Sales Enablement Tips

This is the time of year at Microsoft when employees put a bit of focus on where they want their career to go. For me, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my career in sales enablement. I have to admit that I didn’t plan on this as a career, and I’ve done a variety of jobs that weren’t specifically called that, but when I look back I can see that I’ve been focused on sales in one way or another for almost 20 years.

So, I decided to give back to the sales community with this presentation:

The meat of the content is really on slide 2, which I repeat here. This is how I approach sales enablement and what I suggest the role should encompass. I use things like a mission statement and call out the goals and deliverables as a way to keep myself and my team on track. 

Mission of Sales Enablement: Positively impact revenue through the creation of sales content, management of lead generation, and effective on-boarding and on-going training of sales employees on the products/solutions, sales processes, sales skills and related industry knowledge. [yes, a thorough sales enablement program cuts across marketing, operations, product, and sales]

Goals: (1) The sales force is empowered to competently and competitively sell products & solutions so they can exceed their sales quota, (2) the sales process is well understood and followed, and (3) qualified leads are getting into the sales pipeline

Plans and deliverables to achieve the goals:

  1. Sales Training: Establish and manage the rhythm for an annual training strategy, budget, calendar and detailed training plans, along with the associated content and curriculum. This includes driving logistics and training sessions via the appropriate medium (1-to-1, as a group, remote office, central office, online, on-demand) for both the sales materials and the sales process. Manage, track, and analyze training activities tied to the CRM system to offer the right training at the right time.
  2. Sales & Lead Marketing Content: Establish and manage the rhythm to (1) create impactful sales presentations and supporting materials that articulate value proposition, unique differentiation and success customers can expect from the solutions; then communicate the availability of these to sales, including partner channels. (2) Create overview and reference materials for the sales process, skills and tools, with insights into how following the process drives product and sales improvements. Both should be tied to the CRM system to expose the right content at the right time.
  3. Qualified Leads: Establish partnerships between operations, marketing and sales to generate, manage and hand over qualified leads to sales that enable them to drive new opportunities. Measure the impact on sales via the CRM system through marketing qualified leads (MQL) that result in opportunities won.
  4. Closing the Loop: Gather feedback from sales regarding customer, partner and sales needs to create and update the training and content, while providing input to engineering teams. Also get input into upcoming product releases and marketing events or campaigns that sales needs to be aware of and possibly trained on, which will also be leveraged for lead generation.

Measures of Success: Overall employee satisfaction of the training, content and leads, delivered on budget & per the established rhythms, increased adoption of the sales process from lead generation to close, and increased sales revenue per sales employee.

If you have other ideas for sales enablement, please contact me via Twitter @BrianGroth.