The Dark Side of Enablement: Why You Need an Enablement Production Process
Sep 15 2015
Before the introduction of the assembly line, teams of workers handcrafted each automobile manually. Inventing the assembly line removed the novelty, but producing cars was now repeatable, scalable and efficient. Even if assembling cars looks simple, it is not. Numerous activities have to be processed, and each of them is precisely defined, planned and orchestrated across different functions.
Now, let’s look at enablement, how content and training services are defined, produced and distributed across different functions, such as sales, marketing, HR and external partners. More than 80% of the 2015 Sales Enablement Study participants reported that they collaborate on an informal (42%) or even ad-hoc (40%) basis across functions. Only 12% collaborate on a formal basis. The trouble with ad hoc and informal collaboration is that it isn’t scalable. Imagine the tremendous potential to increase enablement productivity if it was a bit more structured and organized. Sales force enablement requires a meticulous orchestration across multiple functions to create value for sales (and customers) in the most cost-efficient and scalable way. Not only sales enablement leaders, but all sales leaders, have the constant challenge to do more within their budgetary constraints.
Effective cross-functional collaboration in enablement requires a production process powered by a collaboration model to achieve much more clarity, precision, and scalability.
- Define and Map: This step is relevant for existing enablement services and for every new service to be produced regarding content, training, and coaching. Defining enablement services covers a number of elements, such as the reason why this service is required, the internal target audience (which sales roles and level), the specific purpose (what do we want to achieve), the customer’s journey phases that are specifically addressed (where does it fit), and the structure (how it should look). For client-facing content services, the targeted buyer role and business challenges also have to be defined. This step helps to assess existing enablement services, identify gaps and remove redundancies. For every new enablement service, the process can be applied from the very beginning. Don’t forget to define whether translation or localization is required.
- Create and Localize: Creating enablement services covers all activities that are necessary to create a service as defined. The output should be “ready to be localized.” Creation can also cover specific needs to “verticalize” client-facing content. Even if your products and services are horizontal by nature, it’s a good idea to use the targeted industry’s language to establish a better foundation for relevant and valuable conversations. The details on localization are covered in this blog post here.
- Publish and Provide: Develop a taxonomy that covers the relevant dimensions of buying scenarios, such as industry, buyer role, function and level, customer’s journey phase. A selling-oriented taxonomy makes appropriate content more easily accessible for salespeople. As this becomes more and more the preferred delivery mechanism, a solid taxonomy for all content types is mandatory. For training, all different delivery models have to be considered; classroom, web-based, eLearning and mLearning (mobile Learning) as well as suggested training services as a refresher to support current opportunities. Especially when it comes to product training, short videos can add significant value at salespeople’s fingertips, just as written content does.
- Track and Measure: Track content to see how it has been used by sales, in which selling situations, for which buyer roles, and when along the customer’s journey. Then track its use by prospects and buyers (based on state-of-the-art enablement platforms). Understanding how they use content is essential to improving future content decisions and providing frontline sales managers hints for their coaching sessions. Last but not least, conversion rates stage by stage, hit and win rates, average deal size, sales cycle length, or average account billing are useful effectiveness metrics. For more on enablement metrics, click here.
In addition, a collaboration model supports the production process. It defines accountable and responsible roles for each enablement service along the production process. As an example, for a customer reference, marketing could be accountable, the account manager responsible, and enablement and product management to be consulted or to be informed.
Sales enablement operations is a key foundation for building an efficient, scalable, adaptive and effective enablement system to grow with changing business needs.