It’s time to begin making resource requests for your 2020 budget—and that means the resources that you’ll need to implement to grow your sales enablement strategy. While you consider the areas where you need to make investments, think about the answers to these questions:
- What are your sales goals for next year, and what kind of content, coaching and training does your organization need to achieve them?
- What sales-related challenges do you anticipate facing in 2020 and how will you overcome them?
- Do you have a formal plan that connects the dots between your goals and the actions you’ll take to reach them?
Almost two-thirds of organizations invest in sales enablement but don’t see any meaningful improvement in results, according to the CSO Insights 2018 Sales Enablement Study. If this investment doesn’t move the needle, senior leadership may wonder whether it makes sense to continue supporting a dedicated enablement function.
But a formal approach to sales enablement—when supported by a charter—makes a huge difference in results and turns sales enablement from a cost center into an ROI generator.
In 2018, CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group found that 50.5% of organizations reported running sales enablement in a formal way. Yet despite this adoption of formal sales enablement, only 9.2% of organizations who do so use an enablement charter. Adding a charter pays off—organizations with formal sales enablement processes anchored by a charter enjoyed a huge bump in win rates—19.2%—compared to all respondents.
A sales enablement charter leads to more wins because it creates a streamlined approach to support your sales strategy. Here’s how to build a charter that will translate into stronger results next year.
What Is a Sales Enablement Charter?
Our book, Sales Enablement—A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force, defines a sales enablement charter as a “guide for turning random sales enablement efforts into a formal, scalable and strategic enablement discipline that has a definable, positive impact on your business.” It’s a blueprint that maps your enablement efforts to your executives’ strategic initiatives and objectives, and it ensures that you stay on track to achieve your goals.
Creating a Sales Enablement Plan
Here are five sales enablement best practices to follow as you put together your charter.
1. Interview senior executives to learn about your organization’s vision, mission and strategy
A vision and mission aren’t goals and objectives based on financial performance indicators. A vision statement explains your desired future state as an organization. It also communicates the purpose of your business and its supporting values. A mission statement defines how your organization will arrive at its future state.
Structure your conversations with department leaders to help you put the vision, mission and strategy at the center of your plan. Ask them about what their desired selling future state looks like. How should salespeople help them get there? What role should sales enablement play in achieving the future state? What problem(s) do they want to be known for solving?
2. Define your sales enablement objectives and the metrics you’ll use to measure your success
Everyone in your company needs to understand and believe in your mission and vision. Use your vision and mission to create specific, measurable objectives. For example, if you want to increase the time that sellers spend selling, set a clear goal based on number of hours, then measure your progress using key performance indicators. These KPIs should be something that is continually measured to ensure the work you are doing aligns both your overall business goals and your sales enablement objectives.
3. Define your enablement customers
The audience for your sales enablement efforts includes the business units and regions that you serve. At the beginning, you may focus only on frontline sellers in one business unit, but as you progress, expand your audience to other roles and other parts of the organization. Starting with the front-line sellers allows them to test what works and gives you an opportunity to identify what needs tweaking, allowing for any easier company-wide rollout.
4. Build the foundation for your sales enablement function
A solid foundation consists of five parts:
- A governance model, including an advisory board to keep senior executive sponsors engaged and informed about enablement’s positive impacts on the business
- A sales enablement framework (using our sales enablement clarity model as a starting point) that fits into your organization’s strategy model
- An inventory of your organization’s existing enablement services, including ad hoc and informal services, to determine needs and gaps
- A formal approach to cross-functional collaboration that assigns roles, responsibilities and accountability to ensure that all stakeholders participate
- An enablement production process that ensures the consistency, effectiveness and scalability of enablement content and training services across the organization
5. Define the enablement services you’ll provide
Here, using what you’ve learned in the earlier stages of this process, name the relevant enablement services—including sales content, sales skills and methodology training, product and customer path training and value messaging—that you’ll provide for the most critical selling situations. To improve adoption of these services and to reinforce their importance, offer coaching services for sales managers as well.
Get Clarity on Sales Enablement
Budget season is the ideal time to flesh out your sales enablement charter for 2020. With it in place, you’ll readily line up the executive sponsors and resources that you need to execute your sales enablement strategy.
For step-by-step guidance on how to create your sales enablement charter as well as a an example that will serve as a blueprint for your own charter, check out our book, Sales Enablement—A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force, and start evolving your organization’s sales enablement function.
Another tool that can help: Our Sales Performance Meter diagnostic, which assesses the state of your organization and shows you how to get started on an improved sales enablement strategy.