Who’s Practicing Sales Enablement?

I had a conversation with Craig Nelson of the Sales Enablement Group because I wanted to get a clearer picture about what type of organizations were practicing sales enablement. I opened up the conversation to the LinkedIn community a few weeks back and got some very interesting perspectives. Here’s the link to the conversation  on LinkedIn.

Here are some highlights from the LinkedIn discussion:

“They may call sales enablement something different, however, make no mistake it’s critical to the organizations go to market work and selling. In terms of types of companies that benefit most, those with some combination of the following attributes:
• Sell complex B-to-B products
• Sell large product portfolios
• Sell products that require some degree of knowledge transfer to understand
• Sell to multiple buyers, each with unique needs
• Sell products that promote new concepts or changed paradigms “

“Although SE may not have been a headliner in terms of market awareness in the past, many companies have been quietly leveraging what has become a competitive advantage; a complete marketing and sales enablement system that consists of people, process, technology and content in place to enable the success of sales and partners. 

In this case they have initiatives for example, ramping new reps, launching new product, and so forth. However improvement is possible with additional structure and it doesn’t require new departments, just a new approach and alignment. Many organizations already have resources, however due to lack of SE maturity they most likely act independently and produce what Forrester Research calls ‘random acts of sales enablement.’ These organizations would benefit from formal SE processes, disciplines and the alignment SE promotes.”

“Just as Craig mentioned in the video I have also seen instances where point solutions (such as sales training, CRM systems and short burst initiatives) are rolled out that could arguably be classed as components of Sales Enablement. But that is just the point, in my view they are not SE because they are not holistic. But what about sales training ? Ebbinghouse says that 87% is forgotten within 30 days.
What about hiring more reps ? Forrester and others say that this is risky, and ramp up time is costly ($60k+ for 6 months). What about more sales leads ? My experience is that stuffing more leads into the sales funnel will not resolve underlying sales effectiveness problems. What about using more technology ? Our market research (which will be released shortly) shows that organizations that have implemented a lot of technology are not doing as well as those that have kept it simple. So what is the solution ? The solution is a holistic program that addresses the ‘Trinity’ of People, Processes and Technology in that order of priority.”

“If the sales process is followed 90% of the time, 70% of sellers will achieve their targets, according a 2012 Accenture/CSO Insights report. However, if the sales process is followed less than 75% of time, only 55% achieve targets. How often are the sales reps in your organization following your process or do you even know when/if they are? More importantly how often are they not following it and how does this affect your targeted goals or forecast?”

“Keep it simple starting with the business. I recommend starting the year by selecting 1-2 business strategies along with sales enablement use cases needed to execute the strategy. Also, create an SE maturity plan with additional use cases planned for each quarter. A balanced approach changing the focus beyond people to the process, content and technology part of a selling system will have a positive impact for 2014 and beyond.”

Some really great insights and lots of interaction on the board. Please feel free to jump on LinkedIn and contribute to the conversation yourself.

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