What Is Your Organization’s Current Sales Enablement Maturity?
Mar 08 2018
When you learn a new sport, you might start by taking a training course designed for beginners. Once you’ve learned the required basics and developed a few fundamental skills, you can progress to a course for more advanced players, and so on. In sports, your progression is well defined. But in sales enablement, determining your current state of maturity and then how to progress to the next level of maturity is still a bit vague. So, let’s solve this.
Two weeks ago, we established a common understanding of sales enablement with a comprehensive definition. And last week, we discussed the sales enablement clarity model with all its facets in great detail. Now, let’s talk about the missing element, the sales enablement maturity model that is based on the enablement clarity model.
The enablement maturity model consists of four different maturity levels: random, organized, scalable and adaptive.
Each level shows different characteristics in each enablement facet. Let’s see what these four maturity levels look like in an overview mode.
Random maturity level – Sales enablement does not yet exist as such:
There may be plenty of enablement services available, but different functions are pushing enablement services to the sales force without knowing (or sometimes even caring) about the services other functions are providing in parallel. As a result, these enablement services may be designed “to help sales to sell,” but they are not consistent nor aligned to one another, creating more confusion than value.
This approach is tactical in nature and intended to address current challenges as symptoms. Initiatives are often managed like projects, which makes the random level an often-painful situation that is not only inefficient but also ineffective. However, the pain experienced at the random level often gives birth to a more formal enablement approach, because sales leaders recognize the need to address them in different ways.
Organized maturity level – Enablement exists in a narrow fashion but with a lot more structure:
Usually, efforts are focused on one enablement domain only, such as content services, training services, coaching or just tools. This domain is analyzed and assessed, organized and structured, managed and optimized for mainly salespeople. As an example, if the content domain is tackled first, content inventories are created and assessed, then new content is defined and existing content is either redefined, improved or retired. Redundant or irrelevant content is also removed.
Achieving this level also involves implementing efficiencies in the focus domain. For instance, enablement content management technology is implemented to provide the relevant content services in a way that makes it easy for salespeople to find what they need. Solving challenges in one domain leads to an increasing productivity in that domain. And transparency increases as well. The new transparency makes all remaining gaps and inconsistencies even more visible, such as between content and training services, or in the alignment to the customer’s path. In some cases, alignment to the customer’s path may be missing altogether. Increasing transparency drives many organizations to evolve their enablement discipline to the next level.
Scalable maturity level – Enablement evolves to an integrated and strategic approach
At this level, enablement covers all main enablement services, such as content, training, coaching and tools, and the customer’s path has been made the primary design point.
To make this leap to the scalable level, the organized approach needs to be replaced with a clear vision, mission and purpose, and most importantly, a structured sales enablement charter, developed with and approved by the most relevant senior executives. All enablement services are aligned to each other and to the customer’s path to ensure consistency for salespeople and effectiveness at all stages of the customer’s path, supported by seamlessly integrated technology. Sales managers are an equally important target audience, and coaching services are designed to drive adoption and reinforcement across the sales force. Scalability also requires the organization to implement a more formal collaboration model and enablement production processes to be able to easily respond to changing buyer behaviors and business needs and allow the organization to measure the business impact of enablement.
Dynamic maturity level (Adaptive) – Enablement evolved into a completely customer-centric, agile, learning eco-system focused on creating outstanding customer experience.
We will talk more about this level in another blog post.
Curious to learn more about the sales enablement maturity model? Research members can download detailed research notes that define the maturity model for each facet of the sales enablement clarity model, and explain how to run assessments, enhanced by a tool that helps you to assess your organization’s current enablement maturity level.
Questions for you:
- How do you determine your organization’s sales enablement maturity?
- What are you doing with the results? How do you create to a strategy to evolve your enablement practice?
Related blog posts:
- Sales Enablement Clarity Step 1: Establishing a Common Understanding
- Sales Enablement Clarity Step 2: The Clarity Model
- Why consistency matters to achieve sales force enablement results
- Enablement builds it, but do salespeople use it?
- Sales enablement: more than just another word for sales training!
- The Content Dimension of Sales Enablement: Marketing is only part of the story