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The Rise of Customer Enablement

Posted in:  Sales Enablement Strategy

It’s impossible to deny the increasing importance of enablement, with the scope of enablement expanding beyond pre-sales teams for many organizations.

Over the last year, many companies pivoted to focus on nurturing existing customers, making it more important than ever to enable your post-sales teams, from customer success to services.

A recent event from Sales Enablement PRO highlighted the importance of enabling post-sales teams in today’s selling environment — let’s take a look back at how organizations can effectively enable customer teams for success.

Driving Revenue With Product Enablement

An organization’s products and services are constantly evolving. As innovation never stops, product enablement requires rigor and agility to effectively train and support sales teams with the latest information.

“As early as you can get involved in the planning stages, do that! We [enablement] are representing a unique perspective and the folks who may be product- or marketing-oriented may not be thinking about the impact downstream to the field. We have that holistic view on how we can help enable the field later on.”
–Kathryn Fish, Sales Enablement Director, Invoca

Executing effective product enablement takes thoughtful planning — be sure to get involved early, partnering with product marketing and product teams to anticipate what is coming. And as with all of your enablement efforts, ensure your product enablement programs are scalable, measurable, and repeatable.

Enabling Through the Handoff Between Pre- & Post-Sales Silos

Today’s customers demand an exceptional customer experience. But one common challenge for many organizations is creating a cohesive handoff between pre- and post-sales teams. Sales enablement practitioners have an opportunity to alleviate the separation between these teams and provide a seamless experience.

“Everybody should start on the same foot. And this should be transparent to the customer.”
–Lara Martini, Senior Director, Sales Enablement EMEA, Salesforce

Enabling an effective handoff experience requires clear processes and communication between pre- and post-sales teams. It is important for customers to know who to go to during the entire process. Establish clear roles and responsibilities, and always put customer communication at the forefront.

Customer Experience Enablement in the Midst of Change

Many organizations made a drastic shift to virtual environments, but some companies are starting to pivot back to in-person work while others remain entirely digital. Enablement plays a key role in outlining the steps to improve the customer experience in a hybrid world.

“The pandemic has created a tremendous opportunity for change. The opportunity is there for companies to think differently about how you operate and attack the way that you work.”
–Peter Armaly Senior Director, Customer Success Enablement, Oracle

Now it is more critical than ever to deeply understand your customers’ unique needs so that they are set up for success in the long run.

Value Selling for Post-Sales Team

Selling to existing customers can be a challenge for many teams. Enablement is well-equipped to help them overcome a risk-averse mindset and get customer teams excited about providing value to existing customers.

“The idea is that anyone in the post-sales world is focused on the long game and building that long-term relationship. You can push a sale in the short term — but that can actually hurt long-term growth if it’s not the right fit or timing for the customer. So we need to make sure that in all of the conversations that we have, we’re coming in with some sort of value proposition and making good use of the customer’s time.”
–Emily Garza, AVP, Customer Success, Fastly

Post-sales enablement needs to be more in-depth and personalized than pre-sales enablement because teams have more time to grow relationships with customers. Customer success teams are motivated by customer satisfaction, so they need to be equipped to deliver real value.

The Importance of Services Enablement

The goal of an organization’s services team is ultimately to help customers succeed. Some companies have recognized the importance of this and are investing in services enablement to help drive success.

“We frame our enablement efforts for CS by answering the questions ‘How will this make your job easier?’ or ‘How will this make your customer’s experience better?'”
–Anna Jensen, Senior Enablement Specialist, Customer Success, Glassdoor

It’s critical to tailor your communications when rolling out enablement initiatives for pre- and post-sales teams. Although both teams must understand the same value of a new initiative or product, the message must be tailored for services teams to understand how each initiative can help to solve a customer’s problems and make their experience better.

Enablement’s Impact On Customer Churn

The virtual world has challenged many organizations to keep customers engaged without in-person interaction. Effective customer enablement can help to reduce customer churn and provide meaningful engagements with customers.

“Bain & Company actually found that an increase of your customer retention rates by just five percent can actually bring about a 25 percent increase in profits. So this really goes to show that small steps in improving your retention rates can really pay off in the long-term and it’s really something that customers can’t ignore anymore.”
–Renée Osgood, Head of Customer Success Enablement, Ceros

Your customers will remember how you treated them during both good and hard times. Focusing on the customer experience and journey from implementation onwards is what drives retention. Custom implementation paths for each customer, strong alignment amongst customer-facing teams, customer advisory boards, and interactive communities are all components to building out a great customer experience.

Cross-Sell & Upsell Enablement

One of the biggest ways enablement can impact customer teams is by helping to foster successful cross-sell, upsell, and expansion opportunities.

“Our long-term success is our customers’ long-term success.”
–Becca Goodstein, Customer Success Enablement Manager, UserTesting

It all comes down to enabling teams to build strong relationships with customers. Continue to add value and provide amazing resources to your customers in order to maintain lasting relationships.

Looking Ahead

The role of enablement is expanding. It’s no longer sufficient to focus enablement efforts on the sales team. Organizations must widen the scope of enablement to serve other teams across the revenue org, and one of the most impactful teams the function can serve is the post-sales team.

Be sure to register for the Sales Enablement PRO Summer Virtual Event to learn more about how enablement will continue to evolve and the essential role it plays in enabling revenue teams.