The Business Case for Sales Manager Enablement: Final Thoughts

The Business Case for Sales Manager Enablement: Final Thoughts

In the earlier blog posts Creating a Business Case for Sales Manager Enablement and Sales Manager Maturity Assessment: Two Perspectives we mapped out an approach to getting sales managers the support they need. Today we wrap up that discussion.

Let’s assume you have created all components for a comprehensive business case for sales manager enablement. You have followed the five steps we discussed here, and you have conducted a sales manager maturity assessment in your organization. Now, let’s see what needs to be done to make your business case compelling, comprehensive, and irresistible for your senior executives.

However templates for business cases are designed in your organization, make sure that when you present the case, you cover these five key elements:

  • Business reasons: The financial or business reasons for investing in sales manager development must take center stage. Check out our data here and in our 2017 CSO Insights Sales Manager Enablement Report to support your business case. Research data is an essential and important foundation, but a comprehensive business case needs more than that.
  • Maturity assessment: While leadership wants to see the impact of their investments, they will also want to know where the current organization is falling short. The sales manager assessments discussed here help you provide specific examples that can be woven into the business case. The assessment results also demonstrate that you have a handle on what needs to be done in your organization.
  • Context: The reasons for sales manager development must be connected to the organization’s context by mapping the business strategy to the current sales execution plan. This will help identify strengths, gaps, and weaknesses as well as ensure alignment to the business’s overall goals. Even after the initial business case is made, gaps and weaknesses in enablement must be analyzed in light of market dynamics as well as changing business strategies to ensure development investments remain aligned.
  • Culture: Don’t underestimate culture! The culture determines how an organization will approach challenges like this one. Some cultures avoid changes until there is no other way. Some don’t tolerate failures and prefer every single detail to be thought through, while others are keen on trying new things and learn along the way. Whatever your organization’s culture is, consider it as a constraint in the equation.
  • Champions: Every new initiative benefits from a group of key influencers and supporters who willingly champion the cause and commit to doing the work. In this case, the group will ideally consist of committed professionals from other departments such as sales enablement, L&D, sales operations, and HR, as well as a couple of high-performing and interested sales managers. The earlier this group is formed, the better. They can be your permanent sounding board and coaching team along the process to get the business case approved.

 

Final checkpoint – ask yourself these questions

Before you finalize your business case, test the case by asking a few questions: Why should your sales leaders reprioritize investments? What is it exactly they would invest in? How large an investment do you need? How are you going to develop and deliver the program? How will you measure success? What is the phased approach to get there? And how long will it take?

Sales leadership’s natural bias is different…

Remember, sales leadership’s natural bias toward investing in individual sales professionals is a hurdle that must be overcome. This requires a compelling business case composed of research and a thorough current-state analysis that shows sales leaders how reprioritizing investments can help them reach their business goals. Once you understand your point of departure, important details of the journey come into focus, such as a changing business landscape and the “corporate weather” you may experience along the way.

The challenges won’t always be predictable, but leveraging your knowledge of your organization’s context and culture will help you identify the steps to be taken and the degree of effort they will require to make your business case for sales manager enablement successful.

Related questions:

  • Did you ever create a business case for sales manager enablement?
  • If so, which challenges did you experience?
  • What were the criteria that made the case successful?

 

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