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Sales Enablement - Everyone Wants Results!



Leading on from Sales Enablement – To Automate Or Not?, we continue by focusing on the alignment of Internal Stakeholders, specifically, Product Development, Product Management, Product Marketing, Marketing and Sales. Ultimately, these stakeholders all need the same key result – revenue growth - the factor by which internal stakeholder performance is measured.


I’m one of those Tech sector veterans whose work experience spans all these internal departments. I have no reason to exaggerate or embellish, and I can confirm that I have witnessed persistent issues that impede the revenue growth result that everyone wants.


We can all learn a little from those who have walked our road in the past. Irish statesman Edmund Burke is often misquoted as having said, ‘Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.’ Spanish philosopher George Santayana is credited with saying, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’. British statesman Winston Churchill wrote, ‘Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’


You get the idea.


Intimate knowledge of the past may not enable us to avoid the repetition of errors, but it can provide key foundational insights by which we can work to avoid falling into a pattern of failure, and a culture of frustration and missed opportunities.


What’s the Problem?


We can doubtless agree that it’s easier to identify a problem than it is to identify the best way to resolve it. Each of us has professional experience of the techniques that have worked. Many of us are also perplexed by the times when professional strategies that fail are re-applied again and again. Here are just a few issues that repeatedly prevent the result that everyone wants:

New Product Development

  • Absence of best-practice documentation throughout the NPD process

  • Initial draft concept tested only with Sales / Marketing and existing ‘friendly’ customers

  • Continued Development where:

  • Proposed functionality is not addressing customer / target market

  • The business case is absent or simply does not support NPD

  • Low opinion/knowledge of Marketing and Product Marketing practice and potential

Product Management

  • Competitor / Alternative offering analysis is absent or incomplete

  • Strength of Value Proposition is not rigorously proven

  • Competitor Pricing data are missing or only partially known

  • Unique Selling Point/s cannot be articulated to Product Marketing / Marketing

  • Competitor ‘knock-offs’ for objection handling are missing or weak

  • Poor relationship with other departments and ‘silo’ mentality

Marketing

  • Unable to craft the GTM story

  • Weak sound bites feeding into Website, Social Media Channels, PR News Wires, Analyst Relations and Industry forums’ content, Sales Enablement content, tools, training

  • Poor relationship with other departments and ‘silo’ mentality

Sales

  • Impacted by all of the above

  • Reluctance to collaborate with Product Marketing and Marketing in the latest account management methods

While there is no magic wand that resolves issues with a single wave and incantation, there are best-practice frameworks that enable all stakeholders to improve their own performance and thereby contribute to the virtuous circle of collective success. These frameworks invariably call for greater integration and cooperation between departments, ruthless adherence to a tactical plan, and regular evaluation/refinement.


First Steps


Moving towards a best-practice framework will require a fresh mindset, and increased drive and intent as we work rapidly towards a dynamic integration and improvement plan. You can read more about the thinking behind this in our Keeping In Step and Effective In The Scrum blog posts.


The implementation of a best-practice framework will require rottweiler-like determination to transform the existing culture, teaming, interlocks and interaction between internal stakeholders to create the right environment for success.


Here are some takeaways for Directors to consider:

  1. Carry out a Maturity Assessment on each team’s contribution to the chain, beginning with the NPD process and working through to Sales

  2. Identify the areas to be strengthened, and decide how you will measure the journey from under-performance to optimal operation

  3. Document your new best-practice framework

  4. Establish (and enforce) collaborative engagement with all internal stakeholder teams, emphasising collective responsibility and common goals

  5. Formally evaluate and refine your new framework on a regular basis, say every 6 months, to maintain razor sharp focus across all teams

  6. Think about linking key activities to performance appraisals, and rewarding team members who are active advocates for internal improvement and cooperation

There will be some ‘growing pains’ during this process, and many will feel too busy to participate. However, achieving a collective plan and focus is the only way to remove distractions and unproductive activities, and hold all departments responsible for the achievement of revenue targets.


In the fast-paced Tech sector there's no time to waste. The agile, streamlined and focused organisation increases their deal win ratio. Let’s be honest. We all want to win, achieve great things, and work as part of an effective and successful team.


If you would like to discuss how to get started with a best-practice framework, get in touch, and we’ll help you unlock the potential of your most important asset; your people.



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