Sales Enablement: How Priorities Are Set Makes a Huge Difference

How you set the priorities in your personal life determines how you approach your life. If your job is your top priority, then your days will look very different compared to a person who makes their family life their top priority. And this life will be very different from someone who makes rescuing animals or their spiritual growth their top priority. It’s the same in sales enablement. How priorities are set for sales enablement leaders makes a fundamental difference, and it has a huge impact on the results that can be achieved with different approaches.
In 2017, 14.5% of our study participants reported to run enablement in a project manner, which means priorities are set for them, and enablement runs the projects and programs. Another 39.7% reported setting priorities in an informal way, 32.8% follow a formal way of setting priorities, and 13.1% reported that their priorities are set based ion a formal vision and a formal enablement charter. Our studies from the two years prior to 2017 showed similar results.

Setting priorities based on a formal vision and an enablement charter leads to significantly better results for quota attainment and win rates for forecast deals

Running sales enablement in a project manner is not a recipe for success. Instead, it sets you up for failure. Organizations that run enablement this way did not even achieve the average quota attainment rate of 57.7%. Instead, they ended up with 43.3% of salespeople achieving quota. Running sales enablement based on an informal vision, which means that priorities are set somewhat strategically, helps organizations achieve average performance. But it isn’t a recipe for success, because sales leaders clearly don’t want to invest in a discipline called sales enablement just to end up with average performance.

A formal approach to sales enablement with priorities that are set by sales leaders, even if not captured in a formal charter, shows results above average, with 61.9% of salespeople achieving their quota. Significant difference (73.6% quota attainment) could only be achieved if sales enablement priorities were established according to a formal enablement charter that based goals and strategies on 1) a detailed analysis of the business and the sales strategy, 2) a gap analysis of current sales execution and 3) the specific needs of their target audiences.

The same trend is true for win rates for forecast deals: Organizations with a formal enablement charter achieved win rates of 61.2%, which is an improvement of 18.1% compared to the average win rate of the study. And by this metric too, organizations with a project approach or an informal vision ended up below average.

Only a formal vision captured in a formal enablement charter allows organizations to achieve significant results, such as improving their quota attainment rate by 27.6% and their win rates for forecast deals by 18.1%

This approach empowers sales enablement leaders to run sales enablement as a business within a business, as the enablement charter represents a high-level distillation of the business case that serves as a foundation and states enablement’s purpose and reason for existence. A formal charter empowers enablement leaders to keep their senior executive sponsors informed and engaged as they report their results based on the charter. And that’s a language senior executives understand, as the enablement activities correlate to relevant business metrics.

Think of your enablement charter as your “business plan for sales enablement.” Wouldn’t it be foolish to run a company without a formal plan? The same logic applies to establishing, leading and evolving sales enablement to a strategic discipline.
Stay tuned: Next week, we will discuss the necessary steps to develop a formal enablement charter

Questions for you:

  • How are enablement priorities set in your organization?
  • What steps do you take to get to a more formal enablement vision?
  • Do you have a formal enablement charter?

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