“You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.”
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Companies invest in all sorts of functions, programs, and initiatives under the auspice of sales force enablement. But, without a solid foundation to support them, many of these investments achieve less than expected results.

We took a closer look at sales force enablement and the factors that have an impact on sales success in our CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study. In this post and the two to follow, we’ll dig into three primary pillars of enablement success: alignment to the customer’s journey, an enablement charter, and cross-functional collaboration.

Pillar #1: Customer’s journey alignment drives win rates and quota attainment

For two years in a row, the Sales Enablement and Optimization Study has shown that the degree of alignment between an organization’s internal processes and the customer’s journey has a significant impact on enablement success.

Our study looked at three levels of alignment. An informal alignment means that the customer’s journey has been discussed and is understood, but alignment has not been formally implemented. A formal alignment means that there have been some formalized attempts to align processes to the customer’s journey. A dynamic alignment goes even further: either deriving the sales process from the customer’s journey or dynamically aligning it to the customer’s journey and implementing modifications as changes in the marketplace are detected.

In the study, both win rate and quota attainment showed improvements that corresponded with increasing levels of alignment to the customer’s journey.

  • Win rate — The average win rate for forecast deals reported was 46.2 percent. The win rate of those respondents who reported no alignment at all was a mere 40.5 percent, 14 percent lower than the average. But, with a formal or dynamic alignment, the win rate improved to 53 percent — a difference of 6.8 percentage points or an improvement of 15 percent.
  • Quota attainment — The average quota attainment reported was 55.8 percent. Having no alignment led to a quota attainment of 54.2 percent, which is slightly below average. Interestingly, the informal and the formal alignment also led to 54.4 percent, which is also below average and is pretty much the same result as having no alignment. However, a dynamic alignment led to 63.4 percent, an improvement of 13.6 percent.

Perhaps as important to today’s competitive sales organizations is the percentage of respondents who reported little to no alignment. Of those surveyed, 9.4 percent said they don’t consider the customer’s journey at all, and another 35.2 percent reported only an informal alignment. This adds up to 44.6 percent who have not purposefully aligned their sales process to the customer’s journey. It also adds up to a potential advantage for any organization looking to gain an edge on the competition.

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