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Sales Enablement - A Business-Critical Culture

After a short break from Blogging we are now reigniting our passion for the critical success factors in Sales and Marketing. Our last Blog items were focused on Marketing Operations Effectiveness, the Power of Social Selling, and Sales and Marketing Effectiveness. Use the links to catch up if you missed them.

As an American who has lived in the UK for over 30 years (and is now a Brit), it didn’t take me long to warm to the game of rugby. Now I’m a true fan, and an enthusiastic advocate for applying the best rugby tactics and team dynamics to business problems. ‘Scrum’ is a well-known framework for Agile software development. In my opinion, it is also a valid term for an integrated and well-balanced Sales and Marketing practice, promoting the Business-Critical Culture that is ‘Sales Enablement’:

· All-involved

· Cross-team cooperation

· Demands strength, effort and endurance

· Needs to be planned carefully and executed well

· A winning strategy when carried out successfully

What’s The Problem?

For over 2 decades, technology businesses have struggled with an integration maturity gap, resulting in underwhelming revenue performance. The cause, quite simply, is the traditional segregation of Sales and Marketing leading to inefficiencies, and neglect of the vital common areas where both teams need to engage and cooperate. These inefficiencies can be removed by introducing best practice processes, people and systems, to drive ever greater integration and efficiency within the two departments.

More enlightened companies are pursuing Sales Enablement as a culture of shared ownership and responsibility by the Marketing and Sales practices. Cultivating an acute commercial focus within Marketing, to serve needs of the Sales team, while encouraging Sales to adopt Social Media and Social Selling techniques to create a collaborative Lead Gen engine that optimises growth through higher quality prospect engagement.

Where Does Sales Enablement Belong?

Some might argue that it belongs to Sales, in the guise of the Business Development team. Others would argue that it belongs to the Marketing team, who provide the essential material internally and externally, enabling Sales to convert deals into signed contracts. Many capable and experienced Sales and Marketing professionals have been attempting to work on this area as an extension of their traditional roles, however we often compartmentalise our thinking concerning Sales and Marketing responsibilities and push back on these initiatives to the detriment of our businesses.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”.

A Einstein

Traditional thinking cannot be applied to a role that straddles both Marketing and Sales. Is this therefore a hybrid role? Or does the evolution of Sales Enablement point to the need for Marketing and Sales to be managed as one larger, integrated team? I propose that Sales Enablement is morphing into a new overarching discipline which spans both Sales and Marketing activities. In a digital world, this mindset should be adopted as a company-wide attitude. Take, for example, multinationals such as Apple, Microsoft and Google, where employees are likely to be vocal advocates of the company and its services. This is the manifestation of Sales Enablement as a culture, leading to continuous growth and success.

What Is True Sales Enablement?

Sales Enablement is more than a role or the strategic ongoing process of equipping Sales teams with the content, guidance, and training they need to effectively engage prospects and existing customers (BoFu). It must also include the integration of Marketing processes, people and systems – all focused to create quality awareness, consideration and relationship among target Prospects, who then populate the Sales Top of Funnel (ToFu).

At minimum, Sales Enablement should be a culture of shared ownership and responsibility that permeates the Marketing and Sales teams. At best, Sales Enablement should be a company-wide culture that makes all employees active stakeholders in Prospect and Customer experiences, cultivating relationships that win, retain, and grow business.

A Global Challenge

There’s no doubt that this is a pivotal moment for organisations across the globe. The business environment is tougher than ever, and Sales and Marketing challenges have been heightened by the C-19 pandemic, which has accelerated the digital evolution of all businesses. Critical small refinements to existing processes now have the potential to deliver exponential gains. And the organisations that adopt a new, joined-up approach to Sales and Marketing will be the winners in a challenging digital marketplace.

Interested In More? We’ve created a new web page and download that unpack these ideas further. We are also building on our expertise by working with global businesses to transform the culture of their Sales and Marketing teams, and position their businesses for optimised, scalable growth.

Get in touch for a chat, and watch this space for more on this business-critical topic.

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