Sales Enablement Governance: Why You Need an Advisory Board
Aug 30 2018
This blog post couldn’t be more timely! Last week, I introduced you to the inner workings of sales enablement, the concept of efficient enablement operations, to be precise. I defined its three areas: enablement governance (which is all about an enablement advisory board), enablement production processes and enablement analytics.
This week, the Sales Enablement Society announced its future structure, and it includes an advisory board. First of all, I am really happy that the Sales Enablement Society applies a proven practice to its own leadership model. And secondly, I am very happy, grateful and honored that I was named a member of the SES advisory board.
Now, let’s discuss why you as a sales enablement leader should take advantage of an advisory board as part of their enablement governance model.
Based on your sales enablement charter, an effective enablement governance model helps you to evolve your sales enablement function from a tactical to a more strategic level.
Without an enablement charter and a functioning enablement governance model, sales enablement will always be fighting for the necessary executive support, the required budgets and resources.
Think about enablement governance as a concept that works on a long-term, strategic level, while it also allows you to be effective in the short-term. On a strategic level, any enablement governance model should allow you to keep your senior executive sponsors engaged and to keep yourself and your team connected to the organization’s strategies and objectives. Additionally, any enablement governance concept should be set up with mechanisms that allow the advisory board to solve strategic issues that cannot be solved on a cross-functional level. Examples would be defining new cross-functional processes, removing collaboration barriers, redefining the scope of certain functions, and consolidating enablement efforts that are scattered around the organization. The board should have a say in decisions regarding people’s and function’s reason to exist, budgets, resources, responsibilities.
On a tactical level, any enablement governance model should also provide mechanisms that allow you to report on the progress of your enablement initiatives and their business impact. Ideally, you can share enablement dashboards that consider both leading and lagging indicators, so that you can show the early impact of initiatives and engage your sponsors to watch out for improved results.
A sales enablement governance model can only come to life when all the necessary roles are engaged and committed to your enablement efforts on a regular basis. An advisory board is an effective way to achieve this goal. All your senior executive sponsors – from sales, marketing, product management, sales operations, L&D, customer experience and service – should be on your enablement advisory board.
When setting up an enablement advisory board, focus on these critical success factors:
- Establish a clear purpose. Advisory board meetings help members learn more about what enablement is doing and how it is impacting the business. Visibility into enablement will allow the advisory board members to provide input on strategic direction, ensuring enablement stays aligned to the company objectives and strategies. Make this purpose clear to all members so they understand why they are devoting valuable time to these meetings. If they see the value, they are more likely to prioritize their involvement.
- Communicate responsibilities. The primary responsibilities of the team should be: Defining and evolving the long-term sales force enablement strategy, ensuring that it is derived from the business strategy and supports the sales strategy. Making strategic decisions that require a broad senior executive involvement. Solving conflicts that are too complex to be resolved by referencing the charter and collaboration model.
- Focus on senior executives. This advisory board is making high-level decisions, so it’s vital to have members with a strategic and long-term orientation. Meetings where more tactical members get immersed in details are a waste of their time. Executive leadership will also want to see the results of their enablement investments, and department heads will want to understand how their people are contributing, so be sure to report on any milestones or metrics that show your progress.
- Establish a regular cadence. This might be quarterly or even monthly. Your cadence should be based on the dynamics of your business, but no matter how frequently you meet, make sure it is regular. This will establish a habit of meeting and help ensure it doesn’t fall off in favor of other priorities.
Successful sales enablement leaders know how important a governance model can become. Therefore, they leverage the advantages of its key element, the sales enablement advisory board, to keep their executive sponsors engaged and committed to the transformation engine a strategic enablement function actually represents to overcome the growing buyer-seller gap.
If you haven’t already, have a look at our new book Sales Enablement – A Master Framework to Engage, Equip and Empower a World-Class Sales Force. Lots of “how to” information to address the challenges mentioned here.
Questions for you:
- Do you have any kind of enablement governance model in place?
- If yes, what does it look like?
- If no, how do you keep your senior executive sponsors engaged and committed?
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