“Making sales enablement simple” – what “simple” actually means for the enablement team

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
–Albert Einstein

Everyone wants things to be simple and easy. People just want to use new things without reading a manual or following complicated instructions. That’s true for almost every product or service. What is it people love most about their smartphones that come with the bitten fruit on their back? The simplicity. No doubt. One swipe is better than four or five. One principle that guides the way in which the product is used, all centered on the home button. Not five other design points. One.

Salespeople prefer simple enablement services – simple content, training, coaching, tools and value messages.

Salespeople are very clear about what they want – ask them and they’ll tell you: “Stuff that makes me smarter and more successful.” “Finding everything in one place.” “Content that is valuable and relevant for my buyers.” “Content that is easy to share.” “Content and training that are consistent.” “Clear guidance on what to use and when.” “Battle cards that are up to date and help me to differentiate.” “Recommendations for relevant content and training nuggets based on the opportunity I’m working on.” “I can easily tailor and configure presentations based on existing ones,” “I have the right templates and contract attachments at my fingertips.” “I have mobile options for everything I need.” “Training addresses my specific needs and is applicable.” “Effective coaching.” “Only qualified leads that are worth my time.” And the list could go on.

We all understand these requests. Customer-facing professionals and their managers are enablement’s customers, and these statements describe what enablement simplicity looks like for them. Now, let’s see what it means for enablement teams to provide “simple enablement services.”

For sales enablement, providing “simple tools, content assets and training services” requires collaboration with various functions and to orchestrate different processes – and that’s not simple at all!

It requires a ton of work and a considerable amount of complexity to be mastered. Merely having everything in one place requires the enablement team to fight a lot of battles in the background. All functions that provide content for sales, such as marketing, product management, sales ops, legal, and enablement itself have to be on the same page regarding what “one place” would look like. It requires not only a shift in perspectives, from the silo to cross-functions, but also from an inside-out perspective to outside-in, because how salespeople use content is based on what happens along the customer’s journey. It also requires agreement on a platform that ideally is integrated with the CRM system.

Next, the team has to conduct a content inventory and an assessment to decide what gets deleted, what needs to be adjusted and what is fine as is. Anyone who has done this knows exactly what I’m talking about. As an enablement leader, orchestrating all these efforts, you don’t make a lot of friends early on. It requires a lot of vision, leadership, strength, staying power, and persuasiveness to make this happen. And that was just for one requirement, “having everything in one place.” I could go on and on with other examples but I guess you get the point!

The simpler enablement services are for sales professionals, the more complex and time-consuming is the process behind the scenes for enablement teams to get there.

Enablement works mostly in the background, establishing take formalized collaboration to effectively orchestrate the production of enablement services across functions, the enablement production process, the formalization of the enablement vision and strategy with a charter, or the integrated technology approach that is needed.

Most enablement facets are invisible for the enablement audience. But all these facets, such as having a formal collaboration model, a production process, a technology integration strategy, a formal charter, etc. have to be successfully implemented to be able to create effective and simple enablement services for the sales force.

Questions for you:

  • What does “simple” mean for your enablement audience, such as sales professionals or sales managers?
  • What does “simple” mean for you as a sales enablement leader?

 

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