One of the great things about being in an industry that is still defining itself is that there are no real boundaries. When it comes to sales enablement, the sky is the limit because we’re all defining what it is and what it means to our individual organizations.
Conversely, this freedom can also cause confusion or friction when determining “who does what” to empower sales. As a sales enablement professional, it can be difficult to understand where responsibilities start and stop, when to enlist other teams, and what may be overlooked as being done already (but isn’t).
We’ve seen this conundrum unfold over and over within client organizations, and have found the friction around sales enablement roles and responsibilities can be solved with two very specific questions:
- What matters to your organization?
- How do your individual priorities map to the overall organizational priorities?
Finding out what matters
This seems like a simple question on the surface: Sales, of course, are the backbone of every for-profit organization. However, what differs from company to company are the means by which sales are pursued, and the primary obstacles to improving results.
The best way to get these answers are to have authentic conversations with your stakeholders. Talk to sales, marketing, business leadership, operations, and any other groups with which you partner, and ask them where their key problems are, as well as where untapped opportunities reside. Then cross-check with your own assessment and continue refining. This will help identify what is (and should be) within the scope of your role.
Suggested questions include:
- What makes your job hard?
- Why (five consecutive times—get the answer, ask why, get the answer, ask why, and repeat)
- What are three ways your team might improve through effective sales enablement?
By reaching out to others and truly listening to their input, you’ll find out more about what your organization needs than you expect, and you’ll also be able to define how sales enablement can help.
Mapping sales enablement priorities to overall organizational priorities
Another way of thinking about this task is developing your sales enablement business plan. It calls for asking hard questions, and taking a step back to consider how your activities can have an optimal impact on company growth and how you will allocate resources to their maximum benefit.
Just a few questions to consider include:
- Is the problem we’re being asked to solve recurring or new, broad or narrow?
- How will solving it positively impact my sales and marketing colleagues, as well as my company?
- Is it reasonable for sales enablement to be asked to solve this problem?
- Is this problem being measured, and can we track improvement?
Once you’ve talked to stakeholders and organized how sales enablement can and will address your unique organizational needs, it’s time to take action. Read our best practices for defining sales enablement roles, in our Best Practices Guide, Faster Sales Start Here, Volume One, to get ideas for next steps.
This process is iterative and may take some time to get right. A structured approach to acquiring and integrating feedback will make your stakeholders feel heard, and will help you get a solid understanding of where sales enablement can make the biggest impact.