Proving the Value of Sales Enablement Through Growth Initiatives
One of the best ways you can prove the business impact of sales enablement is through the successful implementation of growth initiatives. Growth initiatives include selling new products, shifting to a vertical sales approach, positioning multi-product integrated solutions, cross-selling to drive account expansion, or selling through channel partners.
You own making things simple and useful for sales channels to implement growth initiatives. Bob Bladel, Director of Sales Enablement and Training at Hyster Yale describes how the act of simplifying connects to adoption:
“So initially we were really focused on training our people. We'd go out and train people. They would say, ‘wow, this is great,’ but they would go back to the old way after training. They struggled with applying it. So, our focus has shifted to simplifying everything for easy adoption.”
Consider some of the most common initiatives companies are pursuing. Which of these are ways your company is seeking to drive growth? How are you helping drive success?
The first step in successful implementation of a growth initiative is getting everyone on the same page. The following provides an example of the kind of summary you should create for your company-wide initiative.
Push for getting senior leaders in Sales, Marketing and Product to agree by writing down the Big Idea, the outcomes you are going to pursue, and the change needed in order to achieve those outcomes.
Jodie Schroeder’s experience provides a helpful implementation lesson, “I really aligned to the sales leadership team really closely early on. I was able to tell executives that when I meet with the sales organization, they don't feel prepared to have the conversations their customers want to have. And that's what it's about. It's about fixing it so people can be more confident going into their customer engagement.”
Creating a vision for change is necessary for you to both develop the sales enablement function within your organization and drive growth initiative results. Many enablement leaders operate entirely at a tactical, bare-minimum level without imagining, much less effectively communicating, a vision for making sales enablement a strategic driving function in their organization.
Enablement Career Tip: Involve marketing, product, sales and any other functions connected to sales enablement in the change vision process. This establishes your work as strategic while gaining buy-in and alignment for your initiatives.
Ideally, you have Sales, Marketing and Product endorsement of the plan you created for implementing your Big Idea. But, anticipate the challenges that could prevent you from making things simple and useful for the sales channels. What could cause sales to de-prioritize the actions needed to achieve outcomes?
Consider a few of the common challenges that inhibit growth initiatives:
Make alignment across these roles a priority. Bob Bladel explains the unique role sales enablement plays in his organization’s vertical selling initiative:
“We started an industry-focused approach. If you really understand what's happening in the customer’s industry and the challenges that they face, that makes conversations easier. So, we have four blocks involved in the process: an industry team, our marketing department, our sales department and executives. Sales enablement is in the middle of all that as the go-between —connecting the dots between the groups and driving it through our sales process and tools. So, people aren't going off creating their own stuff, everything's integrated.“
If you would like to form your own vision for change when it comes to enabling sales through implementation of growth initiatives, use this How-To Guide as your personal workbook.