them in areas where they need improvement, and what you admire about them! It’s so simple but it’s really all in the way it’s delivered.
With over 10+ years of sales experience, Crystal Nikosey has built enablement functions from scratch, created onboarding, coaching, and training programs and the processes and metrics that drive them.
She takes a holistic and human approach to enablement by using technology to improve learner engagement and identify potential risk of burnout but also building in empathy and compassion to all enablement programs.
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