Ignite Success: A Fresh Perspective on Sales Enablement

July 11, 2023 | Sheevaun Thatcher and Dr. Stephen Timme

Recently, FinListics Solutions hosted a compelling webinar titled "Ignite Your Sales Potential: Sales Enablement Redefined for Enterprise Success." This enlightening session offered an in-depth look at sales enablement and the transformative power it holds within an organization. Our Founder & President, Dr. Stephen Timme, spoke with Sheevaun Thatcher, VP Strategic Enablement at Salesforce to explore strategic partnership between sales enablement and customer facing teams within the organization.

We’ve pulled some key takeaways, but you can also watch the webinar in full here

Sales Enablement: A Gateway to Customer-Centric Selling

The focus was on turning an organization, no matter how energetic or full of ideas, into one that prioritizes the customer and everything about the customer. Instead of just feeding the sales team tools and training, the real mission of sales enablement should be to prepare the customer-facing teams within the organization. It's about empowering these teams to provide customers and prospects the best possible experience with a vendor, helping them to navigate through the clutter, and understand their genuine needs.

Sales Enablement as a Business Within a Business

Contrary to popular belief, sales enablement is not merely about training. Instead, it's a business within a business, complete with its investors, supply chain, and customers. Its investors are any stakeholders willing to resource the programs run by the enablement team, from budget to software. The supply chain consists of those who want to put something in front of the customer, typically marketing, but it could also involve legal or HR teams. The most vital relationship in the sales enablement ecosystem is between enablement and the customer. Not the end customer, but the sales leaders. This strategic partnership is crucial because, without it, no number of resources or content can ensure effectiveness.

A common challenge in organizations is the conflicting viewpoints between sales and marketing teams. This webinar highlighted how this breakdown can be resolved by answering two key questions: "What's in it for the sales team?" and "How is it going to help my customer buy from me?" This approach reframes the marketing-sales dynamic, fostering a more symbiotic relationship.

Measuring the Impact of Sales Enablement

When it comes to assessing the impact of sales enablement, KPIs should be about moving the needle and increasing performance, not merely course completions or average scores. Are we shortening the sales cycle? Closing more deals? Increasing the average sales price? Reducing churn among sellers?

These performance based KPIs provide a more accurate reflection of success and can inform future strategies. While it is also essential to know how many people went through the courses and their average scores, those should be secondary, internal metrics. They are useful for assessing the value of the work done by the enablement team but are not the key indicators of business performance.

Pillars of Sales Enablement

1.    Understanding the Company Go-to-Market: Every employee in the company, not just the sales team, needs to understand the company's purpose, the problem it solves, and why customers buy from it.

2.    Aligning Assets: All assets such as website content, scripts, white papers, etc., used by the company to communicate its identity, need to align with the go-to-market strategy.

3.    Accessibility: The company's information should be readily available, whether this is in the form of a buyer's process or a selling process, it should be accessible just in time for the current activity.

4.    Tribal Knowledge and Feedback Loop: There should be mechanisms for feedback, encouragement for employees to share what works and what doesn’t. Are you reviewing your win data, lost data, or soliciting insights from the ground?

This redefined approach to sales enablement serves as the driving force for an ongoing, ever-improving process.

When optimally positioned, an enablement team has the advantage of a bird's-eye view of the customer journey from start to finish. This unique perspective allows them to observe the full spectrum of the customer experience. This is the true essence of what you're striving for. With this setup, team members along various stages don't need to have in-depth knowledge about all aspects. Instead, they can rely on the enablement team as a central hub for knowledge and insights. If a piece of information is missing, the enablement team possesses the capabilities to uncover it, ensuring a continuous and comprehensive understanding of the process.

Ultimately, personalizing messages to cater to individual requirements is more effective than leaning on blanket promises of increased revenue. It’s vital to recognize that each industry and stakeholder needs a unique approach and generic messages have lost their effectiveness. Ensuring consistency in your messaging across all platforms is equally crucial. 

The key to successful sales enablement is establishing a solid relationship between sales, leadership management, and the enablement team, emphasizing two-way communication. The sales leaders are encouraged to foster open communication and hold their team accountable if there's resistance. #R2N4

Conversations with clients should be centered around the value provided rather than just discussing product features and functions. This value-based dialogue can shift the direction of the conversation and make the seller or manager more engaging to the customer.

Finally, Sheevaun Thatcher recommends a 'customer-first' approach. By understanding common goals and strategies within key industries and aligning solutions to them, sales teams can improve operational KPIs and provide tangible financial benefits to their customers. It's crucial to focus on the customer's needs rather than simply pushing a product.

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Posted in Selling Strategies, Webinar, Sales Training