Advanced Tips to Uplevel Your Program & Drive Real Results

With a one-person sales enablement program, the job can be overwhelming. With many people working on it though, you have more expertise and different perspectives to use.

I hear you.

We wanted to help with this guide focusing on three main parts of the job: strategy, execution and governance.

  • Sales enablement manager strategy
  • Sales enablement manager execution
  • Sales enablement manager governance

Let’s get to it, shall we?


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Sales Enablement Manager Strategy: Always Start Here

The key to success is understanding your organization’s objectives and the people you support.

As a Sales Enablement Manager, Don’t Forget You’re in the “People Business”

It’s easy to get distracted when the sales enablement role covers so much territory. But it’s important for me to remember why I’m doing this job in order to help my employees succeed.

As Roderick Jefferson says,

To ensure sales enablement success, there are four Ps to consider: people, programs, platforms and purpose. Never forget that it’s a “people business”!

We have a system that ensures we are partnering with all the company’s business units, and it is always people first.

We often get lost in the products, processes and programs that our company offers. We forget to think about how we fit into a prospect’s or customer’s journey.

There are many ways to develop sales enablement. You can use it as a way of getting your product or service into the hands of potential customers, which is how I went about it.

Get buy-in from the top and the bottom

When you’re an enablement manager, it’s not always easy to balance the needs of your employees with those of higher-ups in the company. You need to understand what they want and find ways for everyone in your department – from executives down through low level workers – to meet their goals.

Mark Eckstein, Revenue Enablement Manager at Bizzabo suggests that you need to understand the problem management wants solved and then speak with employees who face similar challenges.

From those conversations, you can identify the problems that need to be addressed.

To get started, do some easy projects with your employees. That way they’ll be more confident in you.

Give reps tasks they’ll be excited about. You should start by making their life easier so that you can make them want to give your time in the future.

Whitney Sieck, Director of Revenue Enablement with Greenhouse Software, said that in order to have a successful hiring process you need to meet the company where they are.

She recommends taking an incremental approach to diversification, rather than creating additional work streams for inclusion initiatives.

To be successful in the enablement function, you need to have strong analytical skills. You also collect qualitative and quantitative data so that stakeholders are aligned on what decisions should be made. To help with this, create an “enablement maturity model” which will show current state of affairs as well as a roadmap for continuous improvement.

It depends on your company, and what challenges you face. You need to think outside the box.

It’s important to have a clear strategy for sales enablement, but you also need best practices.

“There are a lot of folks that have different backgrounds, and some people who would never think about sales as an option.”

When it comes to Enablement, there is no one-size-fits all solution. A great enablement leader will be able to mold their previous experiences into a strategy and framework that works for your company’s needs.

She should know. She has experience from the SaaS industry, but it hasn’t been 100% transferrable to her current company.

Set priorities based on the org’s strategic objectives

You may be torn between what the organization needs and individual preferences. Remember, when an organization succeeds, it’s good for every member of that company.

So when you’re facing competing priorities, it’s crucial to prioritize top-level goals. Marcela Pineros from New Relic stresses this point.

Make sure you’re aligned to the company and its current goals. Stay tuned in with what they want from their employees.

Beyond that, there are different approaches to get your employees on board.

Mark Eckstein says that new ARR is the metric his work was being measured against, so he looked for specific areas to push it. He paid attention to what would help salespeople and not just himself.

Marcela’s approach to finding the right project is about understanding if it will help your company grow.

  • Does the position align with company goals?
  • Will it make the most difference?

She says you may need to say no to initiatives that are not aligned with your goals. You will also need executive air cover, but it helps you stay on track and push for the most important initiatives.

I thought sales training was the only thing I needed to be doing for my sales enablement.

Define in advance what success looks like

To make any project or initiative successful, you need to know what success will look like and how it can be measured.

It’s easy for enablement teams to become a catch-all, and the easiest way is they start new projects without considering how they will know if it was successful.

When the project wraps up, it’s important to have a shared understanding of what success looks like.

It’s important to identify any leading indicators because then you can see how the project is going and whether it was a success.

One-percenters are usually the top salespeople, so do they perform better during onboarding? Or do they have a book of business when starting?

Become a strategic partner

Saying no can be hard, but it’s important to draw a line in the sand when you are seen as an equal partner.

As Marcela says,

Training can be seen as a money pit, but it’s actually an investment and helps the company make more money. It takes time to change your mindset about training, but it is key for creating successful sales enablement programs.

You need to offer solutions, not just problems.

Chad Dyar, Head of Field Ops and Enablement at Hearsay Systems, said that there needs to be a plan for enabling people who have different skills. There should also be an end-to-end process in place.

When Enablement is in charge of one process, it’s easy for things to get deprioritized or go off the rails. When they are leading change that requires a behavioral shift, there’s always high probability of success.

Enablement needs to be a strategic partner, otherwise they’re just fighting fires instead of growing the company.

Why?

When it comes to revenue, the Enablement team needs insights into what challenges and priorities are important. They also need an understanding of how different people work in order to understand their personalities.

Projects that don’t have a strong ROI but seem to be the right thing to do are hard for managers and company owners. When enablement is tied with revenue goals, it becomes easier prioritize projects

Hire a diverse team for enablement

As you can see, sales enablement is very broad. You’ve got to do a lot of things in order for it to be successful.

Chad suggests hiring problem solvers who are willing to get their hands dirty and work together as a team.

You should look for people with backgrounds in sales, marketing, customer service, training and analytics. When you scale your team up to the next level of success you will have a brilliant chemistry set that can conceive new solutions quickly.

Sales Enablement Execution

Execution is about what needs to be taught, how it should be done and who should teach the skills.

Sometimes when companies want to diversify the workplace, they just bring people in and talk at them for six hours. This doesn’t work.

Nowadays, when people work remotely and they don’t know the person well enough to tell them their strengths and weaknesses outright, it is much harder for someone to take criticism.

After all, this is a man who works from his home. He has distractions everywhere he looks.

I’ve found that there are a lot of programs out there to help diversify the job market. And more and more companies seem focused on it during the hiring process.

Working from home can lead to distractions such as pets, children and roommates. And not only that but work messages come in all the time.

Marcela makes a good point:

We need to draw from the best practices we know of in order to be more effective. These are especially important when you’re working with a remote team.

Start with knowledge management

Marcela believes you should start with knowledge management. Ideally, capture the lessons learned from the field and review them before harvesting those lessons for employees to use as they see fit.

As the program grows, content can become a problem. Marcela advises that you figure out how to get your message across in different ways and create systems that will grow with it.

One way to scale your program is by adding incentives for participation. For example, you can offer a bonus or an award.

Build great relationships with potential stakeholders

It’s hard being an army of one. Mark Eckstein is a salesperson supporting 40 other sales people and 15 customer success representatives, but he takes on some training responsibilities too.

He can’t do all the presentations himself, so he relies on subject matter experts from other departments.

He recommends building a relationship with them before you have to ask for their help.

He advises that if you want someone’s trust, it is best to build the relationship first.

Build trust with your experts. They need to know that you’ll help them be successful in the long run, but they also need a little bit of a push.

Make sure they understand that you won’t be adding more work for them, but instead will make their job easier by partnering with you.

Invest in your trainers

Many managers are not good at coaching. So, to make sure they can coach their employees, you need to develop programs that will help them do it.

You need to work with your subject matter experts, the same way you would a professional teacher. You can’t just expect them to be able to teach on their own.

Instructors often don’t realize their trainees will grade them at the end of training sessions. We suggest making sure instructors know what they’ll be graded on.

This book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to improve their skills in the design of instructional materials.

Experiment constantly with short feedback loops

Eckstein recommends not falling in love with your programs. He says there is no way to know if they will work until you test them.

The key is to have short feedback loops so you can quickly pivot and update your programs if something doesn’t work with the second cohort.

He has a 50% turnover rate in his training sessions, which is great because he’s constantly tweaking the program for each cohort based on feedback. If questions come up during training, he fixes them before the next group.

Feedback loops are key in any organization, so it’s important to assign a liaison for each function or group within your company.

Marcela Pineros has the same idea, and assigns a point-person from her team to each group. She says,

They’re the brokers. They’re there to communicate what’s going on with my team and I can use them as a feedback loop for best practices.

It’s easier for me to manage priorities as a one-person shop because I have everything under control, but it can be difficult when there are more people involved.

Less is more when it comes to content

Sales enablement content should be succinct and to the point.

The idea is to figure out what your sales story will be by reading a few best sellers.

You can think of these as little pieces or chunks of knowledge.

I cut conversations from all the top salespeople across my organization and I’ll end up with 400 of these knowledge slices. They’re just two minutes on average.

I may have 14 different salespeople, with their own unique way of talking about integrations.

Listening to a series of snippets is so valuable because you can see how the rep approaches different situations and what they say in those scenarios.

The recordings are short, but you need to organize them by topic so that it’s easy for salespeople to find what they need when they want it.

With the insights from this call, reps will know what to expect and be prepared with a solution. This helps them understand trends in their market.

Videos should be under 8 minutes. You can use tools like Gong or Chorus, but it may make more sense to create them yourself.

Mark says he likes to own the content himself because when you lean too heavily on one tool, it can be difficult for others without access. He wants everyone in his company to have access no matter what their role is.

Leigh Smith agrees that bite-sized, interactive content is best. He also recommends leaving reps with something to refer back to at the end of a session.

Develop content for different learning styles

Each person has a different learning style which means you need to create content for every type of learner.

That’s a given, right?

Leigh Smith takes this idea one step further. He believes that every session needs to be available in several different formats, and wants his presenters to know their audience well enough so they can adapt according to the situation.

When you are delivering a PowerPoint presentation, it is important to have backup plans in case the only person who is engaged with your message has hearing problems or can’t see well. This way that you will be able to get your point across no matter what.

That’s why Leigh doesn’t do training for huge groups. He believes the most effective way to deliver coachingtraining is in small group sessions, where you can go at a slower pace with each team member. And he recommends meeting their needs by going as fast or slow as they dictate.

You can also divide up your training into different groups depending on how they learn best. This way, you’ll know that every group is engaged in what you’re delivering.

Develop champions and success stories

One of the hardest things for humans to do is break bad habits. We need constant education and positive reinforcement in order to change our routines.

You can’t just train people. You have to show that it works and do a lot of follow up work with your employees.

It’s the quickest way to win people over by finding two or three employees who are more successful than everyone else. Once they see that, other salespeople will listen and want what you have.

Get buy-in from sales managers and reps

Robert M. Peterson, Ph.D., suggests that companies create unique programs to help their salespeople succeed.

It’s nice to know who is performing well so you can continue doing what they’re doing. It also gives you success stories that validate your sales enablement programs.

Think of yourself as an information broker

Mark Eckstein, a trainer and author of “The Sales Development Playbook” says his secret to success is sharing information.

“When I first began hiring salespeople, I just assumed pay along with commissions and bonuses would be enough motivation for them.” With my first salespeople, I made the mistake of constantly testing pay and commission structure. My feeling was that when there’s plenty of base salary plus lucrative commissions it will be enough motivation for them

He recommends that information brokers use a variety of sources to find the right candidate for their company.

  • It is important to stay in the forums and take time reading all Slack channels. This will help you see what trends are happening, which challenges people have been facing, and how they’ve been succeeding.
  • One way to help salespeople is by going to all the standups and forecast meetings. This will allow you to identify where they’re struggling, so that you can provide them with workable solutions much earlier.
  • The customer success team is a great place to start looking for what’s going on outside the structured chain. Look at how they do things and see if you can find ways of communicating that will alleviate frustration.
  • Send templates to other departments, even if it’s not the sales team. You never know what will be relevant and useful for them.

She says that Sales Enablement needs to be a part of the decision-making process for marketing and sales.

Success can be defined as taking all the marketing data, messaging tools and content to create usable assets for sales teams that they can use during onboarding and in their sales process.

Marcela Pineros says the New York Times struggles with getting their information out to people too.

How do you do it?

People will self-select the topics they are interested in. The misconception is that we should push everything to everyone, which just creates noise. We need to categorize information so it’s easy for people who want or need specific things.

I’ve found that Google Drive is the best tool for organizing content, but there are no shortcuts. You have to do it yourself.

Sales Enablement Governance

Governance is about how you’re demonstrating what you deliver. It also includes keeping content fresh and relevant by updating it regularly.

Governance issues include:

  • Tracking
  • Coding in HTML
  • Link rot

Marcela Pineros suggests that as your company grows, it becomes more and more difficult to govern all of the links and connections to other data sources. This is why you need systems in place so everything doesn’t become manual or ad hoc.

Create scalable systems and structures

One of the most difficult aspects is choosing one vendor or sales enablement tool. Once you choose, it’s hard to switch.

That’s why Marcela recommends Google Drive as an agnostic content repository. You can control who has access to the documents and it only updates one file at a time.

To avoid having to maintain duplicates, always link back to the original document.

Ryan Donohue says that tools are only good for automating a process once it has been perfected.

Give your sales reps the opportunity to experiment with new ideas and processes so they can help you improve what’s already in place.

Every objective needs to have a measurable goal

Tracking your progress is critical to proving you’re meeting the organization’s goals.

The article discusses how to measure sales enablement success.

The challenge is figuring out what’s measurable. The first step to know if you can measure something, or not.

Mark Eckstein says that the only way to evaluate reps is by tracking their activity, such as open opportunities and pipeline to date.

Sales reps often have 150 activities a week. You need to know how they are performing against those activities, and it’s important that everyone is informed on the progress they’re making.

As Mark Eckstein says, think about the lifetime value of your employees.

Every time we treat our employees well, it benefits us all. If they know what’s expected of them and that we want to help them succeed, the experience is more enjoyable.

Getting a Handle on Sales Enablement

When I asked Sales Enablement professionals for their best tip, they weren’t sure where to start. There’s so much that can be shared about this topic.

But a strong sales enablement program should be focused on three areas: strategy, execution and governance. This is because these are the key aspects that this function needs to do well.

It’s easier to understand what the job entails and how it can affect your organization when you’re diverse.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

 

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was written by Content at Scale, a solution that uses AI + a team of optimization specialists to publish hundreds of high quality, SEO optimized content straight to your blog. It’s the first and only solution that allows you to truly scale content marketing.