Enablement Goals in Context

1.14.16Even if a marathon runner and a sprinter both define the Olympic gold medal as their ultimate goal, their ways to get there will be very different, depending on their contexts and their current athletic states. It’s the same in enablement. Companies of different sizes, product types, industries, business models, etc., may all want to increase their annual revenues by 10%, but the specific actions they have to take will come in different forms and shapes, depending on their context and their maturity.

What are the goals of sales enablement in general?

The CSO Insights 2015 Sales Enablement Optimization Study shows that enablement is a multifaceted discipline with a wide variety of goals of similar importance.


Increasing sales efficiency was reported to be the most important goal (81.8%), followed by two growth goals: increasing revenue (75.8%) and increasing new account acquisition (68.7%). The list continues with performance goals, including increasing the win rate of forecast deals (64.6%) and the reduction of sales cycle length (46.5%). These were followed by another growth goal: increasing existing client sales (45.5%), followed by even more growth and performance goals.

It is quite a lot to ask an enablement organization to focus on efficiency, growth and performance goals all at the same time.

Luckily, there is no need for enablement organizations to do so. Instead, an organization can focus its efforts by basing enablement goals on two key elements: context and maturity.

Enablement context determines enablement goals

Examples of context are, for instance, the old industry with an often more mature sales force versus new economy organizations with much younger sales forces. The transformation needs are higher in the old industry, e.g., how to transform from product pitching to providing valuable perspectives for the customers, by selling in a way that shows how solutions meet customers’ needs. The new economy sales organization might face specific onboarding challenges, due to a fast-growing sales force. An old industry organization often operates in a saturated market with lots of price pressure, whereas the creative economy often operates in emerging markets with new products and business models. An organization that operates in a disruptive market has to deal with additional challenges that impact not only sales and sales enablement but the entire business model. Other criteria for context are the coverage model itself, direct sales versus channel sales, territory versus account or industry focus, and many more. These examples of context determine the main areas of enablement focus, such as effectiveness, growth, transformation, or how to enable channels effectively.

Enablement maturity determines enablement goals

The CSO Insights enablement maturity model defines three levels of maturity: required, recommended and world-class, or sales enablement, sales force enablement and customer-core enablement. The details are defined in these blog posts and more detailed in CSO Insights research notes (requires membership).

The required level is focused on organizing certain domains, such as content or training. Enablement begins by concentrating on milestones and efficiency goals. Based on this foundation of efficiency, sales effectiveness can be impacted as enablement evolves to the next maturity level. The recommended level is more focused on building a scalable platform for productivity, by working from the customer’s journey, integrating content and training services, addressing the frontline sales managers, and integrating technology into the CRM system, as opposed to having a point solution.

This scalability platform can only be built based on the efforts that have been made before. In other words, impact on the sales funnel can only be achieved when the enablement homework has been done at the required level. As a natural progression, in the recommended level, enablement goals shift to more specific sales effectiveness goals, with a focus on growth or margin, which depends on the context. In a nutshell, to impact the sales funnel’s performance, the recommended level is mandatory.

Questions for you:

What are your current enablement goals?

How will they change over time from today’s perspective?

How did you determine your enablement goals?

Related blog posts:

Evolving Enablement to Sales Force Enablement: The New Definition

Providing Perspectives – A Dynamic Customer-Core Engagement Principle

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