Do you need an enablement charter?

1.19.16Whenever you want to sell something you have to prepare the necessary conversations. That’s the same whether you sell to a customer, or to sell internally. And sales enablement is a lot about selling internally, for instance, to get senior executive sponsorship and alignment, or to get a budget. Selling enablement is as complex as a sale to a customer, because of a complex environment, many stakeholders, and various (and often moving) goals.

The case for an enablement charter

Not only does enablement have multiple goals, but these goals can also compete against each other. For example, new account acquisition is one of the most expensive ways to increase revenues. If enablement has to focus simultaneously on “Increase in New Account Acquisition” and on “Reduction in Cost of Sales,” they may find achieving these objectives doubly challenging. Enablement goals are derived by mapping the business and sales strategy to the current state of sales execution. Then, enablement programs can be scoped, tailored and aligned to impact the goals. So, enablement is not only situated within a complex and ever-changing environment that’s unique to each organization, but enablement also requires a multi-dimensional process to determine a specific enablement approach. That has to be sold internally, and it’s a complex sale. And that’s why enablement leaders need a charter.

Enablement charter defined

In general, an enablement charter details how the discipline contributes to achieving an organization’s sales goals. In detail, such a charter covers vision, mission, purpose, the definition of target audiences, goals, objectives, and strategies how to get there on a timeline, a definition of the offered enablement services, how to collaborate cross-functionally and the metrics for success. The enablement charter’s purpose is to equip the enablement leader with a consistent tool to sell enablement internally: the discipline itself or single initiatives to senior executives or C-level.

The charter itself is the tangible outcome. But getting there requires preparing a complex sale: to identify the sales leaders’ specific context, their specific way of making decisions (their decision dynamics within the sales leadership team), and their individual approaches regarding how to tackle challenges. This process is detailed in the CSO Insights Research Note Creating a Sales Force Enablement Charter (membership required). It describes the first and foundational areas out of four areas of focus in sales force enablement, as defined in the Research Note Sales Force Enablement: Master Framework.

How to create an enablement charter

Four areas have to be defined:

Target Groups: Following a customer-core approach, enablement has to define the target groups first. According to your current state, define precisely what sales roles and channels your team is working for.

Vision, Mission, Purpose: These elements are often underestimated, but they are a key to success, especially with regard to avoiding unstructured and uncoordinated various activities that are pushed to the sales force and end up creating more confusion than value. To drive engagement and adoption, create an emotional tagline that helps salespeople to identify themselves with enablement’s mission and vision. Ideally you and the sales team will craft this tagline together. Building followers and evangelists is so important, as you cannot transform a sales force from enablement only. So, build a support network of evangelists and ambassadors both in the field and on the management team.

Objectives and Strategies, Roadmap: This is pretty straight-forward. Mapping the business and sales strategy to the current execution is essential to identify gaps between the current state and the necessary state to achieve the sales goals. This way, enablement goals and strategies (activities how to get there) can be placed on a timeline.

Services, Metrics: Define the specific enablement services your team will offer (content only, or training only, or both), and also define coaching services for the sales managers, if they were defined above as a target group. Metrics for success should ideally cover milestones, efficiency (as a foundation) and effectiveness, depending on your enablement maturity journey.

An enablement charter enables the enablement leader to sell enablement internally.

Questions for you:

Do you have an enablement charter in your organization?

If so, how did you experience the process to create it?

How do you use your charter, and what are your lessons learned so far?

Related blog posts:

Evolving Enablement to Sales Force Enablement: The New Definition

What Is Maturity in Sales Enablement?

Sales Force Enablement: Six Strategic Issues 2016, Part 1

Sales Force Enablement: Six Strategic Issues 2016, Part 2

Providing Perspectives – A Dynamic Customer-Core Engagement Principle

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