5 Steps to Sales and Enablement Alignment


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

sales and enablement alignment goalsSpeaking 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 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.

sales and enablement alignment in-workflow5. 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.


Sales and Enablement Alignment Sales Transformation Checklist

3 Secrets To Engage Your Sales Team in a Successful Launch Plan

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A successful launch plan creates better alignment by engaging sales team stakeholders.

Do you have a busy sales team that you need to get quickly up to speed on new products, messages, or processes? Time for a launch initiative! Creating a successful launch plan will provide you and your team with the framework to improve participation and drive engagement.

A launch initiative typically occurs anytime we need to get new information to existing people in the commercial organization. This happens during a new product launch, a rebrand or new messaging initiative, a merger or acquisition transition, a transformation of the sales process, and during sales kick-off.

Make sure all the hard work you put into your next launch initiative isn’t simply ignored by sales by applying these three simple secrets to creating a successful launch plan.


Knowledge & Information Delivery | 3 Secrets To Engage Your Sales Team in a Successful Launch Plan | CommercialTribeEvery launch initiative must include an information delivery, or knowledge, component. In a typical launch plan, this will usually include a “required” global webinar. Depending on the size and complexity of the new launch initiative, it may include a live meeting or a sales kick-off event.

Often, the person or people who own the initiative are the ones who deliver the communication of the change. Unless that person is already a solid influencer within the organization, this is a mistake.

Furthermore, the content of the webinar or live event will be characterized as a “PowerPoint Parade” by attendees because it is heavily focused on the “feature dump” method and is rarely very relevant to the sales organization.

The secret to success in delivering the message is to establish “change agents” or “change ambassadors” who can help deliver the message to the sales team. These people can help make sure that your launch plan is delivering relevant information from the perspective of the people who are tasked with bringing that message to the market.

Also involve your change agents in the communications by recruiting one or more of them to present the content during the live event, and by scheduling emails or intranet posts to come directly from them. This way, the sales team sees that it is coming directly from their leadership, rather than “outside” of the team.


Sales Skills Development | 3 Secrets To Engage Your Sales Team in a Successful Launch Plan | CommercialTribeSadly, the most common mistake in launch initiatives is that they tend to stop at the “knowledge” stage. This may be due to a lack of a mechanism to change behaviors and “certify” that the sales team has internalized the new message and can deliver it to the market.

But this is perhaps the most critical secret to a successful launch plan! People are busy, and even if they are really excited about a new product or message initiative, the reality is that they will forget about its core elements within hours or days of receiving the message.

Create a program through which sales managers and reps can easily develop the desired messaging and then certify that they can deliver it to effectively change the behaviors of your sales organization.

Results & Retrospective

Sales Results & Retrospective | 3 Secrets To Engage Your Sales Team in a Successful Launch Plan | CommercialTribeThe results of launch initiatives are historically difficult to measure and vary depending on the type of launch you are initiating. For example, you may measure the results of your launch initiative by the number of new product units being sold over a number of months.

No matter how you measure the results of your launch plan, the secret to launch success is to make sure you are always performing a retrospective. What worked well? What did not work as well? How can your next launch be improved? Always ask these questions and include your change agents and, if possible, other stakeholders in answering those questions and planning for the next launch.


Sales Webinar: 5 Secrets to Sales Enablement Launches That Salespeople Love | CommercialTribe

Sales Enablement Is the Bridge Between Marketing and Sales

We spoke with HubSpot Senior Manager, Sales Enablement Debbie Farese about the intersections of Sales and Marketing and the future of Sales Enablement. As technologies further mature and impact the role, leaders have to adapt to more data, more opportunities, and a greater ability to shift sales performance.

CommercialTribe: We actually just attended the Forrester Forum for Sales Enablement, where the theme was in part a shift from Sales Enablement to Marketing. Do you see a closer collaboration, or perhaps even cohesion, between the two roles in the future?

Debbie Farese: I think we’re going to see a lot more collaboration between Marketing and Sales in general, not just Sales Enablement.

For example, we use the term “Smarketing” in HubSpot to describe direct alignment between Sales and Marketing. We not only have monthly all hands meetings between the teams, but we also have a SLA to track MQLs delivered to the sales team by segment.

The way we view Sales Enablement is the bridge between Marketing and Sales.

Our team physically sits with Sales, because it helps us see the sales process in action and create tighter relationships with the reps. But we organizationally fit with Marketing, because a lot of the work we do requires strong marketing skills – we create a lot of content.

To the broader question of alignment, one way you see it is through what’s happening with technology platforms. People are realizing that we need to have one clear view of our customers and our future customers. With software like HubSpot, sales people can use that and see how a future customer is interacting. It’s also why we’re introducing a CRM – it’s really important for Sales and Marketing to be aligned and have one unified platform.

“The way we view Sales Enablement is the bridge between Marketing and Sales.”

Sales Enablement and Marketing are intrinsically connected. Upskilling and developing sales reps is often driven by content and messaging, and Marketing is tasked with creating these messages and driving adoption and market use.

CT: You came from a product marketing background. Is enablement, in your opinion, more effective when tied into marketing processes?

DF: Organizationally, our Sales Enablement team used to sit within Product Marketing, since a lot of the work that we do is quite similar. However, broke out of the Product Marketing team to align with our Funnel Marketing team. The content that we create doesn’t only have reach through to sales reps, but it also feeds into other marketing channels.

Also, we support a large sales team. It’s important for them to have a few points of contact – our real job is understanding what type of content we can create that can help support salespeople when they’re working with prospects, as well as looking at the buyer’s journey as a whole and understanding what prospects are doing when they’re not talking to people.

As reps in technology companies shift more from product sales to solution selling of complex digital products, the needs of the organization in training increase. This not only requires a change in content and messaging but in how we deliver training and stimulate practice.

CT: The technology sector is famous, or infamous, for requiring reps to “upskill” toward highly technical products and more complex software sales. How does this change the approach to enablement? Is the process required to be more ongoing?

HubSpot Using CommercialTribe's Sales Enablement Tools to Bridge Sales & MarketingDF: We spend a lot of time training our Inbound Marketing Specialists on the products, not only knowing how to navigate through the product but also understanding our buyer persona and why our software matters to them. Before they ever even get into a technical conversation, they have to understand marketers’ pain points and the opportunities for growth and to go into each conversation from a very consultative perspective.

From there, they need to be able to translate how they can help a marketer achieve their own individualized goals. When it comes to getting more into the technical pieces, we have a Sales Engineering team to bring onto calls.

CommercialTribe powers the sales onboarding process that HubSpot new hires use to train and practice.

CT: You have an extensive curriculum that new hires must engage with, certify on, and master to be able to sell. Do you find that onboarding and training are required to continue after that first day or week and follow a rep’s tenure, or that reps reach a point when they’ve mastered it all?

DF: We work in technology, so everything is always changing! So there’s never a point when someone’s learned as much as they can learn. When it comes to core skills, like demoing or qualifying, the good reps do reach a point when they have their own methodology that works.

We have to focus on continuing education, and that’s why I work closely with the onboarding team to try to understand the best way to update them on what’s happening in the market and overall market analysis. Our own product is constantly changing and growing as well, so we need to continually train and update them on the platform so that they can effectively share it on the phone.

“…there’s never a point when someone’s learned as much as they can learn”

CT: What particular technologies are you using to reach this large of a sales team and really help them gain knowledge?

DF: We use CommercialTribe in onboarding, and beyond that, we rely on live training. Most of our sales team is located right in our office in Cambridge [MA]. For those who are in our global offices, we use Webex and virtual meetings, phone chats, and screensharing to connect with them. We have an internal Wiki, and post all of our training content there. It’s been great for enabling two-way conversation and for sharing tribal knowledge. We’re also starting to leverage Sidekick for Business, which is one of our beta products that pairs with the CRM. We use it to help sales reps find the right information at the right time and for the right future customer.

One of the biggest challenges we face today, and why we’re moving to some of our own beta software, is that we don’t have the tracking or reporting capabilities we want. I’ve never been able to say, “what are the top reps doing? What content are they using?” We want to know what happens after content gets posted – from who is downloading it to how the prospect reacts to it.

Data is the result of 21st-century technologies. As we inject more data about our sales practices, we continue to learn how to draw stories and lessons from the numbers.

CT: Metrics are really permeating into everything we think about in sales. Do you see that as a trend in Sales Enablement as well, that data is ultimately going to empower the next generation of the field?

DF: Yes – I’m actually just about to write a post about measuring Sales Enablement!

It’s hard – we really haven’t had great technology to do that, but we’ve found a lot of ways that we can get a proxy. The one biggest thing is that we use lead to customer conversation rate as our guiding light. There are a lot of factors that go into that – lead volume and the effectiveness of the sales reps themselves. We still find it to be a really good guiding light in terms of the effectiveness of our team in enabling the sales team.

The second helpful thing about that number is that it helps us to find which projects to prioritize. There are a lot of gray areas, especially since our Marketing team has grown, and we are the front-line communicators to the sales team. They’ll often ask us for things that are really more related to demand generation – I can ask myself, “will that impact our customer conversion rate?” If not, I think about how to pass that request on to the appropriate team.

CT: What no longer works in the field of Sales Enablement?

DF: At the heart of HubSpot is inbound marketing. We just see such higher success rates with inbound marketing tactics. Interrupting people and old cold emails just don’t work anymore.

Constantly trying to be helpful to a marketer and provide value, even if they aren’t in the position to purchase, is the way to go.

Find out more about the Sales Enablement & Coaching platform HubSpot is using when you request a demo below.

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