Develop a high-performing sales team that will crush business goals with sales and enablement alignment
Though sales and enablement are technically on the same team, working toward the same ultimate goal, the two functions in many organizations have grown apart. The reasons for this disconnect vary, but the solution to aligning sales and enablement in your organization is relatively simple. Start creating a stronger, more relevant partnership by focusing on these five keys to sales and enablement alignment.
1. Build A Relationship With Sales Leaders
Communication is key in sales and enablement alignment, and the best way to improve communication is to build a relationship with sales leaders. The best way to begin building this relationship is by scheduling a meeting with senior sales leaders to discuss the sales team’s quarterly and annual goals. Understanding the goals and objectives your sales team is working toward will help you discuss how enablement can help influence those goals and build a highly relevant enablement plan.
Also, establish regular meetings with sales leaders. These ongoing meetings will help ensure your enablement team is on the right track, gain insights into how sales is tracking toward their goals, and inform any shifts in planning or tactics that may be needed. Keeping the line of communication between enablement and sales open helps build and strengthen your relationship and improves enablement initiative relevance, planning, and uptake.
2. Shared Sales and Enablement Goals
Speaking of goals, sales and enablement should have shared goals that you are working toward. If your enablement team is measured based on a separate set of goals than the sales team, the disconnect is structural. So often, enablement is measured based on metrics such as training participation and content engagement. But remember: the goal of sales enablement is to help sales sell more effectively. Are your metrics measuring that goal?
Though it is more difficult to calculate, sales enablement must always be focused on making sales reps and managers better. For enablement, this is done through training, content, and tools. But these elements must be highly relevant to the specific needs of your sales team—and, in many cases, individual reps and managers—and they must be limited in the amount of disruption to sales’ day-to-day workflow as possible.
3. Get A Seat At The Planning Table
It’s unfortunate how often sales enablement is not represented at the executive planning table. Without enablement participation in the business’s strategy and planning, how can they set relevant goals and plans?
A powerful, effective enablement organization has a huge impact on the growth of a business. We’ve seen many examples of how a strong enablement organization, closely aligned with a forward-thinking sales team, impacts a company’s ability to achieve long-term growth goals.
4. Understand The Sales Role
On the reverse side, it’s also amazing how often sales enablement has no background in sales. Enablement cannot possibly be effective without understanding the unique challenges and needs of a sales rep and manager. This is a pitfall that many organizations, unfortunately, fall into that results in poor performance and a lack of relevance. A lot of time, effort, and money is invested into initiatives that are never adopted by sales.
Build an enablement team with people who have worked in sales before. Then, try cross-training individuals on both sales and enablement teams so there is a better understanding of what team members do. At a minimum, enablement should spend time observing as many live or recorded sales calls and meetings as possible to gain insights into how these interactions run.
5. Provide Value In-Workflow
There are times when salespeople need to be taken out of the field for training to “sharpen the saw”. But limit this as much as possible with virtual sales training and through platform certification. Sales teams that are trained and certified using platform technology solutions for assessment and coaching not only spend more time selling, but they become far more effective at what they do. This is because enablement organizations that use this approach have shifted to agile sales enablement to provide just-in-time training and individualized coaching and development.
Using this model, reps and managers receive the training and coaching they specifically need—rather than enablement or leadership’s best guess on what the team as a whole needs. And they get it faster without taking them out of their daily workflow, so they can apply it instantly.
These keys may seem like an over-simplistic view of the varying issues sales and enablement functions within most organizations face today. But focusing on improving each of these areas will improve alignment, enable more effective sales managers, and develop high-performing sales teams that will reach your common business goals.