Efficiency and maturity go hand-in-hand, do they not?
The longer we do something with a thoughtful, structured approach, the more efficient we get at it. By pairing repetition with analysis, it’s possible to make incredible improvements to just about anything. It holds true for your golf swing, it holds true for your career, and it definitely holds true for your organisation’s sales enablement approach.
After all, the goal of sales enablement is to optimise the sales process, making your reps more effective and efficient (and therefore able to drive more revenue in less time). The path to ultimate sales efficiency is different for every organisation, and it’s not an overnight phenomenon. It happens in stages – each defined with tangible milestones and benefits – but not necessarily in a specific order.
That said, we’ve found that there’s quite a bit of similarity in the stages that most organisations pass through, and I thought it would be valuable to share those stages with you. We call this the Sales Enablement Maturity Model, and it’s a good gauge of how your organisation is doing on the path to ultimate sales efficiency and effectiveness.
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these stages.
If you’ve ever worked in a young, high-growth, budding organisation, you’re probably very familiar with this stage. Often one person wears many hats and struggles to provide sales reps with the content they need, so only the most important materials are available, can be out-of-date, and there generally isn’t an onboarding program to bring reps up to speed. There definitely isn’t a centralised system where reps can find all the materials they need and obtain reporting on what works and what doesn’t.
The reactive model is common amongst organisations of all sizes that haven’t implemented a structured sales enablement platform. Finding the right information can come down to “who you know,” as it could be posted anywhere across a plethora of intranet sites or file sharing systems, causing deals to be lost or stalled due to the simple inability to find what’s needed when it’s needed. Most “customer-facing” content never reaches a customer in this model!
When organisations reach the managed phase, they’ve organised content in a way that it can be found in a repeatable fashion and they keep the content up-to-date with an effective set of sales enablement tools. Reps know how to find the materials they need, which helps significantly in improving attainment, speeding up onboarding, and driving revenue.
Data-driven sales enablement provides a state of euphoria for marketers because they finally have the analytics they need to know what’s working and why, and sales reps are very efficient because they can find what they need, when they need it. A closed-loop system lets content teams optimise the materials that are being shared with reps as well as remove or improve poorly-performing items.
Organisations with optimised sales enablement have their systems and processes dialled in to a level that makes both sales and marketing look good. They’ve taken data-driven to the next level to evaluate performance at every stage of content lifecycle, and best practices from the field are identified and used to improve content quality. Even better, content is individually suggested based performance of related deals, and content refinement is constantly being achieved by measuring business impact of the materials in market.
How mature is your organisation’s sales enablement?
Of course, there are shades of grey around each of these stages, but in our experience of working with organisations around the globe, most companies land in each area for at least some time on their quest towards optimisation.
Where does your organisation fall on this scale? If you’re still working towards optimised, don’t fret. It’s a marathon – not a sprint – and with the right approach, you’ll get to the finish line stronger and healthier organisationally than when you started.